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January 9, 2012 9:42 AM   Subscribe

IT Manager Interview help! Crash course resources and interview tips wanted.

I am currently in the interview process with a growing company looking for an IT Manager for a group of ~125 users. While I do have an extensive history of working in IT environments and technology in general, for the past several years I have been in a strictly supervisory role and away from the concerns of a typical modern corporate IT environment.

I have an interview with the IT Manager of the main office scheduled in the next week when he returns from a confrence and I am looking for some online resources or even personal tips and anecdotes about being an IT Manager. I need a refresher course ASAP!

Areas of interest include MacOS, Linux, Windows, Network Security, Virus and threat scanners, WI-FI, Vendors, Vendor negotiation, epic IT triumphs, epic IT fails, IT Support systems such as ticket tracking and system monitoring software recommendations. So, everything and whatever I missed. Am I missing anything?

I'm a mac user at home and have never even touched Windows 7! At my office we're still using XP! Help!
posted by j03 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've re-read your question a few times and it is unclear if you going to interview for the position or if you are going to conduct the interview for a candidate. This will color the answers greatly if you can jump in and clarify this.
posted by dgran at 11:12 AM on January 9, 2012

I am being interviewed for the position. I am the job seeker.
posted by j03 at 11:20 AM on January 9, 2012

When I was hired as an IT manager it was assumed that I had the technical background and most of the interview centered around the manager part and how well they felt I would fit with the culture. Management style, how I dealt with stress, PITA employees, PITA internal customers, etc. If you've been successful in your career they should assume that you can learn new systems and adapt to new ways of doing things. Much will come down to confidence and how well you understand how IT effects the business as a whole and what you can do to maintain or improve that area. Be relaxed but confident without being cocky and show you can communicate with both the techies and the non tech folks. Good luck!
posted by white_devil at 11:27 AM on January 9, 2012

In many cases a strong technologist is promoted into technical management and they need to acquire the supervisory skills. That transition sometimes goes badly and this worries upper management. You are coming at it the other direction. Unless they have a burning issue that needs broad expertise right now then you are better positioned with supervisory than technical skills. Pitch yourself as a solid manager who needs to get up to speed on the technologies. If the budgets are generous for this sort of thing, come with a planned reading list and/or training program that you plan to attend.

I know you want some specifics but it sounds like this coming fast. There are a lot of things one could read up on, but how to know if it is pertinent for this job? That said, some topic areas that are widely applicable for a company of that size for an IT manager to read up on would be:

* Workstation deployment policies -- Do you lock down workstations to avoid reconfiguration issues or do you give more freedom to users to install applications? There are good reasons to do both.

* Backup and recovery -- How often and do you need archival copies stored?

* Virus, spam and malware deterrents -- Which ways will you keep stuff from breaking and wasting people's time?

* Access to resources remotely or via mobile -- Can staff work remotely or access resources, such as email, with mobile devices? Would extending this capability be a competitive advantage or a security liability?

If you are coming from the outside you won't know the answers in advance, but I think if you research these general trends and ask intelligent questions about how IT serves the corporate mission you will fare better than by learning how to configure a firewall or schedule a rotating backup system. Good luck! IT management is quite dynamic and interesting.
posted by dgran at 11:49 AM on January 9, 2012

I would probably keep a weather eye on ITIL, and service management. This is becoming increasingly important, and i think is a really good framework for ICT management. I would make ITIL an aspiration in an interview.

I wouldn't worry about your exposure to various operating systems, perhaps you will be managing people who do. Our IT Director is a technical nuffy (not saying you are), but he's a good manager and that's what's important. he knows the quality of advice.
posted by mattoxic at 2:02 PM on January 9, 2012

Thanks for the answers so far. I should have mentioned that (should I be hired) I will be placed in charge of a new office that just opened (I will have no predecessor) with a patchwork of computer systems and networking and will be expected to be hands IT generalist until other IT Staff can eventually be hired.

I'm confident I will be able to handle this, but I want to get a refresher on the fundamentals of a modern IT department ahead of what could be a final interview.
posted by j03 at 5:57 PM on January 9, 2012

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