Rackspace
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www.rackspace.com San Antonio, TX 5000+ Employees

Rackspace Linux Systems Administrator Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jan 16, 2014
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Getting the Interview 

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Interview Experience 

90%
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11 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
San Antonio, TX

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Rackspace in December 2013.

Interview Details – I first completed two phone interviews upon starting the process. First one seemed to be formalities about myself and some basic work history. Second phone interview was much more technical about working with Linux, some DNS, as well as what other applicable skills I had.

Afterward, I was given a breakfix through the TrueAbility website. This is an automated system that gives you a set number of things to fix and the grades it automatically. HR people can view your recorded session in case there are scoring anomalies. These tests are designed to be hard so it's okay to only get a few things correct; it is used to see where you would best fit in.

Finally, I made it to the in-person interviews. They are as difficult as others here are expressing. I interviewed at the Rackspace offices on three separate occasions spanning a couple of months. Each interview day consisted of at least two smaller interviews. In total, counting phone interviews and each individual interview from the blocks, I was interviewed by the company NINE times.

(A sidenote: I took the job, but I was not offered a Linux Admin role. There was some turbulence with training and placement so I took another position instead. Regardless, I still got a job!)

Interview Question – Many. Generally, they test your knowledge by asking you questions until they get an "I don't know" answer. This lets them know where your skills rest, and then they will ask you to take an educated guess to the "I don't know" based upon what you do know.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I used averages provided here on Glassdoor to negotiate a salary. Because this would be my first IT job I suggested the average calculated here as my starting income. This was agreeable.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
Texas, GA

I applied online and interviewed at Rackspace.

Interview Details – First was phone screening, after a week I was asked to take online exam for the second round. After passing the online exam, it was the phone technical interview which went good. One week after, I was informed to have the 3 hour interview with different teams.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
San Antonio, TX

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Rackspace in June 2008.

Interview Details – Pretty straightforward -- tech screening from a recruiter over the phone, followed by a more in-depth tech screen from a senior systems administrator, also over the phone. Later I did an in-person interview with a manager, a sysadmin, and a senior sysadmin. A few days later I received and accepted an offer and negotiated a start date.

The interview questions were Linux shell basics (sed, awk, cut, grep, uniq, etc), virtual hosting in Apache, DNS, networking, etc.

Interview Question – What Linux signal might you see in the case of memory failure?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – I did not try to negotiate as anything was better than my last job, and it sounded like a ton of money at the time.

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Accepted Offer

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Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
San Antonio, TX

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 days - interviewed at Rackspace in February 2012.

Interview Details – I got an initial email from one of the Rackspace recruiters asking to chat about a Linux Admin position. The next day I had an initial phone screen with the recruiter. There were some basic technical questions as well as a few personality type questions. The day after that, I had a break-fix technical phone interview with one of the supervisors of the team she wanted me for. I received a call from the recruiter the day after that interview saying that they wanted to see how I would fit with another team, so I was scheduled for another break-fix interview the day after (on a Wednesday). On Friday, my recruiter called back and invited me down for an in-person interview at the location in San Antonio, TX the following Friday. I received an email with all the necessary travel information and made it down the Thursday evening before my interview. The in-person interview was about 3 hours long, with 3 different groups of people that I now work with/for. It was a mixture of technical questions, as well as a lot of personality questions. They fire random questions at you in no particular order. I felt like the process went pretty well and I wasn't too nervous during the interviews. This all happened on a Friday and the following Tuesday I got a call from my recruiter offering me the position.

Interview Questions

  • Add enough swap space to total 4G and make it persist through a reboot.   View Answer
  • Name as many uses for a brick as you can in 1 minute.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I had to turn in an application at the in-person interview that had a question about desired salary. The offer I received was a bit lower than I had listed on the application, but with the 10% profit sharing bonus that was part of the deal, it put me pretty much right where I was hoping to be. I didn't try to negotiate, as I was satisfied with the initial offer and didn't want to chance losing the opportunity.

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Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
San Antonio, TX

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Rackspace in February 2012.

Interview Details – The interview was given by two gentleman, who apparently were last second substitutions, who were both very nice and obviously intelligent. They were wearing blue jeans and t-shirts and were so informal and relaxed that it was almost off-putting. The interview was almost exclusively a personality assessment with some questions about basic linux ideas thrown in.

I am giving the interview a difficulty ranking of "difficult" strictly because I thought I killed the interview(I was extremely excited for the chance to work at such a well reputed company), but I didnt get the job.

Interview Question – "What are your favorite command to use at the linux command line"   Answer Question

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Very Difficult Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
San Antonio, TX

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in December 2011.

Interview Details – I applied online then received an email from my recruiter to schedule a phone interview. I had about 5 interviews total :
- Initial screening : Personality, background and basic Linux questions (ports, regexp, commands), the recruiter was clearly reading from a paper to match the answers! The interviewer was very friendly and told me that I passed to round 2 right after we were done.
- Technical break-fix interview : Slightly more in-depth interview with people who will be on my shift, I was given ssh access to a VM in a somewhat broken state that I had to fix and perform a number of admin tasks on. The interview lasted about an hour and was with two rackers. They also had some personality type questions for me.
- Last round : They flew me down to San Antonio to have 3 sets of interviews, 1 hour each, in one day. I also met with the two rackers who interviewed me last time! During the in-house interview, sometimes, we would get distracted by the music and dancing of other coworkers. Some of them were in the middle of a paper rolls battle behind their cubes, it was very amusing to watch!

The hole process was quite engaging and I had a good time and met some very awesome and friendly people. I could see they were happy to be at work!

Two weeks after the last interview, I received an offer from my recruiter.

Interview Question – Can you write the code to generate the Fibonacci sequence?   View Answers (4)

Negotiation Details – Didn't negotiate, I was fine with the entry level salary and the relocation assistance provided.

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Anonymous Employee
San Antonio, TX

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in October 2011.

Interview Details – Applied online, went through a brief phone screening interview on basic linux questions. A few days later, went through a more technical interview with a linux tech, including some 'breakfix' scenarios after logging into a testing server.

Another recruiter called a few days later saying they wanted to interview me for the linux support in the cloud division, so there was another technical phone interview and breakfix session with a linux cloud support tech. After this I was invited to San Antonio for some in-person interviewing, which included meeting with three groups of two rackers each, about 3 hours in total where we went over both linux questions and personality-type questions as well as some whiteboard "brain workout" exercises.

After returning home, I was called by my recruiter to setup a skype video interview with some of the people that would be on my shift if hired. This wasn't a technical interview, it was basically a 'team fit' interview on personality. A couple of days later, my recruiter called and made an offer.

Interview Question – Tell me about your biggest mistake at a previous job, and how you solved it   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
London, England (UK)

I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in February 2013.

Interview Details – I answered an ad placed by Rackspace's HR dept. on LinkedIn. After two initial screenings with very simple Linux related questions I had another interview over Skype. This was with three people of the department that had the job opening. After this interview I was invited to fly in to their offices in Hayes (near Heathrow airport).
The face-to-face interview was in three parts: the first one with the technical people, they gave me a list of 9/10 tasks that were related to configuring Apache with PHP (on a CentOS server), sendmail, and other simple tasks, but there were "traps" involved, such as a file not being writable even though you were logged in as root user. The second technical part involved explaining how I would proceed in a scenario where a customer needed to face a raise of 400% in their website traffic. And the third part was with two of their team managers. They asked more questions related to the job as Support Engineer with customer oriented scenarios (What would you do if a customer calls, very angry, and you have 10 other critical incidents waiting, etc.).

Interview Question – Why do you want to switch from your current job to a customer support role?   View Answers (3)

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Linux Systems Administrator
London, England (UK)

The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Rackspace in March 2012.

Interview Details – Received call from HR and arranged a telephonic interview. Interview was quite tough with too much in-depth questions. Questions on PAE, iptables, BIND.
Got call back from HR and invited for face to face discussion. Interview was in two stages competency and technical round with. 2:1 on both stages with senior Rackers.

Interview Question – PAE, BIND, Iptables   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Linux Systems Administrator Interview

Anonymous Employee

The process took 1+ week - interviewed at Rackspace in February 2012.

Interview Details – I applied to RackSpace through an ad on their website, the next day I received an email from a recruiter in San Antonio asking to setup a phone screen interview. The next day I was screened on basic Linux questions including ports, layouts of the system, some basic MySQL commands and a short scenario (basically just to weed out people who don't know what they say they do.)

The next day I received an email from the recruiter telling me that they would love to setup a break fix interview with one of their current systems admins. The interview consisted of me sshing into a machine, running screen, and the interviewer asking me to accomplish tasks (naturally that didn't work) - then having me walk through step by step and fix the issues at hand and explain why I was handling them in that fashion. The break fix was fairly in-depth and varied from basic Linux commands to MySQL connectivity issues. Over all the interview was extremely knowledgeable and extremely friendly. The break-fix was an excellent test of skills and the thought process of the candidate.

About 3 days later I was called again by my recruiter and asked if I would like to come down to San Antonio for an in-person interview. Despite being one of the craziest and longest days of my life, the interview at RackSpace was amazing and very in depth. It consisted of 3 rounds of two interviewers. The questions ranged from hypothetical issues to Linux commands, to ethics and personality.

Advice to people interviewing? Be yourself, be honest with what you don't know and DO NOT forget your interviewers names! The people at RackSpace are awesome and extremely knowledgeable. Good luck!

Interview Questions

  • Bob cannot access the MySQL database, please give him access to database test.   View Answer
  • Write a small program to output Fibonacci sequence.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Relocation package for moving across the country. They're more than happy to work with you in assisting to find an apartment and moving. Overall the best place I've ever interviewed for!

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