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Software Testing Career – Pointers to handle interviews successfully

February 3, 2018
software testing career, software testing career interview, success in software testing career interview, software testing job, software testing job interview

Software Testing Career is not as easy as anyone thinks, and so are their interviews. There are thousands of articles written against the questions asked during an SQA / Software Testing career interview, so what’s new in this article?

  • Firstly this is coming from a highly skilled QA professional who has been taking really tough interviews.
  • Second, I will list the real questions (a part of the bookish, theoretical) which are extracted from the candidate resume.
  • Third, I will try to categorize the questions and their answers as per experience.
  • Fourth, I will be mentioning the tips on how you should behave, respond and leave a positive (lasting) impression towards the interviewer.

Here in this article, we will see how to handle Software Testing career interviews successfully, and some Do’s and Dont’s.

Pointers to handle Software Testing Career Interview Successfully

The meetup – Fresh to 2 years profile

Once you’ve been called inside the conference room or any room where the interview will be taking place. Your first impression counts a lot. Following things can be done:

Greet all the individuals sitting in the room.

Question: Tell us about yourself, your experience, your education etc.

In many of the cases, the first question is ‘Tell us about yourself, your experience, your education etc.

Answer: You should not take more than 20-25 seconds in answering this part. Start with your education

  • I have done bachelors in software engineering or whatever your degree is from XYZ University.
  • I have been engaged with ABC Company from X number of years. In case you are fresh and open to opportunities say I am learning tools or I am freelancing (say this only if you are doing these)
  • I have worked on multiple platforms and have been doing web-based testing, mobile app testing. Mention the platforms you’ve tested.

Don’t iterate your resume or tell them ‘You must have seen my resume, everything is written’, even if I have seen your resume, I would want to listen to you and how you describe yourself.

Question: Why did you choose Software Testing career? Or what attracts you most to become a professional tester/software quality assured?

Some companies are looking for individuals who really love what they do and are really proud about it and the reason why they search for those people is that then they would do anything to make sure the work is done on time and with quality. Such individuals are very important for some organizations and they are able to recognize from the response of this question whether the individual has chosen this career as a means of earning money or because they are really interested in. You need to answer this as truthfully as you can.

Don’t: I don’t know coding that’s why I choose to Software Testing career.

I would not recommend you saying this. This completely puts me off. Testing and quality assurance is a strong field and requires responsible, passionate candidates and not the one who does not have any other career option. Also with increasing demand to test automation, you need to possess development skills and there is coding involved in it.

Question: Is there any difference between Smoke testing and Sanity Testing?

I would tell you the most prominent difference i.e. Smoke testing is marked under regression testing and sanity testing is categorized under user acceptance testing (UAT).

Smoke testing is performed earlier whereas sanity is performed after the smoke testing.

Question: What was the bug life cycle used within your organization?

Another tricky one. The Bug life cycle is usually the same. So you can start off by saying that the usual life cycle was used (if that was the case) and then explain the life cycle in detail additionally so the interviewer is aware that you actually know about it. It would also not hurt to mention about improvements that could have been done in the process at your previous company.

Question: What are the test case and the test scenario?

A test scenario is any situation that requires testing, a ‘what’ to be tested whereas a test case is a subset of test scenario and it is ‘how’ to be tested. We can have multiple test cases in a single test scenario.

Question: Tell me the test cases of a webpage having a ‘Download’ button, irrelevant of file type.

Many candidates do not get the requirements clearly, even when they are this small and clear. Often they start telling ‘upload’ button cases which is again incorrect. The answers I usually get is:

Candidate: Well simple, we will just check its functionality and that’s it. And we will see the filename is correct.

But they don’t tell what’s the functionality like clicking on the button and checking is it working or not. They miss the most important step of opening the file if it’s correctly downloaded or not.

Question: What tools/platforms are you familiar with?

The response here should indicate the most prominent and useful tools that you are aware of. Such as tools related to testing case management (TestRails), bug tracking (Jira / Mantis), feature tracking (Jira / VersionOne), automation (Jmeter, Selenium) and document storage (basecamp or Git). It would also be a good idea to focus on those tools which were mentioned in the job posting as chances are that the interview is heading towards the discussion related to that tool.

Don’t mention tools which you do not have any hands-on experience with because the next question could be related to something technical about one of those tools and it would not look good if you were unable to answer that question.

Question: Is regression testing and retesting same?

No, Retesting the activity to check whether the defect has been actually fixed, while regression testing is the activity to assess whether the fixed defect has an impact on any other functionalities.

Question: Why do we hire you?

This is the most important question and your chance to prove/market your abilities. You can’t just say ‘because I am best fit for this’. Provide solid reasons such as I am detail oriented, I have the ability to think as per user perspective. You are a self-learner and explorer.

In the previous company, you took all the ownership of a system, explored automation and implemented the concepts and made a hike in your performance + growth. And in such a short experience you are already doing senior / experienced testers work.

Question: What is your weakness?

A very commonly asked question. Don’t say bookish words like I am a perfectionist I don’t miss anything. To be really straightforward, no software can be perfect, there are always chances of vulnerabilities. Just give a very friendly answer like you love sweets. You need to have a sweet every day. Or you can say I am a shopaholic, I love shopping and I am aiming to control it. Or you can even say I am getting healthier (towards fat) I want to shed some weight.

Whatever weakness you tell, also mention how are you planning it to overcome, that will leave a good impression.

Above 3 years’ experience

If you have over 3 or plus years of experience you are considered to be on the senior ladder. So the questions drift towards scenario based and management during software testing career interview. Let’s discuss some of them:

Question: You sent a QA approved build to the client and it crashed on client environment and he is extremely angry. If you are the QA lead on this project, how do you tackle this situation and what will be your strategy?

In this particular question, I want to hear the strategy on how the client can be cooled down after such a big mistake. And let me tell you there is a probability that client has done something wrong, it’s okay not to take the entire pressure towards your end. If you’ve done the things right, stay confident in your work.

So this is how the conversation takes place:

Candidate: I will revert the build

Me (in mind): That will be the last option I would opt. As the build was working fine at my end. This answer is a complete NO.

Me: So without tracking the problem, you will directly revert? And what about the client? How will you calm him down? Don’t you think you owe an apology to him?

Candidate: Hmm, Well I will tell him we are looking into it.

Me (in mind – No! Rejected) that’s it? Will you ask anything else?

The answer to such type of question should be, first I will apologize to the client by contacting him through email or any other medium used for communication between the parties. Then I will ask the exact steps he performed which resulted in the crash. Maybe he is missing any reference or the application is not pointed toward the correct database. Reverting the build will be my last option. And I will make sure to get it fixed within 24 hours.  

Question: Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?

‘I haven’t thought of it for now’ is a big NO and you should NEVER say this. This answer can totally change the game and put your image down even if you were doing really well.

You can say, I see myself in a more inspirable position such as a QA manager, managing 5 or more resources or entire QA team within my organization. Handling the clients directly, documenting and planning strategies to improve QA department.

Whatever plan you wish to answer, just make sure you have a practical/achievable plan. This shows commitment and interest in your work.

Question: If you’ve worked on web-based and mobile based application, is there any major testing difference you’ve found or is the same testing performed on both of them.

This is a tricky question and most of the candidates fail in answering it. You should be confident and say yes there is a major difference like, we have to install an app before testing. Web-based applications do not need to be installed (however it does need to be deployed). There are also cases for testing on different mobile phones due to their screen size, resolution and OS versions that need to be considered.

We have to check interruptions and push notifications handling in an app i.e. if a call comes in during your testing, how is the application handling that. And many others.

Question: Have you worked in an agile environment? Is testing done differently on agile based projects?

In Software Testing career, experience takes various curves when it comes to project methodology being used. This question checks whether you have knowledge about how projects are being managed in recent times. For projects using the agile methodology, testing needs to be more focused since developers move each small item into testing as soon as it’s completed. Also, there are shorter release cycles than the one used in waterfall so testers need to do more testing in a short amount of time as the product of each release in agile projects is expected to be production ready.

Here just describing all that is known about what type of testing should be performed in agile sprints should be discussed. Usually, feature testing is done first and then either a smoke cycle or a regression cycle is executed. Automation tests are usually written in the upcoming sprint.

Question: Can you share a major challenge that you faced in software testing career.

Think through this before answering as you will need to describe the problem and the solution as well. Also, it needs to be something difficult such as creating a really complex automation script or testing out an API that was making insertions in multiple tables which had a lot of different fields. Make sure the interviewer understands the problem and why it was challenging for you before moving towards the solution in your Software Testing career.

Question: Did you do anything to improve the process in your previous company

Software Testing career is more aligned to continuously improve the process and quality. This question is usually asked to determine whether the candidate is willing to invest his efforts in improving the processed of the organization or just work on the projects/tasks assigned to him/her. It would be great to mention if you had worked on any such improvements but even if you had not, then you can even share ideas that you had but were never given a chance to work on them. For e.g. You could say that your last company did not use any test case management tool and that you had told them about test rails which would have improved things quite a lot, however, there were costs involved at that time which is why your company did not take any action on it.

Question: How you would manage the QA team in the organization?

There should be some follow-up questions from your end to determine how the QA team is structured and what the hierarchy of the organization is. Usually, organizations have a project team-based structure. In such a structure QA team members are reporting to their respective project managers.

Your response should start by saying that you would want to understand the expectations from the QA team on each project and to do this you would need to set up meetings with the project managers and their QA / testing team separately. Based on their feedback, you will be able to create a plan on how you would be keeping track of their work and also making sure that the output quality by the QA team is similar on each project.

Analytical Questions

Software Testing career interview is more of Analytical and logical answering. Many interviewers ask an analytical question to see how sharp you are and how efficiently you can handle the things. Such type of questions helps to determine multiple abilities like working under stress, smartly handling the situation, self-motivated etc.

A candidate must be prepared for such type of questions in any interviews, here for Software Testing career.

Keep your Resume updated

You must update your resume whenever you plan to apply to other company. This is very important. I see so many candidates who are experienced but they keep forwarding the first-ever resume they have made or keep forwarding a resume which isn’t updated as per their experience. Interviewers often extract an odd question from the resume like the final year project or any tool on which you have worked long ago.

If you have been questioned about it and you respond by ‘Oh I used it long time back’. This is a bad answer. I would recommend you to remove the part in which you don’t have proper knowledge or hands-on experience. Sometimes little knowledge can be dangerous and complex questions can be extracted resulting an embarrassing situation for you.

Other tips to keep in mind

Few things to make sure to follow before/during the interview:

  1. Dress appropriately. This means you should show up in a formal attire even though you may have heard that the culture of the organization is non-formal but that does not apply to you yet since you are not part of the organization. Showing up in a jeans/t-shirt will just give the impression that you really did not plan too much for this interview and just got up and wore whatever you saw first.
  2. Make sure to reach your destination well ahead of time. This is beneficial for multiple reasons. One, that you are disciplined. Second, it gives you ample time to get associated and remove those early jitters before the interview.
  3. Be confident. Do not rush into answers even if they seem really easy. Take a moment to think about but not too long. Make sure you understood the question completely before answering.
  4. Keep eye contact during the interview. Even if there are multiple people taking the interview, make sure that you are addressing each one of them while answering.
  5. Do not look at your watch during the interview. This gives a really bad message to your interviewer that maybe you are in a hurry or that you want the interview to be wrapped up quickly. Some even consider it as intentional so the interviewer might end the interview after seeing this. While that may be the case but that’s going to create a very negative image about you in the interviewer’s mind which could affect your selection.
  6. Keep your cell phone switch off or in silent mode. Nothing irritates someone more than the sound of a phone ringing while in the middle of an interesting discussion. The interview is the time where you are selling your skills and you need to make sure that all your attention is focused on the interviewer’s questions.
  7. Make sure your answers are associated with real examples based on your experience. This is a way to showcase that you have actually used that particular tool/technique and are not only describing bookish answers.
  8. Ask questions before leaving. I always ask the candidate if he has any questions for me and many of them just nod and say no. A good candidate should always ask a question not related to when you can join or what is the package they will offer. In fact, you should question about what is the structure of your QA department, what are the tools and technologies which are been used and what will be your responsibilities etc.

Conclusion

Concluding today’s topic, there can be a never-ending discussion on the interviews topics and how you should prepare an answer. Here I tried to explain out of the box questions which can benefit you in the upcoming Software Testing career interviews.

About the author

Nandini KS editor

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