OSS / BSS Job Interview Questions: A Comprehensive Guide

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So, you’ve got a job interview coming up for an OSS/BSS-related role and you want to make sure you’re well prepared for it? You might have even heard of the term OSS/BSS and are wondering whether it might be a good career path for you. Well we’re Passionate About OSS so of course we’re going to suggest that it’s an amazing industry to build a career in. And we’re passionate about welcoming you and others into this exciting career, so we want to help give you the best possible start.

However, interviewing for positions in the OSS (Operational Support Systems) and BSS (Business Support Systems) space can be challenging due to the complexity and specialised knowledge required. These systems are critical in telecommunications, helping to manage, optimise and streamline network operations as well as all the related business processes / workflows. OSS and BSS touch almost every part of a telco’s business. We even argue that OSS and BSS are the foundational element that manages a telco’s entire business model.

Naturally every interview and interviewer has a different perspective on what’s important. This article provides an overview of possible OSS/BSS interview questions, offering insights into what candidates might expect and how they can prepare effectively.

What Roles Exist in OSS/BSS?

There are many different roles (and associated personality types, backgrounds and accreditations) that contribute towards the implementation of OSS/BSS projects. These roles include project managers / coordinators, business analysts (BA), testers, trainers, developers, network subject matter experts (SMEs), IT experts, data experts, Enterprise / Solution Architects, etc, etc.

Naturally, the types of questions you’re asked will vary depending on which of these diverse set of roles you’re applying for.

With these limitations in mind, hopefully the following might help you to prepare.

1. Understanding OSS/BSS

Before diving into the interview questions, it’s essential to understand the distinction between OSS and BSS:

  • OSS (Operational Support Systems): These systems support network management functions such as network inventory, service provisioning, network configuration, and fault management. They are crucial for ensuring network reliability and performance
  • BSS (Business Support Systems): These systems manage business functions such as customer billing, customer relationship management (CRM), order management, and revenue management. They play a pivotal role in customer satisfaction and revenue generation
  • You can find more information about the functionality, background, common standards and much more about OSS/BSS in our article, “What are Operational Support Systems (OSS) and BSS in Telecom?

2. Why a Career in OSS/BSS?

Consider first why you would want a career in OSS/BSS fields. A career in OSS (Operational Support Systems) and BSS (Business Support Systems) offers a range of opportunities and benefits for professionals in the telecommunications industry. 

Here are some compelling reasons why one might pursue a career in OSS/BSS:

High Demand

  1. Essential Role in Telecommunications: OSS and BSS are critical to the functioning of telecommunications networks and services. This essential role ensures a consistent demand for skilled professionals who can design, implement, and maintain these systems
  2. Importance of the Telecom Industry: Communications services have never been more essential for our modern lifestyles of work, entertainment, socialising and play. With continued investment (eg the expansion of 5G networks, IoT (Internet of Things), and digital transformation initiatives), the telecom industry is an essential industry

Diverse Career Opportunities

  1. Variety of Roles: OSS/BSS encompasses a wide range of functions, from network management and service provisioning to customer relationship management and billing. This diversity offers numerous career paths, including system architecture, software development, project management, and business analysis.
  2. Cross-Functional Experience: Professionals in OSS/BSS often work at the intersection of technology and business, gaining experience in both technical and business domains. This cross-functional expertise can open doors to various roles within and beyond telecommunications.
  3. A Variety of Skills / Attributes: Just as there are different attributes required by athletes for different events at the Olympics, there are different attributes required by OSSletes for different roles and assignments in OSS.

Technological Innovation

  1. Cutting-Edge Technologies: Working in OSS/BSS involves dealing with advanced technologies such as communications networks, AI, machine learning, big data analytics and cloud computing. Professionals have the opportunity to work on innovative projects that shape the future of telecommunications and technology more broadly
  2. Continuous Learning: The rapid pace of technological advancements in OSS/BSS and adjacent industries / technologies ensures that professionals are always learning and evolving. This dynamic environment can be intellectually stimulating and rewarding, especially if you love to learn and innovate

Impact on Society

  1. Improving Connectivity: OSS/BSS professionals play a crucial role in enhancing network performance and reliability, ensuring that people and businesses stay connected. This contribution to improving connectivity has a significant positive impact on society. If you’ve ever been impacted by a lengthy network outage, you’ll understand exactly how important telco services are
  2. Enabling Digital Transformation: By supporting the rollout of new services and technologies, OSS/BSS professionals help drive digital transformation across industries, contributing to global economic growth and development. It remains to be seen what impact technologies like metaverse and immersive reality (AR/VR) will have, but most advances seem to be closely tied to the collection and presentation of information via data networks

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

  1. Attractive Salaries: Due to the specialised knowledge and skills required, professionals in OSS/BSS often enjoy competitive salaries and benefits. The high demand for expertise in this field further drives attractive compensation packages. However, we should also highlight that the profitability of many organisations in the telco sector has been in decline in recent times. This could have a net-negative impact on job opportunities, salaries and length of tenure
  2. Career Advancement: There are ample opportunities for career advancement in OSS/BSS, with diverse pathways to leadership positions in technology and business streams. Continuous learning is almost an obligation in the constantly changing fields of OSS/BSS. This type of professional development can accelerate career growth. 

Global Opportunities

  1. International Careers: Telecommunications is a global industry, and expertise in OSS/BSS is in demand worldwide. Professionals have the chance to work with international companies, travel, and even relocate to different countries
  2. Cultural Exchange: Working in a global industry provides exposure to diverse cultures and practices, enriching both professional and personal experiences. Seeing how things are done in different countries and company cultures gives an opportunity to consider different ways to implement OSS/BSS (and there are almost limitless ways to implement OSS/BSS solutions)

3. Core Interview Questions

  1. What are OSS and BSS, and how do they differ?

    • Answer: OSS focuses on network operations and management (primarily back-end systems and workflows), while BSS deals with business processes related to customers, billing, and revenue (primarily customer-centric systems and workflows). OSS ensures network performance, whilst BSS ensures smooth business operations and customer satisfaction
  2. Can you explain the role of OSS in a telecommunications network?

    • Answer: OSS plays a critical role in managing and monitoring the network infrastructure, ensuring network reliability, performance, and efficiency. It includes tasks like fault management, configuration management, network inventory, and service provisioning.
  3. What are the primary functions of BSS in telecom?

    • Answer: BSS manages customer-facing activities and business processes, including customer billing, CRM, order management, and revenue assurance. It ensures accurate billing, effective customer relationship management, and streamlined business operations.
  4. How do OSS and BSS integrate with each other?

    • Answer: OSS and BSS integration is essential for seamless operations. Integration ensures that network operations (OSS) are aligned with business processes (BSS). For example, service provisioning in OSS needs to be reflected in the billing system in BSS.
      Every different vendor has a unique combination of functionalities though, so the real line of demarcation between OSS and BSS solutions can be blurry
  5. What are some common OSS/BSS tools used in the industry?

    • Answer: There are literally hundreds of OSS/BSS vendors, let alone products / tools. You can view some of them in our Blue Book OSS/BSS Vendor Directory here. Some of the most widely known OSS/BSS vendors include NetCracker, Amdocs, Ericsson, and Nokia, but there’s certainly  no shortage of others to choose from. These tools help manage network inventory, service provisioning, fault management, and network configuration. The first link above provides far more detail about the different categories of OSS/BSS tools in common use
  6. Describe a challenge you faced in managing OSS/BSS systems and how you overcame it.

    • Answer: There are many, many challenges relating to different aspects of OSS/BSS solutions, from design to build to implementation to ongoing operations. There is no single right answer here because it’s all about your personal experience. Therefore, we recommend that you think back to past experiences and relate them to the type of role you’re applying for that relates to OSS/BSS (even if you’ve never had an OSS/BSS role before). A common challenge could be integrating new technologies into existing OSS/BSS frameworks or designing end-to-end workflows through a combination of integrated tools. Overcoming this requires thorough planning, understanding the integration points, and ensuring minimal disruption to existing services through rigorous testing and phased implementation.

Technical Interview Questions

There are so many potential technical interview questions that you could be asked. They’ll commonly relate to the current-state OSS/BSS that your potential employer has. Naturally they’ll love to hear about any existing experience you have working with those tools or similar products. Therefore, we suggest to do your homework and attempt to find out what tools they already use and think of how your skills / experiences can relate.

Aside from that, here are a few other more generic questions you might be asked

  1. Explain the concept of network provisioning in OSS.

    • Answer: Network provisioning involves configuring network equipment / resources to enable the activation of services for customers. Depending on the telco’s services and systems, it could include assigning network paths, configuring routers and switches, assigning service quality thresholds and ensuring that the network can support the required services
  2. What is the significance of network inventory management in OSS?

    • Answer: Network inventory management is a foundational component of any OSS/BSS because it collects and maintains an accurate record of all network resources, including physical and logical components. It helps in planning, provisioning (fulfillment), and fault management (assurance), ensuring efficient utilisation of network assets. It’s awareness of hierarchies and connections within the network / services / customers data makes it useful for identifying root-causes and service / customer impacts
  3. How do you ensure data consistency between OSS and BSS systems and the networks / services they support?

    • Answer: Ensuring data consistency involves regular synchronisation between OSS and BSS databases and the many other sources of data that feed them. These include the network devices themselves, the solutions that control the devices (NMS / EMS) and a variety of other sources that are unique to each network operator. These data synchs can happen at different cadences, from ad-hoc to daily to near-real-time, depending on the timeliness required by the data consuming systems. Data consistency checks and audits are highly crucial to the efficient operation of any OSS/BSS
  4. Can you describe the typical components that make up a BSS architecture?

    • Answer: A typical BSS architecture includes CRM systems, billing systems, order management systems and revenue management systems. These components work together to manage customer interactions, process orders, generate bills, and ensure revenue tracking. However, there are many, many other features that they can provide
  5. What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for OSS/BSS systems?

    • Answer: There are literally thousands of KPIs used within the telco industry. Key KPIs for OSS include network uptime (you may hear reference to five-nines or 99.999% availability, which is the gold standard in the telco industry), fault resolution time (MTTR – mean time to repair / restore / resolve), and service provisioning time (RFS – ready for service dates). For BSS, KPIs include billing accuracy, order processing time, customer satisfaction scores, ARPU (average revenue per user) and revenue assurance metrics
  6. Explain the concept of fault management in OSS.

    • Answer: Fault management involves detecting, isolating and resolving network faults to maintain service quality and network performance. This includes real-time monitoring, fault / log / alarm management, root cause analysis (RCA), service impact analysis (SIA) and automated recovery procedures
  7. What are some common challenges in integrating OSS/BSS with other enterprise systems?

    • Answer: Common challenges include data inconsistency / mismatches, differing data formats, integration complexity relating to a diversity of APIs, and ensuring real-time data synchronisation. Addressing these challenges requires robust integration strategies, middleware solutions, and comprehensive testing
  8. How would you manage a project to upgrade the OSS infrastructure without causing major disruptions?

    • Answer: Managing an upgrade involves careful planning, stakeholder communication, phased rollouts, comprehensive testing, and having rollback plans in case of issues. Minimising downtime and ensuring data integrity are key priorities. Gaining acceptance from operations teams that they’re ready for handover is also essential

Behavioural Interview Questions

  1. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in OSS/BSS?

    • Answer: Staying updated involves continuous learning through a variety of means, including industry publications (especially LinkedIn groups), attending conferences (eg MWC, DTW, FutureNet, etc), participating in professional forums (eg TM Forum, 3GPP and MEF), and taking part in relevant training and certification programs. We find informal meetings with colleagues to be an invaluable source of information. And tell them you’re a subscriber to the Passionate About OSS blog and you’ll be sure to get bonus points for that answer! 🙂
  2. Describe a time when you had to coordinate with multiple teams to resolve an OSS/BSS issue.

    • Answer: OSS/BSS implementations are a team sport, involving many different roles, skills and experiences as mentioned above.  Effective coordination involves clear communication, setting expectations, and regular follow-ups. Again, your experiences are unique, so you may cite a specific example from your past that demonstrated your ability to lead, or thrive within, a team environment. This could be experience coordinating a major software upgrade that required input and testing from network operations, IT, and customer service teams.
  3. How do you handle tight deadlines and pressure in managing OSS/BSS projects?

    • Answer: There’s no doubting it, OSS/BSS implementations can be high-pressure environments, especially as handover deadlines are approaching. There are many, many moving parts that need to be carefully synchronised. Handling tight deadlines involves prioritisation, effective time management, and clear communication with a multitude of stakeholders (internal and external). It’s also important to remain calm and focused, breaking down tasks into manageable parts and ensuring a proactive approach to potential issues. We recommend the use of WBS (Work Breakdown Structures) to help plan and manage OSS/BSS projects
  4. Describe a situation where you had to learn a new technology or tool quickly. How did you approach it?

    • Answer: This is another uniquely personal experience-based answer. Rapid learning can be achieved through self-study, online courses, hands-on practice, and seeking mentorship from colleagues and/or just on-the-job (OTJ) experience. An organised approach, such as setting specific learning goals and timelines, can help expedite the learning process, but in the fast-paced world of OSS/BSS, you might just need to adapt and learn much more quickly than that!
  5. How do you prioritise tasks when managing multiple OSS/BSS projects or demands simultaneously?

    • Answer: As mentioned earlier, there are many moving parts on an OSS/BSS implementation and many different interdependent roles on each implementation team. Prioritisation involves assessing the urgency and impact of each project, allocating resources accordingly, and maintaining clear communication with project stakeholders. Depending on your specific project team and their methods, using project management tools and methodologies (eg Agile, Scrum) can help manage and track progress efficiently
  6. Other potential behavioural questions:
    1. What are your weaknesses – This question is seeking to gauge your self-awareness and willingness to learn (learning is a never-ending task in the world of OSS). Only you can answer this question, but you may like to highlight the areas (technical and non-technical) where you’re taking proactive steps to improve
    2. Tell us about a time you failed or missed a deadline – It’s a reality that you will try, experiment, fail (and learn) time and again on OSS projects. There is no single right way or correct way to do things. The way you experiment and recover from when things go wrong is an important consideration
    3. How do you handle stressful environments – Another harsh reality is that OSS roles / projects can be stressful, especially in the lead-up to solution hand-overs and go-live. Exacerbating this is that you work closely with team members who are also likely to be consumed by stress during these times too. Some people are like teflon and just deflect (and amplify) stress onto others. Some are able to absorb pressure. Others use a variety of mechanisms to alleviate some of the stress. Which are you and which techniques do you employ? Evidence of working cohesively in a team on past projects is a good place to start to answer this question

4. Common acronyms used in OSS/BSS?

In the realm of OSS/BSS, there are hundreds of important acronyms that are commonly used, some local, some globally recognised. A few of these include:

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) refers to systems that manage a company’s interactions with current and potential customers, enhancing customer service and retention
  • ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) integrates various business processes by consolidating data and processes into a unified system.
  • NMS/EMS (Network / Element Management System) is a platform designed to monitor, maintain, and optimise network infrastructure
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a contract that defines the expected service standards and metrics between a service provider and a customer
  • QoS (Quality of Service) represents the performance level of a service, particularly in terms of bandwidth, latency, and error rates, critical for ensuring high-quality network performance
  • API (Application Programming Interface) allows different software applications to communicate and interact, facilitating integration and functionality across systems
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is a measurable value that indicates how effectively a company is achieving its key business objectives, essential for monitoring and evaluating performance in both OSS and BSS contexts
  • ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes data from various sources into a unified data warehouse, crucial for data integration and analysis
  • BPM/BPR (Business Process Management / Re-engineering) involves the systematic approach to designing and improving a company’s business processes, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness
  • DBA (Database Administrator) but is also known as Death By Acronym, which the OSS/BSS industry can certainly be accused of!!

These acronyms encapsulate key concepts and tools integral to the effective management and operation of telecommunications systems, but you’ll undoubtedly encounter many more!


Preparing for an OSS/BSS interview requires a thorough understanding of both technical and business aspects of telecommunications systems. By familiarising yourself with your potential employer’s situation in conjunction with these common questions and crafting detailed responses, you can demonstrate your expertise and readiness for the challenges of managing OSS and BSS systems. Remember, the key is to showcase your technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and your capacity to work collaboratively in a fast-paced environment.

We hope you’ve found this article useful in your preparation for your next OSS/BSS-related role. We wish you the best of luck in landing it and joining us in the Passionate About OSS community!

You might also find our books helpful for swotting up ahead of your new role (click on the image to jump to the product page for each):


If you have any other questions (I’m sure you’ll have too many to list), or would like to suggest things we should add to this job preparation page, please reach out at:


PS. If you’re an OSS expert looking to be found or are seeking an OSS expert to assist you, you might like to register here.