How to Answer Team Playing and Leadership Related Interview Questions for Test Lead Position

In this article you will learn ‘How to answer Team Playing and Leadership related questions in Test Lead/Manager interview’. This is part 2 of our Test Lead interview questions series.

Also read first part here, where we answered 6 Most Common QA Test Lead/Manager Interview Questions.

Before we go for the actual questions in this section, let’s talk about what kinds of attributes are preferable when it comes to QA lead’s team playing and leadership skills: 

qa lead inteview questions

#1) Being hands on – it is very important for leads to participate and be one of the team members for effective working of the project. This will ensure that the team trusts you and invests in your opinions/decision. Also, for you it becomes an easier decision making process as you are not relying on anyone else’s judgment or suggestions.

#2) Mentorship – There is no better way of learning that learning from examples. A team lead is the one who sets that example. All companies want to hire a mentor who not only excels at leading the team but also works towards making more leaders.

#3) Superior functional/technical knowledge and expertise– we talked about this already in the previous article. There is really no escaping experience and knowledge – be the best at what you do, think along the lines of future trends, implement new practices, measure success and start all over again. Get certified, if necessary. Check out the following articles for more information on QA certifications:

Now, that we understand what is required of us, let’s get to some sample Qs that could be asked.

8 Sample Team Playing and Leadership Interview Questions

Q #1. Do you write test cases?

The answer always should be a resounding “Yes”. Test leads are testers too. They just take on additional responsibility of guiding and leading the team, but they still do most activities that testers do.

Also read => Writing test cases from SRS

Q #2. How do you resolve team member issues?

Informally, first. Ask them out for coffee individually and listen to each one’s side of the issue. If it’s a simple misunderstanding, ask them to resolve it within themselves mutually. If need be, call for a meeting and talk to them without letting things escalate. Tolerate until things do not impact work. When they start to cascade and effect project, warn and if necessary, escalate to human resources as a last resort.

Also read:

Q #3. How do you provide feedback to a team member who isn’t doing very well?

First and foremost, set guidelines for all team members of what is expected of them and in what time frame. In short, define the parameters of success. For example, if it’s a new team member, let them know what you expect from them:

  • What module they will be working on?
  • Time lines
  • Deliverables
  • Formats of deliverables
  • Updating/managing work on tools (such as QC, Rally, JIRA, etc.)
  • Timesheets and so on…

Set a period of time after which to evaluate, such as 30 days or so. Once done, collect statistics-

  • How many times has the timesheet not been filled?
  • Negative review comments received on work
  • Deliverable not been done on time…etc

Based on the statistics, if the performance isn’t satisfactory, follow the below steps:

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  • Discuss the results with the team member
  • Seek approval or confirmation that they understand what hasn’t been working
  • Set up a new plan, new attributes of success and a new performance review timeline
  • Think of measures to fix it or provide help

Q #4. How do you handle induction of new team members? OR What do you do to train new team members?

  • Set aside time for knowledge transfer and orientation
  • Share all the information regarding who to get in touch with in case of questions regarding different areas of the system and their email addresses or physical introductions (For example: BA, networking team, tool admins, help desk, Dev team etc.)
  • Provide tool accesses
  • Share documentation, templates, previous artifacts, test plans, test cases, etc
  • Share the expectations in terms of their performance (refer to the answer to questions number: 3)
  • When possible, assign a team member to work with them closely for a brief amount of time
  • Keep the channels of communication open to stay in touch and understand their progress

Q #5. How much is your involvement in reviews of test cases, defects and status reports?

It is very easy to say that you check each and every document that is ever created and we might feel really good about saying that we do it all. However, that might not always be seen as a positive thing. Team leads have to establish process so that teams run efficiently by them, therefore make sure that you make your teams “self-sustaining” with minimum hand-holding.

This would be my answer:

I am involved in the test case reviews just as any other team member is. We do periodic peer reviews. I do not review every one’s work; however we review each other’s work. There are very strict processes established before this process begins so all of us can share work and make sure this goes on smoothly.

All the defects are re-checked by me to make sure they are valid, not duplicates and complete in their description. This is more of a task in the beginning of the test cycles, however as we get more into testing, this step reduces as the teams are more comfortable with the process and can do this effectively. All status reports are consolidated and sent by me as this is a team lead’s job as per the company’s process.

Also read = > How to Perform Test Documentation Reviews in 6 Simple Steps

Q #6. How do you analyze risks and overcome them?

Risk analysis is a mandatory activity for every test plan stage. Later on, if there is not enough time or any other unfavorable situations arise, we do another round of risk analysis.

For details, samples and information- check out the below articles:

Q #7. What kind of guidance have your team members sought from you and how did you help?

Personal experience based question. Some things that you can highlight in this area are:

  • If you have helped a team member schedule some time off due to their personal situations
  • Helped technically
  • Provided professional guidance
  • Suggested certification
  • Recommended them for organization wide recognition
  • Send an appreciation email for a job well done

I am sure we all try our best to achieve best synergy, so I am sure you have more than one instances where you were a positive influence so someone. Be sure to have a story up your sleeve for an interview.

Q.8. What do you consider before hiring or firing?

Now, not all test leads might be involved in this. So, if you have never done this, say so. Generally for hiring, technical knowledge- positive attitude- communication etc. are critical. Firing is more reserved for misdemeanor, embezzlement, etc. The more common mistakes can be fixed.

Also read => How to hire the right candidates for software testing positions?

Conclusion

There is our list. Even though, this is not along the lines of “100 most common questions” or “Question bank” we believe this is comprehensive and target oriented.

The gist of the last 2 articles can really work wonders for a successful QA lead interview.

As always, Your experiences, feedback and comments will enrich this article and provide for a much more rewarding read. We hope to hear from you.

Recommended reading

7 comments ↓

#1 sumitra

very good answwrs. keep up the good work

#2 Hari

Kindly post interview question for 3 + manual testing

#3 sowmya narahari

excellent post!! could be more rejoice if you can include client interactions and time escalations management and improving the team effort according to the requirement gaps.

#4 Naga sekhar

As ‘contingency’ part really as part of project plan ,then should take care by Test manger or Project manager role only,
not by test lead, but lead just can give inputs to the project plan preparation when it comes to contingency section(that too for QA related data), please correct me on this if I would wrong.
@anyone?

#5 Gaurav Khurana

Very good points which we do in daily life but sometimes does not notice that well.

#6 Harry

very good answwrs. keep up the good work

#7 Brian Osman

Q #1. Do you write test cases?

The answer always should be a resounding “Yes”. Test leads are testers too. They just take on additional responsibility of guiding and leading the team, but they still do most activities that testers do.

The ANSWER could be “maybe”…maybe we write test cases maybe we don’t..however the point that Test Leads maybe hands on is valid. Writing an artifact such as a test case does not mean that the test lead is, er, testing so there is no resounding yes in this case.

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