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Did I choose the right one?

When candidates hear about interviews in Software Testing, the first thing most of them do is go and Google about interview questions and then mug-up them and finally pray to god that the interviewer should be asking the same questions that they found on some interview portal. My interview with my ex-employer was so easy to crack the interview. There are some very obvious questions that anyone can guess and clear the interview. Now, by asking these questions and getting them from candidates doesn’t mean that the candidate knows how to test. This is a mistake that most of the organizations are doing in interviewing candidates for Software Testing.

Some obvious questions that I have experienced,

1.       What is testing?

2.       Define QA & QC.

3.       What is difference between Smoke and Sanity testing?

4.       Define test case.

5.       What is traceability matrix?

6.       What is equivalence class partitioning?

7.       What is boundary value analysis?

Now, after answering all this the interviewer says, “Ah, this is right candidate”. Later, when a selected candidate is put on to the project the project suffers and the management comes to know that they hired the wrong ones. Now, even after noticing the wrong guys out there in their hiring process organizations are doing the same mistake repeatedly.

How many of you reading this blog post have interviewed candidates in Software Testing? If, you are doing a bad interview have you tried to think to do it in a good way? Will you be doing in a good way from now? What is good way of doing it? Give a product to the candidate to test and ask him / her to create a test report. Now, you know about the candidate – how good or bad is the candidate. Most of you know about it, but what matters is, are you doing it?

How I would interview a candidate?

–          Give 15 minutes to test an open source product

–          Ask him / her to create a test report

–          Ask him / her what were the tests performed?

–          Talk about some issues and ask them why it is an issue? What is the risk of not fixing that issue?

I would ask many other questions depending on the context which would help me to evaluate / assess the candidate, in order to hire the right ones.

With this I end this blog post and I want you to think about how do you know if you are hiring the right ones at the end of the interview? How can you answer to others that he / she know to test? I hope you would stop evaluating a candidate based on just some answers for questions.

Suggested Video / Presentation: The bad state of software testing interviews


I have been as a software tester for over 5 years. I am a hands-on tester and I've been winning bug battles & testing competitions across the world. I am a testing enthusiast, who conducts free workshops on security testing across India (Covered locations: Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad & Chennai. Invite him to come to your location), and monthly meets for testers in Bengaluru. I am also an avid testing blogger.

My interests include traveling, driving my SUV, health & fitness and many others. I mentor budding entrepreneurs, testers, teams in any profession.

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  1. glory wrote:

    Something I would also do s ask them one hard question on everything they have they have on their resume. Know networking? Ask them a few questions.

    Also ask them “why should I hire you?

    Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  2. @Glory,

    You are right about asking “Why should I hire you?”. If a candidate is good enough he / she would be happy to answer this.


    Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink
  3. I would like to add something here.. I have seen interviewers asking us about the work in previous projects. Mostly, they only ask to give an overview of the project. Here, many candidates may also bluff about the work as anyone can just say a line or two about any random project. The actual test would be to ask him about a tool/process deeply. If he would have actually used it, it should be a cakewalk for him! Or else, we can know how good he is at it!

    Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  4. Good post Santosh!
    Luckily for me, the testing interviews that Ive faced have asked me to be hands-on, like test a product, write test cases based on a scenario. It actually made me respect those orgs/interviewers. I am glad you brought this very important aspect of interviewing out in you blog.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 4:49 am | Permalink
  5. Nikhil Ravindra wrote:

    Thinking Matches Santosh.
    However i also would like to add another thing here, we as ppl taking interviews needs to see how tough a candidate can be, just to check weather he is a right choice who can work in a environment where u r put under pressure. This is mainly because i do not want someone who is not aggressive and who accepts things easily.I would rather look for a candidate who can question a product rather than accept the product easily. To me this is the MOST IMPORTANT quality i see in a candidate.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  6. @Nikhil,

    Thanks for your comment. You are right. I would love to see candidates who would argue with me on a topic and not accept anything blindly that I say.


    Monday, October 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
  7. Amit Jain wrote:

    You have mentioned very good points in this post. If a interviewer goes by this approach he is the best in my terms. But I would like to take your attention towards another aspect of this. Most of the times interviewers just take interviews for the sake of taking it and do not go thorugh candidate’s resume. This ends up in asking up irrelevant questions ad rejecting the descerving candidates. I have been through this as interviewers ask some very irrlevant questions. Also one important point here is testing jargon they use while taking the interview. Every organization has some unique jargon used exlusively in that organization and not industry wide but then again this also contriutes to rejection.


    Friday, December 24, 2010 at 9:29 am | Permalink
  8. @Amit,

    Let’s hope there would be some change in such organizations in future.

    Friday, December 24, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  9. Phil H wrote:

    I think its difficult to judge character and work ethic from any interview. Even if they answer these things perfectly, that means they study well. What we look for are attention to detail, and ‘fire in the belly’. That is hard to find in a 30 minute interview.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 2:27 am | Permalink

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