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Oleksandr Romanov
Oleksandr Romanov

Posted on • Originally published at alexromanov.github.io

Do's and dont's of test automation interview

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

We all participate in job interviews. Not all interviews went well.
This blog post will share a few tips from my experience ( as a candidate and interviewer) on being a little better at test automation interviews.

Interviews - Do's

Do:

  • talk about the impact not about the tasks

Think about all your activities in terms of impact on business that you make.

If you have written 1000 UI tests, but they are flaky and nobody trust them - it is not an success. It is wasted time.

If you implemented 3 UI tests, integrate them into the build pipeline and the whole team gets a first automated feedback in matter of minutes after deploy - that's a success.

If you changed the quality "culture" and integrate new type of testing or "post-mortems" without writing a single line of code - it is even better.

Make your CV in such manner - concentrate on the impact.

  • always ask about the project's current stage, what's expected from automation, and the further plans.

It will help you understand whether the project is well established (and the only thing you will do is to add new or maintain existing cases) or it is a new one (so the processes and tools should be created or integrated).

If there is a proof-of-concept of the framework - ask about the choice of the technologies (and about the freedom to change the technologies).

It is better to know about the project/product more before joining it.

  • be ready to question, "Did you implement the automation solution / pipeline / process by yourself?".

Here you need to honest about the answer. If you got help from DevOps or developers - just say about it.

The candidate can't be a senior test automation engineer if he or she only fixed existing or add new tests (in the existing framework) for 3-5 years in a row.
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  • be ready to question, "Why did you do this activity?".

In one of my interviews, I once asked a candidate how the testing process for the game was done. And the answer was, "Well, I just get a new build, install it and play in it." It is a good answer for a trainee, but not for an engineer with a decade of experience.

  • ask for feedback after the interview.

It will help you to get points where you need more attention and practice.

I know only a few candidates that asked me for a technical feedback. As a result they progressed much faster than other engineers.

  • always read the company (job) profile and prepare to interview according to that profile.

I failed one interview because I did not prepare myself for UI test automation questions (even though the company's leading product was websites and UI web technologies).

  • publish some code to Github or participate in open-source projects.

It is an excellent way to build a portfolio of your skills. Don't be shy that your projects or solutions will be too "simple." You can always enhance them after you get more experience.

Interviews - Dont's

Don't:

  • do not upload the whole testing framework code on Github (specifically including logins, password, connection details of the infrastructure) and share it with the interviewer.

Additionally, please remove package names or any other product details from the code.

  • do not hesitate to say that you have a bad connection during an interview call.

I had a screening phone call with a recruiter at one interview, and the connection quality was terrible. I asked, "Can you repeat, please?" again and again. So, as a result - I got a rejection with feedback about my low English level.

  • do not say to the interviewer: "I don't know how this piece of code works - I just copied and pasted it from StackOverflow, and it 'magically' worked."

Of course, it will show that you are an honest person, but from the other side, it will show that you didn't want to understand how the code works.

  • do not state ALL technologies you ever touched at work or pet projects in your CV.

Everything that you put in your resume - can be asked in the interview. If you wrote an "Open browser and search at Google" Webdriver test in Ruby, do not say you know Ruby. Keep the list of technologies short.

  • do not participate in the interview without a T-shirt :) even if the interview is a video call. And always - in video interviews, it is better to turn on the camera.
  • do not state that everything should be automated only via UI end-to-end level.

Explore other levels and types of testing and automation.

  • do not state that tool 'X' or framework 'Y' is the best choice for every possible task at work.

The products are different; the technologies are different too - so be open to new tools and opportunities.

  • do not say that code reviews are only for developers.

Treat automation code as production one in terms of clarity and quality.

Conclusions

It is not a complete list of do's and dont's for the interviews. I know that the more experience you get (as a candidate or interviewer), the more new tips you are collecting.

Good luck with your interviews!

Which tips can you add to this list?

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