Why do we conduct interviews? Why we not hire people just by looking at their CV? Because you need that personal interaction before the decision has made.
Recently I went through the process of interviews. It was the time to finding a new team member. Yes, I have done interviews before but this time I have documented my experience.
The interview process I followed was,
- Initial screening of the CV
- Phone interview
- If the phone interview was successful or I am in doubt over how the phone interview progressed, I called them for a face-to-face interview
- On the face to face, I have spent a half an hour discussion with the candidate alongside another two of my colleagues who represent development and business analysis. This gave me an idea how the candidate will work with the team.
- Then I asked them to test a section of our application with me as a pair testing activity. Talked about what they would do, asked questions and explored the application. It was an excellent opportunity for me to understand their testing skills.
- There was another task on whiteboard to write the high-level plan or code to automate a simple section from the application. This was their opportunity to show their knowledge and understanding on automation.
- Take an IQ test as a part of the company requirement.
So yes. The whole process was time consuming. However, it helped me to know the candidates better.
I had a clear goal from the beginning. I was looking for a candidate who is passionate and excited about testing. Someone who is open to learn. A fit for the team as a whole not just testing function. Good communication. Automation experience was just cherry on the cake. I always believe that automation is not testing but a tool to help testing. Therefore, I had no plans to be strict on the automation experience.
I interviewed almost twenty people via phone and face to face. Some of the unforgettable characteristics were,
Some given us the impression that they really did not want to be in the interview. They spoke over us when we wanted to clarify things, did not wait the question was completed, no smile and not joined the friendly chitchat before the interview. It might be the nervousness but it did not come out well.
- CV is not represent the exact skills and experiences
When there were automation knowledge in the CV, I always asked a question or two. Of course, I have asked the most basic question to start with and if they show potential, I asked bit more. For my surprise, candidates with impressive automation skills on CV, struggled to answer and said they had never worked on such. So why the experience was in the CV? To get through the selection process?
- Question time not used effectively.
Question time shows the interviewee their personality. Candidates can ask about the role, about the team, career progression etc. Not everyone showed this enthusiasm or make use of the opportunity.
Apply the job via the advert and when the internal recruiter call the candidate to arrange a phone interview, they ask for a higher salary than what defined. The job advert clearly mentioned the salary range. I always say no to such candidates because I feel what they do is not professional.
The main characteristic I saw in most candidates were, they are not thinking outside the test script. As for them, the business analyst should write the acceptance criteria and the testing team follow it to the point alongside other scripts. My question to everyone was “what if there is no requirement or documentation. How would you test? What would be your approach?” About three people said they would do exploratory testing. Rest said, no there should be some documentation to learn about the application. When I ask them what their understanding over Exploratory testing, their definition was close to ad-hoc testing than what Elizabath Hendrickson had explained in “Explore it”.
Why does this happen? Is it because companies not invest on people as much as they should? Is it because people not invest on themselves? Of course, these candidates will find another job. Companies who want scripts followers will hire them. I felt sad for them because they are missing so much that happening in the industry. In the UK, we have a fantastic testing community. Why are they not taking the advantage of it? Lack of knowledge or lack of enthusiasm?
The interviews helped me to see through the candidates and gave me an idea of their managers. I think managers have a bigger role to play in helping their teams than just get the work done. We work with different cultures and diversity levels. No one rule applies to all. I have met few managers who genuinely interest in helping their teams to grow within the team/ company and in the outside world as well.
In my mind, it is unfair to limit people’s potential because managers think they will leave otherwise. Well, people will leave anyway. However, I think I will be a very satisfied manager if I know that I truly helped the person who is leaving than hold them back.