"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Test your interviewer

Hi Reader,

I need motivation to keep giving good articles in Tester Tested! Blog and recently there was a big push for me from someone in Finland. I would love to share that with you

Well, hopefully you have come back from that link and now get ready for something interesting and a very controversial topic.

"Now Pradeep what is that controversial topic and what do you mean by *Test your interviewer*?"

Hmm ! is it that interesting for you to read this post?

_ Test your interviewer _

Before I proceed further, I want to ask you a question and it is ..."How many interviews have you attended till date?" 10 or 20 or 40 or 50 ?

Is 50 a huge number for you to digest?. Well if 50 is a huge number, what would you call an experience of attending 200+ interviews?

Would you want to know who is that person who have attended 200+ interviews till date?

No guesses at all... Its me, Tester Tested!

"Now Pradeep, why did you have to attend 200 interviews in this short span of 3 years?"

That's an interesting question but there is a better time I explain why I did have to attend so many interviews but I am just sharing something with you that I noticed very frequently in interviews.

Based on the interviewers I have come across, I am classifying the interviewers in the following categories -

Interviewers who do not know what they are asking -

Every technical question in an interview is good if it reveals information about the candidate and his/her fit to the job opening but perhaps there are some interviewers who ask those questions based on their past experience of attending interviews and expect the same answer as what they gave in their interviews.

Interviewers who run out of questions -

There are some interviewers who run out of questions and start asking irrelevant questions or ask questions which does not contribute towards the objective of interviewing.

Interviewers who are unaware of the domain, the candidate has worked -

Unfortunately, this is something that irritates me the most and I am more happy to have got rejected by those. In an interview an interviewer asked me "Pradeep, what is the Load testing tool you use for testing multimedia?"
I replied "Sir, I guess there is nothing called load testing tool commercially available for multimedia product testing". He then surprised me ...
"What, haven't you come across Load Runner?"

He could have asked me a better question instead of that which could have made me to continue respect him.

Keeping myself cool and with an intention of not disappointing him, I said "Oh, I have not come across Loadrunner for Multimedia Sir, I might check about that when I go back after this interview".

I would never join if I know well in advance that I cant learn anything from a supervisor, who interviewed me irrespective of the .

Interviewers who think they are interviewing a candidate because they are better than the candidate -

The most common class of people I have met. As an interviewer you should be looking for opportunities to learn from the candidate knowledge, else you are not a good tester.

... Well there are many such classifications I would want to take. I would say out of the 200+ interviews I have attended I would rate only 10 people as the ones who are eligible to interview testers.

Now it is time to thank all the interviewers I have met since each of them gave me a new learning and experience and if you dont want someone like me to classify you in any of the above, you should be ...

Simple steps to become an effective testing interviewer -

  1. When you get a resume for interview from your HR/Manager, go through the resume and check with yourself whether you can interview such a profile you have recieved and also do let your manager know your comfort level to interview the candidate based on your/candidate's technical skills.
  2. Every question you ask, should be towards the objective of revealing how fit the candidate's skill is towards the opening you have.
  3. Do not ask too much about theory on testing, no two people know the same definition.
  4. Have a discussion ( not rapid fire questions) and or try to test something with the candidate and see how his/her approach and thought process is towards the testing.
  5. Do not ask questions that do not have a standard answer in this world, like "What is the difference between Sanity and Smoke testing?" rather it would be challenging for the candidate, if you ask "If you know what Sanity testing is, could you tell me its significance or let me know what impact would a project have if Sanity testing is not done?"
  6. Appreciate the candidate if he/she is better than you and let him/her know that someone else would interview them to take a decision of hiring. If you say so, you are a non egoistic, humble and bold person.
  7. If you could learn from the candidate, make a note of the learnings during and or after the interview.
  8. Ask for interview feedback from the candidate and try to better yourself through the feedback. Not all candidates would give a proper feedback but there are many people like me.
  9. The most important of all, read Dr Cem Kaner's - Interviewing Software Testing Candidates .

_ End of _ Test your interviewer _

"A good tester, tests the interviewer"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan


Tarik Sheth said...

very good article..keep up the good work

Victor said...

Nice :).
I would love to have your experience in interviews.
On the other hand, I like my current job :).
Anyway, if I will one day attend an interview, I will surely have some discussions with you first.

Thank you and Good Luck

Anonymous said...


you are very right, I too have seen people who ask interview questions out of my job profile.

Thanks for your article and add me to your list.

Jaspreet S Khuman said...


It was an awesome article. Every bit of this article is true. I do take interviews and appear for interviews like everybody else and believe me this article has taught a lot of things which I need to take care of while taking interviews or appearing for them.

Jaspreet Singh Khuman

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


I would be happy to get interviewed from you after you have learn't these and moreover there are lots more. I would love to read something from you too.


Anytime you can ping me victor. If your queries are within my reach of answering, I shall else I would be happy to say "Sorry, I am yet to learn those things".


You have been a regular reader of this blog and I kindly request you to post your views apart from appreciating me which could help many reading this article.


Thanks for that and I would love to get in touch with you provided I get your mail id.


Let me know your experience with interviewers or your own experience where you were unable to interview someone but did it for the sake of interviewing

Abhinav said...

Excellent article, with very valid points for the Indian s/w industry.

The pdf you mentioned was very good and rigorous - but I am not sure how many companies would want to go into interviewing in such a detail - unfortunately :(

There are some companies which definitely do such extensive screening, and some others where the management is open to it. Thoughts ?