Help Desk Interview Questions and Answers

Help desk interview questions investigate a number of key abilities and skills that applicants for all help desk jobs need.

Help desk specialists need more than basic technical know-how. They have to:

  • answer phone calls
  • listen and question effectively
  • interpret and solve problems
  • give technical support
  • keep track of problems and resolutions

Often they have to handle difficult and demanding customers. Help desk jobs are as much about people, problem-solving and communication as they are about technology.

In addition to product and technical knowledge the following abilities and competencies are essential to success in help desk work:

  • customer-service orientation
  • problem-solving ability
  • the ability to adapt to different demands
  • stress tolerance
  • communication skills

Expect help desk interview questions that explore these 5 core competencies or behaviors.

Behavioral-based Help Desk Interview Questions

1. Communication

The focus of help desk interview questions is often around the candidate's communication skills.

"Tell me about a time when it was particularly difficult for the caller to explain the problem to you. How did you reach an understanding of the issue?"

In your answer demonstrate your ability to ask the right questions and continually clarify to get the correct information. The emphasis is on active listening, effective questioning and clarification.

Find out how to structure behavioral interview answers using the STAR technique.

"Give me an example when you had to simplify complex information in order to explain it to a caller."

Key to your performance on the help desk is an ability to break down complicated information so that it can be easily understood by people with limited technological expertise. Your answer should show how you can express your knowledge in a clear and simple manner.

"Discuss a situation when the caller had great difficulty in understanding what you were explaining. What did you do?"

Focus on your ability to adjust your communication style to the level of the caller. You have to able to talk to people of all levels of education, experience and technological expertise. Highlight your patience and willingness to repeat the information until understanding is reached.

Pay attention to the way you communicate with the interviewer. Your listening skills and questioning ability will be under close scrutiny. Go to communication tips for interviews to find out how to communicate effectively in the interview.

Be aware of the role your interview body language plays in sending the right message.

2. Customer Service Orientation

Each caller is a customer and your customer service motivation will be explored with help desk interview questions like these:

"Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particularly difficult customer/caller, how did you resolve the issue?"

"Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker."

"How have you responded when callers become demanding beyond an acceptable level?"

Help desk interview answers to these questions should all highlight your ability to remain professional in difficult situations.

Focus on the effort you made to understand the callers' issues and to meet their needs without becoming upset or negative.

Expect common customer service questions including What does excellent customer service mean to you? Go to customer service interview questions to prepare well for this question - it is often asked.

How to define customer service

3. Problem-Solving Ability

"Describe a complicated problem you had to deal with. How did you gain a better understanding of the problem?"

"Tell me about a problem that really tested your analytical abilities? How did you reach a solution?"

"Tell me about a problem that you could not immediately solve. What resources did you use?"

Your interview answers should demonstrate your ability to:

  • get the necessary information from the caller
  • to identify the key issues and detect the problem

Focus on your skills in analyzing the problem and working out the best solution using the resources available to you.

4. Adaptability

"Tell me about a time you had to had to adjust your approach to deal effectively with a work demand."

"Tell me about a time you experienced conflicting work demands. How did you respond?"

"What kind of people are your current users? How do you adapt to their particular demands?"

The interviewer wants to know if you can effectively deal with different people and different demands. Show that you can adjust your communication style, your behavior and your actions to meet changing demands and tasks.

Show how you are able to maintain your effectiveness in dealing with different people.

5. Stress Tolerance

"Tell me how you have dealt with a hostile caller. What was the outcome?"

"Describe a highly stressful interaction you've had with an internal/external customer. How did your react?"

"How did you respond when you received negative feedback from a caller about you personally?"

These help desk interview questions require you to show how you can handle negative and stressful situations. Your answer should:

  • show a patient and positive attitude when challenging situations occur 
  • show that you do not allow your personal ego to get in the way of helping the caller
  • describe the coping techniques you use to keep calm under stress

These answers to behavioral interview questions will help you to be ready for a range of behavioral based interview questions.

Typical Help Desk Interview Questions

Help desk staff  may be required to work outside the 9 to 5 day. Your willingness to have a flexible work schedule may be explored.

"Tell me about your current work schedule."

Help desk workers need to constantly learn new technologies and stay current.

"How do you keep your knowledge and skills current?"

Demonstrate a willingness to learn and implement new knowledge.

Expect help desk interview questions that explore your product and technical knowledge.

"In which areas do you consider yourself to be an expert, and how do you envisage being able to utilize this expertise within this  organization?"

Demonstrate that you understand the overall systems environment as well as specific products. Highlight your specialist skills and how they will benefit this position.

"What are your strong points as an employee?"

Go this list of strengths to be ready for this interview question.

"Which areas would you like to improve on in your help desk role?"

Find good sample answers to the interview weakness question.

How to prepare for a help desk interview

These call center and customer service interview guides will ensure that you are ready for any interview question you may be asked.

Common Job Interview Questions

You will have to answer a number of common interview questions in your help desk interview.

Tell me about yourself

Why should we hire you?

Do your homework and find out about the company before your interview. Be ready to answer the question, Why do you want to work here?

Ask the interviewer good questions

Prepare some smart questions to ask in your interview. It is important to be ready with some insightful questions to ask the interviewer. Help Desk Interview Questions to Ask

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Sample Help Desk Resume


Help Desk Job Description


Sample Call Center Resume

There are a number of tried and tested interview techniques and strategies that improve your chances of success. Top 10 Interview Tips

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