Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category

QA Jobs: Hiring the right person

Who you bring on to your team makes a huge impact on your testing department. My team has been growing this year, and  I am currently in the process of hiring another software QA. The process has been more drawn out than it was last time, with a lot of dead end resumes and interviews that didn’t go as expected. It is hard to be a on a job search, but it is not easy to be on the other side of the table either. You are looking for the right mix of skills, enthusiasm, and personality to both bring something new to your department and to fit in with the group you already have. Last time I went through this process, I wrote about QA cover lettersresumes and interviews – but this time, I am  thinking more about how to find that perfect person.

In my most recent round of interviews, I encountered a wide range of applicants – from out of work developers looking for something to tide them over until they could find a “real position” to recent grads looking for experience and career changes. How do you find the right one? And what will it mean for your team if you chose wrong.?

A guy in my company was talking yesterday about the “two beer rule.” Don’t hire someone you wouldn’t want to hang out with after having two beers with them. This may be a great rule of thumb. Because, interviews aren’t just about finding the right skills, they are about finding the right match. You need someone who can do the job, but also someone who loves doing it. Someone who wants to learn more and try new things and push themselves. Someone who fits in with your team and hopefully someone who you enjoy working with every day. Are there interview questions for that? Or is it just a gut check?


QA Jobs: The Coverletter

Interviewing and resume review is in full swing now. This is the first time I’ve been on this side of the table. It is hard to review the applications and remember how much care and hope I put in to each application I send off when I am job hunting.  Rejection is hard to get, but it is hard to give, too. What I have been surprised by, though, is that it is fairly easy to tell who has put thought into their application and who hasn’t.

The first things I look at are (I assume) pretty standard, but in a field like quality assurance, a well edited resume demonstrates an important skill.

1. Proofread. Please. I mean really, this is a QA position. If you don’t take the time to catch issues in something as personally important as a resume and cover letter, how thorough will you be when it is late and you are tired and you’ve been testing for 3 days?

2. Research. If you don’t know if you are writing to a woman or a man, do not guess. Go search online. Is there a linked in profile, a company profile, any search results mentioning the person? You should probably be going through some of that anyway. If you really can’t figure it out, you can call the company and ask who to whom you should address the letter.

3. Know what position you are applying for. Yes, that’s right. Don’t try to pass off a generic cover letter. When you only have a few paragraphs, irrelevant experience, broad goals and interests, and a detached tone are not really impressive. Those are one thing though, but people who apply but forget to change the job title, copy and paste from the job posting with out adding any context to it, or seem to not know what the job entails are just a waste of everyone’s time.

4. Double check your attachments. Actually, triple check. I got resumes with the wrong cover letter attached, missing attachments, or including corrupted or hard to read files. It is also a good idea to think about what you name your attachments.

5. If you are interested, act interested. You took the time to respond to the job posting, but you should appear interested in the job. I love questions, but when the cover letter is more a list of questions about what the position can do for you, it makes me wonder what exactly you are excited about.

QA jobs: resumes and interviews

I am currently hiring for a part time QA position and have been doing some research on other people’s experience on the process of resume screening and interviewing.I recently read a great post by Eric Jacobson on what a good QA resume looks like.

Here is a snippet from his blog:

“However, the candidate would have probably gotten an instant interview if they had included any of these:

  • My approach to testing is as follows…
  • See my software testing blog for my opinions on how to test.
  • My favorite testing books and blogs are…
  • I enjoy testing because…”
  • I think he makes a great point. It would be great to see some passion and originality come through in a resume. Even if people had  different philosophies on testing, it would be great to see someone who is thoughtful and interested in their work. Maybe the place for that is not in the resume, but in the cover letter? Coverletters are hard. Trying to be direct, knowledgeable about the company and passionate about your field in a few short paragraphs takes a lot of revision and editing. It is worth it though. Where better to get an idea of yourself as an employee and a person across to your potential employers?

    There is the interview- perhaps the best way to get a sense of someone’s interest in the work as well as their skill in it. Programs and languages can be learned, but the right thought process should be there in the first place. I have answered a lot of QA interview questions – good and bad and some just plain unoriginal. In my opinion, anyone can search for “top Microsoft interview questions”  or “Google interview questions” etc and come up with a list – but that doesn’t make them good. They aren’t all bad. I am not even saying you shouldn’t use some of them. I do advocate taking a moment to decide if they are right for your company, for the position you are interviewing for and for the specific interview you are doing before launching into a predetermined list of logic questions. “Why are manhole covers round?”  or “How many piano tuners are there in the US?” seema little cliche to me, at this point.  I’d kind of hope that the person I was interviewing had heard of it before. Some of those logic questions are fantastic though, and very well suited to QA.

    The best interview questions I’ve ever gotten?

    “Pretend you are writing a test plan for a vending machine. Describe what you would test, where your risk areas would be and who you would consider as your users.” It is relevant. It is just difficult enough to throw someone off in an interview, but not too difficult that they shouldn’t be able to recover. The answer will tell you a lot about how a person will approach testing and how they will problem solve.

    “Write reproduction steps for how to make an omlet.” – Want to know how someone will write bug repro steps? Ask this question. Are they detailed? Helpful? Easy to follow? It also lets you know how organized their mind is when pulling out reproduction steps on something they are very familiar with doing.

    “What is the best bug you have ever found?” (this seems to be fairly well known in the QA world and I have defiantly gotten it in an interview) They might not know one offhand. Thats fine. But can they talk to you about the types of bugs they find? Where do they look for bugs? Whats important to them when testing? Great question.

    “How much testing is enough?” Where do they draw the line between thorough testing and meeting deadlines?

    What do you guys think? What do you look for in a resume? What are the best interview questions you’ve ever gotten?