Helpful Hints for Interviewing Experienced QA/Testing Candidates

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about the test execution results for "passes/failures" and mapped requirements for the test step.

The test manager can have the tester provide information as to how test cases and test scripts were documented at the previous project. What level of detail was presented for the test cases and test scripts? What exactly was documented for the test cases and test scripts? Another suggestion is to have the tester send a sample test case and test script that he/she documented at a previous project for review. A well-documented test case and test script will demonstrate the tester's attention to detail.

Life Cycle Methodologies
An experienced tester should have experience working with one or more IT methodologies such as waterfall spiral, evolutionary, incremental, rapid prototyping, etc. Some methodologies are more appropriate when requirements are well known/defined, or when requirements are not well known, or when the project has high risks, etc. The tester vying for the position should understand what the differences are between the main software development lifecycle methodologies. The test manager can present the tester with different hypothetical scenarios of IT projects and ask the tester what methodology would be most fitting based on the presented scenario.

Test Procedures and Test Standards
What testing standards and procedures the candidate has been exposed to is of paramount importance in determining whether the candidate would either be a good fit or adapt to a new testing environment. Did the candidate come from a regimented and disciplined type work environment like a CMM work environment with repeatable and defined processes? Or, did the candidate work in a chaotic test team that did not have any standards, procedures or defined processes?

Testers that come from a loose testing environment sometimes have difficulty adjusting to regimented testing environments that have defined processes and standards for things such as: lessons learned, test plans, naming standards, version control, test case templates, test execution matrix, test logs, test folders, reporting of test results, etc. Conversely, a tester that follows strict testing standards and procedures may struggle in a work environment that does not have defined processes, well documented scenarios, no structure for test cases, or templates for test scripts, etc. Questions that identify what the candidate's experience is with testing standards and procedures are critical for assessing how well the candidate would adjust to the current QA environment.

Defects
It's advisable to learn what sorts of defects a tester has identified and reported on in previous projects. Based on the candidate's answers, the test manager can learn whether the tester focuses on cosmetic/minor defects or defects that are show stoppers and would have caused havoc for a released or production deployed application.

The test manager can have the candidate expound on a significant defect that was discovered and, what the impact of the defect would have been had the candidate not caught it. In particular, the test manager can focus on the tester's approach for identifying the defect and how the tester re-tested the defect subsequently leading to the closing of the defect.

Test Script Automation
Many candidates list in their resumes that they have experience with various automated testing tools. However, when confronted with technical questions about their experience with automated testing tools many candidates respond that their experience with automated test tools is limited to capturing and playback. Candidates that manifest to have only recorded and played back test scripts are in fact devoid of significant experience with automation test tools. Even candidates who claim to hold certifications with test tools should have their background probed and examined with technical questions.

The test manager should find

About the author

Jose Fajardo's picture Jose Fajardo

Jose Fajardo (PMP, M.S., and SAP certified) has worked as a test manager for various companies utilizing automated testing tools. He has written and published numerous articles on testing SAP and authored the book titled Testing SAP R/3: A Manager's Step by Step Guide. Throughout his career Jose has helped to create testing standards and test plans, mentor junior programmers, audit testing results, implement automated testing strategies, and managed test teams. Jose can be contacted at josefajardo@hotmail.com.

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