DevOps Engineers are highly in demand in the tech industry—they have the ideal mix of technical and development skills, plus resource management and communication skills. This powerful combo also means it’s particularly tricky to find the right person for your team and the job.
To help you in your quest to find your next superstar team member you’ll need to come prepared with the right interview questions for DevOps Engineers. 🤝
Read on for questions that’ll help you learn more about your DevOps Engineer candidates, their experience and their skill set. You’ll also find guidance on the kind of insight each question provides and ideal answers to listen out for when you conduct an interview.
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">💡 Remember: A job interview is a two-way street — your candidate is also interviewing you about what it is like to work at your company. They need to feel certain that joining your team is the best decision they can make. Be ready to answer their questions and share anything that would get them excited about becoming a team member.</p></div>
Beyond what’s written on the CV or job application, you’ll want to hear more from your candidate about their background in DevOps. How did they get to where they are now? What inspired them to start a career in this industry? There’s a lot more to a candidate than what’s on paper.
Listen for: An easy-to-follow story of how they landed a career as a DevOps Engineer. They don’t have to have a linear career path and there’s no right or wrong answer to this interview question. It’s okay if your candidate has taken a somewhat unconventional career route.
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Similar to the previous question, this DevOps Engineer interview question is about understanding who your candidate is and what makes them tick. You’ll want to get a good idea of what they enjoy most about being a DevOps Engineer.
Listen for: Passion and genuine enjoyment in what they do for a living. Think about the ways your team would be able to support and stoke that passion.
This question can help you gauge whether their career aspirations align with your needs as an employer. It will also help you gain a deeper understanding of their motivators, which is an integral part of keeping employees happy, productive and loyal.
Listen for: Identifiers as to what makes this person tick when it comes to their work life and what it will take to keep them around for the long haul. That could be money, growth opportunities or a passion for their craft. When your candidate answers, it’s important to truly listen without judgment.
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When you ask this interview question, be sure that you’ve given your candidate a decent introduction to who you are and what your company is all about. Once you’ve done that, you can dig a little deeper and sense if your candidate identifies with your company values.
Listen for: An appreciation for and connection to some of your company values. Remember: it’s not about a culture fit, but rather a values fit.
Their answer will let you know why they think they’re right for this position. It’ll also show that your candidate has a strong understanding of what the role will require of them.
Listen for: Examples of strong communication skills, a collaborative spirit and leadership qualities. Their answer should also demonstrate how they stay organized and their level of attention to detail.
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Every role comes with its own challenges. This DevOps interview question will help you uncover what your candidate might struggle with already or what they might not have a ton of experience with.
Listen for: Someone who is honest in their answer. Pay attention to how they overcome their challenges and limitations in the workplace. Do they let it interfere with the quality of their work? The vital part of their answer will tell you how they handle adversity and the solutions they come up with to rise above it.
You may have touched on this at the start of the interview, but this is your chance to really dig deep into their DevOps work experience that might be relevant to this role. Ask your candidate to be detailed and provide responsibilities, achievements, special projects, etc.
Listen for: Proven experience using the software applications and tools that are typical for the role. Ask follow-up questions to gain an understanding of their expertise and skill level at each phase of their career up until now.
As a DevOps Engineer, obviously, it’s important to understand the DevOps lifespan. This question will help you assess your candidate’s knowledge and communication skills. Their answer should be detailed and in-depth.
Listen for: There are eight phases that you’ll want to hear your candidate identify. They are: plan, code, build, test, integrate, deploy, operate and monitor. Ask them if they can briefly explain their approach to each phase.
There are many popular tools and applications that a DevOps Engineer uses regularly. You'll want to ensure that your candidate is comfortable working with some of them and/or willing to learn how to use different ones.
Listen for: A list of popular tools such as Selenium, Puppet, Chef, Git, Jenkins, Ansible and Docker.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are an excellent way to measure any team's productivity. There are many KPIs that measure an assortment of things, but there are three very specific ones that your candidate needs to understand if they are going to be successful in their role as DevOps Engineer.
Listen for: Three things in particular: mean time to failure recovery, deployment frequency and percentage of failed deployments. They should also be able to explain each in detail.
This DevOps Engineer interview question can help you gauge the candidate’s knowledge of branching strategies, their purpose and any previous experience they might have.
Listen for: Mentions of release, feature and task branching strategies. Additionally, you’ll want to hear them explain what each strategy is and how it’s used.
This question will help you establish if your candidate is going to be able to work well with your team. Working in a collaborative environment, especially as a DevOps Engineer, requires mutual respect amongst everyone.
Listen for: Talk of communication, teamwork, mutual respect and participation. Your candidate should display a sense of empathy, patience and openness if they’re going to be in this role.
Feedback is a vital part of anyone’s professional growth and development. As a potential employer, you need to know that your DevOps candidate will be able to embrace constructive feedback productively.
Listen for: An acknowledgment of feedback as an opportunity for growth and development. The candidate should both receive and deliver feedback professionally and positively.
It’s crucial to ensure that the entire team receives information essential to their work in a timely and transparent fashion. You’ll want to confirm that your candidate has the communication skills necessary to do this.
Listen for: A clear and concise communication style within their answer.
It’s only natural (and normal) that conflict amongst team members will happen. When it does, it must get resolved quickly so it won’t demoralize the rest of the team and impact the quality of your work.
Listen for: Your candidate’s ability to de-escalate a situation. You’ll also want to pay attention to their conflict resolution skills.
With their answer, your candidate should display prioritization and multi-tasking skills. Additionally, they should be able to identify tools or techniques to maintain organization.
Listen for: Their ability to prioritize their workload, manage their time well and delegate to their team. No person is an island!
There’s no shortage of tricky concepts for a DevOps Engineer — that’s why it’s important to learn how they wrap their heads around something difficult and how they’re able to communicate it to a team member.
Listen for: Signs they’re patient, understanding and that they have strong communication skills. Do they use visuals? Are they capable of simplifying a message? Do they use language that their audience would understand?
Occasionally, our jobs might require experience navigating tasks and situations that might not necessarily be part of the job description. This question will help you assess the candidate’s abilities to handle this and if they also put importance on maintaining a healthy balance in their work life and personal life.
Listen for: A real-world scenario. You’ll want to hear that they displayed sound judgment, applied logic to the situation and collaborated with their team to resolve the problem.
You want to understand how your candidate will be affected by the moods of others. You also want to see what this person would do to help their colleague out and keep the team on track to reach their goals.
Listen for: Behaviors that will help contain and defuse negativity within the group. Someone who can approach a situation like this with loads of empathy, reasoning, calm and understanding will be an ideal candidate for your team.
This isn’t a trick question — everyone, and I mean everyone, has failed at something at work. The purpose of this interview question is to see if your potential DevOps Engineer is humble enough to admit their failure and, more importantly, if they can learn from their mistakes to improve in the future.
Listen for: A sense of self-awareness and acknowledgement that no one is perfect. Mistakes are only natural, but how we deal with them and learn from them matters.
It’s common for DevOps Engineers to have to multi-task and prioritize based on what has to get done fast. This is a great question to ask to uncover your candidate’s work process and how they manage to prioritize the many items on their to-do list throughout the day.
Listen for: An easy-to-follow and logical process for how they manage multiple projects and tasks at the same time.
This is your candidate's chance in the interview to brag and demonstrate their abilities. 😎 It will provide you with a glimpse into their personality, what they value most, as well as their passion and dedication to their work.
Listen for: Excitement as they talk about the accomplishment that brings them the most pride. Find out if this person is motivated by being acknowledged for their achievements. Can you as an employer meet that motivational need?
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Sometimes a problem requires a different set of eyes to be seen clearly — this is especially true in the software engineering world. The candidate should display the ability to see issues from different angles and develop creative solutions to overcome any problem.
Listen for: Behaviors that display creativity, adaptability, flexibility and solution-based action.
Ask this question to find out how your candidate inspires those around them in challenging times. You’ll want to look for someone who understands that it’s natural to feel unmotivated and also has the skill-set to help colleagues get out of a rut.
Listen for: Signs of their team-building skills and if they place importance on their team relationships.
This interview question allows you to understand how your candidate views themself and how other people they’ve worked with in the past view them too. You can also ask follow-up questions to dig deeper and get more insight into who they are as a person.
Listen for: Words like “adaptable,” “patient,” “collaborative” and any other words that would describe the ideal candidate for your open DevOps Engineer role.
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