03 July, 2010

Auditioning for a Tester’s Role – Part II

Part I witnessed some really interesting comments. If you think Part II will be a pocket book on ”How to Interview Testers”, then you may want to stop reading this post right now.

I interviewed one person on telephone recently where I asked him to test a marker he claimed to have in his hand. He was shocked, “What? Test a marker?” He intended to say “Do you mean I’ll be testing markers in your organization?”

What is the solution? By the way, what is the problem? Interviewers, Interviewees, Who else? It’s the system we have lived with for years without questioning. Ok, the system has worked for many decades. So what? Why not change the system? Why not try?
Why not audition testers?

Have you ever attended a music concert? Have you witnessed an Arangetram? Musicians/Artists/Actors – these people don’t interview for jobs. They perform - in real time. They AUDITION.

Volunteer to test in an interview. Ask for a testing mission. Ask for stakeholder requirements. Ask questions. Get your doubts cleared. Explain your test strategy. Execute your tests. Summarize your test results. Is this so hard? It is if you have tested one module for 3+ years and did not think of anything else at your day job. Think out of the box about what’s inside the box. Keep looking out to learn and explore. Challenge yourself before someone else does it to you. Challenge others to challenge you as often as possible. Write about your experiences. Learn from your mistakes. GROW with time.

If we claim to be passionate to test, why do we shy away from testing in real time during interviews. Why do we express shock when we are given a mission to test? Why do we say “I have never leaked a bug till date” when asked “What will you do if a bug gets leaked into the production code?” What are we scared of? Not getting a job? Not getting good pay? Good designation? How much good enough is the good that you are willing to have?

Never say Never,
Perform in real time,

Parimala Shankaraiah


  1. hi Parimala,
    After reading Part I, I was eagerly waiting for the follow up from your side. And I must say that the wait was worth.
    I feel that the widely followed interviewing methodology in testing, needs a change but the real problem is the people who are in charge of hiring candidates are still believer of largely irrelevant methods.
    Few organizations follow "Auditioning Testers" by assigning them real world problem and more importantly, interviewers don't always look for exact solutions, they look for the approach which I found really good.
    We have been reading, learning, following and practicing (as and where possible) the Context Driven Testing. Can we have something like Context Driven Interviewing as well. Because one size doesn't fit all. We must admit that Interviews are always requirement driven.

    My learnings so far:
    In freshers, I would look for aptitude (learning ability) and ability to communicate.
    In experienced, I would look for their problem solving skills and conflict resolution in addition to their technical skills.

    Thanks for sharing yet another thought provoking post.

    Rahul Gupta

  2. There is no bad certification. There are incorrect ways of certifying either by us or by others. This may give tag of Bad Certifier.

    There are no bad interviewers. There are incorrect way of identifying skills by interviewers. This may not help in enjoying the interview by interviewee and interviewer and loose resources.

    There is no bad auditioning. There are incorrect ways in understanding of what the auditioning is.

    There is no bad tester. There are incorrect ways of using the skills or learning the skills.

  3. Just shared my experience in my blog regarding the below point-
    I interviewed one person on telephone recently where I asked him to test a marker he claimed to have in his hand. He was shocked, “What? Test a marker?” He intended to say “Do you mean I’ll be testing markers in your organization?”

    This is a concerning question by upcoming testers and i am sure it iss not a one-off case and many who are involved in interviewing have faced this question.

    I agree with your points regarding Auditioning testers. This is something i had been following with good success and it also helps set expactation with the candidate about what/how much challenging the job is going to be.


  4. many times this model tests like chair asked usually many refer external look,comforts good one

  5. its a special post which overwelmed me and made me excited ,it happened never before,i took it as something happening before me .Started rating myself and in deep thinking