Interviewing a Network Engineer Using a Single Scenario

I always said that the Trivia Pursuit certification tests (or job interviews) are nonsense and that one should focus on fundamentals.

In a recent blog post, Daniel Dib described a fantastic scenario: using a simple “why can’t I connect to a web site” question, explore everything from ARP/ND to DNS and TLS.

Obviously, you’ll never see anything that sane in a certification test. An interactive interview doesn’t scale (beyond CCDE), and using humans (and common sense judgment) creates potential legal liabilities (there were rumors that had been one of the reasons a talk with a proctor who could flunk you was dropped from the CCIE test).


  1. I used to try to do that. Having SIMPLE question as described in the blog is key. When I was involved in interviewing (a while back!), it was usually medium to expert level people though. I tried running various recent things I'd encountered in the field by them. Mixed success ... it takes time to describe a complex scenario, and interviews can be scary enough to cause brain freeze in the candidates. I did end up with a small "fun" set of weirdly broken network situations eventually.

    1. Come to think of it, I think having an "interesting" interview and conversation rather than trivia test actually helps in recruiting people/success in hiring. As in "gee, this might be an interesting place to work, and I could learn something". Vs. an adversarial situation.

Add comment