I'm the sole IT technician for a medium sized business and my workload has become too much for one person. So, hooray, I've been given the go-ahead to hire another tech to work underneath me.

In previous jobs I've been in a similar position and it's turned out out that a lot of people can make it sound like they have a lot of experience that turn out to know nothing.

I've found that quizzing applicants on some technical knowledge about certain aspects of their responsibilities has helped show who knows his stuff.

Example questions:

There's a computer problem with symptom A and B, what is the most likely explanation? (Usually I make the answer painfully obvious to anyone with experience).

How do you reset a user's password in Windows Server? (General explanation is fine).

However, I'm not certain this practice is okay or if there is anything I need to take into consideration doing it in this position.

Is this acceptable, and is there anything that I need to consider?

  • 3
    These sound necessary and acceptable questions to me – Paul Dec 10 '14 at 9:21
  • You can ask any question that is relevant to the requirements of the position that you are hiring for. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 10 '14 at 10:19
  • If it's something they should know for this job, it's worth asking. If it's related enough that it could come up, it's worth asking: if they're never going to do it in this job, though, you're best off leaving it out, simply because it doesn't tell you anything useful. – Jon Story Dec 10 '14 at 10:26
  • As a developer (a "technical job") I strongly suggest you to make your technical team review your questions. They should be relevant questions. Don't ask "how much is 2+2" but please don't ask about obscure things that you will never actually require. In summary: Don't take them as fools and don't try to be overly-clever. – Areks Dec 10 '14 at 21:22
  • While I do not find the questions "unacceptable", the first one may depend of the previous candidate experience. For you, it may be clear cut that answer is "HD failure", but the applicant may come from a place with bad network infrastructure and could be used to see that more related to network issues. If you make such open ended answers, you should expect several possible answers, and be ok with these (as long as they are technically feasible). – SJuan76 Dec 10 '14 at 21:23

There are three reasons not to ask a question during an interview

  • It is illegal

  • It gets your company sued

  • It doesn't help you find the right candidate

You'll have to judge for yourself whether any of the above reasons apply to your question. Personally they (the example questions in your post) sound fine, depending upon the position you are hiring for.

  • It is illegal? In which country? – Rico Suter Dec 10 '14 at 8:43
  • 3
    @RicoSuter: The answer gives the general guideline for any questions, not specifically regarding technical questions. An example of questions which are illegal to ask in the US (afaik) are questions about marriage status, religion, races, ... – nhahtdh Dec 10 '14 at 10:00

Yes, that is acceptable. During my search for work, I was asked questions regarding knowledge in my field (IT here as well). Usually general things, but still enough to find who was worth looking more into, and those who were... bad...

Regarding quiz in general, several people I know have told me that they were quizzed to test knowledge. One that stands out is a guy who applied to a CD\DVD store, he was quizzed about various songs, artists and music genres.

As long as the questions are not about race, religion or other personal matters, most questions go as long as they are actually relevant to the job.