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Cisco Systems Associate Systems Engineer Interview Questions

Interviews at Cisco Systems

51 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (20)  

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   1 Answer

Other Interview Reviews for Cisco Systems

  1. Helpful (7)  

    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."   2 Answers

    Negotiation

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


  2. Helpful (4)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. I interviewed at Cisco Systems.

    Interview

    Initially had an on campus interview for screening and then I had an all-day interview with a series of meetings with many people. I had a few behavioral meetings, a role play with a case study, and a presentation with other interviewees where we had to build something. There were a lot of other interviewees at the time and we were all placed in the same prep rooms. I had to wait a few months before I got my offer. The ASE program was great - Cisco provided me a lot of training (both sales and technical). Make sure to explain why you think Cisco is great or a great place to work - that will be helpful.

    Interview Questions

    • Role play based on case study - make sure to spend time understanding any case study. Make sure to ask questions instead of jumping into "tell" mode.   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    This program did not leave room for negotiation when I was hired.

  3. Helpful (17)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Cisco Systems in November 2013.

    Interview

    The process is just like what everyone has described here.

    Round 1: WebEx (Interview)
    Hardest part is the question they ask where you have to explain a complex topic to either an old person or a child. For my case, I was asked to explain what an FPGA is to a 5 year-old.The rest of the questions are your typical (tell me about yourself ) questions.

    Round 2: Video Response
    2-minute video response to a given topic. I did not do any video editing and focused only on the the content of the video. It worked for me and got me to the final round.

    Round 3:
    The big day, filled with all the activities mentioned in other reviews here. What I didnt like about this day was having 2/2.5 hour gap between the activities. If they fly you there however, you will have the activities almost back to back, depending on when your flight leaves. I was local, so I got to be there all day, from 8am to 4:30pm. Breakfast and luch are provided. They start the day with a simple technical test on the give material, followed by an interview. My interview was pretty technical and when I asked the other candidates, I was told that their's was not technical at all, so it all depends on who interviews you. Every room has two assessor in it.
    You will do the sale meeting roll play after the interview which is the most important activity throughout the day. MAKE SURE YOU PREPARE for it or I guarantee you will not do well. Dig as much as you can from the customer and keep track of the time.
    Last activity is your presentation which you need to prepare in advance.Therefore, practice for this part goes without say saying. BUT, don't sound like a recording, make sure you interact with your audience.

    I owe it to this site to do a review since the reviews here helped me tremendously.

    Interview Questions

    • Sell a project you have done at school.   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    No negotiation.


  4. Helpful (8)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA).

    Interview

    You can apply at any time for an Associate Systems Engineer position in the US, but they typically only do two interview days each year, sometimes only one. They typically occur around October-November and April-May. Applicants for the Sales Associates Program must be less than 2 years out of college as well, so if you're beyond that, talk to a recruiter about other opportunities available.

    Leading up to the interview day, there are typically two steps to trim down the applicant pool: a short 2-minute video submission on a given topic, and a virtual video interview with someone. These may be reversed depending on when/where you apply. The video interview is typically with someone who has gone through the training program before, and it's fairly informal.

    About 20-30 applicants are invited to the interview days on-site at either North Carolina or San Jose if you're applying for a US position, and typically last from about 9am to 4-5pm. A couple activities to expect are a written technical skills test, a behavioral interview with 1-3 interviewers, a role-playing sales interview, and a presentation on a topic they give you in advance. If you make it through all of this and are extended an offer, you should hear back in a week or two.

    Overall I felt the interview was a good test of skills needed for the job/training program. If you enjoy the interview process, you will probably enjoy the program. If you felt the interviews or questions were silly, this probably isn't a good job for you.

    Interview Questions

    • The most unexpected part for me was during the presentation. Don't be surprised if someone intentionally stops paying attention (i.e. starts checking their e-mail on their phone). They want to see how you handle it.   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    There's not much salary negotiation to be had in this program. Each year the training group's salary is set, and it's the same for everyone. Your re-location package might be up for debate, but I felt mine was generous and didn't argue it.


  5. Helpful (13)  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Raleigh, NC).

    Interview

    I got the initial interview through an on-campus recruiting service near their office in Raleigh. The first round was a video interview: I had to make a 2-minute video answering the question: What does "The Network is the Platform" mean for Cisco's customers? After making it past the first round, I was invited to a Skype interview with one of their current ASEs. It consisted of some behavioral questions, some technical questions about Cloud technology (e.g., what are some of the risks associated with moving to cloud computing?) as well as one quick brainteaser. I completely over thought the brainteaser question, but was able to send a follow-up email to the interviewer giving a better and more succinct answer to the question. After this, I was invited to their superday at their office in Raleigh, where I was asked to prepare for a Technical Assessment, a Role Play, a Presentation, and individual and group interviews. I was given documents and materials to prepare for each, and the interview lasted all day: from 8-5. The interviewers were all very nice and willing to answer all of my questions, and in one of my interviewers they even asked to see a short film I entered in a contest that I included on my resume.

    My tips: Practice your behavioral questions. Get a solid 10 stories that are easily adaptable to several situations. Other than that, have your technical questions down SOLID. Although they do have a strong training program, they want experts in networking. If you haven't taken a class on networking, I would memorize their manual from front to back. Other than that, be yourself and be likable - they want to have people who fit well with the company culture and who can meet clients without losing face for the company. One mistake I made: In the role-play, I was asked repeatedly to give a price estimate for one of their services, even after saying I wasn't sure. They pushed, and I gave in: I guessed. DON'T DO THIS. Don't say anything unless you're ABSOLUTELY sure (in the roleplay at least). This was the biggest feedback item I was given. They don't want you giving clients false information. I was contacted about two weeks later (after about 2.5 months of the interview process) to say I hadn't been given an offer.

    Interview Questions

    • What are some risks associated with moving to Cloud Computing?
      Several difficult questions on networking.   Answer Question

  6.  

    Associate Systems Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I interviewed at Cisco Systems (Raleigh, NC) in November 2012.

    Interview

    So far application process has been great. I did a short video introducing myself and then had a 1 hour phone interview. They said it would be a half hour interview but it went well and he kept asking questions. I am flying to Raleigh this week for an all day interview session.

    Interview Questions

    • Personally, I thought all of the questions were pretty predictable. They want to know what you have done, what you want to do, and how hard you will work. They asked a few generic technical questions like how does a cell phone network work, but nothing to bad. Just relax and you will be fine.   Answer Question

  7. Helpful (17)  

    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.   2 Answers
  8. Helpful (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


  9. Helpful (14)  

    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..   2 Answers

    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).


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