What's a go to question that you ask candidates while interviewing? Why?

This might be useful to you if you are being interviewed or interviewing. It’s interesting what people are asking and why.

“What’s the best bug you’ve ever found?”
This allows me to see if the candidate is able to tell an interesting story about a bug, which helps when talking about bugs with devs/POs.
It also allows to have a longer conversation - why is this the “best” bug, what did they learn?

I like “How would you explain testing to a 5 year old?” It gets people thinking and often puts them at ease which is nice.

What do you do when you find a bug? I want to understand what their process is

How do you go about getting better at testing? (hoping to pick up a conversation about books, blogs, meetups, etc.)

Would you be ok if a developer releases a content change when you didn’t test it? Why: it helps me assessing if someone likes the whole team approach to quality and if he/she thinks about risk (or want to own the test column and test everything).

What would have been the business impact to the latest risk you raised had it been realized in production? Testers need to understand why they’re testing, and it’s not just to make sure code works…

I ask ‘what got you into software testing / what makes you stay’ If a person doesn’t like their job, how can they bring their a-game?

Well, I ask them to walk me through a typical day in their life as a software tester? Why? I look for passion towards their work, are they a learner, how do they communicate? Generally a nice ice breaker before diving deep into their experience.

“What makes you a good tester?” - Often says something about what the candidate thinks is important when it comes to testing. And also something about their view of themselves.

“How to test a text field” - I want to know if they just start testing it randomly or really ask good questions to clarify first what the field is about. Then of course I see what cases they want to cover

What do you look out for when testing an application that is largely customer focused? I want to know if you are Customer-centric and to what level.

When you are testing and find a bug, how do you know whether to stop or keep poking for the root cause? Why: it’s a question even I would have trouble putting into words as it is usually a feeling I get. Helps me see how the candidate thinks on their feet.

What’s the difference between quality assurance and testing? Testing alone does not achieve adequate quality. I am looking to check the applicants understanding of this and to learn what other measures they think are effective to achieve quality.

What was a favorite product feature or functionality that you tested? This is for me to know if the candidate has experience in testing complex functionalities.

A lot of time, when attending an interview, candidates are travelling somewhere they’ve never been to before. Even if its an area they are familiar with, they still have to find the office. This could be a great way to determine the candidates resourcefulness and planning abilities.
I’d ask, how did you find the office? What did you do to make sure you didn’t get lost?
Living in a more rural location, most of my interviews have been in towns or cities I’ve never been to before. I usually use my smart phone to help me find my way, but on one occasion my phone suddenly stopped working. Fortunately I’d also written down all the information in my notebook, and even drawn out a map of the area so I could find the office.

I definitely like the idea of a test. I did one to get them to create A bdd Feature file for one of the roles. The job clearly stated that was something we were working with so people can research if they don’t know.
I also like to ask the question why do you want the role
And I always ask describe the different types of testing. I do this to see how many just focus in on it does what it says on the tin and how many widen their answers to include Secuirty, Performance, Supportable

I used to give real situations and ask them about their actions - that helps alot to understand how this person will react because we can learn tools and languages but it is hard to change behavior and mindset

I usually ask them about this hypothetical situation where they are made ‘head of testing’ for a product they know nothing about and is doing badly in terms of customer reported issues.
What would be their things to do on day 1 of their job. Their answers mostly tell me about the testing school of thought they belong to.

I always keen to know more about the attitude and approach towards solving the problems. If you’re open minded, it will not hard to learn the processes, tools and technologies sooner.

What would you add? Or have you heard some good questions in interviews? Share, we want to know!

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I ask what they think about the following phrase: “A broken software that is very easy to change is more valuable that a bug-free software that is impossible* to change”, Uncle Bob

* Impossible as in any change may cause many unexpected changes in unrelated components.

I do Interviewing for test engineers who are embedded in dev teams. Not really one question, but a series of questions I ask are “Describe your current team and its workflow? What do you like about the workflow? What don’t you like? How would you improve it?”

I use this question to determine how dedicated to quality they are (verses being a code/test monkey). We’re small enough that I’m still hoping to get change agents, as opposed to 10x devs/testers. Strong candidates can talk about what they do now, what works, what doesn’t, and how they’d fix it if they could. I get that this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a strong change agent (e.g. there’s more to getting a team to change it’s behavior than just telling them a better way to do it), but it helps find people who are passionate about shifting left, realizing that quality isn’t just about testing, etc.

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The OP included one contribution that went: “I’d ask, how did you find the office? What did you do to make sure you didn’t get lost?”

I once had an interview where the agency gave me the wrong address. Somehow, they’d accessed an address that was three years out of date. I ended up:

  • Accessing an entry-controlled building by breaching a lot of security rules (i.e. tailgating)
  • Asking office occupants if they’d ever heard of the company
  • Using search engines to find the current location of the company
  • Repeating this process when directed to a part of the city with a lot of very similar-looking buildings

On finally arriving at the company, I did ask the interviewer “Was that part of some sort of initiative test?” (The agency had rung the company to say “We’ve done a silly thing” so they knew I would be late; I’d not checked the company contact details independently because I’d assumed the info I’d had from the agency was correct; obviously, the phone number I was given was wrong as well.)

All of which are good tests to challenge any tester’s skills and reliance on assumptions!

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Great content from the others here :slight_smile:

Spanning more than a question and on the more technical side, I have a set of questions I use that are to help gauge a candidate without going through the boilerplate coding interviews that are the norm.

I personally have interviewed only juniors, and I don’t think there’s a purpose in asking them too many technical questions.
I ask them to write a test plan for defragmentation feature in Windows, and then ask some personality questions.
My favorite is : “You had a conflict with one of the developers. Next day you receive a task to test one of the features he worked on, and you don’t have enough information in requirements to start testing it. What are your actions?”

My favourite question is to ask how they plan on making themselves redundant.