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102 IT Manager Interview Questions

        posted by , January 11, 2013

IT Management is a diverse field, the following interview questions are generic enough to be used for most IT management roles.


1. Can tell me about a time you saw a business problem and solved it with a technology solution?

2. What's easier to manage, a team of developers or a team of project managers. Why?

3. In your last position, what reports did you produce on a regular basis?

4. Do you have experience managing offshore teams? What challenges did you face?

5. How do you stay up-to-date with changes in technology?

6. Do you consider yourself a hands-on manager?

7. Can you tell me about the most difficult person to manage on your current team? How do you handle the situation?

8. What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

9. How do you motive a top performer who suddenly seems disengaged or disgruntled?

10. How has the role of IT changed in recent years? How do you expect it to change in the future?

11. In your current role, what percentage of your team's budget is spent on maintenance?

12. What are your professional values? Do you think professional values are important to this role? Why?


13. Who was the biggest contributor to your career?

14. Can you give me an example of a time you resolved a interpersonal issue between members of your team?

15. How do you ensure that your team receives regular feedback?

16. How do you motive key performers on your team?

17. Can you give me an example of a time you helped a low performer to improve?

18. Do you feel that training and development should be mandatory for all IT staff?

19. Let's say a top performing member of your team who always seems to be busy on critical projects hasn't taken any vacation for several years. How would you handle the situation?

20. What criteria do you use in the decision to terminate employment of a team member?

21. Can you give a few examples of times you've managed outsourced projects, processes or services?

22. Have you had to manage a situation in which your relationship with an outsourcing partner turned bad?

23. How do you manage conflicts between long-term architectural direction and project demands?

24. Can you tell me about the best manager you've ever worked with? What was the key to their success?

25. Can you give me three examples of things that motive employees beyond money?

26. How could you improve as a manager?


27. What is enterprise architecture and what is its value?

28. Can you give a few examples of security vulnerabilities?

29. What is the difference between a security vulnerability and a security threat?

30. How do you sell the value of information security to executive management?

31. What artifacts does a solution architect typically deliver for a project?

32. What's the difference between a good developer and a great developer?

33. What are the typical responsibilities of a database administrator (DBA)?

34. Why did cloud computing become so big?

35. Can you give me an example of a technology that you feel is over-hyped?

36. What is network jitter?
Low level technical questions test the candidate's technical depth.

37. Can you walk through the different levels of software testing (unit, integration, system and acceptance testing)?

38. What tools have your teams used in the past for performance testing?

39. How would you architect an internet search engine?
Some IT management candidates won't feel this is a fair question. However, it's a good question to test understanding of high level architecture and the candidate's ability to think on their feet.

40. Can you give me three ways to improve software performance (speed) without increasing hardware capacity?

Business / IT Alignment

41. Have you suggested improvements to a business process? How did it contribute to business results?

42. In our industry, what does business expect of IT?

43. In your previous organization, what pain points did your business have with IT?

44. How do you build influence in a new organization?

45. How do you ensure that your team's objectives match business goals and strategy?

46. Have you sponsored revenue generating projects? Can you walk me through an example?

47. Can you tell me about the last project you had that failed? What were the lessons learned?

48. Can you give me an example of communication tactics you employed in your last role?

49. How do you establish a good reputation for your team?

50. Can you tell me about some regular or ad-hoc reports you delivered that impressed your clients?

51. How do you get face time with busy clients?

IT Governance

52. What is the difference between IT governance and IT management?

53. Why is IT governance important?

54. Can you tell me about a time you improved IT transparency?

IT Financial Management

55. Have you developed a business case? What financial forecasts (e.g. cost forecasts) did you make?

56. What is net present value? Is it a valuable measurement for IT investments? Why?

57. How do you charge a line of business (LOB) for the use of a service?

58. How do you ensure that the IT services are provided at the most effective price?

59. What is the difference between a direct and indirect cost?

60. What software have you used to track your team's budget?

61. Do you feel that a business case should be required for a software upgrade? If so, how would you build such a business case?

62. Why is it important to list alternatives in a business case?

63. How do you ensure that IT costs are fully transparent?

64. How would you calculate ROI for a project that implements a new unified communications tool?

65. If your organization announced that it wants to make large cuts to IT, how would you prepare to defend your team's budget?

IT service management

66. Can you give me a few examples of metrics for service quality?

67. Are you familiar with any process improvement methodologies and frameworks (e.g. CMMI)?

68. What system monitoring tools have your teams used in the past?

69. What is your favorite source control tool?

70. How do you manage the performance of a service?

71. Are you familiar with any network monitoring tools?

72. What is the difference between a service level agreement (SLA) and a operational level agreement (OLA)?

73. What information goes into an SLA agreement?

74. What are some common metrics used in SLAs?

75. What can a team do to proactively manage incidents?

76. What are the risks associated with business process outsourcing (BPO)?

77. In your last role, did you establish quality standards for your services? How did you measure them?

78. Can you tell me about a time you implemented a best practice?

79. Can you tell me about an initiative that you spearheaded to improve service to your clients?

80. Can you tell me about an initiative you sponsored to reduce IT costs?

81. What is MTTR? What's a good MTTR (i.e. how long is reasonable)?

82. What do you require from a project team before accepting responsibility for supporting a new IT service?


83. Have you produced a formal RFP? What information did it contain?

84. Have you managed offshore teams?

85. What process do you use to procure enterprise software?

86. What are some of the trade-offs between COTS and custom solutions?

87. How is evaluating a SaaS service different from evaluating a software package?

88. When does a SaaS approach make sense?

89. Are you a good negotiator? What's your approach?

90. What are the 3 most important questions to ask a software vendor?

91. Can you tell me about a bad experience you had with a vendor? How did you handle it?

Project Management

92. What project management methodologies are you familiar with?

93. What are the most common reasons that projects fail?

94. What do you think about agile project management?

95. How do you feel about big-bang service implementations?

96. What is the best way to ensure adoption of a new system?

97. What was the most challenging project you've delivered?

98. How do you close a project?

IT Configuration Management

99. Have you worked with configuration management databases? What is their value?

100. Can you tell me about a time a change you approved for production was the root cause of an incident? What were the lessons learned?

101. How do you track and manage software licenses?

102. What change management processes did you use in your last role?

This article is part of the ongoing series: how to win your next job.

More interview questions can be found here.

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