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Rackspace Systems Administrator Interview Questions

Updated Dec 9, 2014
Updated Dec 9, 2014
67 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Linux Systems Administrator I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Initial interview, very basic and probably easy for someone with any sort of formal education with Linux command line. The interviewer was very courteous, which made my utter inability to pass the initial interview that much more frustrating. Remember: if working with something becomes reflexive in day-to-day work, you may be unable to answer basic questions about it, similar to how a native speaker of a language doesn't think about the grammatical rules underpinning his or her sentences.

    Interview Questions
    • Having worked in a very specific Linux shop for awhile, I couldn't answer basic questions in this interview without having a terminal in front of me. Think for a second before passing on any questions, or you will feel like an idiot.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  2.  

    Linux Systems Administrator I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Austin, TX
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Austin, TX
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at Rackspace in February 2014.

    Interview Details

    The first interview I had was on the phone, with the recruiter. She asked me basic questions about previous work history, current work experience - Nothing too difficult or technical here. She then bounced me around to another recruiter, who later set me up with another phone interview.

    The second phone interview was with a manager from Austin Rackspace. So there was some technical discussion involved - basic Linux / bash, iptables, resource usage troubleshooting, how to find information about the system and so forth. This is not very difficult if you have relevant experience.

    The manager, after determining that you are technically proficient enough, will set you up (through the recruiter) for a TrueAbility test. TrueAbility allows you to log onto a server set up exclusively for Rackspace technical questions (traditionally called a "break box" fix or test).

    The server was Centos and the questions were mostly about Apache2, Postfix, PHP, and mySQL. Please be expected to identify / edit / fix each service's configuration files. You will also need to utilize basic bash / mysql cli skills in this test (for example, how to place all incoming TCP connections into a file; or, how to import/export databases from mysql cli).

    I had one hour to work on this. As you are by yourself, you can Google as needed.

    Each follow-up from Rackspace took about a week or a week and a half through the recruiter via email.
    My new recruiter let me know that they'd like to see me in person. So, I was set up with my 4th interview in person, in the Austin office. Prior to this, you have to set up a "racker talent" online profile where you essentially fill in another official application.

    This interview was by far the most difficult. It was three hours long, and consisted of two 1.5 hour interviews with three people each. The first section of people were all admins, higher tier. They had me sit on a company laptop which was hooked up to a TV in an interviewing office. From there, they had me enter screen and asked me some Linux quiz-like questions; their expectation is to have you display as much as skill as possible. Be prepared for scrutiny. They will ask you additional technical questions, i.e. to elaborate on a particular command, or to explain what something would be used for in a real-life situation.

    If you are not familiar with x, but you bring up x anyways, they may prod you to make sure you REALLY understand what it is you're talking about. To some degree, I suspect they are trying to understand technical limits. Do your homework! And if you're really not sure, say so; we are all human, after all. I learned a few things after walking away from this interview for sure.

    The second half of the interview was their HR team; they asked about customer relationships, and how you handle yourself in certain environments, as well as what steps you'd take in particular situations. Example: What would you do if you accidentally deleted a customer's database, even if you could restore it in 30 seconds? Or: If you had to reboot a customer's server to resolve an issue, how would you handle that?

    I didn't get an offer after this interview - I got a voicemail stating they'd made a decision, and that other candidates were chosen. This was understandable because of some lack of technical knowledge.

    Three months later, a recruiter contacted me, inquiring about another phone interview. They wanted to give me a 2nd chance since I'd made a good impression the first time around. The phone interview was nothing special, just re-hashing everything I'd gone through and discussed so far with the team. On the same call, the recruiter set up another in-person interview in the Austin office.

    The interview was still three hours. However, this time I had three one-hour sessions with two people each hour. Instead of having technical and relationship questions separated, all three sessions combined the subjects. For some questions there was a whiteboard - "Draw me an example of a basic Apache VirtualHost." "If you had all the money in the world, what kind of servers would you set up and why?"

    Other questions that I remember:
    "If a customer stated their website was slow, what exact steps would you do to troubleshoot it?"
    "If a website was reported as completely 'down', what would you do?"

    There are many "stream of consciousness" technical questions like these - they can be very open to interpretation. Don't feel obliged to reply perfectly, just tell them what you'd do, and how you'd do it.
    Of course, there are also questions such as, "Are you familiar with our products, and can you explain them to us?" "What do you know about load balancing?" "Have you worked with mySQL replication?"

    About a week and a half later, the recruiter called me back with an offer which I accepted.

    Interview Questions
    • "If you had all the money in the world, what kind of servers would you set up and why? Draw it for us."   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3.  

    Linux Systems Administrator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Antonio, TX
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Antonio, TX
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Rackspace in December 2013.

    Interview Details

    I first completed two phone interviews upon starting the process. First one seemed to be formalities about myself and some basic work history. Second phone interview was much more technical about working with Linux, some DNS, as well as what other applicable skills I had.

    Afterward, I was given a breakfix through the TrueAbility website. This is an automated system that gives you a set number of things to fix and the grades it automatically. HR people can view your recorded session in case there are scoring anomalies. These tests are designed to be hard so it's okay to only get a few things correct; it is used to see where you would best fit in.

    Finally, I made it to the in-person interviews. They are as difficult as others here are expressing. I interviewed at the Rackspace offices on three separate occasions spanning a couple of months. Each interview day consisted of at least two smaller interviews. In total, counting phone interviews and each individual interview from the blocks, I was interviewed by the company NINE times.

    (A sidenote: I took the job, but I was not offered a Linux Admin role. There was some turbulence with training and placement so I took another position instead. Regardless, I still got a job!)

    Interview Questions
    • Many. Generally, they test your knowledge by asking you questions until they get an "I don't know" answer. This lets them know where your skills rest, and then they will ask you to take an educated guess to the "I don't know" based upon what you do know.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I used averages provided here on Glassdoor to negotiate a salary. Because this would be my first IT job I suggested the average calculated here as my starting income. This was agreeable.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    Systems Administrator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed at Rackspace.

    Interview Details

    1st step was a 20 min phone interview. After this mostly personality type interview i was scheduled for a technical phone interview. then i was invited to the castle for a 3 hour panel style interview

    Interview Questions
    • Name 5 things you can do with a brick other than build things   Answer Question
    No Offer
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Windows Systems Administrator II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Antonio, TX
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Antonio, TX
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Rackspace in October 2013.

    Interview Details

    Cold application online. Had phone contact within a week. One phone interview with a Recruiter that was of a technical nature. Second phone interview with a Lead Tech that was pure technical. Brought in for a face to face which consists of 3 rounds of 2 interviewers with varying levels of technical content. All the typical stuff to feel you out as a person, as an employee and as an purveyor of IT skills.

    **Important item to note, in the end they place people based on test results. You will be quizzed on knowledge items from a script that is directly related to their environment and to which position you are applying. The environment is quite well segmented so the line of questioning will be very specific. The point being there are defined metrics used to place a new hire in a position rather than using intuitiveness and conversation to find out if a person has the knowledge and isn't communicating it or has the ability to produce said information without requiring a month long training course. An example that didn't happen to me but I could see occurring would be if you were asked to rattle off a sql select statement to delete records older than X days in a table. Not being a DBA this isn't usually on the tip your tongue but if an individual was able to communicate the general structure of a statement or even describe the administration interface for SQL, default databases and their use, default accounts and some permissions, tables, setting up jobs, any of that I would consider them knowledgeable enough to solve the issue in short order. At RS that would be anywhere from a 50-0% because the question was not answered and that could mean the difference between you getting a Level4, Level 3 or Level 2 position.

    This seems to work out well though for RS. Tons of applicants, tons of jobs, tons of growth. But something else you need to ask about during the interview process is the promotion process. You have to test up into the next level. Testing opens 2x a year in the summer and winter. But you aren't necessarily allowed to test, you have to be granted the opportunity. You also have to be in a position for a year before you can test up even though the officially they say 6 months. No-one I have spoken with knows of anyone doing it in less than a year. Depending on on your hire date you could be in a position for nearly 1.5 years before being able to promote. Not good to start low just to get in the door.

    Interview Questions
    • Sell yourself. Sell Sell Sell. They ask all the typical q's about bad customer support, good customer support, difficult coworkers or customers, etc etc. A lot of "why should we hire you?" "why do you want to work here?"   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    Very Corporate so salaries are scaled to job titles. IE: If you qualify for a Linux Admin 3 slot but feel you deserve $100k be prepared to not get that as a base salary. So shoot for the stars, find out your job title, then work it from there.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    Windows Systems Administrator II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Rackspace.

    Interview Details

    Was contacted by a recruiter at first. Went over basic questions. Then they scheduled a break/fix which was a remote desktop session with an engineer watching everything you do. They allow you to use Google to look things up, so it was not that difficult. Was then scheduled for an in person interview. It was 3 hours long with each hour consisting of 2 members of the team.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Windows Systems Administrator II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Rackspace.

    Interview Details

    Went though the first phone interview with HR girl. She said everything went fine and they would call back. No call back HR girl seemed a little dingy

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  9.  

    Windows Systems Administrator II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Rackspace.

    Interview Details

    Initial communications were great, the team was very open and friendly to speak with. The on-site interview was another story. They scheduled for a 4AM departure from my home city, landing at the HQ in San Antonio at 1PM only to sit in the hotel lobby they set me up in for 3 hours until my interview time the same day at 4PM cause the Hotel's checkin was at 4-5PM I was not able to eat or freshen up prior to what turned into a five hour interview. Easily the most exhausting/frustrating experience in my life.

    One thing to note: The background screening. The company they hired botched that beyond all expectations. Fail at an epic level doesn't come close to describe it. I had whoever this company was call me and start grilling me about someone else's history, after telling them for 15 minutes they had the wrong history they asked if I was not the person's name from the person's address and the last 4 of the person's social security number.

    Since then there have been several internal customers who require additional screening to handle their accounts which I opt out of. It was embarrassing.

    Interview Questions
    • Very few unexpected questions or difficult. I found the people conducting the interview to be very awesome.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    "Rackspace: We'll offer you this much." "Me: Ok"
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  10.  

    Linux Systems Administrator I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Rackspace in June 2013.

    Interview Details

    It was very difficult. I had to do a phone interview which was to see if I was a good fit for the company. Then I had to do a break fix so they can see what I possess skill wise. Break fix is very hard and is not meant for you to complete or ace.

    Interview Questions
    • They had me stand up and write on the white board the Linux ABC's in 60 seconds and specify what each command does in a terminal window.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Windows Systems Administrator II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Austin, TX
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Austin, TX
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Rackspace in May 2013.

    Interview Details

    Step 1 was to submit resume to rackspace.com. After that I was contacted by a full time in house recruiter who was very friendly and qualified me for the position by asking 14 tech questions on the position.

    After passing the "test" I was contacted by an HR person to schedule a 3 hour interview. This interview process involved six total "rackers", two at a time in back to back to back 1 hour interview sessions.

    Hour one was lightly technical, heavy on personality filtering. Tests your arrogance, your ability to work on a team, your communication prowess. I was asked to tell them a dirty joke at the end, just to see how i'd react and what I would be willing to say in an interview situation!

    Hour two was entirely technical - Everything from telnet to SAN layout using whiteboards to demonstrate.

    Hour three involved meeting the prospective actual team lead & manager to see how the fit might be. Questions like "Do you get enjoyment out of completing 50 tasks in a shift or do you prefer to tackle very difficult projects that take many hours?" Resume was scrutinized, and questions about if hired, where I wanted to be within the company in 5 years type questions.

    In the end I was made an offer and declined but the interview process was unique, positive and if the pay were better I would of been excited to accept.

    Interview Questions
    Reasons for Declining

    Very low base salary offered with too many unpredictable bonuses and profit sharing. I was hired by another company a few days later for quite seriously more than DOUBLE what Rackspace offered in base salary. I think this is the rackspace pay policy - offer 4+ weeks of PTO a year, free soda, a positive environment and pay people half industry rate. Didnt appeal to me, but may appeal to many.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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