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Testing a Tester

One tester can test anything but themselves. And two, as you know, can already test anything. In this article, we will tell about the example of a process of recruiting a tester.

There are several stages in the selection of specialists and two large filters represented by HR and the Technical Department:

  • Resume Selection by an HR specialist
  • Resume Selection by a tester
  • Questionnaire
  • Technical interview
  • Test task and its evaluation
  • Final stage – getting familiar with one or several teams

Let’s analyze each of the stages in more detail and give a couple of tips on how to pass them in the most efficient way.

Resume Selection by HR

Everything is clear here. The recruiter will screen well-known and not-so-famous resources for relevant resumes, and then bring the best ones to the testers’ judgment.

An example of a resume that will pose an interest:

Work Experience:

  • Working on the methodology from Java: Scrum/Kanban
  • Taking part at the earliest stages of development: from idea to release of a feature
  • Communication with designers, customers
  • Assessment of possible risks
  • Working with Jira/Confluence bug tracking
  • Manual testing of frontend and backend
  • Conducting functional, regression, cross-browser testing
  • Reading logs – Linux, Kibana
  • Support and writing of new tests (Maven, TestNg, Selenium WebDriver, Java)
  • Using SQL at the level of simple queries
  • Working with NoSQL DBMS

Knowledge:

  • Basic concepts of client-server architecture
  • HTTP Protocol and its extensions (HTTPS)
  • Basic Linux commands
  • SQL syntax
  • Basic knowledge of Java – Collection Framework, TestNg/Junit

Key skills:

  • Devtools – highly desirable. It is quite rare that you come across tester applicants who have not worked with Devtools.
  • Postman or analogs. There must be an idea of how the tool works
  • Any of the traffic sniffers
  • Docker

Things to Clarify

Here the recruiters give a verdict and leave comments on the resume – what they like and what they need to clarify.

Career Objective

  • QA Automation engineer: for example, the company has more manual testing and 20-30% automation, a person with such a position may be bored. In this case, the recruiter contacts the candidates to clarify whether this percentage is suitable for the applicant or not. In 50% of cases, candidates are satisfied with this percentage of automation. The company has an opportunity to grow into an automation engineer and developer.
  • QA Lead/Head of QA: since they are looking for a specialist for the position of a tester, most likely a candidate with leadership experience is unlikely to want such a downgrade. But you can always clarify because there are a million cases when specialists “get tired” of management and go back to engineers.
  • Tester (manual only): if the applicant wants to work as a manual tester, the recruiter clarifies this point. There are times when people do not want to develop in automation but this is one of the stages of passing the probation period – to write an automated test

Work Experience

  • Leadership: Experience indicates leading the testing team. For example, an applicant had five testers subordinate to them, they distributed tasks and resources. HR clarifies such moments because there are people who did not like the leading position, and they wanted to return to the position of testers.
  • Only automation: development of mocks, making automated tests from scratch. Such specialists will most likely find it boring to work on 70% of manual testing.
  • No experience with Web testing: such candidates are not considered at all.
  • Many types of testing are indicated in the work experience, and nothing is written about the tools and technologies that were used. With such a resume, the chances of reaching the questionnaire are significantly reduced.

Questionnaire

After they reviewed the resume and selected the suitable ones, they may send you the questionnaire. What for?

  • To filter out uninterested candidates – these either do not send a questionnaire at all, or they send short answers (yes/no).
  • To see if the tester can reason or uses only learned terms.
  • To check the “adequacy”: is there any hidden aggression.

However, sometimes testers with very good skills and a great resume do not pass because of short answers.

Technical Interview

The questionnaire is followed by a technical interview. A successful interview always relies on two simple rules:

  • No more than 4 people from the company at the interview: one presenter, two help the presenter, there may also be one listener who wants to improve skills for interviewing.
  • The main interviewer manages the interview according to a specific plan and builds a dialogue.

interview

Interview plan:

  • Introducing colleagues
  • The interviewer talks about the position (the role of the tester in the company and the team, the responsibilities)
  • The interviewer talks about the teams that search for a tester
  • The interviewer invites the candidate to ask questions
  • The interviewer asks questions: about the experience, technical issues, and things like that
  • Additional questions from the candidate, if any.
  • Finishing the interview

What an interviewer pays attention to:

  • How communication develops – how the applicant responds and presents themselves.
  • Are they ready to work without documentation: this is an important point, it is necessary to clarify whether the candidate will be comfortable working in such conditions.
  • How do they defend their viewpoint: a developer closes the task and says: “This is not a bug, but a feature”, the question is how the candidate will act.
  • Showing initiative – here they clarify the reason why the applicant left the previous job. Often, candidates answered that there were no development and automated tests. And here goes a question: what did the candidate do to implement automated testing or improve the quality of the service?
  • Web testing experience – applicant’s knowledge of the web device.
  • Recent work experience – the candidate can talk about the process, project, releases .

Something Went Wrong

Sometimes things go wrong. Here are some common cases:

  • The technical background is poor but communication is good. The candidate has a good motivation and learning ability. But now they are yet too “green”. In this case, the company checks the soft skills and smoothly finishes the interview. They might write that they are ready to consider this person in six months or a year.
  • With soft skills, everything is more complicated. It can be quite difficult to determine if a specialist will be able to work with the projects. For example, sometimes, due to the specifics of working with government orders, people develop a certain type of communication. It can be difficult with such candidates but after a year they are usually ready for cooperation and further work.

Soft skills of a tester are important since you will have to communicate a lot with customers and other development teams to clarify the requirements. They might ask you how you interacted with the team and customers. How you solved certain problems. What should you do in case of disagreement with the developer, to the question “is it a bug or a feature”.

Test Task

If everything went well, after the technical interview, you receive a test task, which includes:

  • Writing test cases
  • Testing time estimation
  • Found bugs that the candidate noticed while preparing test cases

Sometimes candidates leave if they receive this task as they already have a good offer from another company. Why would you do any other tasks when you already have a great offer? Therefore, sometimes this step can be included in the technical interview stage.

Final stage

And here is our hero: you went through fire, water, and test cases. You reached the final. Here the candidate will get to know the team. Here, the guys from the teams select people for themselves according to their interests and tasks. The most commonly used algorithm is:

  • They analyze the personality traits of the candidate.
  • They look at how suitable the candidate is in terms of communication or interests.
  • The candidate is interested in their future team and assesses how it suits them.
Alex Kara
By Alex Kara on Aug 30, 2021
Manual QA