What should you ask? The questions below are specific to an IT Support job and can provide some important details if they haven’t already been covered.
1. What is the Standard Operating Environment (SOE)?
A Standard Operating Environment (SEO) is a standardised implementation of an operating system and any additional software. For example, Windows 10 with Office 2016.
This serves as a leading question – follow on with asking about the hardware, network and infrastructure that connects it all together.
If they can’t answer this – or don’t have a SEO – you may want to reconsider taking the job or negotiate it as something to implement as part of your position.
2. What’s the PC refresh schedule?
A typical PC refresh schedule would be 4 years – any longer, or even no schedule, ultimately costs more support time and lost productivity.
This should give you a broad understanding of how the organisation values their technology and employees – keeping equipment until it fails is a big red flag!
You may also want to ask if PC’s are purchased or leased and how they’re prepared before being decommissioned (e.g. disk removed or wiped).
3. Is BYOD supported?
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has seen a slow increase over the years.
It gives employees the flexibility to use the equipment they’re comfortable with and paves the way for flexible working (e.g. work from home).
But it can also be an IT Support headache – having hundreds of different types of unmanaged equipment.
If the organisation uses BYOD – ask what level of support is provided and what devices are used (e.g. laptops, tablets, phones).
You may also want to ask if there any policies.
4. How is the work organised?
Here you should find out:
- how work comes in (e.g. phone, email)
- how it is managed (e.g. logged an IT service management tool)
- what response times are required.
You may also want to ask if there’s a roster for covering phone support and how projects are managed.
5. What’s the after-hours plan/schedule?
After-hours support is inevitable in any organisation – and it’s often covered by first level IT Support employees.
You want to know:
- what after-hour support is provided
- who provides it
- how it’s scheduled.
You may also want to ask what tools are available to provide this – e.g. a mobile phone, laptop, corporate VPN and Internet.
6. What are the opportunities for professional development?
As an IT professional you need to constantly learn and develop your skills. It’s a fast moving industry and it’s all too easy to fall behind.
A good employer will recognise this and support your professional development.
Specifically, you could ask:
- is there budget for certifications?
- is paid time provided for training / online courses?
- is there access to training materials (e.g. Lynda.com or Udemy training)
7. How long has the longest team member been there?
This question can reveal good and bad things – and it entirely depends on the circumstances.
An employee may have stayed for 10 years because it’s a great place to work – or they may be stuck with no opportunity for advancement.
You won’t get a response that gives you insight to the circumstances – but it may also serve as a red flag.
What you don’t want to hear is a low number, this would mean a high staff turn-over and lack of corporate knowledge.