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I've been given the task of coming up with a tehnical test/interview questions for a tester position within our company. We've never had a dedicated tester before so I have no idea what to ask! All testing has previously been done by the developers and the users. What do I need to ask the candidates and what are good/bad answers. Do scenario based tests work well with testers? Ideally, we'd like this person to automate some of the testing as well.

This position is at mid-senior position.

  • IMHO it will depend on the level at which you are hiring- like at the beginner or at a higher level. For a beginner level, you can have the basic testing questions and some code questions for automation purposes. – demouser123 Feb 15 '16 at 13:55
  • Do you have experience interviewing people for positions, and you need help specifically for testing? Because most of current answers help you with interviewing in general so far. Do you have experience testing, or coding? test automation? In general, unless you are developer (who obviously has at least basic idea how to test own programs) or tester, you would not have understanding what testing is, and would not be efficient interviewer for such position, IMHO. – Peter M. Feb 15 '16 at 17:29
  • @PeterMasiar I'm a developer and am used to doing my own testing. – user2669338 Feb 15 '16 at 19:24
  • Seems that for a developer you have hard time reading the specs. :-) Another question I asked is if you have experience interviewing/hiring people. Impossible to answer without knowing the details of your situation. – Peter M. Feb 15 '16 at 19:30
  • @PeterMasiar sorry, I hit the post button too early and wasn't able to amend my reply! This was my response: I'm a developer and I'm used to doing my own testing. However, I need to have some understanding of what a good dedicated test analyst should know. I've interviewed before but only developers – user2669338 Feb 15 '16 at 19:35
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You need to come up with your own questions, because the ones you get on the Internet tend to already have canned answers on the Internet. (Interview candidates read this site too.) Presumably you want your candidate to give you an answer they've thought about, not just something they memorized.

You need to be specific about what you want, and that should drive your questions and your hiring decisions. Manual testing and automated testing are two different skill sets, and automated testing can mean a lot of different things.

For manual testing, I like to ask broad questions that don't have single, correct answers, because testing is as much a way of thinking as it is the application of domain-specific knowledge. To reduce bias, you should vet the questions ahead of time, and discuss what kinds of answers you are looking for.

For automated testing, the questions depend on the kind of automation you are interested in. You might need to decide whether UI automation is important to you. Decide whether you want them to write unit tests, or other tests that use the same programming language that you use for the product. Decide whether you want them to write performance tests. It isn't enough to say, "I want them to be able to do anything.". You probably won't find generalist who wants to test, so you need to prioritize what you want from them.

Once you have priorities, you may be able to apply what you know about interviewing developers to interviewing a test person.

Broad questions with no single, clear answer are good for automation candidates too. Again, you should vet the questions ahead of time, and you should decide what kinds of answers you are looking for.

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If it's your first time for testing interview, you can try following things.

  1. Give him/her a application with known bugs to test, and check if he can find bugs.

  2. Ask him/her basic Testing questions and Testing terms like, regression testing, smoke testing, sanity testing etc.

  3. Give him/her scenarios and ask him to write the test cases.

  4. Check if he/she has already used any bug tracking tools, you can search for question on bug tracking tools like JIRA, Bugzilla, Testlink etc.

  5. Ask him/her about past project and contribution.

  6. Try asking him/her about interesting bugs found by him in his experience.

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From your description I am getting three important points

  • You need an experienced person (mid-senior level)
  • Need to build QA Process from scratch (no dedicated tester)
  • You want him to start with Automation.

Now that you have the requirement for your company, you need to build your interview around this, and judge the candidate on how much would they be able to achieve the three main goals that you have put.

I cannot give you the exact questions- because I think it is something that depends on requirements within the company. However, if I were to interview this person, I would ask questions related to

  • His Previous projects and level of automation he did in them ( I will have a general idea how well versed he is with automation). As such I am covering point 1 and 3 from my above list.

  • If he has a good level of Automation exposure, I would like him to design a dummy Test Framework for any app- it may be your product. I would like him to break it down to me so that I can understand it. As such I will be able to check how well he would be fit for 2.

  • Since this person would be hired at a mid-senior level, I would assume that he should be well versed with the concept of working in a team. You can ask him questions around this. How would he resolve a conflict between QA and Devs. I would give him a situation and would like him to come up with best solution.

  • If you have requirements with you, you can ask him to analyse a portion of that and come up with testing estimation/efforts.

  • Risk Analysis- How good is he is in this section.

  • Bug Management and Analysis- How good is he in bug management.

  • At some point, he should be ready (if not already), to coach junior members of a team. I would include some questions to test how would he go about this situation.

Rest is upon your imagination. You can include N numbers of scenarios to test his technical competence- like his knowledge of build process, Continuous Integration etc.

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In addition to answer by user246, best way to probe a candidate is behavioral interviewing , especially for non-entry position. Ask open-ended questions, asking to describe conflict situation from your candidate experience, how s/he reacted and what s/he learned. Like:

  • describe situation when you had tight deadline and was under pressure to release code even if candidate would prefer more testing
  • how they handled regression bugs at previous job
  • experience with dedicated QA testing environment (as compared to [shrug] releasing from DEV to PROD)
  • if they have experience with agile/scrum/waterfall/whatever approach you use, with any specifics (documenting government contract requirements come to mind), with examples
  • balancing interests of multiple parties, when some internal customers are responsible and collaborate to create valid test and some need more prodding to do so, etc.

With such open-ended question, experienced candidate should be able to talk from own experience for a while. And fakes should be easier to spot.

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