Here are a few questions that are aimed at finding out if the person you are interviewing can handle common issues that a tester is faced with in an agile environment.
What is the purpose of testing?
If the tester thinks it’s his/her responsibility to improve or assure the quality or to find “all” bugs – they are setup for failure. You cannot be responsible of the work of others you don’t manage. The most important task of a tester is instead to gather information, information that will facilitate a decision concerning the risk of releasing the system under test and by being a credible and high-integrity reporter that provides accurate and timely information
What do you do to become a better tester?
Find out if the tester is passionate about his/her craft and what he/she does to get better. What test books, blogs or testing magazines do they read? Are thet active in testing forums or social forums like Twitter or LinkedIn. Do they participate in conferences or book circles or take courses and certifications?
What do you do to enable your colleagues to improve and do a better work?
Continuous learning is crucial but a sharing of knowledge is just as important. Try to find out if the person you are interviewing is a team worker, willing to co-operate and share information with their colleagues. Or a lone wolf that rather keeps to themselves.
If the time to test is limited, how do you plan your testing?
Time is always an issue. Find out if the tester has a risk-based approach to testing and if so, how do they decide the level of risk?
In what situations would you use scripted and/or exploratory testing?
Ask the tester to elaborate on the pros and cons of scripted testing (ST) and exploratory testing (ET).
ET – Pros:
Less preparation needed; Easy to modify when requirements change; A lot more fun and intellectually stimulating; Seldom performed in the exact same manner (good when it comes to finding new bugs); Works well even when documentation is scarce; The tester is not as delimited to a certain area but can chose to focus on it, drop it, move on to something new… or revisit it
ET – Cons:
Difficult to present progress and coverage to project management (Session-Based Test Management aims to resolve this); It’s not for everyone – to do it well you need to be: curious, proactive, technically minded, inquisitive, proactive and most important – an excellent and diplomatic communicator
ST – Pros:
Useful when testing against legal or regulatory requirements or for example when testing volume requirements or data conversion logic
ST – Cons:
Preparing is usually time consuming; Requires detailed documentation; Tests the same steps over and over again; Difficult to modify when requirements change
If you get to decide, when would you say a feature is ready to be released?
Is the tester aware of what constitutes a good (and realistic) definition of done?
How do you handle changing or poorly defined requirements?
Is is more often the rule than an exception. An agile tester must be able to communicate with all roles and levels of an organization in order to gather information from all available sources
What challenges is a tester faced with in an agile environment and how would you deal with them?
Common hurdles are insufficient or missing requirements, changing scope, developers that don’t “think test”, lack of time, a regression suite that is continuosly growing
Strategies to overcome this could be to start working on test ideas from the very beginning of the sprint, work strictly risk-based, use session-based testing, involve the developers in testing (remember – everyone is responsible for the quality the team deliver), have a strategy for automation and work closely with everyone that might be able to provide information
How do you deal with a defect you raised that keeps bouncing back and forth between development and test?
Ideally the tester should be proactive and contact the developer in person instead of communicating via mail or a bug tracking system
Tests creative thinking and problem solving…
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Riddles to test problem solving skills