May 17, 2021, Mobile, Web

5 common recruitment questions for testers

Aleksandra Zgoda QA Specialist

Preparing for a job interview, you most likely wonder what questions your potential employers may ask. If you only knew them earlier, you’d probably come out better and enhance your chances of getting hired. So, to make it at least a bit easier – especially if you’re planning to become a software tester – here are some of the exemplary questions you may come across during your recruitment process. Heads up – they don’t often relate to pure testing theory itself. Check the following tips and don’t get taken by surprise.

1. How to distinguish the desired behaviour of the app from an error?

While working with simple applications, we’re usually able to intuitively establish which of their behaviours are incorrect. However, it may not always be so obvious, especially in case of more complex IT systems. Even experienced testers can be unable to determine what works well and what doesn’t – the reason might involve the specifics of a dedicated software’s industry. That’s why a recruiter wants to know what you will focus on, what’s your approach, how you prepare for work, and if you search for the required information about a tested app properly. Remember that your knowledge about an application should be verified with its documentation first – obviously it’s possible only if we’re lucky enough to take part in a project that has one. If not, it’s worth asking your colleagues about a system’s anticipated behaviour – the person to ask may vary depending on the model of the team you’re working in. For example, if you’re working in Scrum, you should talk to a Product Owner. If there’s no such person in the team, turn to a client. And if you still haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer, then ask the rest of the group. 

2. You report a bug and a developer says “works for me”. What do you do?

The worst thing you can do in such a situation is closing the topic without questioning the developer’s feedback. Testers should be especially sensitive towards any abnormalities of a software version they work on, particularly if it differs from the developer’s one. Maybe the developer launches the app in a different manner? Maybe their source code is out of date? Or maybe a tester works on an older version of software? There are many questions and potential scenarios, so each case should be considered individually. You should make sure that the error is reproduced in the same environment it was found in. You should also once again verify if it still exists – if so, make sure to gather more information and logs to pass them to the developer. If it doesn’t help, you can try to recreate the incorrect behaviour together – maybe the developer is missing one tiny step along the way.

3. How to test a pen (or any other object)?

It’s a quite unusual question and answering it may be a bit confusing. A beginner can think that a recruiter wants to check their creativity, but it may be rather misleading. Giving more and more ideas for tests, you can be cornered with questions such as: “What type of testing is that?” or “Why should we test a particular feature at this moment?”. It will probably be hard for an inexperienced person to relate to these matters. Experienced testers may have some difficulties as well, but they’ll be aware of the fact that to answer the main and collateral questions, it’s necessary to know the product’s specification and requirements. 

That’s why you need to ask the recruiter about the object’s purpose. At this time, the employee will see that you don’t base your decisions purely on a guess, but you want to know the specific data. If the requirements aren’t clear, you should create them yourself. Depending on the position you’re applying for, not every stage of the process will be at your discretion, however you should name them all. It’s surely worth mentioning about designing tests set, exploratory testing, and an exemplary user observation. You can also consider automating these tests and their adequate planning. If a recruiter doesn’t answer your questions willingly and expects you to be self-reliant, it can mean that the work in this company will probably look the same – and it’s not a good sign. The more you know, the better tests you provide. 

4. Testing can be demanding yet repeatable. What motivates you to do this job?

Frequently repeated regression tests can be quite boring. As a future tester you need to know that sometimes one thing has to be tested multiple times. So, if you’re just starting your testing journey, think if it suits your needs. If the answer is “yes”, consider your actions inside and outside the work. What motivates you on a daily basis? Can you motivate yourself or do you need external motivation? Knowing the answers will make it easier to establish if a tester’s job’s what you’re looking for. If you’re passionate about testing, interested in modern technologies, or enjoy working with people, you’ll be more motivated to encounter everyday tasks. A job of this kind will let you grow, and most of all – allow you to be a part of developing new projects. Maybe you’re excited about automating these boring tests? Or want to understand the business matters better so that an end user is satisfied with the tested product? Although it’s a huge value of this job, one can forget about it in the heat of work. And one last thing – if your only motivator is money, better be careful. You can be perceived as unreliable. 

5. When should you finish software tests? Give examples. 

As the quote says: “There is no bug-free software – only the one that’s not tested enough”. This universal yet brutal truth makes you realize that you’re not able to test everything, not only because of constraints such as budget or time, but also because testing a digital product never ends. It lasts from the moment of initial ideation till the product’s final breath and will never be a complete verification. Nevertheless, sooner or later there comes a time when the test stage is finally finished – according to ISTQB it’s determined by reaching the established criteria like exceeding a budget, time or a positive verification of metrics, i.e. software quality assumptions. 

Some examples of these metrics are:

  • establishing that a specific percent of test cases finished with a success
  • the curve of detected errors – if you detect less and less of them with time, at some point their number will be close to zero
  • covering functionalities with tests (manual, automated) accomplishes a determined range (e.g. if the most important path has been manually tested, the coverage of unit tests reaches 90%)

Although it all depends on a particular project’s specification, it’s always worthwhile to collect data from all of the completed testing activities and draw adequate conclusions. Acquired knowledge will be useful while working on future projects and developing the test’s organization maturity. 

Summing up

These are just some of the exemplary questions that can be asked during a recruitment process. Although most people are not fond of these stressful interviews, you should think of them as a way of acquiring new knowledge and experience. Additionally, they can help you discover your strengths, weaknesses, and form stress coping mechanisms. The more recruitment processes you go through, the less surprised you get. And don’t worry if you fail – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Best of luck on your interview!

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