Service Management Jobs – Intermediate Level Interview Questions

As mentioned in last week’s post, interviews that require ITIL Intermediate level knowledge will most likely be targeted to specific process areas and activities.

If I interviewed someone for a job that required ITIL Intermediate level knowledge, in addition to other questions about the specific technical responsibilities of the job, I might ask the following questions:

Question:Describe a situation where an organization was not following a process-based approach and you helped design and create a process.

What this identifies: I’d ask this question because I want to know if the candidate has encountered a situation where an organization was behaving chaotically and he was able to help the organization move to a higher level of maturity using a process-based approach.

What a good answer looks like: A good answer describes a situation where an organization behaves inconsistently along with how the individual identified what was wrong and what needed to be done to improve the situation. A good answer concludes with how a specific process was designed and adopted and how that resulted in specific improvements over time.

What gets bonus points: If I encountered a candidate that could describe both a chaotic situation and how that situation was improved in the context of the CSI Model, then I would think that person knew what they were doing. In other words, someone who can explain a long-term vision as well as a starting point and then tell me how they got from that starting point to the desired vision in the context of a specific service management process will likely perform well in the interview. More bonus points if they can tell me how the process was measured. Even more bonus points if they describe tension metrics.

Question: Tell me about a time when an organization followed a process-based approach and two distinct processes worked together.

What this identifies: I’d ask this question because I want to know the candidate understands that processes produce outputs that are often the input to other processes. A candidate at the intermediate level should understand this be able to give clear examples in the context of several service management processes.

What a good answer looks like: A good answer describes a specific situation where an organization has multiple processes and how the output of one process became the input of another process. A good answer concludes with how that input-to-output relationship ultimately results in something valuable being created.

What gets bonus points: If I encountered a candidate that could describe multiple processes working together and could do it in terms of processes that are part of the ITIL framework, then I’d score that candidate higher than others. For example, a strong candidate could describe something about how and why change management produces a projected service outage and which other processes and functions use a projected service outage as well as how they use it.

Question: Describe an example of how an organization that you’re familiar with delivers value in the form of services.

What this identifies: I’d ask this question because I want to know that the candidate understands service providers provide value in the form of services to customers. I’d expect a candidate at the intermediate level to get the big picture and understand that all of our service management processes exist in order to underpin the services we deliver. Candidates at the intermediate level should get the big picture. In other words, we’re not delivering processes. We’re conducting processes in support of the larger objective of delivering value in the form of services.

What a good answer looks like: A good answer describes a specific service. It could fit the model of an IT service or a business service, but it definitely describes an example of how an organization created a boundary in the form of a service, how value was delivered with that service, and how customers interacted with and made use of the service. Additionally, I expect a candidate to be able to explain how various service management processes work together to ensure that the service delivers its intended value.

What gets bonus points: If I encountered a candidate that not only clearly identified a service and the value it delivered along with how processes underpin that service but could also take things a step further and identify the specific costs and risks that the service took on behalf of customers, then that candidate would do better in the interview. Even more bonus points would be awarded to the candidate who could explain how the service took on those costs and risks and why it was beneficial to customers to use the service as opposed to other alternatives.

Now you should understand some interview questions that you might expect for jobs requiring ITIL Intermediate level knowledge. I presented a sample of three interview questions along with what the question identifies, what a good answer might include, and the types of answers one might expect from a high-performing candidate. In the next post I will discuss the types of jobs that might require ITIL Expert level knowledge.

Related Courses
ITIL Service Lifecycle: Service Design
ITIL Service Lifecycle: Service Strategy
ITIL: Managing Across the Lifecycle

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