The Art of DevOps Interviewing

Questions and Techniques to Find the Best Talent

In today's fast-paced tech landscape, DevOps professionals are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, ensuring that software deployment runs smoothly and efficiently. These individuals possess a unique blend of technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and collaboration finesse. But how do you identify and recruit the right DevOps talent for your organisation?

The DevOps Interview Landscape

DevOps professionals are the linchpin of modern software development, responsible for the smooth integration of development and operations. To find the best talent, you need a structured and effective interview process. In this guide, we'll explore the world of DevOps interviewing, including key questions and techniques to identify top candidates.

The landscape of DevOps interviews requires a balanced mix of technical, behavioural, and situational questions. We won't delve into the esoteric; instead, we'll focus on practical aspects that matter in the real world.

Let's demystify the interview process, step by step, to help you make informed decisions when hiring DevOps talent or preparing for your next interview.

Technical Assessment

  1. Scripting and Coding Proficiency: Can you provide an example of a complex task or process that you've automated using scripting? Walk us through the script's structure and how it improved efficiency.
  2. Cloud Proficiency: Describe your experience working with cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. Can you provide examples of how you've designed and deployed applications in a cloud-native environment? How have you optimised cloud resources to ensure cost-effectiveness and scalability? 
  3. Containerisation and Orchestration: Describe a scenario where you had to troubleshoot a critical issue in a Kubernetes cluster. What tools and techniques did you use to identify and resolve the problem?
  4. Version Control Systems: Can you explain a situation where you had to manage a merge conflict in a Git repository? How did you handle it, and what strategies did you use to prevent conflicts in the future.
  5. Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Share an example of a complex infrastructure deployment you managed using Terraform. How did IaC help streamline the process, and what benefits did it bring to your team?
  6. CI/CD Expertise: Can you walk us through the setup and configuration of a CI/CD pipeline you've implemented in a previous role? Describe the tools and processes you used, including version control integration, automated testing, and deployment strategies. Share any experiences where CI/CD significantly improved the software delivery process.

Behavioural Interviewing

  1. Collaboration and Communication: Tell us about a project where you had to collaborate with both development and operations teams to improve the software delivery process. What challenges did you face, and how did you ensure effective communication?
  2. Problem-Solving: Describe a situation where an automated process failed in a critical environment. How did you identify the issue, and what steps did you take to rectify it while minimising impact? 
  3. Continuous Learning: Can you share details about a recent certification or training program you completed? How has this new knowledge benefited your work or the teams you've been a part of?

Situational Questions

  1. Incident Response: Imagine a scenario where a critical production system is experiencing downtime. Walk us through your steps from the moment you're alerted to the resolution. What tools, communication channels, and strategies would you employ?
  2. Scaling Challenges: If our organization suddenly experiences a surge in traffic and needs to scale up the infrastructure rapidly, what steps would you take to ensure a seamless transition? How would you plan for this in advance?
  3. Tool Selection: Given a project requiring continuous integration and deployment, select the appropriate CI/CD tools and explain your reasoning behind the choices. How would you set up and maintain this pipeline efficiently?



Soft Skills 

  1.  Adaptability: Describe a significant change or shift in technology or methodology that you've had to adapt to in your previous role. How did you approach this change, and what was the result? 
  2. Leadership: If you were leading a DevOps team, how would you foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement? Can you provide an example of how you've mentored or coached junior team members to help them grow in their roles?

The art of DevOps interviewing is about finding the right fit for your organisation's needs or showcasing your skills as a job seeker. DevOps isn't just a buzzword; it's a transformative approach that streamlines software development. Whether you're seeking to recruit top talent or establish your career in DevOps, these insights will guide you on your journey. Now that we've decoded the essential elements of the process, are you ready to dive into the world of DevOps interviews with confidence?