6 Most Common QA Test Lead/Manager Interview Questions (with Answers and our Tips)

STH is back with yet another interview series. This one is for QA/Test lead position. We are going to cover few most common but important QA test lead/manager interview questions and answers.

As always, we will follow the pattern of explanation based answers rather than politically correct ones. Let’s begin.

Typically QA interviewers test all interviewees in 3 major areas:

#1) Core technical knowledge and expertise
#2) Attitude
#3) Communication

Now that we are talking about a QA test lead interview, the process is similar and the way to assess communication remains the same.

Overall cohesiveness, conviction and clarity are few factors that contribute to effective communication. When it comes to evaluating the first two areas for a QA test lead, we can divide the areas where the QA lead interview questions might come from 3 categories:

1) Technical Expertise
2) Team player attitude
3) Management skills

We will take a look at each of these and elaborate further.

test lead interview questions

Test Lead Interview Question on Technical Expertise:

This can be further divided into process and tools based skills. A few sample questions that can be asked are:

Q #1. What were your roles and responsibilities and how was your time divided between tasks in a project?

Normally a test lead works on the project just the way the other team members do. Only 10 %( industry standard, might differ from project to project) of the time is spent on coordination activities.

You can further break this down into saying:

  • 50%- Testing activities- depending on the stage the project is in, this might be tested planning, design or execution
  • 20%- review
  • 10%- coordination
  • 20%- client communication and delivery management

STH’s tip:
Prepare ahead. Have all the numbers figured out ahead of time?

Read also => Test Lead Responsibilities

Q #2. What QA process do you use in your project and why?

When this question is asked to a QA team member, the idea is to assess their familiarity and comfort in using the process in place. But when this question is coming to the team lead, this is to understand your expertise is being able to establish the said process. The best way to go about this is: brainstorm.

A sample answer could be this way: Currently, we follow a mix of both traditional and Agile projects. The way we go about this is: we handle releases in short sprints but within the sprints, we would still create a test plan, test scenarios but not test cases and report the defects as we would in the waterfall model. To track the progress we use a scrum board and for defects, we use Bugzilla tool. Even though our sprints are short, we make sure that all reviews, reports and metrics happen on time.

You can add more to this: if it is an onsite-offshore model project, if the dev and QA sprints are separated and lag behind one another, etc.

See also => QA processes in end to end real projects

Q #3. What do you consider to be your key accomplishments/initiatives?

Everyone wants a successful manager, not just a manager- hence, this question.

Awards, performance ratings and company-wide recognition (pat-on-back, the employee of the month) etc. are all great. But do not discount the day to day accomplishments:

Maybe you have streamlined the reporting process or simplified a test plan or created a document that can be used to sanity test a system that is complex very minimum supervision when used, etc.


Q #4. Have you been involved in test estimation and how do you do it?

Test estimation gives an approximate idea of how much time, effort and resources are required to test. This will help determine the cost, schedules and feasibility for most projects. Test leads are approached for test estimation at the beginning of every project. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether test estimation was part of the job profile for a QA lead is “Yes”.

The ‘How’ part differs from team to team and lead to lead. If you have used function points or any other techniques, be sure to mention that.

Also, if you have not used those methods and based the estimation totally on historical data, intuition and experience- say so and provide a rationale for doing so.

For example: when I have to estimate my projects or CRs, I simply create basic Test scenarios (high level) ones and get an idea of how many test cases I might be working with and their complexities. Field or UI level test cases can be run and written at a pace of about 50-100 per day/per person. Medium complexity test cases (with 10 or more steps) can be written about 30 per day/per person. High complexity or end to end ones are at a rate of 8-10 per day/per person. All of this is an approximation and there are other factors such as contingencies, team’s proficiency, available time, etc. have to be taken into consideration but this has worked for me in most cases. So, for this question, this would be my answer.

STH Tips:

  • Estimations are approximations and are not accurate always. There will always be a give and take. But it is always better for a testing project to overestimate than underestimate.
  • It is also a good idea to talk about how you have sought the help of your team members in coming up with test scenarios and identifying complexities because this will establish you as a mentor, which every team lead should be.

Read also => How To Be a Good Team Mentor, Coach and a True Team-Defender in an Agile Testing World? – The Inspiration

Q #5. What tools do you use and why?

QA process tools such as HP ALM (Quality center), bug tracking software, Automation software are things that you should be proficient along with all your team members.

In addition to that, if you use any management software such as MS Project, Agile management tools- highlight that experience and talk about how the tool has helped your day to day tasks.

For example: Talk about how you use JIRA for simple defect and task management in your QA Project. In addition to that, if you can talk about the JIRA Agile Add-in and how it has helped with Scrumboard creation, planning your user stories, sprint planning, working, reporting etc. that would be great.

Q #6. Process familiarity and Mastery if you process you follow at your workplace is the waterfall, onsite-offshore, Agile or anything to that effect, expect detailed Q&A about its implementation, success, metrics, best practices and challenges among other things.

For details check out the below links:

Conclusion

There goes the first section. In the next test lead or test manager interview questions article, we will deal with team player attitude and management related questions.

As a parting note, I would like to bring to your attention that when answering questions in an interview, do not look at it as an examination. Look at it as a platform to brainstorm and put forth your point of view and your individual experiences.

About the author: This article is written by STH team member Swati S.

That is a quick wrap up on a question asked in the interview to QA lead or manager with their answers.

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.




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25 comments ↓

#1 Richa

Definitely a nice article with clear picture of roles and responsiblities for an upcomming Lead.

#2 Chetan Metkar

hello swati mem
i read whole article and i realized you share good information.this is also helpful for those person they recently enter software testing field and also experienced person.
Thank you for sharing this article…

#3 SAP

Thanks Swati
This were just 6 questions, when can i expect more questions or can you email me more questions for reference

#4 hello swati

Really the content is awesome. Hats off of you! Kindly keep posting these type of things. It will be useful to both the freshers and experienced people who enter to the testing field.

#5 Hari

Good article.
Kindly post interview questions for 3+ manual tester ?
it will be helpful for many.

#6 Gaurav Khurana

Good one. would be waiting for the next one. Yes, you mention all good questions and whose chances are more than 80% to be asked in the Interview question.

The best part is the way you told to answer which may lead to revealing more information from the candidate side to the interviewer

#7 Dwarika

Awesome article, Its really a worth reading post for all who are in between transition phase

Thanks for the post!!

#8 Sreenu

I also saw one common question
if as a test lead you find some issues a day before the release date. what you will do?

#9 Swati Seela

@SAP: Next article :)

Thanks!

#10 Swati Seela

@Sreenu: I have been writing a separate post on it..It will be coming up soon. Thank you!

#11 Swati Seela

@all: Thank you for your encouraging feedback and readership!

#12 Madhukar

hi swati thank you for the article it would help more for 2 to 3 years experienced test engineer.
would like to see more on this..

#13 Vaishali

I am physically handicapped person looking for home based jib..one of my friend recommended me of web testing home based job..i dont know anything about it..can you help me..

#14 Sangram Kumar Das

This is a very nice article. The content will helpful for the people who are in the leadership position and thanks for sharing this article. Keep posting such articles.

#15 Kaustubh

Hi Swati,
Thnx for the article and sharing most common questions asked and also for the answers provided.
Looking forward to more such informations

Rgds

#16 dfsdfdd

JHJHJKH

#17 SDS

DFSDFDF

#18 Abhishek

Not worth to STH level.

#19 Chambal

Chambal di bhaally

#20 Nilam

Kindly post the answer for “How will you manage if your QA is on leave on release day?”

#21 Fareeha

Nice…it was very helpful for me

#22 Sushma

Very Nice article.Explained in simple way.Thank you so much.

#23 Raman Katwal

@Sreenu:

if as a test lead you find some issues a day before the release date. what you will do?

QA can “assist” business side with information about quality and process.

Deciding to release with severe bug (and escalate next release with a fix) or postpone release is business decision. It can be done only by someone who understands how customer works.

#24 Chandan Narang

Thanks for sharing such a good article for test lead.

#25 Pallavi

Nice Article

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