Hiring New testers - How do they think?

Alon Linetzki 1,070

As I was looking on other things, I stumbled on James A. Whittaker's blog on testers framework of thinking (http://googletesting.blogspot.com/), which I liked very much, also referred to Eric Jacobson (http://www.testthisblog.com/2010/01/test-this-light-switch.html) on the topic.

I have interviewed a few hundred testers myself in my professional life, and believe the insights are unique and gets your attention.

I usually ask the candidate to describe how she/he will test a commonly used device, thus not having to know specifications so much, and being able to focus on the approach, strategy, and scenarios. I like to see systematic thinking, and then on the other hand also unsystematic thinking. I believe that I have learned as an exploratory tester, that when you break you systematic thinking, bugs start to pop up.

Some good questions I have heard and used in past interviews are:
1) Which is more important positive or Negative testing?
analysis: in this question, I couldn't care less about what is being said, as they both are important, but I would like to hear the approach and how the candidate explains that to me.

2) If you had only half the time for testing what you have defined as in scope, how would you act?
analysis: in this case, I would like to hear the candidate find the way to identify, prioritize, improvise, be creative and approach this bad situation - which in many cases is a reality - and explain that to me. I accept questions and a few assumptions, so that the candidate would feel comfortable, but not too much.

3) If you had to provide quick feedback on the quality of a product, what will you do?
analysis: in this case, I try to put the candidate in pressure, as there is no time. I speak fast as well, and do not wait but only 3-5 seconds until I ask : well? and again, well? Creativity is important, improvisation as well, methods and good skills will get nice ideas come out from a guy who knows testing, and experienced challenging situations.

If we can identify testers thinking patterns and frameworks according to what we see in the interview, and even guess what approach they are going to take (after establishing the pattern), my question would be if we can identify and forecast their performance? and to what extent?

We all want to hire good potential testers, that would stay long at our company and fit our team profile, maybe further analysis will help us do that with a questioner or facilitated interview directed just at that?

We'll see...

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