Hello, hiring manager here who has asked this exact question, and directed it to juniors. I’ll explain my rationale:
Junior interviews are based on the assumption that the candidate has no prior test experience or knowledge of software testing. In this case, I try and translate question topics into concepts that may be more familiar, whilst still leaving opportunities to show me what I’m looking for in each question.
(E.g. In my first testing interview as a candidate, I was asked how I’d estimate how long it’d take me to make a hot drink for everyone in the office as I couldn’t draw parallels to software)
The elevator question to me, follows the same approach. Most people are aware of the intended functionality of an elevator, and it’s rare you’ll get a junior cutting the question short with a “lack of a requirements spec” evasive answer. Most will try and have a go.
I’m not looking for someone who studies Health & Safety regs in their spare time, I’m merely looking for a logical breakdown of testing types, even if the candidate doesn’t mention any of them specifically.
The main thing for me is their approach:
- Do they consider things logically or just scattergun scenarios?
- How do they communicate the ideas they have to an audience?
- Do they (expressly or innately) understand the critical paths and key risks (e.g. safety of passengers)?
- Do they only assess the happy paths?
- Are they considering things beyond standard functional testing - e.g. different types of users, failure states that don’t kill people, etc.
The above gives me better insight into soft skills which will be critical for their role (communicating ideas effectively and concisely, logical approach, critical thinking, etc.) and highlights areas that I may need to focus on. Learning testing techniques and types I can teach them, but having someone who already can think around a problem from multiple angles is of great benefit.
And I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality and forethought in some of the answers I’ve gotten from this question, junior or no!
Candidates often start by discussing the correct ‘functionality’ of the elevator, and some will take into account load and stress testing scenarios. Some of the more thoughtful answers took accessibility into account, or UX (clear signage, audible announcements, doors staying open long enough to let people on/off). I’m not expecting anyone to discuss elevator scheduling behaviours, but you do get the odd one that makes you smile!