5 Things QA Engineers Can Do To Ace An Interview

Interviewing is a daunting process to say the least. No matter how prepared you are, you’re likely to still get the jitters before and during the interview. For some, those jitters can turn into full blown anxiety. I’ve been on both sides of the interviewing process. I’ve been an interviewer for several 10’s, if not 100’s, of engineers throughout my career. I’ve also been an interviewee for various roles. In this blog post, I’ll share some things I look for when interviewing someone or things I do to set myself apart as an interviewee. These things will help you ace your interview!

  1. Set yourself apart. It’s not uncommon to get 100+ applicants for a role depending on where the role is located. That means there are 100 other people, with similar resumes and experiences, going for this one role you’re interested in. Setting yourself apart on paper is a great start. For example, reference my previous blog post and create a testing portfolio. In addition, during the interview, it’s important to continue that uniqueness and use examples and experiences to ensure you’re remembered.
  2. Know the company. Seriously, this isn’t a hard thing to do but 90% of the people I interview have little understanding about the company they’re interviewing for. They haven’t downloaded our app, gone to our website, or checked out our company. You know what would KNOCK MY SOCKS OFF if I were interviewing you? Go to my website or download my app, and find a couple of defects. When asked in an interview what details you would write in a defect, BAM!, showcase the actual defects you found on my site and walk me through how you wrote those up.
  3. Ask questions; be conversational. An important aspect of interviewing is being able to think on your feet. You don’t know what questions I’ll be asking ahead of time, so it’s all about listening, formulating a response, and concisely replying. That same concept should be used when you’re asking questions back to the interviewer. Sure, you will have a set of questions (or you should) prepared for the interview, but make sure the conversation is flowing. Asking follow-up questions or generating new questions on the fly will help make the interview feel more like a conversation. Want some solid questions for a testing interview?
    • What testing tools do you use?
    • What is a typical day like for a tester at your company?
    • What is the culture of the team I’ll be working on?
    • Is this a new position or a backfill?
    • What does a release cycle look like? How does regression testing fit into that?
    • Do you all use exploratory testing methods?
    • How do you measure success for a tester?
    • What metrics are tracked and how are they reported?
    • How does automation help drive quality for your company?
    • How involved is the team in making sure testing coverage is adequate?
  4. Don’t be afraid to pause. Anytime I interview for a job I have a pad of paper in front of me. I’m more of a visual person. When someone asks me something complex, it’s sometimes easier for me to write it out and work through it. If you’re like me, and you’re asked something complex, I would highly recommend taking a pause, working through your thoughts, and providing an answer that is insightful and detailed. Rather than just blurting something out to quickly get an answer off.
  5. Dress for confidence. This will be controversial I’m sure. When I’m interviewing for a job, dressing up and looking nice plays a role in my confidence. If I jump on a conference call with an interviewee or show up to interview someone in person, it’s an immediate turn-off if they’re in a t-shirt. It just is! I’m not old school; I don’t care what you wear after you get the job. However, that initial impression should be used to your advantage – wear something that will boost your confidence and show your personality! For example, I was interviewing for my current role at for online horse racing platform. This same company hosts the famous Kentucky Derby every year. An event where people dress up, accessorized with big hats and pretty spring colors. With this recognition, I chose a burgundy suit that I had in my closet. Something that gave a nod to the organization’s fun nature, plus allowed me to show some personality, which further drove my confidence.

The 5 things I mentioned above are techniques I’ve used to ace interviews and things I look for when interviewing. They’re meant to set you apart, give you confidence, and help you engage appropriately with the interviewer. The next time you interview, give these a try. In addition, expand on the ones I’ve given. This, by far, isn’t an exhaustive list. Just several that I fall back on or look for when interviewing. Good luck!

What are techniques that you employ? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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