I had a challenge of building a new QA team from scratch. At that time I just joined, and was learning about our products, who our target demographics are and how the release process works, etc. I needed to
find the right testers who would thrive in our environment. This company knows that for a successful software development endeavor they need to have testers as an integral part of their teams, and I appreciated this support.
After finding out what my budget was, I was contacted by the head of corporate recruiting and discussed what my requirements were. I knew that I needed sapient testers, the problem was how to translate that into a language that could be understood by recruiters. What I’ve realized from conducting interviews and making decisions on hiring in my previous job, is that it doesn’t matter how you frame your requirements in a job position, candidates are creative enough to tweak there resumes in order to get a match. My candidate requirements were not a far reach from the stock descriptions that the company already had. I just had to remove all certification requirements.
Once the position was put up across all approved job boards, the resumes started pouring in and true enough the first set of resumes were the creative ones. A lot of them talked about who their company were, but there were no straight answers to the kind of thinking process they got into when testing any given project. Out of the twelve or so resumes, I phone interviewed four and brought one in for a face to face interview and that did not turn out well.
I had another meeting with the recruiters the week after and gave them feedback as to why I ended up rejecting the first set of resumes. The crux of the feedback was that the candidates that I’m looking for need to have the initiative in searching for information, can clearly communicate what they need to test and champion their bugs. That seemed a little too much and ended up giving them a list of simple questions that they can use to quickly phone screen the candidates that match their keyword triggers. Here’s a sample question, “What kind of tests are done to make sure existing features haven’t regressed?”. Easy enough right? Yet about 40% of the candidates missed this one.
After seven weeks, and continuous conversations with the recruiting team I finally got one candidate who I decided to give an offer to. A chemistry major who also happens to have an MBA, that had experience in testing high powered microscopes and voice over IP hardware. By the end of the hiring phase, I asked the primary recruiter to read Jerry Weinberg’s “Perfect Software and Other Illusions about Testing”.