Draw complex network on white board: Network Engineer job interview

egrizzlyegrizzly B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+Member Posts: 515 ■■■■■□□□□□
Have any of you in networking been to a job interview where they where asked to draw the most complex network they can on a white board, you where then asked questions about the network you drew from the members of the interviewing panel which consists of the network manager and the senior engineers.

This is the interview I have coming up on Tuesday. I was trying to get some insight from those who have walked in those shoes.
B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+

Comments

  • mdhisapromdhisapro Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I have used a method similar to this when interviewing applicants. I like to see how the individuals draw their diagrams. Where do they start at, are they all over the place, are they methodical and calculated with how they recall information, is it neat and understandable. I also expect them to know the technologies they diagram and that they are comfortable explaining them. So then my questions would be more pointed at things they have included to gauge their comfort and understanding.
  • egrizzlyegrizzly B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+ Member Posts: 515 ■■■■■□□□□□
    so the high marks then are not from how complex the network is but on whether they're methodical and neat ?
    B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+
  • MontagueVandervortMontagueVandervort Senior Member Member Posts: 399 ■■■■■□□□□□
    It seems to me that he tries to gauge their knowledge base more than anything else.

    "Where do they start at, are they all over the place..."
    "are they methodical and calculated with how they recall information"
    "is it neat and understandable"
    "comfortable explaining them"
    "gauge their comfort and understanding"

    When you don't understand something, you'll have trouble not only assembling it but then especially explaining it... seems to be the essence of this to me.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I've been on both sides of the table in this situation. In my opinion complexity has nothing to do with it. It's your understanding and mastery of the technologies used. Over complexity would be a negative not a positive in this situation if I were interviewing someone. I'm a huge believer in the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid!) methodology of design. I've noticed people without much experience don't seem to understand that simple, supportable and repeatable designs are much more important than squeezing in every technology you read about in a Cisco cert book. Some people have a 10 router network with 5 OSPF areas for example. Why.....? Because thats what they saw in a lab.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • MitMMitM Member Posts: 622 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I've been asked once on an interview to draw my current employers data center topology and explain it.

    I'd much rather do this and get asked questions on it, then to just get asked a bunch of random questions
  • Dieg0MDieg0M Member Posts: 861
    I've asked and been asked to "draw me your network and explain it" question a lot in interviews but never to "draw me the most complex network you can". You could just draw a network you know and explain the difference between necessary and unnecessary complexity in network design. In either case, make sure you understand the underlying protocols and technologies and the business/technical reasons on "why" these should be used. Extra points if you can tell them how to optimize or migrate to a new protocol/topology based on new requirements.
    Follow my CCDE journey at www.routingnull0.com
  • egrizzlyegrizzly B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+ Member Posts: 515 ■■■■■□□□□□
    wow, thanks Dieg0M, networker, Montague, e.t.c. for the insight. I must say, it's a brand new interview situation for me and I most certainly will not be going with no idea on what the interviewer values. I'll certainly have more confidence going in.
    B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 1,003 ■■■■■■■■□□
  • keenonkeenon Member Posts: 1,922 ■■■■□□□□□□
    yes, i have a few times. the thing is you should know whatever network your describing like the back of your hand. They are also trying to learn what they are doing right and also should be doing better. i have been even asked to draw a solution to a problem they were currently having issues with...
    Become the stainless steel sharp knife in a drawer full of rusty spoons
  • KrekenKreken Member Posts: 284
    How was the interview?
  • egrizzlyegrizzly B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+ Member Posts: 515 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Kreken wrote: »
    How was the interview?

    I've been invited for a next round, but this one is just VP only. irony of course is that at the technical interview the guy goes "ok, draw us a network and show whats going on from point A to point B, that kind of thing". I was like wtf !! (in my head of course). I busted my behind all past few days checking complex networks....

    anyway, I don't do too well with VPs. I'm keeping my bones crossed on this one icon_smile.gif
    B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+
  • ccie14023ccie14023 Member Posts: 183
    I recommend not having a negative attitude. If you don't do well with VPs, maybe you need to figure out what they are looking for. They obviously have different interests than network engineers. They are more interested in things like achieving business objectives and controlling costs. So you should anticipate in advance what sort of things he/she may be asking about. I would also recommend looking at his LinkedIn profile and figuring out anything you can on the person so you know where their interests lie. But I'm sure you already did that.

    When I got my job at Juniper some years ago, the recruiter sent me for that "one last" VP interview and told me it would be a softball. It ended up being with one of the founders of the company and was the most technical interview I had. Whoops. I wasn't ready at all for it. My VP where I work now at Cisco is a CCIE, so he was certainly no slouch in the interview. But even in those cases, I needed to be able to speak at a strategic level because even technical VPs need to think that way.
  • KrekenKreken Member Posts: 284
    Good luck on your next round.
  • ITSec14ITSec14 Member Posts: 398 ■■■□□□□□□□
    egrizzly wrote: »
    I've been invited for a next round, but this one is just VP only. irony of course is that at the technical interview the guy goes "ok, draw us a network and show whats going on from point A to point B, that kind of thing". I was like wtf !! (in my head of course). I busted my behind all past few days checking complex networks....

    anyway, I don't do too well with VPs. I'm keeping my bones crossed on this one icon_smile.gif


    VP's and higher up's are the easier one's to interview with IMO. They typically are high level knowledge and more interested about the business as a whole (at least in my experience). Asking questions about the needs of the organization and how you can contribute to the success of projects, etc. is good conversation to have. You got through the technical stuff, now it's time to show how you can make the org better.
Sign In or Register to comment.