Recruiting for Potential - Lena Wiberg

Recruiting for Potential - Lena Wiberg


In early 2017 I was promoted to QA manager and right off the bat thrown into two recruitment processes. I was terrified. I knew from previous experiences that I am really bad at traditional interviewing techniques and suddenly I could not even hide behind someone else making the decisions. During my career I've interviewed potential colleagues, team members and interns and I've always felt the outcome depended heavily on the candidate’s confidence rather than my questions.

Our recruitment process included three interviews and three online tests. I felt it tended to favor glossy resumes and interview-trained professionals as well as being biased towards whatever personality type the recruiting manager had.

I wanted to do something different. Something that used my testing and programming background and that could be used to assess both juniors and seniors on an even playing field. I started out looking for available exercises but the things I found were limited, generic and all focused on testing in front of other people. This also favors a particular type of person and in addition it wouldn’t give me all the answers I wanted.

  • How well do they read instructions?
  • Do they have the guts to question?
  • Can they make reasonable assumptions?
  • How do they adapt to something unexpected?
  • Can they document and communicate their findings?
  • Can they answer questions about their work?

In this experience report I’ll share my thoughts on why traditional interview processes are outdated and I’ll show you an alternative way or doing it. I’ll talk about successes, setbacks and how we plan to improve the exercise moving forward.

It's about figuring out what makes a tester, how to compare apples to biscuits and how you should always expect the unexpected.

In short: I will talk about putting candidates to the test.


  • Why standard recruitment processes are biased and focus too much on history
  • Ideas on how to improve recruitment processes for testers or other roles
  • How to design a scope small enough to handle but with enough challenge