Cisco Systems Interview Questions & Reviews in Research Triangle Park, NC
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Very Difficult Interview
Associate Sales Representative Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
The process took 7+ weeks - interviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2011.
Interview Details – Great people and work environment outside of the interview room. Was not sure what to expect during the interview process and spent too much time reading the technical manual. Also during the mock meeting and presentation, be prepared to deal with difficult personalities. The person conducting the information session acting as a client would not give me any information and set up a one in a thousand kind of situation where the client did not want to work with me. Very frustrating and made it near impossible to come up with an idea to present in the next round. Not sure what advice to give because the feedback they gave me revolved around not getting enough information from the mock client--which was definitely not my fault. Other than that, had a great next 2 rounds with really friendly people. I believe the first round hurt me and since they were only taking 10/40 people it made a huge difference, unfortunately.
Interview Question – You don't have a people-oriented background, why sales? View Answer
Very Difficult Interview
Financial Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Cisco Systems in December 2011.
Interview Details – Received an email from a Cisco recruiter to set a phone interview. I had my phone interview with the recruiter the next day. The recruiter was very friendly and the phone interview was easy and basic. Received another email a week later to set up for a one on one interview with the Hiring Manager. I had the interview a week later. The one on one interview was very difficult and intimidating. I knew I was not getting the job, because I couldn't answer most of the questions. The interviewer was not friendly and the interview was one hour long. I was ready to walk out from the moment we started the interview. After the one on one interview I was given a skills test. My advice is to thourougly revise your GAAP and IFRS knowledge before a Financial Analyst job interview.
College Intern - IT Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Cisco Systems in October 2009.
Interview Details – Initial interview was almost all situational/personality type questions, only at end of the interview the were the specific job duties brought up, and the interviewer asked whether they interested me. A month or two later I was asked to submit reference online, who they called and confirmed. When that was completed they sent me a job offer. After accepting I talked to the manager I would be under about the job and my specific duties.
Interview Question – Tell me a time when you were on a team and one of your team members wasn't pulling their weight. What did you do about it? Answer Question
Anonymous Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
The process took 1+ week - interviewed at Cisco Systems in September 2011.
Interview Details – The interviewer asked me question based on my resume, the details about the project and my past experience. And then he asked, why cicso? After this, he talked about cisco himself.
Interview Question – why cisco? Answer Question
Engineering Program Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Cisco Systems in June 2011.
Interview Details – Having worked at Cisco for around 12 years, I left a few years ago to pursue other opportunities including a start-up. Currently out of work, in this tough job market and I saw this great opportunity working with the government unit there. First of all, some background on this organization. They don't hire any non-whites into management roles there or program management roles, and most of the people working there are white boys and white girls. Some things don't change here in the south. My previous attempts to get into this organization failed for reasons they wouldn't disclose. One manager mentioned I have tremendous technical skills but lacked knowledge of a particular secret government security protocol. I asked him what it was. He told me it was classified. HaHa!
Here is another aspect to almost everyone's career. You evolve as a professional. IN my case, I began with QA, then became a test team lead, then started project leading. I have also done QA management. So I walked into this interview, armed with Cisco background, tons of project management experience, sound technical knowledge, and experience with product certifications. Right away they started assuming that I would not be happy in the PM role because I had a technical background. I spent the next 3 hours trying to convince everyone I interviewed with that the engineering skills would enhance my ability to do a better job. I explained the PM tools I have used, PLC, reporting tools, project planning etc. This is the same organization that would not give me a chance to interview for a test management position which I am qualified to do as well. What gives?
Of course, I wasn't chosen. It looks like more of the same at Cisco. Narrow-minded, boxed in approach, bunch of robots just following each other.
Interview Question – What is the toughest challenge faced you faced during a project Answer Question
Software Engineering Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Cisco Systems in January 2009.
Interview Details – I got a call asking me to come in and do an interview. The interview was scheduled for the next day. I did the interview and they said they would call me. The next day I got a call to do another interview thinking it was a continuation of the same group but it was from another manager. I did the interview and the next day I was called by HR asking what I wanted for pay and sign on bonus. I was offered a choice both jobs. I chose the position I wanted and received an offer letter the next day.
Interview Question – On the board draw a diagram of a system they were interested in. View Answer
Negotiation Details – They gave me what I asked for.
Very Difficult Interview
Associate Network Consulting Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
The process took a day - interviewed at Cisco Systems in April 2011.
Interview Details – Was contacted through email about a phone interview for the position in about February. Has the phone interview a few weeks later. The phone interview went great. VERY BASIC technical questions. Spent most of the time on the phone talking about the company and the position. The guy interviewing me had already gone through the program so I just probed him for 30 mins.
Got an email back about a month later saying I had been invited to NC for the Assessment Center interview. A very important thing to note is that after my phone interview it was over a month before I heard back from them. I sent my recruiter an email asking about my status and that may have been the key to me being invited to NC....i dk.
The NC interview consisted of a GROUP presentation in which you have 15mins to study some new material and present. They look for group dynamics and how well you work together. There were 2 technical interviews on networking. They gave me a big packet to study after I was invited to NC. Everything in the packet was fair game. The key here is that "I dont know" is an acceptable answer. They just wanna see how much you do know and your capacity to learn and understand concepts. Over lunch they gave us another packet of abstract info to study for a solo presentation after lunch. The material was REALLY hard. They just want the see how much you picked up during the short time.
Throughout the day we had breaks such as a tour of the facility, a "day in the life" presentation, and a benefits presentation. I felt really confident about my performance because I prepared for weeks. I gave it my best shot but unfortunately the next day I was informed that I was not selected to move on. I have no bad blood or regrets about the process. I did the best I could.
The culture from my observations is that they hire A LOT of nerdy white guys. Out of the 75 or so employees I met during the process. Younger nerdy white males made up about 94%. I met like 3 women, a few people of indian descent and like 2 black people. I'm black so......i dk. The people I was interviewing against had big technical degrees from GA Tech, Penn State, RIT, Ohio State etc. I went to an HBCU so I felt that I was already at a disadvantage. The biggest thing I can say is prepare.....study, study, study. Cisco only wants the best....they kept saying that all day. They want people that fit the culture. All the people there are the same.....mostly nerdy young white guys. In my group there were 17 of us interviewing. We were the third and last group they were interviewing for positions. There were 2 other groups before us of about 20 people a piece and they were offering 24 positions. So thats about 8 positions a group. Overall it was a positive experience and i'm glad I got that far.
Finance Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Cisco Systems in May 2009.
Interview Details – Not very detailed-if hiring manager wants you on board, interviewers are very easy on the candidate.
Interview Question – Tell me why you are looking to leave your last job? View Answer
Negotiation Details – Able to negotiate. Ask for more base salary,
Sales Program Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
The process took a day - interviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2010.
Interview Details – Intense interview day including a presentation, sales simulation, and one on one interviews.
Interview Question – What was your biggest failure? Answer Question
Associate Systems Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Cisco Systems in September 2010.
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.
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