34 Interview Questions to Ask a Site Reliability Engineer (With Sample Answers)
When you’re trying to get a job as a site reliability engineer, the interview can be a good way to show the employer your skills and qualifications. Reviewing the answers to common interview questions can help you feel more confident about your answers. During an interview, employers will probably ask you about your past jobs and professional skills to see how you could help them improve how they develop software.
This article has 34 questions that a site reliability engineer job interviewer might ask you. There are examples of answers to some of the questions.
Questions in general for the site reliability engineer
During an interview for a job as a site reliability engineer, the hiring manager might ask you some general questions to find out what your best qualities are. By asking you these questions, an employer can learn about your work style and how you might work with others on a team. Here are some common questions you might be asked at an interview for a job as a site reliability engineer:
- Why do you want to work at this company?
- How do you do what you do best?
- What’s the best business advice anyone has ever given you?
- What kind of experience do you have in this area?
- Why should we hire you instead of the other people who want the job?
- What do you want to do with your work?
- What do people say about you at work?
- How do you choose the first thing to do?
- What’s the most important thing you’ve done at work?
- What did you do when you had to deal with a tough situation at work?
Ask the site reliability engineer about their history and experience.
Site reliability engineers are very important to the software deployment process because they help the development and IT teams work together better. Site reliability engineer jobs are often given to people who can show they have the experience to do the job well. When hiring managers ask about your past jobs, it helps them figure out how much experience you would bring to the job. Here are some questions an employer might ask about your background and experience:
- What do you like or find interesting about being a site reliability engineer?
- How do you talk to other team members?
- How long did it take you to make software?
- How well do you know how to keep systems running?
- What do you know about programming?
- What kinds of projects did you work on at your other jobs?
- How well do you know how to connect people?
- How long have you been writing code for automated deployment?
- What do you do when things at work get stressful?
- What do you think is the most important thing a site reliability engineer does?
In-depth questions to ask a site reliability engineer
Because being a site reliability engineer is a technical job, hiring managers will likely ask you a series of questions to see how well you understand important ideas. Site reliability engineers usually know about traditional IT infrastructure and can write code that can help cross-functional teams work better. Employers can tell if you know enough about your field from how you answer these questions. Here are some examples of the types of detailed questions you might be asked in an interview:
- How are site reliability engineers different from people who work on development operations?
- How do you look at the pipeline for deploying software to find ways to make it work better?
- How do you know if you’re doing a good job at this?
- How many different kinds of databases have you used?
- How and why would you use error budgets?
- How would you set up a plan for monitoring a service that doesn’t have one?
- How do you make the IT infrastructure bigger?
- How can people get things done?
- How do you monitor database query times?
- What is the difference between a SLA and a SLO?
Interview questions for a site reliability engineer and how to answer them
Here are some examples of questions and answers for a site reliability engineer interview to help you get ready:
1. How can a business make itself more visible?
Observability looks at a system’s output with tools like metrics, logs, and tracing to figure out how well it works. During the software development life cycle, site reliability engineers are usually in charge of being able to see what’s going on and fixing problems as they happen. This question lets the person in charge of hiring figure out how well you understand observability and how you could help their company use this method. Try to be specific about what you would do to make something more noticeable in your answer.
Example: “I think there are three things that can be done to make an organization easier to see. First, you should know what information is important if you want to be seen. Next, make a plan based on these numbers to figure out how well the system is working. Lastly, put that observability strategy to use to see how it can help the overall performance and processes of a development operations team.”
2.Can you tell me what SLO stands for and why it’s important?
Usually, it’s up to site reliability engineers to come up with a service level goal and work with IT, development, and engineering teams to make sure it’s realistic and can be kept. Hiring managers may ask you this question to see how well you understand this job duty. When you answer, try to explain it clearly and give an example of a SLO to show that you understand the idea. Then, think about writing down a few reasons why it’s important, focusing on how it helps both the team and the customer.
Example: “SLO stands for “service level objective.” Basically, it is an agreement between a service provider and a user to measure performance. An SLO might track things like how often something is available or how long it takes to answer. For example, a SLO might say that software problems that customers bring up should be fixed within 24 hours. An SLO is important because it makes it easier for developers and IT teams to meet customer expectations for performance. This is important because it makes customers happy. It can also help teams figure out what the goals of the software are and how to reach them.”
What does “computing in the cloud” mean?
Some companies store some of their services on cloud platforms, and a site reliability engineer may be on the team that manages the cloud-based system. Hiring managers ask this question to find out how much you know about cloud computing and how much experience you have with platforms like these. Try to explain what “cloud computing” means and why a company might use a cloud platform in your answer. If you’ve used cloud computing before, you might want to explain how you did it.
Example: “With cloud computing, you can use the internet to access services and resources like databases and networking from far away. It’s helpful because you can access these services from anywhere with an internet connection, not just through physical servers. Cloud computing can make it easier for IT teams to share resources and cut the costs of traditional infrastructure. It can also help teams work together better because they can share information right away. At my last job, I helped move some of our technical infrastructures to the cloud with one of our engineers.”
4.What can be done to improve the relationship between the operations and IT teams?
Because site reliability engineers work with many different software development teams, they can see problems in ways that others can’t. A hiring manager might ask you this question to find out how you would work with different teams and find ways to make them work better together. You can answer this question by talking about how important it is for departments to talk to each other and giving an example of a time you helped departments talk to each other.
Example: “It is important to bring these departments together so that developers and IT can work together more easily. Often, these teams are working toward the same goal without realizing it. It helps them to know what everyone else is doing so they can come up with new ideas and features as a group. Usually, all it takes to do this is for these two teams to find better ways to talk to each other.
At my current job on a development operations team, I added a new channel to our company-wide messaging platform so that IT and development teams can ask each other questions and share ideas. It has made it easier for team members to talk to each other and has led to some good ideas.”