Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Rackspace
- Windows Systems Administrator II (21)
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- Accepted OfferAccepted Offer
I applied online – interviewed at Rackspace.
First step was over the phone with a Rackspace Recruiter. Next was hiring event with multiple candidates.
- Accepted OfferNegative ExperienceAccepted OfferNegative Experience
I applied online. The process took 2+ months – interviewed at Rackspace (San Antonio, TX) in March 2014.
Lots of interviews in a single day, most interviewers didn't know why they were there or what they were hiring for. Allegedly harder than Harvard to get in (it's not). SAT's hiring 50-100 people a week so if you've got a pulse you can get a job. Job as described is nothing like the actual job.
- None - all very simplistic. (e.g."Tell me two bad things about yourself") 1 Answer
- Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage InterviewAccepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through an employee referral – interviewed at Rackspace (San Antonio, TX) in March 2014.
I was contacted by a recruiter a few days after submitting my resumé. The process was grueling and very, very long (over six weeks), I got almost no feedback, had to sit through a four hour interview and chase my recruiter to get details on upcoming step
- The interviews were pretty improvised and a lot of questions were repeated by several interviewers, things like "why would you quit your current job?" Answer Question
negotiations went smoothly. Ask a tad high and know they will lower.
- No OfferNeutral ExperienceAverage InterviewNo OfferNeutral ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2 days – interviewed at Rackspace (Austin, TX) in March 2014.
I spoke to the HR Generalist over the phone for the initial phone screen then visited on site for a One day interview process. Involved 2 groups (3-5 people each) interviewing you, first group including the hiring manager, second group including team members.
- Tell me about a time that you failed miserably? Answer Question
Helpful (8)Accepted OfferNeutral ExperienceDifficult InterviewAccepted OfferNeutral ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied online. The process took 7+ weeks – interviewed at Rackspace (San Antonio, TX).
The interview process for me was very similar to other posts found on this site. 3 interviews, each increasingly more difficult, with the last one being in person.
In talking with other recent hires, I feel it is important to note that all (especially in-person) interviews are different... and almost everyone left feeling that they did horrible and wouldn't get an offer. This is because one of the interviewers' main goal is to find out what you do not know... and how you react to not knowing this information.
So, my advice is to be yourself and be honest about what you do and do not know. Even though the job is pertaining to network security... I was astonished to find out that I was one of the few people who came in with any firewall experience; Especially since over half my interview was related to firewalls. What they care most about is that you are passionate, want to learn / grow, and are someone that coworkers will enjoy working alongside and have great service skills for their customers.
Another thing to mention is the entire process took a very long time, so don't get discouraged if you don't hear back from the recruiter long periods of time - they will usually contact you either way, and long durations between don't necessarily mean negative news.
Also, If you are already in the San Antonio area, and are interested in getting Rackspace job, research Rackspace's Open Cloud Academy. It's a great (fairly inexpensive) program that offers learning / Certification training for Netsec as well as Linux and Windows. After graduating this program, A LOT of student's were chosen for positions.
Chances are, if you get hired, you will be hired into the company's network security training program. This is basically a training program to get you ready for the floor. I saw it as a great opportunity to get some great training (for a few months) while getting paid.
- They will ask crazy questions to gauge your personality, anything from "tell me a dirty joke" to "whats your favorite cartoon?" Answer Question
I was offered what other new hires told me (i didn't ask) they were offered as well. Nobody was able to get more than the original offer. This website's average salary for this position is close to that offer (55k range before profit sharing). The company probably won't negotiate unless you are a really qualified candidate (i.e. CCNP Security certified), in which case they may offer you to come in as a level II
Side note: pay increase for 2nd shift differential is +10%, 3rd shift (overnight) is +15%. Company also offers unbelievable of benefits (tons of days off, floating holidays, quarterly team outings, paid volunteer days, amazing health plans)
- Accepted OfferAccepted Offer
Received phone interview then was brought it for a face to face interview.
- I did not receive an unexpected question Answer Question
- No OfferNegative ExperienceAverage InterviewNo OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took a day – interviewed at Rackspace (San Antonio, TX) in February 2014.
I received an email wanting a phone interview two days after I applied for the position. I was so excited, I couldn't believe I finally had the opportunity I had been dreaming about! The day came for my phone interview. The interviewers sounded annoyed, distracted, and uninterested during my interview. I was asked a total of maybe 5 questions, which I did my best to elaborate on. The interview lasted all of 8 minutes. I was told someone would be in touch with me. I looked online five minutes after my interview and it already said "not selected". I feel Rackspace should carry their motto of Fanatical Support over to the interview process as well, cause it was anything but.
- None of the questions were difficult or unexpected. I feel like the interviewers were following a typical interview script. From the beginning when I said I didn't have experience in that field they basically knew the interview was over but just had to follow protocol. Answer Question
- No OfferNegative ExperienceDifficult InterviewNo OfferNegative ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied online. The process took 5 weeks – interviewed at Rackspace (Austin, TX) in February 2014.
The interview process was long, tedious and ultimately fruitless. My application for an open position was replied to promptly, but communication was slow for the next five(!) weeks. I was ultimately interviewed by 8-10 people over the course of 3 phone interviews and 2 onsite interviews. The results of the panel interview were said to be positive. One ding against me was one member felt I was too intellectual for the culture. Ultimately, after waiting for 10 days following the final interview I was told that they liked me, but simply had nothing at Rackspace Austin for me.
- There was not a singular difficult or unexpected question. The interview questions were not generally not technical in nature, given the position I was interviewing for. Answer Question
- No OfferNeutral ExperienceEasy InterviewNo OfferNeutral ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks – interviewed at Rackspace in February 2014.
Within 24 hours of submitting my resume, a recruiter contacted me and asked me a couple of feeder questions such as "What is jQuery?" and what my strongest programming languages were.
Approximately 24 hours passed and I received an e-mail from the recruiter stating that they would like to set up a phone interview with the hiring manager.
I spoke with the hiring manager who asked me several questions about my personality and work style / habits. Overall, I felt that the conversation was friendly, inviting and lighthearted. I finished the phone interview feeling very positive about the process.
After the phone interview, I was sent a homework assignment, due in 24 hours that stressed things such as string manipulation, matrix traversal and overall programming ability. These questions were clearly defined and had a clearly-defined specification. I completed the homework assignment using Python and supplied a full unit-testing suite for each question I answered based upon the data given and a few corner cases that I thought of and submitted it approximately 4 hours ahead of it's due time.
I was scheduled for a two-hour Google Hangout interview with no fewer than 5 people present. I was asked about my thoughts on unit-testing, about some of the applications I’ve worked on and even down to what my favorite text editor was. After the interview, the hiring manager asked if I had any samples of my most recent work available. I told them that my most recent work is covered under a non-disclosure agreement with my current employer. In lieu of this, they asked if I’d be willing to complete a second homework assignment as a prerequisite to an onsite full-panel interview. I agreed and was given my choice of two scenarios, one of which would take 24 hours to complete and one which would take 48 hours to complete.
I chose the 24-hour scenario which was to implement a basic checklist application. Approximately 24 hours later, I had implemented the scenario according to the specifications given on the homework assignment. In retrospect, my implementation could have been better from an aesthetic perspective and could have used one or two more enhancements. However, my application was functional and I later discovered through conversation with the hiring manager, that many other candidates solutions didn’t actually work and several just copy/pasted solutions without understanding how they work.
Approximately 48 hours after I submitted the assignment, I received an e-mail from the recruiter saying that they were going to pass. The recruiter also provided a list of reasons why, which was unexpected, yet welcome. The reasons listed were that I had not fulfilled some invisible requirements such as providing an architectural diagram. There was no mention nor requirement of this on the specification given.
I e-mailed the recruiter and the hiring manager to thank them for their time. I also pointed out that if those unmentioned deliverables and aspects were desired, they should have been in the specification given to candidates to avoid ambiguity.
Approximately 24 hours later, the hiring manager contacted me and offered me the opportunity to complete the second scenario in the homework assignment as the prerequisite to the full-panel interview. I declined because I felt like I had already invested a significant amount of time and energy in the hiring process and that the level of ambiguity for the second assignment was just as high as the first, if not more so. In short, I felt that if they were still interested, I should have advanced to onsite interview.
- I felt respected throughout the process.
- Everyone I spoke with at Rackspace was cordial, friendly, upfront and made me feel good about applying there.
- At no point did I ever feel like I was “just another applicant”.
- Overall, the process was very fast.
- I liked that I was told the reasons for rejection rather than just the boilerplate, “You’re not a good fit for this role.” It is such a rarity in this industry.
- The level of ambiguity for the second homework assignment was too high. Being rejected for unmentioned yet required deliverables is definitely a “gotcha”, despite being told that there are no gotchas.
- The idea of a homework assignment left me feeling like I was in college again and applying for an entry-level position.
- Being asked to do two separate homework assignments as a prerequisite to a full-panel interview seems like overkill.
- Create a web-baesd application that allows a user to:
- Create a list of items
- Check items on the list as 'Complete'. Answer Question
- Create a web-baesd application that allows a user to:
- Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult InterviewAccepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied online. The process took 4+ months – interviewed at Rackspace (Austin, TX) in February 2014.
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.
- "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
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