Top 30 A+ interview questions [2022 update]
As one of the best vendor-neutral and entry-level credentials for those pursuing a career in IT support and help desk operations, CompTIA A+ goes beyond covering basic computer set-up, repair and troubleshooting of hardware and software; it helps you prove your problem-solving skills in a wide variety of settings, regarding networks and operating systems as well as mobile devices and security for users.
With the A+ certification, you can land jobs requiring a wide range of responsibilities, from installation, configuration and preventive maintenance of computers in the workplace to providing expertise in virtualization and cloud computing technologies that support a remote and hybrid workplace.
Whether you’re just starting in this line of work or you’re considering changing careers, this article provides some of the most commonly asked interview questions and sample answers you can expect when applying for A+ computer technician positions. They are categorized according to their difficulty: entry, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Level 1 – Entry level
This first level of A+ interview questions covers the most basic, yet some of the most necessary, interview questions for related positions (since A+ is a certification that can be applied to many computer service technician jobs). Computer fundamentals are required for these positions. This first level of questioning will be one of the most important ways to measure the apparent value an interviewee will bring to the organization.
1. What operating systems do you have experience working with, and how long have you been working with them?
Okay, this is an icebreaker question that also serves as a basic gauge of a computer technician’s experience level. Organizations want you to have significant experience working with the operating system used at the organization, but they also want someone with well-rounded experience. With that said, use this time to elaborate on your experiences and show your prowess around computers. For example, describe how you have been using features and tools of the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system (OS) in different scenarios.
2. For the record, and to satisfy our interest, do you know any coding languages?
This may seem like a curveball or possibly a red herring question, and you are right to think so. Positions relying on A+ as their certification benchmark for candidates will not likely require you to use much coding, if any. Organizations sometimes just like to ask a question that will establish a candidate’s familiarity (and possibly mastery) of quasi-related topics; for a “coding” question to come up in an interview like this would be a bit out of left field but should be expected at the same time. Writing code is not something A+ certified holders need to know, but having some knowledge might be beneficial, especially when applying for positions in smaller organizations where employees often wear multiple hats.
3. What is a motherboard?
You will definitely face some questions that may seem rudimentary for A+ positions, but there is a reason for questions like this. They let the interviewers better see whether you are at the competency level to excel at the position. Yes, a motherboard is a basic component of a PC, and you should answer that it is the main circuit board for the computer system. Throw in a bit about your specific experience level, such as “I am very confident around motherboards and have installed and configured many in my previous position(s).”
4. How do you view the notion of being a team player with regard to this position?
As in many other, if not all, positions in IT and information security, being a team player will be crucial to your success. This definitely extends to A+ computer technicians because they can often be seen as the “front line” of the IT squad when interfacing with other employees who encounter computer issues. Employers value team players who work harmoniously with others to resolve issues and troubleshoot technical problems.
Even as part of a Tier 1 support position (such as with an MSP), when you will need to be able to work independently on problem resolution, being a team player is still important in your role as the first point of contact for the organization. You don’t have to be the most outgoing person of the bunch, but you definitely have to be approachable and a good listener for customers seeking technical assistance to offer friendly service.
5. Let’s assume that a printer is printing dirty pages. What would be the best way to test to see if the issue is resolved?
As a CompTIA A+ certified technician, you will probably spend a good portion of your day solving issues related to printers and other peripheral devices. When these problems arise, you test to see if the issue is resolved by running several blank pages through the printer. If they come out dirty, you will know that you have not resolved the issue, and you must try another way. True, this is a bit of a softball question, but it uses the basic logic and reasoning required to be good at this position, so it should be on your list of possible questions.
6. How comfortable are you with end-user communication?
One of the essential functions of an A+ certified computer technician is communicating with employees to solve their day-to-day problems with computers and other work-related technology. Typical tasks include replacing a computer mouse, fixing an office shared printer and, if you have administrator rights, even changing a user’s network ID password. All of these tasks should be expected of your position, so you should be comfortable with this and be familiar with proper communication techniques.
7. How do you think moving to a hybrid workforce will impact your job?
This question reveals your level of comfort working with remote and dispersed employees. It also gives you an opportunity to showcase not only your knowledge and abilities in regard to newer technologies, but also your awareness of how your role is changing and what challenges you are most likely to encounter in the position. If you have already worked with a hybrid workforce, give examples of how you were able to support them efficiently.
8. Have you ever been granted permission to use an administrator password?
This question is related to the last one. Answer honestly whether you have been granted custodianship of an organization administrator password. As you most likely know, A+-certified computer technicians often need this password to make changes to user computers and/or profiles. This position would be quite limited to only basic tasks without an administrator password, so if you have practical work experience in this area, you probably have used this password before.
9. Give me an example of a common task requested of you by a user at a previous job.
Another way for interviewers to gauge your experience level is to ask about everyday tasks you were responsible for in a previous job. When you are asked this question, give a general idea of the various technical tasks you had to perform daily (e.g., providing remote technical support via the internet or phone, installing new technologies, repairing hardware or configuring software), not the one-time tasks you were sometimes assigned. You will then convey the correct information to help them make the right decision in hiring.
10. Tell me about a time when you had to solve an issue for a user by thinking on the spot, and how was it resolved?
As important as your ability to communicate is your ability to think creatively on your feet when you are unsure how to resolve an issue. Problem solving is paramount for an A+ certified computer technician, and the interviewers know this. Bring up a time when your problem-solving skills saved the day, such as when you googled the issue and found an appropriate solution from a (hopefully reputable) source online.
11. Do you have any other certifications that will help you in this role?
While other certs may not be necessary to excel in this role, answering in the affirmative may help you secure the job. If you have any other certifications (which you may not, since the A+ is an entry-level certification), bring them up. For example, a management-related certification may help you secure a future role as a team leader or manager of other A+-certified computer technicians.
Level 2 – Intermediate level
The intermediate level is the next level of A+ certified computer technician interview questions. This level of interview questions will be more difficult than the last, but not anything that even an inexperienced candidate could not swing.
12. How do you expect to apply your A+ certification to this position?
This type of question is meant to see if you have internalized just how the CompTIA A+ certification will impact your desired position to support today’s core technologies. Before the interview, map out the skills in which A+ certifies you are competent. To do this, match the various responsibilities and tasks to the skills covered by the A+ certification to show that you have done your homework on the position and are ready to put A+ to real-world use. Let them know you are familiar with cloud computing concepts and setting up client-side virtualization. Also, highlight your ability to configure a variety of mobile devices, support applications and troubleshoot issues for employees in a dispersed workforce.
13. Why is staying on top of current technologies important for this position?
When you are asked this kind of question, the interviewers are trying to gauge how you will be as an evolving technician. Staying on top of current technologies is important because technological changes impact the workplace. As new technology emerges, the business world modifies its approach and adapts what it can use from what is new. Staying on top of these changes will make you a better technician. One aspect you could highlight is how A+ emphasizes the technologies and skills IT pros need to support a hybrid workforce, letting the prospective employer know you are ready to work in support of their staff wherever located.
14. Do you have a troubleshooting procedure that you follow? If so, please describe it.
As an A+-certified computer technician, you must establish a good troubleshooting procedure. This is the bread and butter of much of your role, so you can quickly and efficiently diagnose PC and mobile device problems, including common OS, malware and network security issues. Therefore, you will be expected to have at least some plan established.
For example: When issues arise, you can say that you first ask the user the following questions:
- When did the issue start?
- When was the last time it worked?
- Are you the only user experiencing this issue?
Then follow this up with steps like research, testing the solution, and ultimately coming up with a resolution.
15. If you could change anything about this position, what would you change and why?
This is a common question in job interviews. When you encounter this question, please note that interviewers are also trying to measure your pet peeves; if they are related to basic job functions, then the interviewer’s job is made easy because it shows the candidate is not a good match. For this answer, use something secondary to the position, such as filing paperwork, to differentiate yourself from candidates who would be disqualified by this question.
16. What sources of information do you use to keep your skills sharp on the job?
Let’s be honest: Everyone has “cheat sheets” that they go to when things get tough at work. CompTIA A+ computer technicians have (as you know) a vast wealth of knowledge at their fingertips with the Internet, and I know that you have some favorite sites or forums that you visit for tips. Simply recite a short list of some of your favorite, reputable go-to places to answer this question.
17. This position can be demanding at times. How well do you handle stressful situations?
A+-certified computer technician positions can feel like stress-laden, thankless jobs. You are the first line of support for users, and these technicians are often asked to work longer hours at times and even on some weekends. You will definitely want to convey not only your comfort level but also your approach. Make sure to indicate that you have a high ability to work well under pressure, that you have 5-star prioritization skills and that you are efficient when troubleshooting.
18. Let’s say a test server we use needs servicing. How comfortable would you be working on it?
A+-certified computer technicians are sometimes required to service servers. The one caveat is that some technicians are a bit wary when working on servers. This may be partly because of the importance of servers in organizations. You should be comfortable working on servers and should convince the interviewer that you have the skills to at least diagnose the issue. Often, new parts are needed, and many organizations have service contracts, so the manufacturer will send a technician to service the device. However, if you are a true dynamo at this, insist that you can handle all service and repairs of servers as long as you have the required parts/materials.
19. We have a production server that is still online, but an existing issue requires a reboot to resolve itself. What do you do?
This is one of the best questions for measuring the ability of computer technicians to think on their feet with an appropriate focus on the business. If the server can still be accessed and used, say that you will just wait until all the users go home at night before rebooting because of the server’s importance to the organization. If the server cannot be used, it does not matter when the reboot occurs — and frankly, the sooner, the better. The key is that you can discern when it would be acceptable to reboot a heavily used production server, given its importance to the organization’s daily business.
20. What are some of the different CPU technologies used today?
There are different CPU technologies in use today, and they have different purposes. Examples include multicore, hyperthreading, overclocking and throttling. Make sure to convey that you are knowledgeable in this area and that you know when the different technologies are used.
21. What are some examples of hard disk drive connectors used today?
Again, this question will gauge your experience and knowledge as an A+-certified computer technician. Although this information can quickly be learned on the job, it is also covered by the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Core 1 Objectives, so you should know this even if the interview is for your first job in IT. Different connector types include SATA, IDE/EIDE/PATA and SCSI.
22. What is your experience with software-as-a-service applications and remote troubleshooting?
This question will probably be asked by an employer that has a hybrid workforce and is looking to hire a technician who can support users efficiently, wherever they are. If you have experience assisting remote workers, discuss your troubleshooting methods and the tools you have used. Make sure that you also highlight how the CompTIA A+ credential you have acquired covers the technologies and skills needed to support today’s hybrid workforce.
Level 3 – Advanced level
We have finally reached the third and highest level of A+-certified computer technician interview questions. As you can guess by now, this level is more difficult than the last. By my estimation, the most difficult questions will stem from the actual practice of the skills covered by the CompTIA A+ certification. Buckle in and prepare for the last level of interview questions; but don’t worry; this is nothing you can’t handle!
23. What has been the most difficult/advanced task you have had to perform from a computer technician perspective?
Simply put, organizations want to hire a knowledgeable, confident candidate who can be trusted with even the most difficult technician situation if it pops up. To this end, think back on your experience and be truthful here — no one wants to hire somebody who says they can do something they cannot do. Aim high, provide details of the event and explain the outcome, including what you may have learned, to impress the interviewer.
24. What are some examples of common system files?
While this question just asks for examples, make sure to inject a bit of your knowledge about when they are used — which is basically in the background and for various boot tasks for computers. Some examples, as learned from the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Core 2 Objectives, include SYS, registry data files, INI, and NTLDR, among others. Also, make sure you include a little about what they do. For example, INI files allow you to choose boot options and which OS to use if more than one is installed.
25. What are some methods of installing operating systems?
What this question comes down to is essentially how you would deliver this installation. Multiple methods are available, such as installation from boot media like a CD, alternative boot media including USB flash drives, imaging and network installation. You should have all your bases covered if you provide examples here.
26. Most of our computers are from Dell. Do you know how to install an operating system on a Dell computer?
Different companies may use preferred methods to install operating systems, and Dell is no exception. Currently, Dell requires users to download a media creation file that will allow them to create media, such as a USB flash drive, that will be the installer for the operating system. This also extends to upgrades, such as when you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 on a Dell computer.
27. Do you have experience working with antivirus systems? To what extent have you managed AV solutions?
As an A+ computer technician, you will sometimes be responsible for managing antivirus (AV) programs to protect the business endpoints. This generally happens when there is no information security department or when they are too busy with other tasks and delegate it to the technicians. Regardless, you will probably be asked to perform at least some AV solution tasks. Think of some situations where you had to install, set up, configure, deploy and manage an antivirus product or where you responded to an AV issue and brought it to a favorable resolution.
28. If you were asked to estimate how long it would take you to expand a PC’s RAM, how quickly could you perform this task?
This question gauges your quick-thinking, real-world practice. As an A+ computer technician, installing RAM is one of the easier hardware/software tasks you might have to perform, which essentially requires you to pop the PC case off and carefully insert a RAM stick into an available RAM slot on the motherboard. Make sure to include the fact that unplugging the system will be vital to your safety and will also avoid jeopardizing the PC.
29. Let’s say our CEO needs support on their work office PC. How comfortable would you be helping them?
Certified computer technicians must be comfortable helping everyone in the organization, not just lower-level users who need their passwords changed. C-level executives are not always the most tech-savvy, and they often require support quickly because of their importance in the organization.
Many interviewers will ask you to think of scenarios in which you have demonstrated good interpersonal skills and attributes, as well as your level of comfort in working with higher management and CEO-level customers.
30. During a boot process, where do systems first count memory from?
This is one of the most difficult questions because it will require you to think a few levels deep to where a system first processes memory. The answer is that memory is first counted from the system board before anywhere else.
31. Speaking of boot operations, what does BIOS mean?
BIOS is an important part of computing and can be considered the most primitive level to interface with a computer. The acronym BIOS stands for basic input-output system, which is where you can change boot order and perform other basic yet vital system tasks.
32. We have an older (and we do mean older) PC that we keep for historical purposes. What is the purpose of the 34-pin connection on its I/O card?
While these questions are for 2022 A+ computer technician position roles, once in a blue moon you may be asked to work on an old PC. The 34-pin connection on its I/O card connects to the floppy drive. Yes, this is a brutal trick question and possibly the hardest in the interview; you may hear this question, though, so you should have it in your repertoire of answers.
The CompTIA A+ certification will give you an edge as you start applying for your first technician job and might give you better chances to be shortlisted for an interview. Job interviews are an important part of the selection and hiring process and can be stressful. Prepare yourself by reviewing the questions in this article so that you can answer the interviewers’ questions with examples from your work experience and your acquired knowledge. Highlight how your credential complements and enhances your work experience (especially if you don’t have much) and how it relates to the job requirements.
Demonstrating that you are well prepared for the interview and that you have the drive to keep your technology skills current will definitely improve your hiring chances.
For more on the CompTIA A+ certification, view our CompTIA A+ certification hub.