Interviewing for new testers – advice from the community

It’s not often that I get to interview potential new tester colleagues so I asked for input from the test community on Twitter to help me out.

This is the thread if you want to skip this post, but I’ll also make a more readable list here.

My favorite suggestion was made by Joep Schuurkes

This is not only a great question to ask someone else, but also to ask yourself! If I had to answer it would probably be when I have found some hard-to-find bugs with exploratory testing (I like the detective work in testing) and when I have paired or mobbed with my team for programming or testing purposes. In general, when people are working together with empathy and understanding for one another it makes me happy.

Huib Schoots suggested asking the candidate how they learn.

I ended up using this question during the interview and it was insightful. Something interesting did happen on a personal level. I had answered the question for myself beforehand and when the candidate answered something in a completely different direction I had a hard time not steering them in my direction.

Another great question came from Benny Cornelissen:

This is also a good question to ask yourself as well. I like it a lot more than the cliché question “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, because when I hear that one, all I want to do is yell “how the f do I know!?”. Thinking about personal goals without the arbitrary 5 year thing feels much better.

Lanette Creamer suggested asking about the best tester they’ve worked with.

There’s a little trap in there too because when they nominate themselves for this honour it can reveal arrogance and that warrants some follow-up questions.

Next, 2 questions that reveal a lot about the candidate you’re interviewing:

These are very dangerous questions that I think many testers struggle with. There are some red flags if a person says “checking if the software works according to spec” or “writing automated tests to see if the software is correct” and nothing more.

Of course, we also have to ask about quality, like Marit van Dijk suggests.

This question is almost always guaranteed to lead to an interesting conversation.


More suggested questions and topics:

  • what do you like about working in testing? (Magnus Pettersson)
  • what is the latest blog post or book you’ve read about software development or testing, and what did you learn from it? (Karol Szewczak)
  • What do you do when you have nothing to test? (Toine Schoenmaekers).
  • How do you handle developers when they say “it’s not a bug”? (Sanchita)
  • When was the last time you helped someone on your team? (Rüdiger Schnirring)
  • What is the most interesting defect you’ve uncovered? (Paul Grossman)
  • You have a bug on the build and the developer says “works on my machine”. What do you do? (Jose Pita)
  • Why do you want to work for our company? (Fred Steenbergen)
  • Could you draw your ideal pipeline? (Finbarr Brady)


I hope this helps you out a bit! It certainly helped me very much, thank you to everyone who answered. Cheers

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