Interview Questions - Help please

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Tessa Benzie

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May 8, 2014, 4:35:20 PM5/8/14
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Hi All

We're about to start interviewing (at 9am this morning) for a new tester. I'm interested to know what interview questions you guys have used/experienced that you value for assessing candidates.

None of the CVs we've looked at have mentioned anything about the context driven school of testing so in particular I'm looking for questions that might help identify people with a propensity to this way of thinking, even if they don't know it yet.

One technique we have used in the past is to pass them a pen and ask them to test it, looking for how they approach the task, rather than the outcome.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance
Tessa

Oliver Erlewein

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May 8, 2014, 5:13:10 PM5/8/14
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That's a very good start. I gave people a bit of a test. Basically a print of a website and asked them to tell me their test ideas. I also asked them to write a fictional defect report. 

Together with your pen/brick "test this!" you should get a good idea of what testing "character" they are. Then add some test automation stuff and some digging in past and you should be set.

Of and if ISTQB is present a question like "who's Rex Black?" is sometimes fun! You wouldn't believe the answers sometimes.

Cheers Oliver


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Aaron Hodder

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May 8, 2014, 5:40:24 PM5/8/14
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What's the last software testing related book you read?
"You cannot do effective software testing without comprehensive requirements" do you agree with that statement?

Those questions lead to interesting conversations.

Andrew Robins

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May 8, 2014, 5:45:33 PM5/8/14
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And you can also try.

"Model a light switch" and see where that gets you.

Again with an emphasis on the process they go through and the objectives they are trying to achieve.

Cheers

Andrew
Test Manager, Tait Radio Communications


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Rich

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May 8, 2014, 6:31:46 PM5/8/14
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Hi Tess
This is one of my favourite topics; due to recent success.

When I hired the "super testers of 2013", I found that it was more important to look at how you grade the answer more than the strength if the question.

I do support some limited "play" games or exercises, such as the "test this" exercise with a log in screen, or a pen with a torch function.

When it comes to the grading if questions much of it is about the hiring managers instinct. However, a system is often required to support that.

I used 6 questions, each targeting a cultural aspect of the project, a core competency, a chance to sell oneself, or a problem to solve. 

Each question was graded by making notes and scoring each of the following areas; efficiency/delivery, technical skills, team player/fit.

There was an additional "other" category to add an additional area of focus, where necessary.

Grades were out of 3, with bonus points awarded for anything interesting.

It worked very well and helped keep an account of the interview.

The numbers helped guide us but were not the sole measure of success.

On occasion, where there was disagreement, a repeat of the JD and the type of person that was required would be discussed, and a 2nd grading and voting session would take place.

Overall it was great fun, and together with the pre-interview questions I was able to successfully drive the crap and salesmen away, and sift out some truly superstar testers.

Enjoy!
Rich 

Sent from my iPhone

Tessa Benzie

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May 8, 2014, 6:50:12 PM5/8/14
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Love it! Thank you all for the suggestions. Will definitely be using some of that stuff.

Brian Osman

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May 8, 2014, 8:02:46 PM5/8/14
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Great question Tess! I too like the *audition* type interview thereby i get the person to test software (or some object if software/laptop to much bother to arrange).

At one company i did auditions by using a laptop connected to a projector.  That way i could see what was happening.  At the sametime i was role playing the project sponsor/BA/Dev and encouraged the participant to ask questions (and to articulate their thoughts out loud).

Any questions were listed on a whiteboard as to were potential bugs. This work well. 

When the interview was over (we did a std behavioural based interview with a panel then the audition), we gathered around the board and debriefed -often the whiteboard told an interesting story.  It wasnt perfect but it work well for us in that particular context (interviewing for a senior level consultant).

Good luck!

Cheers

Brian

Oliver Erlewein

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May 8, 2014, 8:06:26 PM5/8/14
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The other question I ask myself constantly while in an interview is "do you want to work with this person? Will they help you with reaching whatever goal I have?". Everything else is secondary to that rather "gut-feel" type scenario. You just know whether someone fits or not. All the rest is actually actionism to prove or disprove that gut feel.

Unlike Rich, where it seems he has people to actually choose from, here in NZ it really is "striking a chord" between me and the interviewed and that does not happen often at all. It is difficult at best finding people that actually come with the skills and mindset you need. So it often actually comes down to finding people with potential that will grow into where you need them to be.

Btw, I noticed something odd. When we advertised for junior testers we got a lot better calibre testers than when we advertised for senior test positions. This can have dozens of reasons including just pure coincidence but I think it has something to do with the type of people that apply. I think a lot of good testers don't realise that they actually are and therefore would not apply to senior roles (and I think the converse is actually true too). So I'd suggest getting as many testers into your interviews as possible. i.e. make the advertisement ad broad and unspecific as you can. (btw, that might only work in NZ, where the market is small).

Hope that all makes sense.

Cheers Oliver

Nicola Owen

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Jun 22, 2014, 7:32:36 PM6/22/14
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Ideas: 
Which Testing-related books/articles/blog posts they have read lately?
What they think of the purpose of Testing is?
Can they think of an instance where a bug is a bug on one website but not another? (hope that makes sense!)

Oliver Erlewein

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Jun 22, 2014, 10:55:27 PM6/22/14
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Have a look at next month's Testing Circus mag here: http://www.testingcircus.com/
Will appear sometime July. Will contain some brilliant stuff on interview questions and the such.


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srinivas kadiyala

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Jun 27, 2014, 9:55:26 AM6/27/14
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Yes, @testingcircus - next edition is on Hiring Testers - coming this july.

Very Good Articles received.. Hope you will get some thoughts...


On Monday, 23 June 2014 08:25:27 UTC+5:30, olivernz wrote:
Have a look at next month's Testing Circus mag here: http://www.testingcircus.com/
Will appear sometime July. Will contain some brilliant stuff on interview questions and the such.
On 23 June 2014 11:32, Nicola Owen <dea...@gmail.com> wrote:
Ideas: 
Which Testing-related books/articles/blog posts they have read lately?
What they think of the purpose of Testing is?
Can they think of an instance where a bug is a bug on one website but not another? (hope that makes sense!)


On Friday, May 9, 2014 8:35:20 AM UTC+12, tessab wrote:
Hi All

We're about to start interviewing (at 9am this morning) for a new tester. I'm interested to know what interview questions you guys have used/experienced that you value for assessing candidates.

None of the CVs we've looked at have mentioned anything about the context driven school of testing so in particular I'm looking for questions that might help identify people with a propensity to this way of thinking, even if they don't know it yet.

One technique we have used in the past is to pass them a pen and ask them to test it, looking for how they approach the task, rather than the outcome.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance
Tessa

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olivernz

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Jun 29, 2014, 7:35:24 PM6/29/14
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