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 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 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 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 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 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 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 for everything. You need to mirror a child who is curious for the whole world and wants to know how it works. This is the critical criteria to be considered.

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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 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 you would report it? Explain with example.

Question #4 on Ideas generation:

idea generation

Being in 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 you will 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:

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 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 is 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?

Recommended reading

24 comments ↓

#1 Leonardo Corrales

Hi! this is a good post and very curious! I only have a one doubt. Which is the best answer for your question “If 13 is Thirteen and 12 is Twelve what 212 would be?”
– Two hundred and twelve?
– 212 is a number?
– 212 Carolina Herrera (perfume, using lateral thinking).

Regrads!

#2 Morkei mavel

what a great scenario for interview. Perfect to state the situation of current interview process and its drawbacks.

good work

#3 Hari

@Author

please let us know the answers for all the scenarios.

1.Why do you think chair requires four legs?
2.Why do we use umbrella to protect ourselves from rain?
3.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?
4.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?
5.If there is no measuring instrument available, how would you measure air temperature?
6.There is a sudden fire in the building, what will you do?
7.As a car manufacturing company, you observed five consecutive complaints about flat tires in new car. What will you do? Will you change the tire supplier or will you do anything else? How and Why?
8.If 13 is Thirteen and 12 is Twelve what 212 would be?

i need to check whether My answers are crt?

#4 Bhumika Mehta

@Leonardo, @Morkei

Glad that you liked the post.

@Hari,
Please publish your answers. For most of the questions, there is no fix answer. Actually, these kind of questions provide an opportunity to judge the candidate in terms of immediate thinking, observation power, alertness, creativity etc.

THanks !!!

#5 Divya

1. For question 12 is twelve and 13 is thirteen, what is 212? Answer is two hundred and twelve
2. For chair question – chair is totally waste even one leg is not properly fit and no use. all four legs should be properly alligned and fitted nicely.
3. For Parents teacher meeting question, answer may be – I will tell the importance of demo to my partner regarding the office demo and ask him/her to go for PTM or else i can call the teacher and get permission to postpone or enquire about my child activities in school
4.For kite question – my answer is kite festival celebrated every year but friend marriage is only once. so Friend marriage takes high priority.

#6 Nitin Ganesh

nice , it will help me…

#7 Yogita

Hi,

Really nice article.

I will include this in our process.

Many Thanks

#8 Shanthamurthy Hanumantharayappa

I wold turn Bhumika Mehta’s prediction in some what spiritual context; If GOD is Generator, Operator and Destroyer then who is Developer, Tester and Accepter? Because Developer says I am the primary tester and tester simply come with some assumption which already I(Developer) know he is going to ask the same question so that I am going to modify in a second but I will extend this to some years. That means the DTA(Developer Tester Accepter) has no concept called END!

#9 Pramod

Can some one answer all the correctly? so that the correct answers are disclosed and useful for all of them

#10 Mamatha

A very nice article. Thank you Bhumika.

Please find my answers for interview questions below, if I am the person in your interview, let me know whether I will be selected or not?

Question #1 on Curiosity and passion:
Why do you want to be a tester?
->To make the application from good to better, better to best, best to the best
Why do you think chair requires four legs?
->I think four legs is not mandatory for chair, geometrically balancing the chair to set is important like wheel chairs
Why do we use umbrella to protect ourselves from rain?
->Habituated to use umbrella when rain comes
Question #2 on Understanding priorities:
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?
1, Based on marriage timing and distance from the marriage place and kite festival place are not too far, then I will attend both.
2. If not possible, I will attend marriage of friend and enjoy the kite festival next year.
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?
1. I will ask my husband to attend PTM
2. If not possible ask teacher to prep one, postpone the PTM timings for my kid,
3. If physical presence not required for demo, I will attempt on phone.
Bug Reporting:
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?
1. I will intimate to office boys casually
2. If there is no result, I will raise a mail
3. still no use, directly I will discuss with admin dept
Scenario 2: You found a defect in an application and you are not able to reproduce it consistently. How you would report it? Explain with example.
1. I will try as many times as possible to find root cause, then try to take screenshot, video
Then post to the developer.
2. If it’s not reproduced the dev environment, I will show the bug and qa environment to the developer.
Idea Generation:
If there is no measuring instrument available, how would you measure air temperature?
1. Browsing on mobile for whether report
There is a sudden fire in the building, what will you do?
1. Ran away from the building
2. Call to the fire station
3. Try for possibilities of immediate actions to reduce the fire before fire engine came
How you will test a pen?
Functionality:
1. by writing
Usability:
2. Based on comfort
Security:
3. If any ink leakage
Performance:
4. Based on ink quantity
Look and feel:
5. by seeing
Up to date as per the market:
6. By comparing with other competitive pens
Concepts:
While SDLC model is better as per you? Waterfall or Agile? Why?
SDLC will give results slowly, but in today’s world we need to same results as soon as possible with accuracy.
What is the need of re-testing when you are already doing regression testing?
Re-testing is done whether the raised bug is fixed properly are not, regression is verifying because of fix is there any impact on other areas.
Analytical skills:
As a car manufacturing company, you observed five consecutive complaints about flat tires in new car. What will you do? Will you change the tire supplier or will you do anything else? How and Why?
I will discuss with the supplier to know exact cause of the problem, if not possible change the supplier.
If 13 is Thirteen and 12 is Twelve what 212 would be?
Two twelve

#11 Lyn T

Good article. Entertaining but with very good logical concept.

#12 Bhumika Mehta

@All Readers,

I am glad that you liked the post.

While writing this, I never thought answers would be that important because as I said above, answers to most of these questions are not of fixed type but depends upon situation and thought process.

But I must admit that over a period of time, I have thought of answers to all questions and would definitely like to share with readers. It would be a pleasure to share and discuss but before that I would love to see more answers and participation.

Thanks all again for the support and continuous readership.

@Mamtha,
You are correct about last answer :
212 is Two Twelve (at least I had that in mind as expected answer).

For other answers, stay tuned :-)

#13 Shailendra

@Author
Nice article

Q. “You found a defect in an application and you are not able to reproduce it consistently.”
Answer:
1. I will try as many times as possible to find root cause, then try to take screenshot, video
Then post to the developer.
2. If it’s not reproduced the dev environment, I will show the bug and qa environment to the developer.

For this question the above answer is enough to convince the developer?

#14 Atul Mishra

Good post.
I am using almost similar pattern but you defined it very well.

#15 Chetan

Actually this is good idea for judge like analytical and logical portion of every candidate. But its for only a fresher who want to start.you never judge with this questions with experience….
but article was good…

#16 Sunil

Great Post…

#17 sunil

Good answers ….

#18 Priyanka

One of the best posts till now….:)..Keep up the good work!!! :)

#19 Akanksha goyal

Awesome article :)

#20 satish

Nice article

Please let me know the answers of the above questions

#21 guitarlon

•If 13 is Thirteen and 12 is Twelve what 212 would be?

212 would be 1.

#22 guitarlon

•As a car manufacturing company, you observed five consecutive complaints about flat tires in new car. What will you do? Will you change the tire supplier or will you do anything else? How and Why?

The only tire “in” the new car is the spare. The dealership should check all spare tires prior to sale. In the event defective tires are discovered (not just low on air) I would contact the tire manufacturer. They may have produced a bad batch of tires (based on a particular lot number).

#23 rimmy

post (y) …. gud job

#24 Vikram N

@Bhumika –

A question that still lingers is, If the objective is to select, say 3 candidates, how would you choose the top 3 from a multitude of applicants?

Since there are no right or wrongs answers to these assessment questions, it will be challenging to compare or rank the most impressive explanations or responses as it will still be subjective.

But, these are still a very useful and a non-traditional way to measure a candidate’s thinking or approach to a problem than your standard ‘What is black box testing’ questions.

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