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Cisco Systems Associate Systems Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Oct 30, 2014
Updated Oct 30, 2014
28 Interview Reviews

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7 people found this helpful  

Associate Systems Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Anonymous Interview Candidate
Application Details

I applied online. The process took 8 weeksinterviewed at Cisco Systems.

Interview Details

First stage of an interview was a phone screening. I was contacted via email to set a telephone interview. Since this position was outside USA, I was contacted by some recruiting agency located in UK. Immediately, there was a little problem. Person who was responsible to set up phone call did not considered the time difference or probably was not paying attention on my address. It was easily fixed, but for me left a not professional impression. When you're dealing with such a great and large company as Cisco, you simply not expecting this. Forgot to mention that person was 15 minutes late to start conference call.
Phone interview was very typical. Person confirmed all job requirements and if I can meet them. After that, I was asked several technical questions. Here is the list:
1. Explain cloud technology
2. Explain principal of cell phone operation
3. Explain computer networking.
I think for me most unexpected questions were to explain cloud technology and cell phone operation. I have a 2 years experience in completely different field and I was expecting a questions about my skills, experience, current job and reasons to change a career and relocate to another country. Surprisingly, none of those question were asked.
I had a many interviews in past, but this one felt very long. The reason for this is my interviewer was taking a notes as usual, but it was very very slow. After my answers there was a couple minutes pause. It seems a bit odd to me since I never experienced that. Usually it's on going conversation between two people.
Another thing that I didn't like. Since I was not interviewed by Cisco HR person, I was not able to get an answers for the question I had. Position was not very descriptive and my interviewer had no idea about the hiring process, overall position expectations, relocation expenses, benefits and etc.
A week after this interview I received an email with instructions for next step in the interview process. I was asked to submit a two minutes video response for topic provided. It was a very technical question that was beyond my knowledge. It was such a great experience for me. You only have 2 minutes to provide an answer and you have to be very specific, detailed and clear. Also, I am not that type of person who can easy speak on camera.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the second stage of the interview.
The final, third stage of the process, was an interview on site at Cisco Assessment Center. There were four stages of the interview:
- 15 minutes technical assessment.
- 30 minute individual interview with the assessors consisting of managers from the Field Sales Organization
- a 20 minute role play conducted with my assessors
- 10 minutes presentation to my assessors on specified topic. In this case, no laptop was allowed. I was allowed to give a handouts and use a blackboard.
All information and actions required were given in advance. I had 10 days to prepare for the final interview.

Interview Questions
  • Explain principal of cell phone operation
    Explain cloud technology
      Answer Question
Declined Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Cisco Systems

  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 daysinterviewed at Cisco Systems.

    Interview Details

    Interview process was very simple. I completed a phone screen with HR which was followed by a day-long interview onsite with a panel of managers. Many of the questions were not technical in nature but were sales situational in nature.

    Interview Questions
    • "I hate mini-vans but I want you to sell me one anyway."   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation. The salary was more than fair and the benefits package was above normal for my region and field of expertise.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university – interviewed at Cisco Systems.

    Interview Details

    Initially had an on campus interview for screening and then I had an all-day interview with a series of meetings with many people. I had a few behavioral meetings, a role play with a case study, and a presentation with other interviewees where we had to build something. There were a lot of other interviewees at the time and we were all placed in the same prep rooms. I had to wait a few months before I got my offer. The ASE program was great - Cisco provided me a lot of training (both sales and technical). Make sure to explain why you think Cisco is great or a great place to work - that will be helpful.

    Interview Questions
    • Role play based on case study - make sure to spend time understanding any case study. Make sure to ask questions instead of jumping into "tell" mode.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    This program did not leave room for negotiation when I was hired.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2013.

    Interview Details

    The process is just like what everyone has described here.

    Round 1: WebEx (Interview)
    Hardest part is the question they ask where you have to explain a complex topic to either an old person or a child. For my case, I was asked to explain what an FPGA is to a 5 year-old.The rest of the questions are your typical (tell me about yourself ) questions.

    Round 2: Video Response
    2-minute video response to a given topic. I did not do any video editing and focused only on the the content of the video. It worked for me and got me to the final round.

    Round 3:
    The big day, filled with all the activities mentioned in other reviews here. What I didnt like about this day was having 2/2.5 hour gap between the activities. If they fly you there however, you will have the activities almost back to back, depending on when your flight leaves. I was local, so I got to be there all day, from 8am to 4:30pm. Breakfast and luch are provided. They start the day with a simple technical test on the give material, followed by an interview. My interview was pretty technical and when I asked the other candidates, I was told that their's was not technical at all, so it all depends on who interviews you. Every room has two assessor in it.
    You will do the sale meeting roll play after the interview which is the most important activity throughout the day. MAKE SURE YOU PREPARE for it or I guarantee you will not do well. Dig as much as you can from the customer and keep track of the time.
    Last activity is your presentation which you need to prepare in advance.Therefore, practice for this part goes without say saying. BUT, don't sound like a recording, make sure you interact with your audience.

    I owe it to this site to do a review since the reviews here helped me tremendously.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation.
    Accepted Offer
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Cisco Systems.

    Interview Details

    I got the initial interview through an on-campus recruiting service near their office in Raleigh. The first round was a video interview: I had to make a 2-minute video answering the question: What does "The Network is the Platform" mean for Cisco's customers? After making it past the first round, I was invited to a Skype interview with one of their current ASEs. It consisted of some behavioral questions, some technical questions about Cloud technology (e.g., what are some of the risks associated with moving to cloud computing?) as well as one quick brainteaser. I completely over thought the brainteaser question, but was able to send a follow-up email to the interviewer giving a better and more succinct answer to the question. After this, I was invited to their superday at their office in Raleigh, where I was asked to prepare for a Technical Assessment, a Role Play, a Presentation, and individual and group interviews. I was given documents and materials to prepare for each, and the interview lasted all day: from 8-5. The interviewers were all very nice and willing to answer all of my questions, and in one of my interviewers they even asked to see a short film I entered in a contest that I included on my resume.

    My tips: Practice your behavioral questions. Get a solid 10 stories that are easily adaptable to several situations. Other than that, have your technical questions down SOLID. Although they do have a strong training program, they want experts in networking. If you haven't taken a class on networking, I would memorize their manual from front to back. Other than that, be yourself and be likable - they want to have people who fit well with the company culture and who can meet clients without losing face for the company. One mistake I made: In the role-play, I was asked repeatedly to give a price estimate for one of their services, even after saying I wasn't sure. They pushed, and I gave in: I guessed. DON'T DO THIS. Don't say anything unless you're ABSOLUTELY sure (in the roleplay at least). This was the biggest feedback item I was given. They don't want you giving clients false information. I was contacted about two weeks later (after about 2.5 months of the interview process) to say I hadn't been given an offer.

    Interview Questions
    • What are some risks associated with moving to Cloud Computing?
      Several difficult questions on networking.
        Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Jose, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Jose, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Cisco Systems.

    Interview Details

    You can apply at any time for an Associate Systems Engineer position in the US, but they typically only do two interview days each year, sometimes only one. They typically occur around October-November and April-May. Applicants for the Sales Associates Program must be less than 2 years out of college as well, so if you're beyond that, talk to a recruiter about other opportunities available.

    Leading up to the interview day, there are typically two steps to trim down the applicant pool: a short 2-minute video submission on a given topic, and a virtual video interview with someone. These may be reversed depending on when/where you apply. The video interview is typically with someone who has gone through the training program before, and it's fairly informal.

    About 20-30 applicants are invited to the interview days on-site at either North Carolina or San Jose if you're applying for a US position, and typically last from about 9am to 4-5pm. A couple activities to expect are a written technical skills test, a behavioral interview with 1-3 interviewers, a role-playing sales interview, and a presentation on a topic they give you in advance. If you make it through all of this and are extended an offer, you should hear back in a week or two.

    Overall I felt the interview was a good test of skills needed for the job/training program. If you enjoy the interview process, you will probably enjoy the program. If you felt the interviews or questions were silly, this probably isn't a good job for you.

    Interview Questions
    • The most unexpected part for me was during the presentation. Don't be surprised if someone intentionally stops paying attention (i.e. starts checking their e-mail on their phone). They want to see how you handle it.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    There's not much salary negotiation to be had in this program. Each year the training group's salary is set, and it's the same for everyone. Your re-location package might be up for debate, but I felt mine was generous and didn't argue it.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    Application Details

    interviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2012.

    Interview Details

    So far application process has been great. I did a short video introducing myself and then had a 1 hour phone interview. They said it would be a half hour interview but it went well and he kept asking questions. I am flying to Raleigh this week for an all day interview session.

    Interview Questions
    • Personally, I thought all of the questions were pretty predictable. They want to know what you have done, what you want to do, and how hard you will work. They asked a few generic technical questions like how does a cell phone network work, but nothing to bad. Just relax and you will be fine.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2011.

    Interview Details

    1. simple phone interview
    2. video presentation
    3. all day event at the cisco headquarters

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2010.

    Interview Details

    I talked to Cisco reps at a career fair at my University. Then I had an interview on campus the next day. The campus interview was very easy- why do you want to work here? tell me about yourself?- type questions. I was referred for the Associate Systems Engineer position. For this position, I first had a phone interview. The phone interview was very easy - similar type questions to the campus interview. He also asked me to describe something technical to him. About 1-2 weeks later I received an email saying I had been selected to move on to the next round. The final round was an all-day interview at Cisco's RTP office. It consisted of giving a technical presentation on one of their three product categories, doing a sales simulation for which we were given some preparation materials to study, and a technical assessment (for which we were given about 60 pages of technical material to learn).

    There were approximately 80 people that interviewed for about 20 slots over a span of two days. On the day I interviewed there were about 50 other people interviewing for the same position. There were about 25-30 Cisco employees performing the interviews, and interviewees were randomly assigned to the different interview stations. The employee to which you were assigned had a large effect on your performance. For example, during my technical presentation, my interviewer interrupted me after about 2 minutes and asked me very difficult technical questions that had nothing to do with my presentation (e.g. How would you explain the internet to your grandma? What's the difference between Linux and Windows? What's the difference between and IP phone and a regular phone?). I never got the chance to finish my actual presentation. Other people said their presentations were very easy and they weren't asked any questions.

    The sales simulation was pretty easy, but that was probably because I had nice interviewers. I took notes, and they said that was a good thing. The technical assessment was very difficult. Although I had spent a lot of time learning the material, and I had a good idea of the question they were going to ask (since I was last and I had heard other people discussing it), I was ill-prepared. Again, however, I think this depended a lot on the interviewer. When I talked to people afterward, they said I was asked much more difficult questions than they had had. The interviewers kept saying throughout the day that you didn't need to be a technical expert and that it didn't matter if you knew everything, but that is not the impression I got at all. Instead of a general understanding and some major key points, my interviewer expected me to have memorized every single word of the technical material. For example, the guy asked me what year Ethernet was invented. I was also asked questions that weren't covered in the technical literature they gave us (like what typical wired internet speeds are and in what instances you should use fiber optic cable).

    The rest of the day was spent taking tours of the office, learning about the different rotations you could have as part of that position, and listening to presentations about how great Cisco is. I was there from about 7am until about 6pm. I spent probably around 15-20 hours preparing for the interview. All the feedback I received throughout the day from my interviewers was very positive. About two weeks later I received a rejection email. All in all, it left a bad taste in my mouth about Cisco.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Durham, NC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Durham, NC
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2010.

    Interview Details

    Had a phone Interview, then 3 weeks later I was scheduled for an on-campus interview in Durham,NC. It was a whole day affair that consisted of a sales simulation, Presentation and a Technical Interview. The Sales simulation consisted of me and a customer( simulation).The presentation was on a given topic with no notes. The technical was a bit intense. All basic CCNA protocols were asked and all the rest questions were from my resume and past experience.

    Interview Questions
    • Tell me something you are passionate about and rate it on a scale of 1-10   Answer Question
    • when you pick up an IP phone was protocol send you a signal. Then tell me some voice protocols you know   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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