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Network Engineer Interview Questions

Are you thinking about getting a job as a Network Engineer?  Are you considering leaving your present position and getting a new networking job at a new company?  Has it been a while since you’ve interviewed for a network engineer position?  If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then keep reading! We’ve compiled a list of things you need to do to be prepared for your next interview. We’ve also compiled a list of some tips for making sure you ace that interview as well as a list of 20 Network Engineer Interview Questions.

With this knowledge, can you pass the test?

Check also our new eBook
Get That Network Engineer Job!

 

Tips for preparing for the Interview

  1. Study – Before you go to your interview, open the books up and give yourself a general review of networking. Go as deep as possible, and get familiar with your unfamiliar topics.
  2. Update your Resume – Read your resume and update it.  The last thing you need when you are putting your best face forward is to have a resume that is full of grammatical errors. In addition, LinkedIn is a great display for your skills and experience, don’t forget this tool that provides a global reach.
  3. Watch out for Social Networks – Many employers are getting very smart and will search for your name on social platforms.  Be sure if they find your Facebook/Instagram page that there isn’t anything there that you wouldn’t want them to see.
  4. Google yourself – Search for yourself on Google and see what you find.  You would be amazed at what might pop up. Make sure nothing derogatory shows up.
  5. Get Certified – One of the best things to do to prove you know what you are talking about is a certification.  This gives a new employer an easy way to understand your knowledge level.

 

Preparing for Network Engineer Interview Questions

Make sure you prepare well on those technical subjects. Don’t think that you know them already, actually spend time refreshing your knowledge to be and look more confident:

  1. IP Addressing, make sure you know subnetting (without a subnet calculator!).  Know the value of every bit in each each Octet. Know subnet masks and what their slashed notation is and CIDR. Get familiar with wild card masks.
  2. Memorize administrative distances of all routing protocols.
  3. Review the simple stuff, like 3way handshakes in tcp, setting up hrsp, ip helpers.
  4. Review Spanning Tree – Know what a root bridge is, know what VTP does, be sure you can explain the differences with RSTP.
  5. Review VLANs and be able to explain what a vlan is.

Employers know you can look things up in a pinch but what do you know off the top of your head that you can hit the ground running and fix a problem if it arises.

Tip: never answer “I can check it on Google”. This is a turn off for interviewers!

Trick: if you don’t know the answer, just say “I’ll look that up and I’ll get back to you with an answer” – you are not supposed to know everything but a good and proactive actitude always leaves a good impression.

Put yourself in their shoes, what will they need from you? Review the job description and target those things specific to the job your interviewing for.

 

The non technical part

The goal of an interview is to evaluate not only the technical knowledge of the candidate, but also the soft skills, the personality and the behavior. At the end you’ll be working on a team of people and be a good fit for the team is often more important than the technical skills.

Get ready for the non-technical questions and try to be honest and genuine, but also keep it professional. Check the company website to understand what they do and in which market they operate. Read few times the job description to understand what they need and how can you satisfy that need.

Some non technical questions that are often asked are along those lines:

  • Why did you choose a career as network engineer?
  • Why you think you can be an asset for our company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe a difficult situation you had in your past jobs, how did you deal with it?
  • Have you ever had conflicts with your colleagues or manager? Why?
  • Describe a project or work that you’re particularly proud. Why was it a success?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? (yes, this is the most hated one!)

Tip: prepare for those questions, it just take few minutes to think about the answers but will make a big difference when answering them with an assertive and confident tone.

 

Sample Interview Questions for Network Engineers

We get to the technical side now… here is our list of 20 Network Engineer Interview Questions:

  1. What is the subnet mask 10.2.1.3/22?
  2. What is the administrative distance of EIGRP, eBGP, iBGP?
  3. What is your favorite routing Protocol?
  4. In EIGRP, what is a Stuck in Active route?
  5. In OSPF, what is a totaly stubby area?  What does Area Zero do?
  6. Which internal routing protocol would use if you needed to route between Cisco and non-Cisco equipment?
  7. Explain what a 3-way handshake is in TCP?
  8. What is a VLAN trunking protocol?
  9. What is the different between 802.1q and ISL?
  10. Explain what is an Ether-Channel?
  11. What do you need to do to setup a VTP domain?
  12. What is Spanning Tree used for?
  13. What is a root bridge and why do you need one?
  14. What is needed on a router interface to allow DHCP to function on a subnet?
  15. Describe what a stateful firewall is?
  16. What is HSRP?  Is this an open standard?
  17. In a PIX/ASA, what are security levels used for?
  18. What two things are needed in a PIX/ASA firewall to allow traffic to pass from a higher security level to a lower security level?
  19. In IPSec VPNs, what is diffie hellman?  What is it used for?
  20. In an IPSec tunnel, what is main mode?

Check your knowledge taking our new quiz:

Do you know the answers to these questions? Have any more questions you would like to add? Leave a comment below and let us know the answers or more questions.

Network Engineer interviewFor more preparation questions check our new eBook Get That Network Engineer Job!

What you’ll learn:

  • The Interview Process explained
  • The Types of interviews and how they differ
  • Pre-Interview Work you have to do
  • Soft skills questions to prepare
  • Technical Questions (with answers)
  • What to do After the Interview
  • Preparation checklist: Interview DO’s and DON’Ts
submit button

 

About Joe

Senior Network Engineer, technology enthusiast, guitar and bass player. Joe Wilson is the creator of RouterFreak.com as well as other niche websites that can be found around on the Internets.

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92 comments

  1. You guys should post what you "think" the answers are… then lets discuss it.

  2. Can any one please post me the answers for these questions

  3. Hi

    I have question that is "how to link up a cisco router to a non cisco router and which protocol to used to connect this two router.

  4. Hi,

    We have a proejct in Chicago, IL and are seeking a network engineer with the following integration experience for our Solutions team’s 4-6 week project. Our client recently acquired a company and need to integrate Juniper firewalls, Blue Coat proxies, and F5 Load Balancers. All three skills are not required as we need to hire (2) engineers to work as a team for the role. 2 of 3 skills are fine. Please forward to someone if you are not looking for a new role.

    1. F5 Load Balancers

    2. Blue Coat

    3. Juniper (install, configure, maintenance)

    Please let me know if you are interested in this role with us for the 4-6 week project in Chicago, IL. Travel expense are paid by our client.

    Thank you,

    Neel Patel

    Technical Recruiter

    Technisource, a division of SFN Group

    Recruiting and Staffing Excellence

    5151 Belt Line RD

    Suite 455

    Dallas, TX 75254

    Tel (214) 445-5768

    Fax (972) 448-7059

    [email protected]
    http://www.technisource.com

  5. I would like the answers as I am hiring two network engineers.

    Thanks

    Sandra

  6. Hi …

    the above provided questions are really good one … thnxs 🙂

  7. I would like to have the answers please i am hiring a new network engineer.

  8. hi…

    provided questions are really good one……

    I don't want the answers because i am trying to find it ……!

    Thanx I got one task to find the answers……..

  9. Getting certified is a valuable thing.But i have a doubt weather it is productive to take a CCNP exams or CCNA voice or security after CCNA certified

    • Honesty, the CCNA is a very very basic certification. In my honest opinion, I don't feel that the CCNA gives you that solid of a theoretical foundation. Yes, it does give you the basics to build the foundation upon, but-in-upon-itself, without outside knowledge gained via experience, its elementary. The CCNP however, builds and gives you a core and solid theoretical foundation that will truly set up up to succeed. So to answer your question, it is extremely productive to go for the CCNP.

  10. hi

    Please find the below mentioned answers for few question

    and cross check it, becz i'm just doing my CCNA

    1. What is the subnet mask 10.2.1.3/22?

    Ans} subnet mask is 255.255.252.0

    2. What is the administrative distance of EIGRP, eBGP, iBGP?

    Ans}EBGP=20, IBGP=200, EIGRP=05

    3. Which internal routing protocol would use if you needed to route between Cisco and non-Cisco equipment?

    OSPF

    4. Explain what a 3-way handshake is in TCP?

    ans} SYN, SYN/ACK, ACK

    • Just for clarification:

      For # 2, the defaults for eBGP and iBGP are 20 and 200 respectively. EIGRP has an internal AD of 90 and external AD of 170.

      For # 3 – OSPF is the obvious choice (and probably the answer I would choose) but RIP could fill the role as well, especially in smaller networks.

    • 2 What is the administrative distance of EIGRP, eBGP, iBGP?

      Ans iEIGRP -90 ,eEIGRP-170, eBGP-20, iBGP-200

  11. Please send me a answers of the above .

    Thanks

  12. MUhammad Shams-ul-ha

    Please send me answers of following questions?

  13. Thanks a lot very informative and eye opening.

  14. We are going to be interviewing a few people for our company. we want to make sure they know the basics. any idea's on a simple network diagram i can do i visio, and tell them to fix the network.

    • I don't know if I would do a visio as much as just have them white board a highly available, redundant network following Cisco's design model of Core, Distribution, Access.

      From there you can discuss "what if's" – like what would happen if link "A" failed, etc.

      This could be done in a Visio.. but drawing things out on a white board not only shows if they know networking but also if they can present an idea to a group and tests effective communication skills.

      Good luck.

    • Hey Paul…

      I am looking for a job as network engineer. I have done CCNA with 92%. COuld you please send me ur email ID so that I can forward my resume. 🙂

  15. hey can u send me answer for the below list it will be where help man ..and if u can provide me with some more of website also ..

    thanxs man..

    god bless u

    1.What is the subnet mask 10.2.1.3/22?

    2.What is the administrative distance of EIGRP, eBGP, iBGP?

    3.What is your favorite routing Protocol?

    4.In EIGRP, what is a Stuck in Active route?

    5.In OSPF, what is a totaly stubby area? What does Area Zero do?

    6.Which internal routing protocol would use if you needed to route between Cisco and non-Cisco equipment?

    7.Explain what a 3-way handshake is in TCP?

    8.What is a VLAN trunking protocol?

    9.What is the different between 802.1q and ISL?

    10.Explain what is an Ether-Channel?

    11.What do you need to do to setup a VTP domain?

    12.What is Spanning Tree used for?

    13.What is a root bridge and why do you need one?

    14.What is needed on a router interface to allow DHCP to function on a subnet?

    15.Describe what a stateful firewall is?

    16.What is HSRP? Is this an open standard?

    17.In a PIX/ASA, what are security levels used for?

    18.What two things are needed in a PIX/ASA firewall to allow traffic to pass from a higher security level to a lower security level?

    19.In IPSec VPNs, what is diffe helman? What is it used for?

    20.In an IPSec tunnel, what is main mode?

    • Syed,
      I think you should use one of the best tools a network engineer has to find out answers when he or she doesnt know the answer… Google!!
      Do the research and post what you think are the answers here!

    • Greetings:

      I also really need the answers to these questions for upcoming interviews I need to conduct for an opening we have. If you have them would you be kind enough to pass them on to me?

      Thanks,

      Tony

    • Hi,

      For question 18."What two things are needed in a PIX/ASA firewall to allow traffic to pass from a higher security level to a lower security level?"

      Isn't it by default the higher security level interface can access to lower security level? So there would be no need for a Access-list. An access-list WOULD be needed if access from a lower security level to higher security level.

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