I applied through college or university and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Cisco Systems in February 2012.
Interview Details –
1. simple phone interview
2. video presentation
3. all day event at the cisco headquarters
I applied through college or university and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Cisco Systems in March 2011.
Interview Details –
My first attempt to get this job took place in 2008. Unfortunately the ASE program had stopped hiring briefly for a few years. However, I was determined enough to keep in contact with the recruiters so that when the job did finally come up again in 2010 I was one of the first candidates to be interviewed. Persistence really pays off, trust me.
The first round of interviews was a 1-on-1 phone call with a former ASE within the company. This was more to feel you out, see what kind of a person you were and if you'd be worth the company's time. After passing that interview you are brought in for a full day of interviewing. This is the difficult part.
The full day interview consists of a couple of 1-on-1 or group/panel interviews where you have to give a prepared presentation on a topic they give you, a technical interview, and a roleplay where you act out the part of a salesperson (as if you had the job already) and the interviewers are the customers. (This interview process is nearly the same for ASR candidates as well.)
My suggestion is to prepare a LOT for these interviews. Cisco is an amazing company but they really only take the best people. You have to be a little technical but you really have to be a fun, engaging person. They're looking to make sure you can talk to customers and communicate your point. They want someone who can build a relationship with customers and sell solutions/products that will create a lasting relationship for Cisco.
Interview Question – Roleplaying with a customer. You are a Cisco salesperson and you are coming in to a first-time meeting with a customer and have to create a rapport with them, then 'sell' them on a Cisco technology, and get enough of a buy in to have a future meeting. View Answer
Negotiation Details –
The negotiation phase is a bit difficult. For me at least they had standardized the salary, and despite negotiating on my part I was unable to raise it at all. Obviously it starts out pretty high, but I did have to take a pay cut for this job. My benefits are incredible though, so take it as you will.
I would suggest talking to the recruitment team about any questions you have, and make sure you can get the best out of the deal. Salary may not be negotiable but some other smaller things are. Plus, as an ASE or ASR you will be interviewing again internally for Cisco in about a year, so keep in mind you can negotiate there as well.
Very Difficult Interview
I applied through college or university and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Cisco Systems in February 2011.
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.
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