QA Jobs: Hiring the right person

Who you bring on to your team makes a huge impact on your testing department. My team has been growing this year, and  I am currently in the process of hiring another software QA. The process has been more drawn out than it was last time, with a lot of dead end resumes and interviews that didn’t go as expected. It is hard to be a on a job search, but it is not easy to be on the other side of the table either. You are looking for the right mix of skills, enthusiasm, and personality to both bring something new to your department and to fit in with the group you already have. Last time I went through this process, I wrote about QA cover lettersresumes and interviews – but this time, I am  thinking more about how to find that perfect person.

In my most recent round of interviews, I encountered a wide range of applicants – from out of work developers looking for something to tide them over until they could find a “real position” to recent grads looking for experience and career changes. How do you find the right one? And what will it mean for your team if you chose wrong.?

A guy in my company was talking yesterday about the “two beer rule.” Don’t hire someone you wouldn’t want to hang out with after having two beers with them. This may be a great rule of thumb. Because, interviews aren’t just about finding the right skills, they are about finding the right match. You need someone who can do the job, but also someone who loves doing it. Someone who wants to learn more and try new things and push themselves. Someone who fits in with your team and hopefully someone who you enjoy working with every day. Are there interview questions for that? Or is it just a gut check?

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5 Responses to QA Jobs: Hiring the right person

  1. Two Beer Rule: “Don’t hire someone you wouldn’t want to hang out with after having two beers with them. ”

    Interesting criteria. But how do you measure that? Do you actually have two beers with each candidate, and see if you enjoy hanging out?

    I guess since I don’t drink much, and seldom hang out with co-workers I would make a poor hire by these criteria. But I do love my profession, I think I’m pretty good at my job, and I believe my company kinda likes me.

    • Devon Smith says:

      I don’t think you literally need to hang out with them after two beers, I think that should be used more as a guideline. Is this someone you really get a long with. Is this someone who you won’t mind working beside when deadlines are stressful and the software is broken or someone you can rally beside when you have a bad release and need to carry on. By two beers- I mean- would you still get along with them when you are being more candid and honest. It isn’t about hanging out with someone outside of work, but about picking someone who you can happily spend 40, 50…60 hours a week with.

  2. Anna Baik says:

    I’ve always thought the two beer test has too high a risk (for me) of creating groupthink.

    I can understand that it’s important to hire someone who will be able to work productively with the group, but IME productive teams almost always have a couple of people at least who don’t really get on – as long as they’re still able to put aside differences to work together then I think attempting to eliminate all friction may reduce the variety in the team below the level where they have useful differences of opinion and outlook.

  3. Just to add to what Anna said, there are always people who may not see eye to eye at work. I have been in this situation multiple times. I tried liking such people, it didn’t work. I tried not working in the same projects as those people, it wasn’t realistic in smaller teams. And then, I thought ‘Maybe, I don’t need to like this person. Just get work done’. In spite of being able to work with a few people who I think are troublesome, It somehow puts me off when they are not passionate enough about their work and just think of it as a 9-5 money making option. I don’t know what is the right way out, I am still figuring it out!

    Regards,
    Parimala Shankaraiah

  4. kip says:

    I see the 2 beer rule as a great standard. Even if you are not a fan of someone you work with you have to be able to respect them and help sustain a good working environment. I’ve hired lots of people who are socially awkward and in QA we need to have people that can effectively communicate the bugs they find and their needs immediately.




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