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Rackspace Linux Systems Administrator I Interview Questions

Updated Dec 9, 2014
Updated Dec 9, 2014
7 Interview Reviews

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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

Other Interview Reviews for Rackspace

  1.  

    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
  2.  

    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
  3.  

    Linux Systems Administrator I Interview

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

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 5 weeksinterviewed at Rackspace in February 2013.

    Interview Details

    I received an email from a recruiter asking me if I wanted to talk about a position at Rackspace and decided to see what it was all about. The process for me was about 6 parts. 2 hands on technical, a culture fit interview, a verbal technical, and a couple HR/screening interviews. The process overall took about weeks and it was a bit stressful at times.

    Interview Questions
    • I am a Debian guy so when I dropped into the technical and it was CentOS I was a little out of my element for a bit.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    The offer that was made to me exceeded my expectations so I accepted it.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    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+ weeksinterviewed at Rackspace in August 2012.

    Interview Details

    The hiring process took around a month from first contact applying through the website to the final interview and response.

    I have to say that I have interviewed with a number of companies. The best are the ones kind enough to tell you straight out that they are not interested and not leaving you hanging. In this respect, I do appreciate that feedback. The exception that I have during this interview process is the lack of coordination on behalf of RackSpace. Never have I had a prospective employer miss a scheduled interview. On top of that, I've never had one miss 3 in a row. These were phone interviews, mind you, so I suppose that's easy to overlook, but it just shows a lack of class.

    When RackSpace actually followed through with the phone interviews, they went smoothly enough. First was with an HR type going through a litany of command line questions and displaying basic concepts of Linux. Second phone interview was with an level 3 admin with random open ended questions and hypothetical situations that may arise in production environments. The final interview that I had with them was an in-person. They were gracious enough to hold the interview at 10 PM to fit my work schedule ( which I really appreciated and thought was VERY cool ). However, when I arrived at the Austin offices, the contact phone number I was given to enter the building went straight to voicemail with a message saying they were on vacation. Imagine my surprize. I resorted to driving around the building trying to find someone who I might be able to convince ( with my strange excuse ) that I have an interview at 10. Luckily and by chance I did find the person who was to interview me sitting outside in the smoking/break area. Weird right?

    After being let into the building, I was introduced to the level 3 admin who held my phone interview, another level 2, and the department manager. There I was asked about my prior experiences, my current position, what computers I had, and then technical questions. I was then interviewed by the department manager and a Windows admin. I felt that the technical questions were fair.

    After all the hoop jumping and interview rescheduling I was offered an automated reply about a week later letting me know that they appreciated my time but were not interested in proceeding further in the hiring process. It’s understandable that I would be embittered by the rejection and I was. However, it didn’t really get to me until I started to hear about the other people that they hired instead. People that you would think twice about letting them have any kind of administrative access. Truly terrifying.

    This was the worst series of interviews that I have ever have and really changed my outlook on the company as a whole. I really did think that they had everything together as a company. Turns out it’s just all show.

    Interview Questions
    • Describe in detail top down the path and processes involved with sending an email. Explain why a message was not delivered.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    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 2 weeksinterviewed at Rackspace in September 2011.

    Interview Details

    The process begins with an initial phone screen during which broad questions are asked such as port numbers for common services. After completing the phone screen, you may be selected to perform a break-fix where you SSH into a server with a list of items to fix. You will launch a screen session for someone to monitor you resolving these issues. The final step is an on-site interview which typically consists of three one-hour sessions with two people interviewing you in each session.

    Interview Questions
    • What issues might you experience in master to master replication using InnoDB as the primary database engine?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    I was originally offered a salary that I would have been happy with, but I inquired about wiggle room. The recruiter was able to bring my offer up $2,000 annually.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Linux Systems Administrator I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in London, England (UK)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in London, England (UK)
    Interview Details

    Very nice over the phone, wide scope of tech questions but personality plays a big role as well. Few questions from senior tech at the HQ, same goes for management and tour around the office.

    Negotiation Details
    sv mooth
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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