A man has been waiting for ten minutes for a first available operator, trying to fix the issue with his computer. His frustration grew, he almost hung up the phone, but finally you answered. And now he vents his anger on you…

Help Desk is no easy job. What’s more, corporations expect their employees to always remain courteous, and to offer an almost perfect customer service experience each and every time they receive a call (or an email).

You can expect a difficult interview. They will test your basic IT skills with some technical questions, and your customer service skills and attitude to work with behavioral and situational questions.

In this article we will analyze some questions from both groups. Enjoy!


Why do you want to work as a help desk specialist (technician, assistant, etc)?

The key is to talk about things you want to bring onboard (your excellent technical and customer service skills, your experience in the field—if you have any; strong motivation to do well), rather than about things you want to take from them (good salary, learning opportunities, etc).

They should hear enthusiasm in your voice from the very first moment. They should feel that you genuinely want to work in help desk, and did not apply by chance, or because you failed in interviews for other positions, and need basically any job.


An end user calls you that their computer is very slow for the last three days. Describe the process of troubleshooting.

The key is to show that you follow some system in your work, that you won’t just start giving out some random suggestions. Say that you will use a method of questions and answers while trying to identify the problem, and later solve it, step by step.

The questions you will likely ask the user in this case are questions about programs they installed/uninstalled before the problem occurred, you may ask them to check the memory load in the task manager (explaining them how to open the task manager), you may ask them to restart the computer, etc.


How would you solve a conflict with the end user? (Describe a conflict you had with one of the users.)

First of all, you should emphasize that you always try to avoid conflicts with the users. If a conflict happened, however, say that you would try to understand the customer–their point of view, and explain everything in a language they’d understand.

What is more, you should say that you understand the importance of customer service (and the things the customers can do, if they aren’t satisfied–writing bad reviews, terminating their contracts, changing the provider, etc), and therefor you will never argue with a customer.

Tell the interviewers that you would try to stay courteous–regardless of the words the person on the other end, regardless of your mood or emotions that you experience.

Job interview in a small company. Two interviewers, one job candidate.

Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service (for example for a person who called you seeking assistance while experiencing some technical issue).

Going above and beyond marks the difference between an average and an excellent employee in any customer service job.

You do not have to talk about something groundbreaking, however. Perhaps someone opened a support ticket, you addressed the issue, and while addressing it, you identified an opportunity to further improve the performance of their device—and made this extra suggestion.

Or you responded to a call in the night, or traveled to meet the client on site, after hours, when you (and your colleagues) weren’t able to distantly troubleshoot a serious issue, one that had a big impact on the business of the client.

Anything you decide to narrate, you should talk with enthusiasm. Interviewers should get an impression that you enjoy going above and beyond while delivering an unforgettable customer experience.


Imagine a simple customer, someone who struggles to understand even the very basic instructions you give them. What would you do in such a case?

You can say that you would try to use a very simple language, comparisons, charts and pictures, if possible, to get your message over. And if that did not help, you would send a technician to the place, to solve the problem on-site.

One way or another, you should show your willingness to go an extra mile for your customer, using all possible means to get your message over.


Other help desk interview questions you may face

  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
  • Why did you leave your last job, and why do you think help desk will be better for you?
  • Tell us more about your previous working experience.
  • Describe a situation when you reached a goal and tell us how you achieved it.
  • What are your weaknesses? Don’t you think they’d limit you in this job?
  • Imagine there is network of fifteen computers and your task is to add a new user to this network. How will you proceed?
  • Imagine that you are already back home from work, and a client (based in a different time zone) calls you, having a serious issue with their desktop, seeking your help. What would you do?
  • Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in work (because you felt tired, because you experienced personal issues or conflicts with your colleagues, or simply because of boredom and repetitive nature of the job). Did you rediscover your motivation, and if you did, how did you manage to rediscover it?
  • You can not boot your Windows 10, because some files are missing. What will you do in this case?
  • …………


Conclusion, answers to all questions

Interviews for entry level jobs in help desk belong to interviews with average difficulty. You will typically compete with other people for the position, and will have to deal with some tricky behavioral questions.

The key is to convince the interviewers that you have both technical and customer service skills, and also a strong motivation that will help you to deal with some tough aspects of this job.

If you are not sure how to do that, or struggle with your answers to the interview questions, have a look at an eBook I wrote for you, the Help Desk Interview Guide. Multiple brilliant answers to all 25 most common help desk interview questions–including both technical and behavioral questions, will help you streamline your preparation, stand out, outclass the other job applicants, and walk away with a new employment agreement.

Thank you for checking it out, and good luck in your interview!


* You can also download a full list of questions in a one-page long PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later, even when offline:

help desk interview questions, PDF

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Matthew Chulaw
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