Hiring professional testers

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Huib 5 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #1704

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    How do you recognize an excellent testing professional? And how do you get the right people in your projects?

    View the webinar recording and slides Here

    #1707

    Richard Forjoe
    Participant
    @rforjoe

    Q: Would you say Job specs highlight how mature a company’s testing practice is? ie companies without a mature test practice don’t know what they want from testers hence don’t know what to spec out. What’s your advice to them on how to find out what they need?

    #1709

    Richard Forjoe
    Participant
    @rforjoe

    Q: What do you use to determine if someone is passionate about testing or not? Are there specific things you look for?

    #1710

    alt
    Participant
    @alt_lv

    Some really great tester add examples were given. You must have seen also not so great and interesting ones. Care to mention them as well? 🙂

    -^. ^=-
    ~~ ~~

    #1711

    Melissa Bingham
    Participant
    @melissa-bingham-71

    Great presentation. can you share the last page of the presentation that had all the books and blogs?

    #1712

    Daragh
    Member
    @daraghm

    Hi Melissa,

    Glad you enjoyed the presentation. I will be adding a webinar recording and link to the slides on this discussion very shortly. The links will be at the top of the forum 🙂

    #1713

    Algirdas
    Participant
    @whoisaj

    Q1: Does blogging tester has better chance to be hired? If he/she blogging about testing it means he/she is passionate about it (?)
    Q2: Do you make same research about candidate? i.e.: Google, facebook, LinkedIn.

    #1715

    Kim
    Participant
    @punkmik

    I would look for involvement or knowledge of the testing community. Does the candidate keep up to date with testing discussions and trends?
    What was the last testing related book/blog post/article they read?
    What did they learn recently they would teach a new starter about?
    And I love the question Hiub used “How do you learn?” – it is not important how but that the candidate likes to learn. It also does not have to be directly testing related, maybe they read a great psychology book or have an interest in computer or social sciences. Just a natural curiosity and want to learn is a great starting point.

    #1716

    stefan
    Participant
    @ipstefan

    Q1: Have you been to interviews to a job for yourself after some experience in hiring testers? If yes, how did you see the interviewer?
    Were you wondering why he’s not using the right questions?

    Q2: Considering the testers coming to interviews have stayed a day with your team; do you also take feedback before hiring him from the team members (for example a developer might say he doesn’t like that he’s too aggressive when he finds a bug)? or you just watch him from time to time and see how relaxed and knowledgeable he is in the position he temporary works in.

    Q3: Did anyone refuse to be hired by you even if you wanted him in your team? If so, did he have any good reasons?

    #1717

    Daragh
    Member
    @daraghm

    Hi everybody,

    Apologies for the delay with the Q&A responses. Huib hosted this webinar from home but he is currently on his way to the office so he should be available real soon to answer your questions. 🙂

    #1721

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q: Would you say Job specs highlight how mature a company’s testing practice is? ie companies without a mature test practice don’t know what they want from testers hence don’t know what to spec out. What’s your advice to them on how to find out what they need?

    A: my advice would be to use somebody who does know what he/she is talking about. Go talk to test experts who can help you create a job profile that fits. The book by Johanna in combination with my heuristics can help. Make sure you create a job spec that fits your needs. Companies without a mature test practice is an interesting problem itself, so make sure you get the right people who deal with these problems. Taking testing seriously by getting some help hiring the right people is a good start.

    #1722

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q: What do you use to determine if someone is passionate about testing or not? Are there specific things you look for?

    A: Good question, There are many ways passion can manifest itself. I guess I look for many things, depends on the person I am interviewing. Enthusiasm and sparkling eyes, the way the speak about testing, curiosity, they way they learn, what they do to advocate the craft, etc. A great way is to ask them if you have any doubts and it is important to you: “Are you passionate about your craft?” And if they say yes, you ask: “Can you give me an example …” ?

    #1723

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q: Some really great tester add examples were given. You must have seen also not so great and interesting ones. Care to mention them as well?

    A: I rather not do that in public. Google them and you will find them. I have given some examples of “pretty vague characteristics” and showed you some interesting job adds. I am sure you can do the math. Contact me by email if you really want bad examples, I can show some.

    #1726

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q: Great presentation. can you share the last page of the presentation that had all the books and blogs?

    A: the slides are online here

    But let me make it easy for you 🙂

    * Book: Hiring Geeks That Fit – Johanna Rothman
    * Heuristics for recognizing professional testers
    * Recruiting Software Testers by Cem Kaner
    * TestBash 99 second talks: Don’t be so bloody vague – Anna Baik (Starting at 25:55)
    * Blog post Thomas Ponnet: writing job description for testers (part I and II)
    * Blog post Ralph van Roosmalen – Technical Recruiting at RES Software
    * Rex Black & Michael Bolton: irrelevant interview questions?
    * A tester’s syllabus by James Bach
    * Book: Are Your Lights On? How to Figure Out What the Problem Really Is – J. Weinberg & D. Gause

    #1727

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q1: Does blogging tester has better chance to be hired? If he/she blogging about testing it means he/she is passionate about it (?)

    A1: Yes, that is a sign to me he or she is passionate. I think that many people who blog, think about their craft and spent time to share that with the rest of the world, that is great. I do read the stuff that is written and the comments and the reactions on the comments. If I do not like it, I will not hire the person. Let me be clear here: it is not a matter of if I do agree or not. There are many things I could be looking for. I try to find them in the blog posts.

    Let me give you an example: I am a context-driven tester and my blog post are pretty clear about that. Some people might not like what I write and that is fine. Do not hire me. My blog will give you an idea what my thoughts were in the past and what they are now.

    #1729

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q2: Do you make same research about candidate? i.e.: Google, facebook, LinkedIn.

    A2: Yes, I do research. The more you know, the better you can evaluate. It depends on how much I know about the candidate. I always look at Linkedin and see who the candidate is connected too. I also look at recommendations: given and received. Skills & Endorsements do not interest me too much on linkedin, it is too easy to endorse people and everybody can add any skill. Most of the time I google the candidate to see if I can find articles, blogs, or anything that tells me more. Only sometimes I look at facebook. You have to be careful with facebook, it is the candidates private life and I am evaluating from a professional context. I rather talk to people who know him/her and can tell me more about the candidate.

    #1730

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q: I would look for involvement or knowledge of the testing community. Does the candidate keep up to date with testing discussions and trends? What was the last testing related book/blog post/article they read? What did they learn recently they would teach a new starter about? And I love the question Hiub used “How do you learn?” – it is not important how but that the candidate likes to learn. It also does not have to be directly testing related, maybe they read a great psychology book or have an interest in computer or social sciences. Just a natural curiosity and want to learn is a great starting point.

    A: Thanks for touching on the topic of “great psychology book or have an interest in computer or social sciences”. I really like that in a tester. As I said in the webinar: I think testers can learn a lot from social science. I wrote a series of blog post about What testing can learn from social science.. Curiosity and learning is very important indeed!

    #1732

    Helena
    Participant
    @helenajm

    The content of the webinar was geared towards hiring people who already are in the field or are at least very interested in entering the field of testing. However, not everyone may have the opportunity of hiring experienced professional testers and they may end up hiring someone completely new to the field. These “possibly awesome future testers” may not even know they harbor a passion somewhere inside them (you may need someone else to ignite it), they don’t know much about testing and they may have only “accidental” experience with it if any at all.
    I have ended up hiring two such people who have ended up being quite awesome. However, none of us knew that from the beginning (well, maybe except me as I believed in them :)). Hence, some of the heuristics I could apply but some I could not. Therefore, when hiring people completely new to the field you need to 1) adjust your hiring strategy 2) know what and how to do with them afterwards.

    What kind of heuristics would you add/modify if you had to hire a person who doesn’t know anything about testing (considering that you have figured out the problem you’re trying to solve)? How would you try to identify if they’re promising without having any opportunity to probe their past experience or knowledge of testing?

    #1733

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q1: Have you been to interviews to a job for yourself after some experience in hiring testers? If yes, how did you see the interviewer? Were you wondering why he’s not using the right questions?

    A1: Yes, I have been to interviews after some experience in hiring testers. I recently changed jobs. The right questions do not exist. I do not believe in THE list of questions, neither would I speak of “wrong/right questions”. A job interview works two ways: do they want to hire me? And: do I want to work for them? We are in there together. Both “sides” have to match as good as possible. So if I am being ask questions I do not understand, I ask why they ask the question in the first place. If I do not understand why they ask me, how can I answer the question? I need to fully understand the question and the context in which it is asked.

    #1734

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q2: Considering the testers coming to interviews have stayed a day with your team; do you also take feedback before hiring him from the team members (for example a developer might say he doesn’t like that he’s too aggressive when he finds a bug)? or you just watch him from time to time and see how relaxed and knowledgeable he is in the position he temporary works in.

    A2: I sure do want the feedback from the team. And I also would watch them work with the team. Both can give you valuable input about the team and the candidate. The team has to work with the candidate later, so I need to know how they feel and if they see potential problems. If there are doubts, that is great input for a conversation after the candidate has met the team. Not all the problems have to be “blocking” issues.

    #1739

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q3: Did anyone refuse to be hired by you even if you wanted him in your team? If so, did he have any good reasons?

    A3: Yes, I have that experience. I guess the candidate had good reasons for example: higher salary elsewhere, not the right challenge, didn’t like our company (no click), mismatch in job description and actual job, etc. I always ask, but the answers are not always that clear. I have done many interviews in my career and I learned (from successes and mistakes) that finding a match for a vacancy can be pretty difficult.

    #1746

    Huib
    Participant
    @huibschoots

    Q: What kind of heuristics would you add/modify if you had to hire a person who doesn’t know anything about testing (considering that you have figured out the problem you’re trying to solve)? How would you try to identify if they’re promising without having any opportunity to probe their past experience or knowledge of testing?

    A: interesting question. I have done many job interviews with candidates directly from college for a consultancy/secondment company in 2008-2010. Since they cannot bring a lot of knowledge or experience to the table, I looked for passion for testing and learning in things like: curiosity, pleasure in finding things out, ask questions, willingness to learn continuously and share their knowledge. I also looked for a cultural fit: do they fit the team? Do they want to work with me as their manager and can they cope with my high demands and my way of communicating? I always talked them through the company mission, strategy and values.

    The first step in our interview strategy was always to test their analytical skills using a multiple choice test in 3 parts: number sequences, figure series and math word problems. That was a nice heuristic to see if they had analytical skills and could do logical reasoning. I guess I would now diversify the challenge/test a bit more and have them test something and observe what they do and how they do it. I am also interested in their thought process. The second step was an interview with me in which I used the heuristic I mentioned before. The third step was to let them speak with the account manager. He would talk with them and check if they had a fit with our customers and of course also with him.

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