Software is valueless without testing. The role of a software tester is not to develop software, but to make the software usable. Some may argue that the role just demands a tester to indentify software bugs, but if you look deep, it is much more than that. A software tester, who is passionate about his job and does that flawlessly, gives your company or clients confidence in the software. A tester catches bugs so that the customers don’t have to deal with them and your company doesn’t lose money, reputation and time.
“When you take a smart person and help them find and focus their passions, you have a powerful mix. Smart people who aren't passionate create a bad vibe.” – James Whittaker, Renowned Software Evangelist at Microsoft.
Software testing has a very wide profile; it not only involves manual testing, but its scope widens to performance analysis, security analysis, writing test automation, security frameworks etc. This makes a tester or a QA engineer’s role so crucial and software giants like Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc. consider them at par with the developers. We have compiled 10 key questions to ask a potential prospect when looking to hire a software tester. In order to hire a passionate QA engineer, don’t just focus on the experience, but more importantly, gauge their logical and critical thinking skills.
1. What are the processes to be followed to reproduce a bug?
This question will help you to find how much the prospect is capable of finding a defect. If a developer is unable to find this behaviour he or she will ask the tester to reproduce the bug. In another scenario, if the client complaints a defect in the production, the tester will have to reproduce it in test environment.
2. What is the responsibility of a tester when a bug is found at the time of testing?
This will help you understand the prospect’s ability to handle risk. Here, the tester has to first check the status of the bug, then check whether the bug is valid or not then forward the same bug to the team leader and then after confirmation forward it to the concern developer.
3. How to launch the test cases in Quality Centre and where it is saved?
This will help you understand the tester’s strategic planning technique. Here the QA engineer creates the test cases in the test plan tab and link them to the requirements in the requirement tab.
4. What is the key difference between preventative and reactive approaches to testing?
This will give you an idea if the prospect is aware of the different approaches to testing. Preventative tests are designed early; reactive tests are designed after the software has been produced.
5. What is the purpose of exit criteria?
This will give a picture if the tester has a proper idea about the different levels in a testing process. The purpose of exit criteria is to define when a test level is completed.
6. What determines the level of risk?
Does the candidate know what to do during an adverse incident? This question will help you understand how efficient the prospect is to analyse the possibility of an adverse event and to determine the impact of the event for gauging the level of risk.
7. When is Decision table testing used?
This will help you to find whether the candidate has a good knowledge about testing systems. Decision table testing is used for testing systems for which the specification takes the form of rules or cause-effect combinations. In a decision table, the inputs are listed in a column, with the outputs in the same column but below the inputs.
8. How do you write a bug report?
This is a very important question. The candidate’s response will give you the idea how he/she is confident about the core skill and role.
9. What is the bug life cycle?
Through this question you will get to know how well conversant the potential candidate is about the life cycle of a bug.
10. How can a tester be sure that bug was fixed?
The final and a vital question to comprehend how the tester can execute the steps to prepare a bug report.
Apart from core testing skills, software tester also requires a lot of communication and language skills. For example, if you work with a US-based development team, communication in English is a must. Therefore, your interview questions should also focus on finding out how good is the potential candidate in communication.