I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in February 2013.
Interview Details –
The interview process was the toughest I've ever been through but it is definitely fair. They want to make sure that you really know your stuff. After the recruiter reached out to me (he was AWESOME!!!) they had me complete an automated skills test on a live system. Hint: Write down all of the tasks that they give you because at the end of the hour the task list will go away but the server will still be up and you can finish your work if you didn't have enough time!
The second interview was a live, technical break/fix session with an actual Rackspace employe. It covered many system administration tasks. Make sure you know Apache, MySQL, file permissions including chmod and umask, how Linux boots up, how to change network settings, how to manage the firewall, etc.
Apparently, I impressed someone because I was asked to conduct several more Skype video-conference interviews from my home and then was asked to join a different team than I initially was accepted to. All told, the process took about a month but I had very special needs concerning my family and they bent over backwards to accommodate us!
I am highly impressed by this organization. I've only been here a few days but I feel like it's already one of the best, if not the best company I've ever worked for, and I've done it all, startup to enterprise.
Interview Question – Give an example of a time when you suffered a failure. View Answer
Negotiation Details –
There is not much room for salary negotiation since that is tied to your actual position. There are bonuses available for different shifts and they have many, many perks that make up for any shortfall in the actual pay (like nearly a month of vacation each year when you include Holidays, paid volunteer days, earned time off, etc).
They are willing to help you out with relocation or family travel plans if you are a worthy candidate! They also are accepting more remote, virtual workers which I am taking advantage of following a 2 month training period in San Antonio.
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in January 2013.
Interview Details –
The whole process started with joining their job board and posting my resume and details. I heard back from them in a week and setup an initial phone screen.
The first phone screen was with the recruiter who just wanted to get a feel for what I was looking for and if I would be a good fit. After this I took a live skills assessment test on a virtual machine environment.
After the skills assessment I moved on to a live break/fix session with one of the people in the role I was applying for. This part will really weed out people who are not a fit. I was asked some tricky things and had to fix problems or configure certain things while explaining my methods.
Next I flew to San Antonio for a tour of the Castle and some in person panel interviews. I spent about 2 hours at the castle and interviewed with two separate panels consisting of level 1 and 2 admins and a team leader.
After I got back home I had one more phone interview where I talked to a panel of 3 people and then a panel of 2 people. The Rackspace interview process was the most lengthy interview process I have ever seen. They are very thorough.
Interview Question – Most of the interview process is not very technical. They want to get an idea of how you think and if you would be a good fit in a cultural way. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I got a little more than what I asked for, no negotiation was required. The benefits are on par with what many companies are offering these days, with a few extras in there as well.
I applied through other source and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in July 2010.
Interview Details –
The hiring and interview process was straightforward for me, 4 interviews (a couple of them were over the phone), and I received an offer. I've heard talk that some people have to prove themselves via a break/fix testing session, but I didn't have to jump through that hoop -- possibly because I was applying for overnight and they were in dire need due to a lack of manpower at the time.
They did ask me to take what appeared to be a personality test -- It is called the Strengths Finder Assessment, and details what your top 5 strengths are. This isn't used against you, but rather helps your team mates and manager to know how to help you reach your best.
Interview Question – RedHat Clustering and EMC SAN questions -- Had never dealt with them before View Answer
Negotiation Details – I probably could have negotiated, but they offered me more than what I was asking for, when factoring in overnight differential and quarterly bonuses
The process took a day - interviewed at Rackspace in November 2009.
Interview Details –
Round Table skills and personality interview.
Management interview for team fit and skill level.
Interview Question – What was the most difficult and/or convoluted bash one liner you ever wrote View Answer
Negotiation Details – Rather short. Let them know their offer was too low. They came back with an offer at the bottom of my 'acceptance' level. Took the offer.
I applied in-person and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in November 2009.
Interview Details – After I went through a brief phone screening process I was flown to San Antonio for a full day of interviews. It was 3 groups of 3 people and each team interviewed me for about an hour. The questions were very technical and I had as good a feeling for who they were, as they had for who I am by the time I left. Because of the long flights, it was a very long day but very enjoyable.
Interview Question – When does DNS use TCP instead of UDP View Answers (2)
Negotiation Details – They weren't willing to budge on the initial offer
The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in January 2010.
Interview Details –
I was contacted by phone by the HR recruiter to begin the process. I went through an initial phone screen consisting of about 20-30 very, very easy technical questions, though it was quite obvious the recruiter was simply reading a sheet and looking for the written down answer. After this, a more in depth technical phone screen with a lead tech was scheduled. This call took about 30 minutes and covered more in depth but still easy questions.
From here, as I was located on the other side of the country, we set up an interview time over Skype. I was on time and ready to go only to never hear anything. After several calls to my recruiter, I finally got a call a few hours later saying that she had totally forgotten about the interview. Great. It was rescheduled for the next day.
This interview consisted of the lead tech who had screened me earlier plus another senior technician. The majority of the questions were technical in nature and many were quite difficult. As far as I can tell, this is just to gauge exactly where you're at technically. After about an hour to an hour and a half of this, the first two interviewers left and I had two new guys: a different senior technician and the senior manager for the department I was interviewing for. This interview didn't have as many technical questions, but there were still quite a few. Many of these focused more on personality questions.
They seemed impressed and told me that they'd be in touch. A few days later, I was again contacted by the recruiter. She set up another Skype interview with another team that wanted to speak with me. When that day came around, I found myself in front of two senior technicians and a team lead. The majority of the interview came from further technical scenario based questions from the two techs as well as a good chunk of personality/scenario (If you had a problem with a teammate, how would you handle it?) questions from the team lead.
The next day, I got a call from the recruiter offering me the position. All in all, it was exactly 14 days from first contact to offer in hand. Including phone screens and Skype interviews, I think I topped 8 hours total time spent. They definitely try very hard to make sure candidates are a good fit.
Interview Question – If you had a problem with another employee, how would you deal with it? View Answer
I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Rackspace in April 2010.
Interview Details –
Job descriptions: DNS/Network fundamentals, diagnostics w/ Unix tools, RHat ,Solaris, Apache, Sendmail, DNS. Given simple questionnaire. Interview w/ lead tech: Noisy background, flurry-rushed questions covering basic commands: list services, who, head. Very chaotic. Terrible atmosphere for interview. Didn't seem to have time to talk. VERY uncomfortable. After 15 years of linux experience, this job should be a cakewalk, however considering the way the interviewer presented himself (Rushing the questions, interruptions during answers, and the disruptive nature of the background noises, the interview was a nightmare. My suggestion would be to make enough time (more than 10 minutes) for the process. And proceed in a quiet atmosphere. Some of the questions asked during the interview:
Q: What is RAID?
A: data spread across different harddrives so in case you lose a harddrive, you don't lose your data.
Q: What is the difference between a TCP and UDP?
A: TCP is secure, using ACK's, UDP is unreliable.
Q: Default file system on Linux?
A: EXT3, or EXT4
Q: How do you see the top ten lines of a file?
A: head -10 filename
Q: User has lost root password, how do you reset?
A: Not sure.
Q: port #'s for SNMP, MySQL, and HTTPS I'm almost sure he said HTTPS, but it could have been SFTP, in which case the port would have been115
A: 161, 156, and 443
Q: What are different runlevels?
A: 1,2,3,4,5, with 5 being GUI, 2 single user(wrong, should be 1), 3 is command line with networking.
Q: Define "Hot Swapable"
A: The ability to add/remove Hardware w/o taking the machine down
Q: Define the difference between a hub and a switch.
A: Mumble, Mumble.... I knew years ago, but could google and have answer in 10 seconds.
I studied for 5 days on DNS (MX records), Sendmail, Apache, RH admin, Well known ports, MySQL, IPTABLES, and Solaris. If I had it to do over, I would ask the interviewer to please reschedule when he had the time. He was harried, rushed, and talked so fast it was sometimes hard to make out what he was asking. To much activity going on in the background. It seemed he was at a meeting and shoved me into a 10 minute time slot, sometimes interrupting my answers. This made the process unnerving and I had a hard time focusing on what was expected of me. The payrate they are willing to offer is less than what the job should pay. I left an 80K job that was much more professional. Only to be rejected at a chaotic work environment for 45K. The laid back atmosphere didn't seem to apply here.
I applied online and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Rackspace in October 2011.
Interview Details –
Applied online and received an e-mail the next day to setup a screening call. Screening was 20-30 basic Linux/Networking questions, such as common port numbers, how to check disk usage, disk space. A couple were MySQL-specific, and a couple were RedHat/CentOS specific. Was contacted by recruiter a couple of days after screening to schedule a "break/fix" session, which was for the next day.
The break/fix was done over the phone with a systems administrator, where you're asked to SSH into a remote host to conduct the assessment. The person wasn't personable, outgoing or empathetic at all, which didn't exactly help with the nervousness of the interview process. I felt I did terribly in the session, despite having years of professional Linux Sysadmin experience. This was done on a CentOS system, so be sure to brush up on RHEL/CentOS. The break/fix had some easy scenarios and some that consisted of strange issues or caveats.
Tips for candidates: Be familiar with RHEL/CentOS (e.g. yum, where things are located, what they're called, etc). Be familiar with MySQL. Check the simple, easy things first. Be familiar with all components of the LAMP stack. Be familiar with using netstat, tcpdump, and iptables. I was never asked about my resume, past experience, anything personal, etc. It was strictly skills assessments, and I assume that more personal questions would have come later.
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Rackspace in October 2008.
Interview Details – It was painfully long
Interview Question – how would you cope with a difficult customer Answer Question
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