36 Systems Engineer Interview Questions (With Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A systems engineer oversees the development and implementation of new systems at a company, such as filing, computer and communication systems. Since systems engineers often have specialised experience, many try to show their unique skills and expertise during job interviews. If you wish to become a systems engineer, reviewing possible interview questions and effective answers for the position might help you secure a job. In this article, we explore a list of 36 systems engineer interview questions, including six with example answers.

Related: Interview Questions For System Administrators (With Answers)

General Systems Engineer Interview Questions

Here are some general systems engineer interview questions an interviewer may ask:

  1. How did you hear about this position?

  2. What qualifications make you successful as a systems engineer?

  3. What do you know about this company?

  4. How have your previous roles prepared you for contributing to this job?

  5. What is one accomplishment you are proud of?

  6. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome them?

  7. What aspects of systems engineering excite you most?

  8. What is one goal you are currently working towards achieving?

  9. How do you approach professional development?

  10. What do you hope to accomplish within your first 90 days on the job?

Related: 13 Killer Questions To Ask In A Job Interview (And Benefits)

Interview Questions For A Systems Engineer About Experience And Background

Here is a list of questions that a systems engineer might receive about their experience and background:

  1. Do you currently possess any speciality credentials in systems design and engineering?

  2. Are you open to continuing education?

  3. How do you usually approach new project requests?

  4. What is the largest development team you have managed?

  5. How would your previous employer describe you?

  6. Can you share an example of a challenge you faced when working with a colleague? How did you handle it?

  7. What do you do to keep up to date on innovations and new technologies in the sector?

  8. What kinds of documentation do you have experience creating?

  9. Share your process for setting up and securing a new internal network.

  10. How would you troubleshoot DNS service interruptions on an internal network?

Related: 52 Data Engineering Interview Questions With Sample Answers

In-Depth Interview Questions For A Systems Engineer

Here is a list of in-depth questions that an interviewer may ask a systems engineer in an interview:

  1. How often would you recommend a client update their network system?

  2. What do you consider when making updates to workflow systems infrastructure?

  3. When would you suggest creating DNS backups?

  4. How do you integrate cloud services when setting up system networks?

  5. Share your experience working with the SQL framework for server deployment.

  6. What test procedures do you follow when evaluating a system's functionality and performance?

  7. Have you ever implemented automation testing?

  8. Can you debug a program while someone is using it? How would you do this?

  9. What is your experience using Java Scripting API? When would it be appropriate to use it?

  10. Do you have any experience designing or optimising control systems?

Related: Common Control System Interview Questions (With Answers)

Interview Questions For A Systems Engineer With Example Answers

Here are six interview questions that a systems engineer might encounter and their example answers:

1. What are some of the key functions of a systems engineer?

An interviewer might ask this question to learn how familiar a candidate is with the job. As systems engineers typically have specialised job duties, your answer to this question can help an interviewer ascertain whether you have the necessary level of experience and knowledge to succeed in the position. You can answer this question by listing a few key duties that a systems engineer usually performs.

Example: "While the specific duties of a systems engineer can vary depending on their industry, the primary function of this job is to develop, implement and maintain new systems to increase efficiency at a company. This can include maintaining computer and communication systems in an office, finding ways to improve a team's efficiency and outlining solutions for new systems, such as helpful tools or methods of time management."

Related: What Does a Systems Engineer Do? (With Career Advice)

2. What Details Do You Consider When Creating Disaster Recovery Plans?

Your answer to this question can tell an interviewer about your technical expertise that relates to working as a systems engineer. Many systems engineers work with computers and other technological systems that use disaster recovery plans to prepare for unforeseen circumstances. Showing that you are familiar with these types of plans might increase your chances of getting the position. When answering this question, you can identify the key details you think about when developing a disaster recovery plan.

Example: "The two most important details that I consider when creating disaster recovery plans are the intended operations of the system and potential scenarios that might qualify as disasters. Then, I like to think about how to communicate updates to the team in the event of a disaster and which methods are best for backing up data."

3. How much do you enjoy learning about new technology?

Employers can ask this question to verify that a candidate has an interest in technology, and they are willing to conduct regular research about emerging technologies and systems. This can be essential for aspiring systems engineers, as much of the job involves staying up to date with new technologies and finding ways to implement them in new systems where they work. You can indicate your excitement about researching new technology to answer this question. You could also include a personal anecdote if it adds value to your answer.

Example: "I love learning about new technology, and I always try to stay up to date with developments in the tech industry so I can implement new processes or tools in my own systems. My father, who was a researcher, taught me several effective research methods to gain more information about new tech products and systems."

4. How do you communicate complex system operations to an audience with little or no technical background?

An interviewer might ask this question to gauge the effectiveness of a candidate's communication skills. As systems engineers often are responsible for sharing updates with team members who have limited technical knowledge, it can be helpful to showcase your abilities to synthesise and present information in ways that the public can easily understand. You can answer this question by giving a brief description of your process for informing others at a company about system changes and operations.

Example: "At my previous company, my manager asked me to meet with company executives to go over the details of the interface modifications to the company's internal network server. The company executives had little experience with our IMTU database, so I created some charts and graphs to support the technical data I was presenting. I used these to explain the main components and functions rather than listing all the technical aspects of the interface changes. I also discussed the benefits of the improvements, so executives could understand how these changes affected the company and the efficiency of its staff members."

5. How would you respond if a member of your team made a mistake?

The answer to this question can tell an interviewer how effectively a candidate can handle potentially difficult situations. Since systems engineers often hold positions of authority and work as part of a team, knowing how to react to mistakes can help a systems engineer ensure their team is still productive. When answering this question, you can describe the process you use to respond to a mistake by another team member.

Example: "Although I lead my team's daily operations and act as the point of contact for questions about technical processes, I also recognise that our team's manager holds a higher position of authority. Due to this, my initial reaction to a team member making a mistake would be to notify our manager so they can take the appropriate actions."

6. How would you integrate a single internal network for multiple departments?

Employers might ask this question to learn about the methods and processes a candidate uses to improve a company's efficiency and productivity. Systems engineers often create new systems for this purpose, so showing that you are familiar with a technical process that can help increase efficiency can make you an attractive candidate. To answer this question, you can discuss your process for integrating a single internal network for multiple departments, including any key tools you use.

Example: "My first step for any system integration is to survey the department staff and managers who plan to use the application. Understanding what features they require and the type of functionality I can incorporate into my system design helps me plan for specific components when I begin development. I also set up access points for each department so managers can enter the network when necessary. Another primary focus when developing company-wide intranet networks is security, so I always encrypt each access point and make it accessible only to authorised company staff members."

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