15 Troubleshooting Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position where Troubleshooting skills will be used.

When it comes to job interviews, being prepared is key to landing the job you want. And while you can never predict exactly what questions you’ll be asked, knowing how to troubleshoot common problems is a valuable skill in any industry.

If you’re interviewing for a position that requires troubleshooting skills, you can expect to be asked questions about how you would handle various scenarios. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of sample questions and answers related to troubleshooting.

1. What are some common problems you might encounter when troubleshooting?

Troubleshooting is a common job duty, so interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience with certain issues. In your answer, share two or three problems that you’ve encountered in the past and how you solved them.

Example: “One of the most common problems I encounter when troubleshooting is not having enough information about the issue. When this happens, I try to gather as much data as possible before making any assumptions. Another problem I sometimes face is being unable to access the computer because it’s locked down by an IT manager. In these situations, I always make sure to communicate my concerns to the IT manager so they can help me find a solution.”

2. How would you approach a problem where the root cause is not immediately clear?

Troubleshooting is a skill that requires patience and the ability to think critically. Employers ask this question to see if you have the skills necessary to solve problems without having all of the information right away. Use your answer to show them that you can use critical thinking skills to analyze a problem until you find its root cause.

Example: “When I’m working on a problem where the root cause isn’t immediately clear, I start by analyzing the symptoms. This helps me understand what’s going wrong with the system and narrows down my search for the root cause. Then, I try to eliminate as many possible causes as I can before moving forward. If there are multiple issues happening at once, I’ll work through each one individually to ensure I don’t miss anything.”

3. When it comes to troubleshooting, what do you see as your biggest weakness?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you are self-aware and willing to improve. When answering this question, it can be beneficial to mention something you’ve worked on in the past or plan to work on in the future.

Example: “My biggest weakness when troubleshooting is getting ahead of myself. I have a tendency to try to solve problems before gathering all the information. However, I am working on being more patient and taking my time when troubleshooting so I don’t miss anything.”

4. Can you give me an example of how you solved a particularly challenging technical problem in the past?

Troubleshooting is a major part of the job, so interviewers want to know how you approach solving problems. Give them an example that shows your critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.

Example: “At my last job, we had a client who was having issues with their website. The site would load slowly or not at all, which affected their business. I started by looking for common issues like server errors or DNS resolution problems. After checking those things, I found that there were no issues on our end. Next, I checked the client’s firewall settings and confirmed that they weren’t blocking any traffic. Finally, I asked the client if they had recently made any changes to their network or installed new software.”

5. What tools and techniques do you use for troubleshooting?

Troubleshooting is a skill that requires you to use your knowledge of computer hardware and software, as well as your analytical skills. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have the necessary tools for troubleshooting and how you apply them. In your answer, explain which tools you use most often and why they are effective.

Example: “I always start with the basics when troubleshooting an issue. I check all cables and reboot the system. If these steps don’t solve the problem, I move on to more advanced techniques like updating drivers and checking for viruses. These methods usually resolve issues quickly, but sometimes it takes longer to find the root cause of the problem.”

6. What types of tasks have you performed while troubleshooting?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience level and how you apply it to a job. You can use this opportunity to highlight any unique or challenging tasks that you’ve completed in previous roles, including:

Example: “In my last role as an IT specialist, I was tasked with troubleshooting issues on multiple devices for employees within the company. This included desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. I also had to ensure all of these devices were compatible with the company’s network. To do so, I researched different operating systems and software applications to find the best solutions for each employee.”

7. What is the difference between debugging and troubleshooting?

Debugging and troubleshooting are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings. Debugging is the process of finding errors in a computer program while troubleshooting is the process of fixing problems with a system or network. Your answer should show the interviewer that you know how to use these terms correctly.

Example: “Debugging is usually done by software developers who find bugs in their code. Troubleshooting is when I’m looking for solutions to fix issues with hardware or software. In my last role as an IT support specialist, I would receive calls from users about problems they were having with their computers. I would then ask them questions to determine what was causing the issue and provide them with instructions on how to resolve it.”

8. What are the different phases involved in troubleshooting?

Troubleshooting is a process that involves several steps. The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your troubleshooting skills and how you apply them in different situations. Your answer should include the phases of troubleshooting, as well as an example of when you used each phase.

Example: “There are four phases involved in troubleshooting. First, I assess the problem by gathering information from the client or user. Then, I isolate the issue by eliminating possible causes. Next, I resolve the problem by finding a solution. Finally, I verify that the problem has been resolved.”

In my last role, I had a client who was having issues with their website. After assessing the situation, I learned that they were experiencing slow load times on their site. I isolated the cause by eliminating other factors that could have caused the slow load time. I then resolved the issue by optimizing the website’s coding. Once I verified that the issue had been resolved, I provided the client with instructions for maintaining the website so it wouldn’t happen again.”

9. What are the four steps of troubleshooting?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of troubleshooting. It also allows you to show the interviewer that you know how to apply troubleshooting skills in real-world situations.

Example: “The four steps of troubleshooting are defining the problem, isolating the cause, testing and implementing solutions. The first step is crucial because it helps me understand what I’m working with. If I don’t define the problem correctly, I may waste time trying to solve something that isn’t actually an issue. Next, I isolate the cause by eliminating variables until I find the root cause of the problem. Then, I implement solutions by fixing the problem and ensuring it doesn’t happen again.”

10. In general, how much time should be spent on identifying the root cause of a problem?

This question can help the interviewer determine how much time you spend on troubleshooting and whether your approach is effective. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of finding the root cause as quickly as possible to prevent future problems.

Example: “I believe it’s important to find the root cause of a problem as soon as possible because this allows me to fix the issue permanently, which prevents future issues from occurring. I usually try to identify the root cause within one day of starting a new project so I can begin working on solutions right away.”

11. Why is root cause analysis important in any troubleshooting exercise?

Root cause analysis is a critical skill for troubleshooters to have. It helps them identify the source of an issue and fix it more efficiently. Your answer should show that you understand why root cause analysis is important in your field. You can also use this question as an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of common root causes in your industry.

Example: “Root cause analysis is one of the most important skills I’ve learned in my career because it allows me to find the real problem quickly. When I’m working on a project, I always make sure to ask questions until I get to the bottom of the issue. This saves time and makes it easier to solve problems in the future.”

12. Give me an example of a situation where you needed to work with other people or teams to identify the root cause of a problem?

Troubleshooting often requires collaboration with other team members or departments. Employers ask this question to learn more about your interpersonal skills and how you work in a team environment. In your answer, try to describe the steps you took to collaborate with others and solve the problem.

Example: “In my last role as an IT specialist, I worked on a project that required me to troubleshoot issues for multiple departments within the company. One day, one of the marketing teams reported that they were experiencing technical difficulties with their website. After speaking with them, I learned that the issue was only occurring on mobile devices.

I then spoke with the IT specialists who handled the company’s desktop computers. They informed me that there weren’t any problems with those devices. At this point, I knew that the issue must be related to the company’s mobile site. I called the lead developer of the site and asked if he could check his code to see if there were any errors. He found that there was a coding error that prevented the page from loading properly on mobile devices.”

13. What’s the best way to document the results from a troubleshooting operation?

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your organizational skills and ability to work independently. Your answer should show that you can keep track of important information, such as the date, time and results of a troubleshooting operation.

Example: “I prefer using a software program for documentation because it allows me to create detailed reports with screenshots and notes about what I did during an operation. This helps me remember all the steps I took when solving a problem and makes it easier to share my findings with other IT professionals.”

14. How can you ensure that all potential causes of a failure are identified during troubleshooting?

This question can help the interviewer assess your troubleshooting skills and how you apply them to ensure that a problem is resolved as quickly as possible. Use examples from past experiences where you applied this skill to identify all potential causes of a failure and solve it effectively.

Example: “I always make sure I have enough time to thoroughly investigate the cause of a failure before making any assumptions about its source. This helps me avoid overlooking important factors that could affect the solution or lead to additional problems later on. In my last role, for example, I was tasked with resolving an issue with a server’s cooling system. After diagnosing the problem, I realized that the server had been installed in a room without proper ventilation. The solution involved moving the server to another location.”

15. How do you know when a trouble ticket has been resolved?

This question can help the interviewer understand your troubleshooting process and how you communicate with others. Use examples from previous roles to explain how you communicated with coworkers, managers or customers about a ticket’s status.

Example: “When I resolve a trouble ticket, I make sure that all of my notes are saved in an organized way so I can refer back to them later if needed. In my last role, I used a shared Google Drive folder to store documents related to each ticket. This helped me keep track of which tickets were resolved and when they were completed. It also allowed my team members to see what issues we had already addressed.”


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