If I interviewed someone for a job that required ITIL Expert level knowledge, in addition to other questions about the specific general responsibilities of the job I might ask the following questions:
Question: Describe a situation where people followed a process in a way to produce a specific level of metric, how this affected overall organizational performance, and what was done to improve the situation.
What this identifies: I’d ask this question because if I were hiring an ITIL Expert I would want to ensure that they understand what a tension metric is, why they exist, and how they’re used. An ITIL Expert should understand that people will often behave in a way that meets a target for a metric that management is watching as well as why this situation is dangerous and how tension metrics are a tool that can help control this type of behavior
What a good answer looks like: A good answer describes a situation in which an organization established a process and a specific metric was picked. This answer would describe how process practitioners performed in a manner that solely focused on the metric while sacrificing other beneficial things. Finally, a good answer would conclude with something about how the organization addressed the situation.
What gets bonus points: A candidate would do well on this question if they could describe that the work from any team is a balancing act between resources, functionality, and schedule, in the context of a real life example. A clear explanation of two or more metrics that move in unison as a means of creating tension metrics would get bonus points.
Question: Tell me about a time when an organization did not clearly define accountability. What affect did this have on the organization’s goals and how did this impact the business?
What this identifies: One thing that is clear about ITIL is that anything that is important in or to an organization should have clearly assigned accountability. ITIL is excessively clear about this. An ITIL Expert should not only understand this but should be able to identify situations where accountability is lacking and the impact this has on the business.
What a good answer looks like: A good answer will describe a situation where an organization has something important, such as a process, service, or some output, that has no ownership defined. The candidate will be able to describe why that lack of ownership exists, how to identify that it exists, and what could be done to help establish accountability.
What gets bonus points: A candidate that could explain a situation where accountability is lacking and how that directly affects the business, as well as how establishing accountability affects the business will earn bonus points. Furthermore, a candidate that can clearly communicate how it is possible to be accountable while not having direct management authority over all of the resources involved will score very well on this question.
Question: Describe a situation where an organization followed multiple frameworks, best practice approaches, or methodologies. How did the organization use these things together to produce value for the business?
What this identifies: ITIL describes related complementary guidance in an appendix in every core book, and references related guidance throughout various sections in each core book. ITIL does this because rarely does an organization follow a single approach or use a single methodology. Various best practice frameworks, techniques, and approaches are often used in organizations, and this question will identify if the candidate understands this and doesn’t think that there’s only one solution to every issue faced by an organization. In other words, I’d ask a question like this to eliminate those candidates who think a single methodology always has the best answer. I want open-minded ITIL Experts who can see value in different approached and techniques.
What a good answer looks like: A good answer describes how an organization not only uses ITIL best practice but how other approaches are used in conjunction with ITIL. For example, a simple answer to this question might describe a situation where an organization had adopted ITIL best practices through several projects that were managed according to project management best practices.
What gets bonus points: A candidate who can explain that no single approach always works and can explain in the form of an example how various approaches and tools were used from various bodies of knowledge to help an organization will earn bonus points. If a candidate can describe specific tools and how those tools align with or are used during some ITIL-related activity, then I would rank that candidate higher than others.
I have covered some interview questions that job seekers might expect for jobs requiring ITIL Expert level knowledge. I shared three sample interview questions, along with what the question identifies, what a good answer might include, as well as what types of answers one might expect from a high performing candidate. This concludes this series of posts related to how knowledge at various ITIL certification levels might be assessed during an interview.