6 Questions to Determine if a Candidate is Fit for the QA Job

As technology is growing and software is becoming an integral part of human life, expectations for better application, service and user experience are rising.

Gone are the days when a customer was visiting the market for 5 times to check different brands, quality and cost before buying an Air Conditioner. Nowadays, those big decisions are being taken while sitting on a comfy chair and sipping coffee. 

With few clicks you can evaluate each and everything online which is available in the market; you can read relevant recommendations from other users; you can order and expect the Air Conditioner at your doorstep within a day.

With these changes, don’t you think, it’s time to revolutionize interview and candidate selection processes too?

Questions for a QA Job

Let’s consider an example:

If you want to provide better security, you need to appoint an armed security guard. But before that, you need to confirm whether he knows how and when to use those security weapons.

And how do you confirm it?

By trying to judge him/her within 20-30 minutes of a process, called an interview?

No one will get infinite time to judge and select a candidate. It’s important to understand how the interview process and questions should be in order to get the best results.

And the right process should include right questions, isn’t it?

Let’s consider a couple of scenarios:

Scenario #1: Interview for Software QA beginner level position is in progress:

Q: What is STLC?
A: Answered …

Q: What is Bug life cycle?
A: Answered …

Q: Tell me the test cases for login page?
A: Answered …

Q: How would you test Facebook?
A: Answered …

Result? The candidate is selected.

Scenario #2: Interview for Software QA beginner level position is in progress:

Q: Why you want to be a software tester?
A: Umm…… Actually, I like to do testing (Good to know)

Q: How would you like the pizza if presented in a triangular shape?
A: Who will think about shape when pizza is there? I will just eat it and smile

Q: How do you sharpen your testing skills?
A: I keep on testing.

Q: Can you observe anything around you and point some issues?
A: Umm… (Wrinkles on forehead and cursing the interviewer)….umm…..umm……continued

Result? The candidate has been asked politely to leave.

Have you noticed a difference between these interview scenarios? You got the point.

In my career, I have interviewed so many candidates and from that, I can definitely conclude that:

  1. Almost all of the candidates are prepared for theoretical questions
  2. Communication skill is important but judging a candidate based on this one skill is not sufficient
  3. Demo of Real-time testing/QA skills is must before selection
  4. If the person is not showing curiosity and passion, the interview will be just a waste of time
  5. Trying out something logical should be given more weightage than answering a theoretical question
  6. How rapidly and creatively the person can generate test ideas is most important
  7. Reporting skill for QA is important and it can’t be ignored

All the positions have their own requirement but besides that, there is a common need for each and every field, which needs to be verified, no matter for which designation the interview is being carried out.

When it comes to software testing, I can point out below questions, in no particular order, to be considered:

Ask these 6 questions to determine if a candidate is fit for the QA position:

Question #1 on Curiosity and passion:

Curiosity and passion

Being a software tester means being curious about everything. You need to mirror a child who is curious about the whole world and wants to know how it works. This is the critical criteria to be considered.

My questions around this point are like:

  • Why do you want to be a tester?
  • Why do you think chair requires four legs?
  • Why do we use an umbrella to protect ourselves from rain?

Question #2 on Understanding priorities:

Understanding priorities

A tester is always loaded with multiple tasks and if not able to define priorities, (s)he will create a mess only. Rather than jumping into everything and not able to complete anything, it’s better to leave work area with a satisfaction that you have successfully completed one of the important work.

But who defines what is important? Questions are:

  • Scenario 1: You like the kite festival the most and have been waiting but you come to know that your dear friend is getting married on the same day. What would you do? Will you enjoy kite festival or will attend marriage?
  • Scenario 2: You are a working parent and today there is a Parent-teacher meeting at your child’s school. But in the morning your manager called up and informed that you need to be available for today’s demo, which is clashing with the time of PTM. What will you do?

Question #3 on Bug reporting:

It’s an art to describe the problem you are facing and that art is the key factor for any software tester to be successful in this field.

Questions to judge this can be:

  • Scenario 1: Let’s say the fans or ventilation system in this hall is not proper and you need to convey it to the admin. How would you do it?
  • Scenario 2: You found a defect in an application and you are not able to reproduce it consistently. How would you report it? Explain with example.

Question #4 on Ideas generation:

idea generation

Being in the most creative field, software testing, if a tester is unable to generate test ideas, s(he) will start feeling stagnant in short duration.

Also Read => Software Testing is All About Ideas (and How to Generate Them)

Questions here can be:

  • If there is no measuring instrument available, how would you measure air temperature?
  • There is a sudden fire in the building, what will you do?
  • How will you test a pen?

Question #5 on Concepts:

Being a software tester, it’s expected that the person should know what testing is and how to perform it better. Conceptual knowledge is also necessary and can be evaluated with below questions:

  • While SDLC model is better as per you? Waterfall or Agile? Why?
  • What is the need of re-testing when you are already doing regression testing?

Question #6 on Analytical skills:

Finding the root cause or pattern of an issue is as important as finding an issue. A tester is expected to show that skill too.

Example questions to judge this can be:

  • As a car manufacturing company, you observed five consecutive complaints about flat tires in a new car. What will you do? Will you change the tire supplier or will you do anything else? How and Why?
  • If 13 is Thirteen and 12 are Twelve what 212 would be?

Most of the times, such questions are enough to judge whether the person sitting in front of you, would be the right choice as a new addition to the team.

About the author: This awesome post is written by STH team member Bhumika Mehta. She is a project lead, carrying 10+ years of software testing experience. She is totally into testing and loves to test everything exists.

I would like to know your take on this point. Do we really need to change the interview process for software testing QA positions?

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