What's the best task you had at a job interview?

I’m wondering what is the best task you had while doing interviews for software testing jobs? For me, the best one was when the interviewer asked me (in the technical part of the interview) to show them how would I conduct a short exploratory testing session. So, I opened up a mind-map tool, and made a short charter using Explore it! and showed them how I take down notes, observations, concerns, etc.

My least favorite tasks are the infamous take-home assignments, it’s not a big deal if they just want something symbolic, like writing a test case or making a skeleton of an automation framework - especially for more junior roles, but, some companies really take it to far and give you an assignment which requires a few workdays to finish which is a ridiculous waste of the applicants time, in my book!

10 Likes

That’s a good question, commenting mainly to follow the answers :stuck_out_tongue:
But my answer is when they give you a logical exercice or kind of riddle to solve.
Lot of fun, when you try to express the way you think.

one interview they game me balls, some requirements, you have 3 attempts to know the weight of them I forgot the details, but I solve it at that time.

4 Likes

The classic task is actually the only task I’ve gotten so far.
Where someone would ask ’ how would you test this? ’ and the answer should just be “what do you want ‘this’ to do?”

7 Likes

Good question!

For me, there were two tasks - both were the stage in one interview.

  1. You got a repository with tests that were written by developer. Your task is to analyze the tests and the code, improve it (as you can) and also - to write and explain your further steps in improving the codebase.

  2. At the video-call interview, I got a piece of code - and my task was to read it and explain all bugs or problems that I see in the code. Some kind’a of code review (but in terms of testing or vulnerabilities).

7 Likes

I like problem-solving tasks unrelated to the position I am attending for a first look.
For example, How many trains do we need for running Prague Metro?

It was that good that I started using these kind of questions in my interviews as well :slight_smile:

4 Likes

This is an excellent question, @mirza.

It reminds me that I wrote about this topic in the following post: What one interview question have you been asked that sticks in your mind?

For some reason, my learning style doesn’t resonate with abstract puzzle-like questions that I can’t connect to the reality of my day-to-day work. So I prefer practical task like questions where I could demonstrate some of my skills for reals.

Great to hear you got the opportunity to show how you would conduct a short exploratory testing session. I’ve never had the chance to do that in an interview and would absolutely love it! :grinning:

2 Likes

Actually, I think I have great examples for this thread.
I was interviewed quite a few times, and most part of those interviews are predictable and boring, just ISTQB questions, boring scenarios, catchy phrases etc., which I find so strange, but it is what it is :smiley:

Some of the best tasks I have been given are:

  • Imagine you are testing a Vending machine. What is your approach, how do you report, what is your criteria for well working vending machine(fun fact: long answer and dedicated work I put in this question actually got me hired in my current company)
  • LOVE logical questions, logical premises, tasks that trigger logical thinking and some of them were:
    • If I roll two dice at the same time, what is the probability that I will get a six on the second dice?
    • Jane’s mother has four children. The first child’s name is Spring, the second child’s name is Summer, and the third child’s name is Autumn. What is the fourth child’s name?
  • Actually had been asked several times about math skills (also great approach if you ask me), for example
    • third square root of 27
    • 5^3+5^0
    • triangle surface area, rectangle surface area…
  • You have 5 minutes to test login form - what is your approach

those were the most interesting ones that got my brain working. All other tasks were classic general knowledge and endless questions about theory of testing.

Great question and I am looking forward to reading more answers about other testers experiences.

3 Likes

“Jane’s mother has four children. The first child’s name is Spring, the second child’s name is Summer, and the third child’s name is Autumn. What is the fourth child’s name?”

The answer I’d like to hear would be “Winter. Jane is her second name.”

5 Likes

Dope! That sounds like something the Riddler would ask Batman in an interview! :smiley:

2 Likes

When I interview Junior Testers I usually give them a Coffee machine to test and tell them they have 30 mins to write as many test cases as possible. People often look at me dumb considering they are applying for a software job but its a really good opportunity to see the ‘type’ of tests they write. Do they use different testing techniques like Equivalence partitioning, Boundary value analysis or decision tables. I also like to see some out there tests, like what happens if I press two buttons at the same time or turn the machine off half vend :slight_smile:

4 Likes

That is a good approach, I like it!

I was once given a timed puzzle in an interview (a cross-reference table).
Part way in the interviewer complained about a flickering light bulb and proceeded to stand on the desk to change the bulb. - very distracting…

I finished the puzzle without marking any of the cross-reference tables and handed my answers to him.

He looked at the answer sheet, then at me with a puzzled look… He then asked why I hadn’t used the cross-reference table. I told him I had worked it out in my head. I’m not sure he believed me (even though I was sitting in front of him the entire time). He questioned me some more, I explained why I had arrived at the answers I had written down and then asked him “So is it correct?” … He replied, “Yes, but I can’t understand how you did it without using the tables”.

After finishing the interview, I got the feeling I had failed in some way… but when I arrived home I had a voice mail offering me the job with a request to phone them back asap…

Ironically, I didn’t take the job …

2 Likes

Hi @mirza

Superb question!

A number of years ago I went for a senior tester role and the manager asked me how I would test one of their systems. I had 2 screen shots and a set of rules, and I could use a board to write on if I wanted or paper.
So I drafted out the test approach and tests I would write on the board, ironically finding an issue with the test itself - there was a scenario where you couldnt get to screen 2 - and presented it back after the 30 mins was up.
On the back of that I was offered a Lead role and more money than the other job offered. I took the job and had 4 happy years there. It was good to be able to show my skills rather than just describe them.

3 Likes

I had to do a presentation on testing to all their testers in the company, based on that those testers were empowered to decide if I was hired or not.

Least favorite ones are where I totally disagree with the practices clearly the interviewer came up with themselves and I need to tone down my own thoughts and still convey my different stance in a positive light.

1 Like

If it’s to do with my job, then fine, I’ll give them chapter and verse about best practice. But if someone asks me an abstract brainteaser in an interview, I’ll just Google it and its answer, because that’s clearly what anyone sensible would do in real life!

:grinning:

2 Likes

Sounds pretty intense that - how did it go?

3 Likes

Went well, was offered the job two days later, still there 7 years later.

4 Likes

My experiences with tasks on job interviews are not much on the testing side, but one of the memorable ones is when I was asked to create test cases on their live app (I was still trying to break into testing at that time) and the excitement in me wrote too many test cases.

I didn’t get the job. :frowning: but it helped me get some real-life exercises in test case writing and bug replication.

3 Likes

On one of my interviews, I was cloned the repo for the company test automation suite (open-source), and was give the task to add a unit test to any area of the automation tests I thought needed to be added. Then I would explain why I added that specific unit test and why I thought it was import to have it there.

2 Likes