Enterprising QA analysts
who want to move up should highlight their history of growth and untapped potential when responding to interview questions, advises Tony Bermel, senior corporate recruiter at Harbor Freight Tools
in Calabasas, Calif. The fast growing firm plans to build an in-house QA department down the road, so Bermel's looking for analysts with experience with the financial, inventory and purchasing modules in Oracle EBS
Here are a few of his standard interview questions. How many tests scripts did you write last month? Do you use testing tools and have you created customized test cases and scripts? If so, please share an example.
Have you validated data sets for quality? If so, what is the typical size of those sets? Also, have you defined and managed parameters for test cases?
- What Most People Say: “I probably wrote 200 to 300 test scripts last month using LoadRunner and WinRunner. I’ve only done a little bit of customization.”
- What You Should Say: “I wrote 200 to 300 test scripts last month using LoadRunner and WinRunner. I’ve also written customized tests by creating some SQL code within the testing module. Here’s an example.”
- Why You Should Say It: “Being able to write code from scratch shows experience with customization and a basic understanding of full lifecycle development,” Bermel says. “Plus, it shows progression and a desire to move beyond testing, perhaps into software engineering, business analysis or a lead position in our testing department.”
How many peripheral entities do you deal with in your current position? Have you worked with Oracle or other vendors to elevate testing procedures or resolve problems?
- What Most People Say: “Sure, I’ve written test scripts to check data for quality.”
- What You Should Say: “I’ve worked with large data sets that had millions of rows of data. And I’ve checked datasets for quality by adding test cases and parameterizing script inputs to perform data-driven testing. In fact, I’ve had to cleanse and transform data sourced from multiple systems. I’ll walk you through the steps.”
- Why You Should Say It: Outlining the steps in the testing process demonstrates your understanding of end-to-end testing and hands-on experience. “Many candidates have observed end-to-end testing but they’ve only carried out a portion of the process,” Bermel notes. “And I’m looking for someone who’s comfortable testing large data sets because we transact about $5 million in sales per day.”
- What Most People Say: “What’s a peripheral entity?”
- What You Should Say: “Not only do I interface with eight to 10 department managers and end users on a daily basis, but I work with third-party vendors like Cognizant and IBM. I recently worked with Oracle to understand the limitations, reduce the number of testing cycles and create an efficient test plan when we migrated to R12. Would you like me to give you an example?”
- Why You Should Say It: Collaborating with vendors shows the ability to work at a higher level. Plus, such candidates are often looking for opportunities to grow beyond a pure testing role.
“You’re going to encounter challenges at some point during the testing process,” Bermel says. “Analysts that have a project management
orientation and a willingness to tackle problems demonstrate the ability to grow with the company.”