Cisco Systems Associate Systems Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Cisco Systems Associate Systems Engineer Interview Questions

Updated May 9, 2017
50 Interview Reviews

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Associate Systems Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
No Offer
Positive Experience
Average Interview

Interview

The interview had four rounds. First was the resume, second was a telephonic, third a video interview and fourth was onsite.I could not make it to the last round since I had an exam on that day

Interview Questions

  • Basics about networking would do good to pass the next levels   Answer Question

Other Interview Reviews for Cisco Systems

  1. Helpful (8)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Raleigh, NC
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Raleigh, NC) in November 2016.

    Interview

    Tips
    1. This position is EXTREMELY competitive. Show that you want this job.
    2. If you don't know something during the interview process, don't BS, admit it.
    3. It is impossible to feel fully prepared during this interview process. Understand the basics on what they're going to ask you about and be able to explain it to someone who has no idea about the subject. 4. Don't get too wound up into the technical, it's a waste of time for now.
    5. Find a way to stand out from the rest of the applicants. For me, I have previous sales experience and a music background.
    6. Sales experience. I can't emphasize this point enough. This gave me a very competitive edge. Even if you haven't sold anything before, practice role playing with people who have.
    7. They're looking for people who can hold conversations, are honest, have sales/business acumen and will work hard. Treat interviews as conversations.
    8. Don't be hostile to other candidates during the final round. Make friends, not enemies. You never know when someone can give you some great advice or hook you up with a job opportunity in the future.
    9. Connect with current CSAP employees to answer questions you may have. Talk to your recruiter.
    10. DO NOT WRITE ON THE WHITEBOARD AND SPEAK AT THE SAME TIME.

    ~Every year the interviews are run slightly different~

    Round 1: 2 Minute Video
    Cisco gives you about 2 weeks(?) to make a video answering a behavioral question.
    I did a little bit of editing and had a photography friend help me out. Dress nicely and tell a story relating your 3 points.

    Round 2: WebEx Interview
    All ASE applicants had 2 parts to this interview: behavioral and technical. This will be done over WebEx (Cisco's version of Skype) and will be about an hour in length.

    Behavioral:
    Don't BS. Your interviewer will ask a variety of behavioral questions. The STAR approach is great for organizing your ideas and answering questions.

    Technical:
    Cisco provides 3 questions to have answered before through code. Further questions were asked based on these 3 questions to test my knowledge. Personally, I felt I dropped the ball with my responses. I forgot what polymorphism is and couldn't give a good response to the differences between functions and variables in python. Because of this, I followed up this interview with emails explaining my answers with both words and more code. I think if I didn't do this I would have probably been knocked out this round.

    Round 3: Final Interview
    They will fly you down to their training/research facility in Raleigh, North Carolina for a day of interviews. As mentioned above, this is a whole day with other applicants who spent just as much or more time than you preparing for this interview. Study hard, work hard and be confident. Remember, they wouldn't be investing this much time into you if they weren't interested. Interviewers will be in person or over WebEx. The interview process is divided into 4 activities in no precise order:

    Aptitude test
    10 hard multiple choice questions you can't study for. Even if you get just 2 right, it doesn't mean you're disqualified. Quick tip for this: I think Cisco wants to see how you handle failure before going into the other parts of the interview. Don't think too much about this section. You can't control the past, only the present to shape your future.

    Behavioral interview
    For this one I was in front of 2 managers. The first part consists of behavioral questions. The second part of this also tested my knowledge of networks. For this part, Cisco gives you an hour video explaining all of the information that will be asked. Given the off chance that the interviewer asks you something you don't know, admit it. Do not BS. Work your way through a solution and email the interviewer afterwards with a correct answer. Treat as a conversation.

    Sales Role Play
    This is where you show your sales/business acumen. You will be provided with a test case weeks before the interview to study. Consider this. How much does the potential client know about networking? Do they need someone else to sign off on an investment like this? What is the most important problem they need fixed? Provide studies and cases to affirm your solutions through a conversation. Use the whiteboard. Don't go over 20 minutes.

    Presentation
    For this part you'll have 10 minutes to explain something to 3 Cisco Employees.
    How does Cisco's Digital Network Architecture (DNA) provide customers a competitive edge?
    This may seem basic, but remember to answer the question. Engage the audience and explain things through analogies. Use the whiteboard.

    I received a letter of intent to hire the next day. Others may take weeks.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    I didn't try to negotiate nor do I think you can.


  2. Helpful (5)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I interviewed at Cisco Systems (New York, NY) in November 2016.

    Interview

    I applied through their website to the Dubai office. The interview was through WebEx and it was around an hour long. The questions asked included brief information about myself, my knowledge on on their products and how they work, some technical questions and then general personality questions.
    The interviewer was not based in the Dubai office but from the office in Amsterdam. I did pass that interview and am still in process although I did not receive and email confirmation of the next step in the application process.

    Interview Questions

    • What is the key to a successful collaboration?
      Name a time you and a colleague faced a disagreement and how did you put it aside to continue a project.  
      Answer Question

  3.  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Raleigh, NC
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Raleigh, NC) in November 2016.

    Interview

    A total of 7 interviews (3ish rounds):

    1. Record yourself presenting on a given topic (mine was "How can Cisco collaboration tools improve the workplace?"

    2. 1 hour WebEx interview with two current systems engineers. 30 minutes behavioral and 30 minutes technical. They sent me 3 coding problems prior to the WebEx and I had to show them my answers with a few follow up questions. Very doable if you have coding experience. I didn't know the answer to any follow up questions.

    3. Assessment Center - they send you a ton of prep material beforehand. Seems overwhelming but just take it step by step!
    - 15 minute multiple choice "IQ" test: they said this was new and just seeing if the scores correlated with a candidates success. Reminded me of SAT/ACT math/science questions

    - 20 minute sales role play: Materials included case study, client description, and Cisco tools that could help provide solutions

    - 10 minute presentation on a given topic: mine was Cisco DNA (Digital Network Architecture)

    Ask for feedback, utilize the whiteboard whenever possible, make handouts/props, stay cool, and let your personality come through. Everyone who makes it to the last round is smart, friendly, and kind so mingle with the other candidates, too!

    Lastly, I had a phone call with one of the senior managers whom I didn't get to meet during the Assessment Center. It was very casual but always be prepared!

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    No negotiation; fair package for a rotational/training program and possibility for immense career growth


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  5.  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Cisco Systems.

    Interview

    good process, full day of interviews including whiteboarding ,sales pitch, presentation. The interviewers were nice and friendly and helped guide you in the right direction for the most part. They spent a lot of time on the cases and pre-work for the interview

    Interview Questions


  6. Helpful (9)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Raleigh, NC
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 5+ weeks. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Raleigh, NC) in November 2015.

    Interview

    This is a very competitive program. Over 98% of applicants will be vetted by the final onsite interview. Expect to have a lot of competition, but meet some amazing people along the way. It helps immensely to have contacts within Cisco to run questions and ideas by. If you don't originally know anyone within Cisco, reach out to HR and ask if you can have a current ASE's contact information. It's extremely helpful.

    There are 3 steps to get through: 30 minute behavioral interview, 2 minute video submission, onsite interview.

    1) 30 min behavioral interview: This is simply a current systems engineer talking to you for 30 minutes about the job description, your resume, and your career goals. They may ask you to explain a technical aspect or two on something related to your previous experiences. Remember - this is a job that revolves around communication skills. Explain things clearly.

    2) 2 minute video submission: Once again, this is where they see how you handle a technical topic. It's all about communication. Each ASE class will have a different prompt. The previous two have been: "Explain cloud computing" and "What are the technologies involved in enabling a Smart City?" There are many different approaches and there is no correct way to do it. Some people will sit in front of a board and just talk about the topic for 2 minutes, being sure to touch every aspect and having graphics interlaced in. Others will whiteboard for the 2 minutes. Some do creative shots with interesting intros and multiple locations. If you're creative in nature, show that off. If you're better at standard presentations, let that shine.

    3) Full day onsite interview: Several components to this...
    * Technical exam: Very easy, especially if you have any networking experience at all. They provide a video with simple topics that covers everything on the exam. Should not be hard.
    * 30 minute interview: Will be with 2 or 3 current systems engineers. They'll ask you both behavioral and technical questions. Treat it like a conversation. Talk with them about your experiences and explain things clearly. If you don't know an answer to a technical question, don't BS it. Tell them you don't know and you'll get back to them. Use the whiteboard if possible - they love the whiteboard.
    * 10 minute presentation: You will be talking for 10 minutes on a certain topic that they give you. Be sure to research general concepts and examples along with where Cisco technologies can come into play. This is very important to tie Cisco in somehow. Practice. Practice. Practice. Run through it with your friends, family, professors, etc. Don't make it a word for word script but definitely know what you're going to say and make sure you have your timing down. Use the whiteboard if possible. Tell a story as an intro. Make a connection with your audience. This is all about communication.
    * 20 minute sales roleplay: This is the most interesting aspect of them all. I personally had no experience in doing sales. Having connections with current ASE's is a big help for this section. They will give you a fake company looking for several different improvements to their business line. You will meet with the "company's CTO" and learn about their problems and propose a solution. They will give some initial links to help the research get started but definitely do independent research on Cisco solutions. I made an agenda handout and a solutions handout, which they both liked. Be sure not to overload your handouts with info though, you don't want it to be busy. Graphics are key. Spend the first 2-3 minutes just talking and building rapport. Then begin asking questions for the next 10 minutes. Uncover their problems. The last 5 minutes should be spent talking about your high level solutions and answering their questions. Finally, get a firm date to meet again so you can put together a full solution for them.

    It's a lot of stuff. But breathe, relax, you've got this. If you make it to the final round, there's a reason. Everyone I met that day seemed very qualified and had great communication skills. Stay confident. Final tip: get business cards/emails of all of your interviewers and email them a thank you after the fact.

    Good luck!!!

    Interview Questions

    • Name a time you were a leader and had to handle a tough situation? Explain what a household router does? Several questions related directly to my resume..   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    No negotiation but it's not needed. Very fair package and this program gives major accelerated monetary growth (look at virtual systems engineer or simply systems engineer on glassdoor).


  7. Helpful (11)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Raleigh, NC
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Raleigh, NC).

    Interview

    I was contacted about 2 weeks after I applied. We had a brief conversation about the job description. They then told me if I qualified then they would get back to me. About a week later I was contacted for an interview which consisted of a 10 minute presentation through their video conference platform on a selected topic. Mine was on the "Internet of Things". After I interviewed with some leads. This was all through video on the same day. Not much negotiation but sky is the limit because it is CISCO so I wouldn't worry too much.

    Interview Questions

    • 1) What does honesty mean to you ? 2) Describe a time that you failed at something on the job 3) What are your strengths and how can they be weaknesses also.   Answer Question

  8.  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Raleigh, NC
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Raleigh, NC) in August 2015.

    Interview

    Very long 3 part interview that spans the length of a day. Tests your knowledge and presentations skills. Most of the questions are based off pre determined role plays and articles to research and present on. The aim is for the interviewers to understand how you do in high pressure and sales environments.

    Interview Questions

    • The role play is by far the most challenging. Having to do lots of research on role play and figuring out what is the best approach is very challenging. Reading the interviewers in the scenario is the best way to excel.   Answer Question

  9. Helpful (19)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 8 weeks. I interviewed at Cisco Systems.

    Interview

    First stage of an interview was a phone screening. I was contacted via email to set a telephone interview. Since this position was outside USA, I was contacted by some recruiting agency located in UK. Immediately, there was a little problem. Person who was responsible to set up phone call did not considered the time difference or probably was not paying attention on my address. It was easily fixed, but for me left a not professional impression. When you're dealing with such a great and large company as Cisco, you simply not expecting this. Forgot to mention that person was 15 minutes late to start conference call.
    Phone interview was very typical. Person confirmed all job requirements and if I can meet them. After that, I was asked several technical questions. Here is the list:
    1. Explain cloud technology
    2. Explain principal of cell phone operation
    3. Explain computer networking.
    I think for me most unexpected questions were to explain cloud technology and cell phone operation. I have a 2 years experience in completely different field and I was expecting a questions about my skills, experience, current job and reasons to change a career and relocate to another country. Surprisingly, none of those question were asked.
    I had a many interviews in past, but this one felt very long. The reason for this is my interviewer was taking a notes as usual, but it was very very slow. After my answers there was a couple minutes pause. It seems a bit odd to me since I never experienced that. Usually it's on going conversation between two people.
    Another thing that I didn't like. Since I was not interviewed by Cisco HR person, I was not able to get an answers for the question I had. Position was not very descriptive and my interviewer had no idea about the hiring process, overall position expectations, relocation expenses, benefits and etc.
    A week after this interview I received an email with instructions for next step in the interview process. I was asked to submit a two minutes video response for topic provided. It was a very technical question that was beyond my knowledge. It was such a great experience for me. You only have 2 minutes to provide an answer and you have to be very specific, detailed and clear. Also, I am not that type of person who can easy speak on camera.
    Overall, I was very satisfied with the second stage of the interview.
    The final, third stage of the process, was an interview on site at Cisco Assessment Center. There were four stages of the interview:
    - 15 minutes technical assessment.
    - 30 minute individual interview with the assessors consisting of managers from the Field Sales Organization
    - a 20 minute role play conducted with my assessors
    - 10 minutes presentation to my assessors on specified topic. In this case, no laptop was allowed. I was allowed to give a handouts and use a blackboard.
    All information and actions required were given in advance. I had 10 days to prepare for the final interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Explain principal of cell phone operation
      Explain cloud technology  
      Answer Question

  10. Helpful (4)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4 days. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Research Triangle Park, NC).

    Interview

    Interview process was very simple. I completed a phone screen with HR which was followed by a day-long interview onsite with a panel of managers. Many of the questions were not technical in nature but were sales situational in nature.

    Interview Questions

    • "I hate mini-vans but I want you to sell me one anyway."   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    No negotiation. The salary was more than fair and the benefits package was above normal for my region and field of expertise.


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