Sysadmin Questions

In my career I've been on both sides of the interview table. Here are some of my fav sysadmin questions:

  • How do you send email on a command line? What if it doesn't work?

  • If you were going to prepare a memo what app would you use? What about your resume?

  • I have a txt file with 40,000 email addresses, how would I figure out which domain was most popular?

  • What is the first line of a perl/shell script?

  • If I chowned a file to 755, who would have read access and who would have write access to it?

  • How do you remove a file whose name starts with a '-'?".

  • Name 3 different email protocols

  • What options to (GNU) tar(1) would you use to decompress and extract everything from an archive named files.tar.gz into the current directory? zxvf

  • Name 3 different TCP ports and it's function

  • What is NFS? What is its job?

  • Suppose I downloaded an application that only came with source code. How do you compile it?

  • What are the personal characteristics of a system administrator?

  • What is the one moment you realized you really messed something up and how did you recover?

  • What's the worst disaster recovery incident you have ever been involved in? Tell me what you did.

  • How do you configure Apache on a server you don't have root on?

  • How can you check a server healthy?

"How do you delegate responsibility?" Discuss how you evaluate employee abilities and how you use your observations to delegate various tasks.

"What are you most proud of in your career?" This sounds like a throw-away question, but it is not. The company expects its managers to be team players and take great pride in team accomplishments that make the company better. Be ready to discuss your greatest achievements as the leader of a team when this question is asked.

Based on the job posting, what do you expect to be doing here?