Over the entirety of our existence as a staffing agency, we at Tier2Tek have dealt with a plethora (and we mean a plethora) of interviews regarding both IT support and other help-desk-esque roles for companies. Because, let’s be brutally honest: every company needs a strong IT backbone, even those based on products and services that aren’t IT-related. It’s ironic, surely, but even companies that hold a main-selling point of being anti-technology (i.e. a record-player production company) still need IT to survive. It’s 2023, after all. At some point, a company will need to interview for IT support workers.
“What are you on about?” you ask. You’d be right to do so, too.
Point being: IT support roles, regardless of the specifics, are always going to be around. They are always going to thrive. Therefore, longevity and ongoing need can muster up a plethora of employment opportunities. If you are searching for a new career that combines a plethora of your skills and wants, you may find yourself dipping into the IT realm eventually.
If you are a job-seeker that is attempting to jump into roles like IT support, you need to nail the interview process. As we noted, we’ve held enough interviews for the position to consider ourselves experts.
So, without further ado, here are the most common interview questions with example answers for the IT support role:
Before We Begin
Before we dive into a full list of questions and answers, we need to set the confusion and identity straight. We need to create an understanding.
Ultimately, there are 2 ways to go about this interview. We could write to job seekers, detailing how employees should formulate answers and why the specific questions are asked; we could also write to job providers, explaining why you should ask the candidate the question, how they should answer, and why it matters to pick an IT worker.
We could write to both, sure, but it would involve a mind-numbing amount of reiteration and repetition. Therefore, we have decided to pick one specific audience. Though this article will address employees and how they should win the job, it works both ways.
If you are looking to hire an IT support worker, you can also use this list to create questions. It also provides nomenclature and answers you should look for (or an equivalency) in your interviewed candidates.
“What are you on about?” you ask. You’d be right to do so, too.
Now that we’ve cleared that up!
- Before We Begin
- Average Salary
- Are You Cut Out for the Job?
- Questions Involving You As a Candidate:
- Questions Involving Communication
- Questions Involving Tech
What Is IT Support?
Though this may seem repetitive, there’s a valid reason to fully define the role of the IT support worker.
On paper, the title of IT support throws the average person off. Most believe that the support workers are customer service representatives, spending their day speaking and helping customers with company products. And, in some circles, this may be correct. Consequently, that is not the common definition of the role.
The IT Support worker is a technology specialist that works directly with other employees to help settle technological issues. They don’t necessarily work with customers. They work with other employees to help fix computer and production-equipment issues. Oftentimes, they don’t even deal with the product that the company makes. They are the IT department of the company building itself.
For example, the IT support worker may help set up employee offices, creating the desktop situation. They will set up the computer, printer, and so on. When the user has an issue with their equipment, company software, or other IT things (i.e. email or chat client), the support worker will be there to help. They work as the technological backbone of the office building. Or, in 2023, the virtual office building.
So, when we are speaking of the role going forward, we are not speaking of a customer support representative for an IT product. That is an entirely different role. Though they share a lot of the same skills and attributes, there are subtle differences in the abilities needed. Therefore, the interview process for IT support roles is different than for customer service workers.
Example Responsibilities for IT Support Workers
- Manages inventory. Installs, modifies, and makes minor repairs to personal computer hardware and software systems.
- Provides technical assistance and training for system users.
- Has experience with corporate IT security/system.
- Assists in training new hires.
- Provides 24/7 desktop support and Helpdesk administration.
- Allocates, maintains, and troubleshoots IT equipment used in offices and facilities.
- Has service management, project management, and inventory management skills.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Experience working on a high-volume ticketing system to resolve requests.
- Troubleshoots hardware/software issues with internal and remote users in a hybrid desktop environment with PC and Mac laptops, desktops, etc.
- Troubleshoots mobile issues with iOS and Android devices.
- Provides daily maintenance for workstations that are local as well as remote employees.
- Onboarding of new employees – provisioning and delivery of computers and setting up user accounts.
- Assists with conference room and AV setup and support.
- Tracks and monitors existing and potential computer problems.
- Makes recommendations to IT Manager for fixes and enhancements.
- Helps set up, support, operate, and maintain computers, telephones, audio-visual systems, voicemail, and mobile devices.
- Answers customer inquiries in-person and via telephone concerning systems operation.
According to GlassDoor, the average salary for an IT Support Manager is $88,552 a year.
Are You Cut Out for the Job?
Before we note the interview questions and answers, we shall note the biggest attributes interviewers look for in the position. The things to point out in your resume and interview, so to speak.
Zippia has provided research regarding common resume and job description requirements for the role. By scouring all available resumes for the positions, they can note the skills that appear the most often, creating a list of skills that can help you (dear job seeker) land the role.
Top Skills on Resumes
Appearing on a whopping 14.3%, customer service is the obvious need for all support staff members
Due to the nature of having to communicate with peer users in the troubleshooting and training of issues, the worker requires a bevy of customer service and communication abilities. Ultimately, they must be able to empathize with other workers, understand their problems, and defuse upset situations. Once defused, they must be able to explain the solutions or next steps with clarity and brevity. No one wants to get stuck on the phone or in conversation with an IT worker that can’t express the solution directly.
ITIL experience appeared on 4.5% of resumes.
Ultimately, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) regards the overall knowledge of creating and implementing IT services. It’s the base knowledge of how everything works within the company and how to provide it through the available tech.
If a specialist is to help fix, set up, and train users on software or hardware, they must be an expert on the overall topic. They must understand all of the product-related jargon and functions to help assist customers. They also must be able to understand and explain solutions using colloquial terms. Though certification isn’t always necessary, a certification of knowledge around a product may be a bonus. They are the go-to for the specific product, after all.
Project management was a close third on resumes, taking up 4.3%.
This one is straightforward. The IT worker is likely to have a wide array of projects happening at once. They are likely to have to report tickets and maintain notes on each individual user. From recording the overall issues to detailing the steps used to fix them, the worker will have to have great record-keeping abilities. With this information, they can expedite troubleshooting and fixes in the future.
They may also have to lead a team of likewise workers or delegate tasks to one another (especially in managerial roles). Therefore, they need to have a strong grasp of project management and scheduling.
Therefore, if you have all of the skills and a background in IT work or customer service, you are already on the right path. You’ve already created the best resume, won the application drawing, and are on to the interview process.
Let’s get it. Let’s win this gig.
Most Common IT Support Interview Questions (With Answers)
Time for brass tacks, or whatever those old cowboys say.
Now, it’s important to note that we’ve broken down tons of interview questions and answers here. We’ve even gone to the extent of making full articles regarding how to answer the most common questions (like detailing your skillsets). We’re experts on the topic if I do say so myself. So, while these won’t cover every question you might be asked in an interview, they’ll cover ones specifically pinpointed toward an interview for IT support
Questions Involving You As a Candidate:
1. What Skill-Sets Do You Offer Over Other Candidates?
This question is going to get asked at any interview, really. Not only does it help dictate your confidence and worth as an employee, but it helps the employer quickly pinpoint if you fit what they are looking for.
Ultimately, the employer is looking for soft skills that apply to both customer service and tech services. They want to know how well you work with people and how well you work with tech. Sometimes one that’s good with one isn’t good with another. Actually, it’s fairly common. With IT support being an often entry-level-to-mid role, finding teachable candidates with intangibles is key.
There are two candidates for the support job. Applicant A has over 10 years of experience as an IT Specialist. Applicant B has great communication skills but hasn’t worked in a direct tech role. A has a terrible attitude, exuding pessimism and toxic traits. B is a pleasure to be around. They work hard and are dedicated to improving their abilities and building team skills.
ITIL can be taught to Applicant B. Positivity can’t be taught to Applicant A. Which one has a higher chance of a better future in the position? While A may be less risky, they may have a lower ceiling. B may need more work, but their workplace ceiling is exponentially higher. They have a chance of becoming an ace employee.
Long story short, there is a benefit to hiring employees with soft skills. These intangible attributes are unteachable, while other necessities in the role are. So, you should express them openly in your IT support interview.
When answering, think of skills that make you a teachable and valuable asset. Not skills that can be taught. Your abilities to learn, communicate, and work under pressure, for example, are the ones that can’t be taught. Those are what put you above others. Being an expert at ITIL is great, but it can be taught to the worker with better soft skills, too.
While I have experience in the field of IT support, what puts me above other applicants is actually my experience as a customer service manager.
Though it sounds unrelated, I learned a bunch of applicable skills as a customer service manager. Ultimately, I learned the ability to oversee a team and deal with the communication that entitles. I have the communication capabilities to lead a team and be a member of one. It’s crucial for any job, really.
For example, I would have to oversee communication with irate customers and deal with the emotions of the employees. It’s tough to work under such high-pressure circumstances, but it taught me how to do it well.
In my time as a customer service manager, I actually improved the team’s satisfaction ratings and labor quality by 75%. It’s that applicable team skills that I bring to the table. I can handle communication, regardless of how heated it is.
2. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
Because IT support may be an entry-level position, figuring out your plans in the interview is crucial for the manager. The hiring manager is asking this question to see if your future aligns with their company. You don’t have to be specific and state what your next 5 years would look like at the business you are interviewing with, but it should align.
Overall, you want to aim above where you are. You may leave specifics behind, but you should include the need to always improve. You want to start in IT support, but that’s not your end goal. State that you want to grow with the company. This answer shows them that you are confident and willing to improve, but you aren’t going to leave them in the dust once you’re hired. You want to grow with them.
In the next five years, I want to continuously improve in my industry. I know there’s room for growth and am striving to become the best. In five years I see myself taking on a senior or leading role within the IT support department. Ultimately, I want to always be improving.
3. How Do You Feel About SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) And Documentation?
As we noted, being in the role requires a plethora of abilities in scheduling and managing a multitude of tasks. Therefore, in the IT support interview, the manager may ask you about your work with Standard Operating Procedures. Can you stick to tasks and follow the rules, making sure all of your support tickets get done in a timely manner?
This tip is a win-win because some candidates may be taken aback by the question. SOP isn’t necessarily a colloquial term. But, now you know it.
Though the role may not be high-stakes, you always want to express that you can work under pressure. Therefore, the ideal answer is to state that you can do both. Yes, you can follow SOPs efficiently and correctly. But, if emergencies strike, you can handle things on the fly. Cover both bases here.
I can work with SOPs and documentation with no problem. I have no issues with following orders and executing processes correctly; I can also work without them, too. Overall, I want to know enough about my role so that I can handle any situation.
Questions Involving Communication
As we’ve beaten like a dead horse, one of the most important components of IT support (and the IT support interview) is communication. As a tech worker, you will be asked to teach people how to use equipment, explain fixes, and cool frustrated situations. Depending on the basis of your employer, some workers might not be technologically inclined. Therefore, you will have to have the communication skills to teach them on usage using colloquial terms.
So, it’s only natural for the IT support interview to focus on both communication and tech (among all the basic interview questions).
1. Tell Me About a Situation Where You Disagreed With a Coworker and How Did You Handle It?
Ah, the age-old question. At the end of the day, you won’t get through a single interview without answering this one, regardless of if it’s for IT support or an art teacher.
Interestingly enough, asking an employee to describe a stressful situation is, in itself, stressful. There’s a reason for that, though. It can often seem like an interview is a hiring manager attempting to knock you off guard. In a way, yeah. They are. Any job may require stressful moments, and they want to know how you’ll handle it.
Someone can have off-the-chart skills, but if they lose them as soon as things get stressful, what’s the point?
In answering, you want to display maturity and communication, while also avoiding completely insulting your former worker. Show that you handled the situation well and that you learned from it. It doesn’t have to be about a tech incident specifically, but it is a bonus.
Once, my coworker and I disagreed on how a project should be handled. They wanted it done faster than I believed to be possible. I took my time to collect my thoughts and approached them respectfully. I told them that I didn’t believe we’d create the best product in that timeframe and asked how we could handle the situation together.
2. How would you explain tech to someone with limited tech skills?
Your job is going to be showing people how to use things. If your company isn’t hiring software engineers and developers, your coworkers may not have the tech-savvy you do. Therefore, being able to communicate and explain how to use important technology is going to be a mainstay in your daily role.
Ultimately, the hiring manager wants to know if you can communicate your specialty to someone who doesn’t understand your specialty. Can you train completely oblivious workers on the things they need to know? This question may surround a specific tech or just tech in general.
Ironically, being able to explain something simply takes advanced knowledge of the subject. It takes understanding to simplify a concept. Henceforth, if you knock this question out of the park, you show both communication skills and IT knowledge.
In your answer, express both dedication and empathy. Do not use any jargon specific to your role. Use easy words and state the importance of patience.
First off, it’s important to avoid any jargon they won’t understand. You need to explain the topic as simply as possible, but also not pass over the necessary pieces. Therefore, it’s important to move slowly and make sure the employee follows without seeming condescending.
I always start by asking how much previous knowledge they have then let them know I may be repeating things they already know. Then, I would work through the entire process of usage with simple terms, often asking if they have any questions or concerns. Ultimately, it should involve a two-way conversation to ensure understanding. Not just explaining.
3. What Would You Do to Fit In With Your New Coworkers?
This harkens back to the point we made at the beginning of the article. Though both IT support and customer service deal with communication and troubleshooting, they have pieces that make them drastically different.
Ultimately, if you are working at a help desk with customer inquiries, you don’t need to build a repertoire. You will deal with thousands of customers, building momentary relationships. But, in IT support, you will be working with the same people every day. You will be helping the same people with new problems. Therefore, you need to build relationships with them.
Answer this question professionally. You never want to seem like you would act unprofessionally or ignore building relationships. Stay in the middle and grey.
The first thing I would do is introduce myself to each member directly. I would try to get to know a little bit about them off the bat. Just making myself known is a great way to start. Then, relationships build through being pleasant. I will always keep a smile and lead by example. Even just remembering people’s names and asking how they are is enough to begin relationship-building.
If you are professional and warm, relationships will come naturally.
Questions Involving Tech
Our last section will involve the main pillar of the role. You can be pleasant, great with communication, and willing to learn. But, if you don’t know a lick about IT, you won’t get a job in IT support.
At the end of the day, an IT support interview will surround some technical questions. Though some may be specific depending on the role of the specific job, there will always be some overarching questions. If, for example, the role is remote, you may be asked specific questions about video communication software.
Regardless, there will always be tech questions in your IT support interview.
1. How Do You Feel About Scrum?
We’ve entered a new world of working. An era where there is a constant flux of new ideas and tactics, especially involving work management. Scrum, created in the late 1990s, has become a common scheduling formula.
Basically, Scrum is a work and scheduling formula that a company or team can use to help them finish a project with efficiency. The key element here being ‘sprints’.
For example, let’s say you decide to draw a portrait of your friend. After every feature, you stop to make sure it is correct. After drawing one eye, you check to see if that eye is correct. Nose, mouth, and so on. Therefore, you can fix issues in small increments instead of waiting till the entire picture is finished.
As an IT worker, you will probably be working in a Scrum environment. Therefore, the interviewing is questioning your knowledge of the topic and openness to being critiqued.
If you have worked in a Scrum workplace, note that. If not, state you are open to it and are always open to critique.
I worked in a Scrum workplace at my last job. I think that it’s a great way to run a team. It’s important to always be willing to be critiqued and improve. So, when a manager wants to explain a problem before it becomes too late, I embrace that.
2. What’s a New Software or Technology You Recently Worked With and How Did You Learn It?
Becoming an IT support expert doesn’t mean you are an expert on all technology. With such a fast-moving industry, you are liable to need to learn a new tech or software eventually. Something you are an expert on today may be obsolete tomorrow.
Henceforth, the employer wants to know if you will be able to keep up with tech. They want to know that you have the quick-snap ability to learn technology and train others in it ASAP. So, they may ask you to speak of the last time you learned a new tech.
Answer with how you learned the new tech and give an example of how you implemented that knowledge. Show, don’t just tell.
In my last role, we jumped over to Microsoft 365 for our cloud computing. So, I got my Microsoft 365 certification. This involved learning all about how the system and cloud computing worked, broadening my skill set.
After some research, I was able to quickly teach the team how to use it. After a month, we implemented it entirely without a problem.
3. What Work Moment Are You Most Proud Of?
While not directly related to tech in phrasing, the interviewer is looking for a technical answer. What have you done in your technical career that you are proud of? What hurdles have you overcome in IT and what skills did it take?
If you have never worked directly in IT, that’s okay. You can also tailor this answer to deal with customer service or communication skills. But, if you have a tech example, use it. Explain what you did and what tech skills you used to do it in your IT support interview.
In my last role, we were completely sideswiped by the Covid lockdown. We had no plan in place for remote work. Luckily, I was willing to learn all about both filesharing and Microsoft 365. As the tech support team, we cleanly implemented an entire mobile production process without a hitch, saving the company time and resources.
It took outside research and a lot of employee training, but we stuck through and went mobile. Now, the company has stayed entirely remote.