49 Networking Interview Questions (With Example Responses)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 20, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Network administrators are critical to the configuration, monitoring, and maintenance of networks and servers for a company's computer system. There are common questions a hiring manager asks during an interview to evaluate your skills and knowledge to perform the duties of the position. Understanding what questions they ask can help you prepare more effectively for your next networking interview. In this article, we discuss 49 networking interview questions with several sample responses.

What is computer networking?

Networking is the process of connecting two or more computers to exchange information electronically. Networking includes email services, shared databases, electronic storage, and the security of the network itself. A network administrator works as the key person to connect computers and other electronic devices through the use of a network. In addition, they ensure to set up the network correctly and monitor and maintain the network, ensuring it runs efficiently, reliably, and securely.

Related:

  • Computer Programming vs. Computer Science (With Duties)

  • How to Become a Network Administrator (With Steps)

General networking interview questions

Typically during a phone, virtual, or in-person interview, the hiring manager will ask several general questions to start the discussion. They use general interview questions to build rapport and bring out your personality. Here are several examples of general interview questions:

  • Why did you choose a career in computer networking?

  • When did your interest in networking begin?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • What are your networking career goals?

  • What is your most significant achievement in networking?

  • Why did you apply for this networking administration position with our company?

  • How do you feel about spending hours sitting in front of a computer?

  • How would previous colleagues describe you?

  • Tell me about your computer set-up at home.

  • What unique characteristic sets you apart from other networking candidates?

Related: 19 Common Interview Questions and Answers

Education and training related networking interview questions

After responding to several general questions, the hiring manager will often switch to inquiries related to your education and training. They ask these questions to clarify your academic qualifications and assess your formal training in computers and network systems. Below are several examples of interview questions related to your education and training:

  • Please describe your educational background.

  • What formal network training have you completed?

  • How has your education prepared you for a position in networking?

  • What formal certifications have you achieved?

  • How do you remain current with the latest technology and trends?

  • What areas do you feel you need more training in?

  • What computer networking groups or organizations are you involved with?

  • What are your biggest strengths as a network administrator?

  • What is your most significant weakness, and what are you doing to improve it?

  • What resources do you refer to when you aren't sure of something regarding networking?

Related: How To List Education On Your Resume (With Examples)

Networking experience related interview questions

The hiring manager will also ask various questions during the interview regarding your work experience and history. They ask these questions to evaluate your skills, responsibilities, and tasks from previous positions. Here are several experience related interview questions the hiring manager may ask you:

  • What was your favourite network administration position, and why?

  • How have your past roles prepared you for this networking position?

  • What is the most enjoyable part of being a network administrator?

  • What is your least favourite task as a network administrator?

  • What types of network systems do you have the most experience working with?

  • What has been the most considerable challenge you've overcome as a network administrator?

  • How do you handle stress in your profession?

  • Describe your troubleshooting process.

  • How do you define customer service as a network administrator?

  • What kinds of documents and record-keeping did you use in previous positions?

Related: Competency Based Interview Questions and Sample Answers

Technical networking interview questions

Often during a technical position interview, the hiring manager asks several technical knowledge questions. They ask these questions to verify that you have the foundational knowledge to perform the job's tasks. In addition, sometimes, there is a technical assessment or assignment to show your technical expertise in action that you need to complete. Here are several technical networking questions they may ask during your interview:

  • How would you explain what a VPN is to someone non-technical?

  • What is the importance of using two-factor authentication?

  • Please describe the difference between a router, a hub, and a switch.

  • What is the difference between a workgroup and a domain?

  • How do you monitor the effectiveness of a network system?

  • Tell me your experience with and approach to network system maintenance.

  • How would you describe a firewall and its use?

  • We have many employees that work remotely. What are three ways we can support them technically to make their work easier?

  • What are three types of network topographies and their particular benefit?

  • What is your approach to network security?

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

In-depth networking interview questions

During your interview, the hiring manager will also ask in-depth questions about specific situations or circumstances. When responding to behavioural or situational interview questions, use the STAR method to develop your response. The STAR method is an acronym for a four-part response technique:

  • Situation: describe what was happening at the time

  • Task: explain what part you had or role you took in the situation

  • Action: detail what you did to solve the issue or rectify the situation

  • Result: describe the outcome of your action

Here are several in-depth interview questions the hiring manager may ask:

  • Tell me about a time you had a network failure, and you had to collaborate with other IT staff.

  • Describe a time you disagreed with another networking professional.

  • Tell me about a situation where you didn't know how to solve the problem.

  • Describe a networking emergency you had to resolve.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with a team of diverse backgrounds on a networking project.

Related: How to Use the STAR Interview Method Response Technique

Four sample networking interview questions with example responses

To better prepare for your network administration interview, here are four sample questions with example answers:

1. What are the essential skills required to be a successful network administrator?

The hiring manager asks this question to evaluate your understanding of the job description and the required skills and abilities. They are also assessing your strengths as a candidate based on the skills you choose. When responding to the question, focus on skills the company listed explicitly within the job posting that you can deliver in the position.

Example: "A successful network administrator's top three skills are problem solving, organization, and attention to detail. Because network administrators need to identify network problems and develop fast and effective solutions, experienced problem-solving skills are a must. In addition, they need to be organized and keep track of projects, issues, and other critical information. Organization also helps when things go wrong by finding data quickly. And a network administrator needs to pay attention to the details. There are so many little details that can wreak havoc on a network; it's critical to stay focused and accurate."

Related: How to Become a Network Administrator (With Steps)

2. What are some strengths that help you when troubleshooting network issues?

The recruiter or hiring manager asks this question to evaluate your ability to handle network challenges and what skills you use to solve the problem. They are also assessing your process for troubleshooting. You can include a real-world example to describe your skills in action if you have a specific example to share. Otherwise, stick with essential skills for problem-solving and your evaluation process.

Example: "When troubleshooting a network issue, I use several strengths that I've developed with experience. For example, in my previous position, the company's network went down one evening because of a power failure. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the system up, so I needed to assess the situation. First, I noted all possible issues and then prioritized them based on the likelihood of occurrence. Next, I analyzed the issues using critical thinking and logical and deductive reasoning. I patiently reviewed each idea to cross them out, and I finally found the problem. Then I could quickly get the system back online."

Related: What Does a Computer Network Technician Do? (With Skills)

3. What is an intrusion detection system?

A hiring manager will ask this technical question to evaluate your specialized expertise in network security. Understanding what an intrusion detection system is and its importance to a company's data confidentiality will allow you to show your expertise in security matters with networking. Your response can include any first-hand experience you have using such a system.

Example: "An intrusion detection system, also called an IDS, is like an antivirus program for the network. It monitors network traffic and looks for suspicious activity, policy violations, or vulnerable areas. If it detects any anomaly, it sends an alert for the anomaly to be investigated. Although just a monitoring program, an intrusion detection system is important to the integrity of a network's security defences."

4. What form of authentication can someone use to access the network?

A recruiter or hiring manager asks this question to evaluate your expertise in network access protocol. There are several forms of authentication a network administrator can use. So it's recommended to focus on options that increase the level of security in your response.

Example: "There are several forms of authentication someone can use to access a network, depending on the company's requirements and security protocol. For example, authentication factors include email verification, passwords, tokens, security questions, personal identification numbers or PINs, and biometric scans. I recommend using a minimum of two-factor authentication when setting up network access protocols."

Explore more articles