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21 Critical QA Interview Questions (And Answers!)

Interviews are tough. You spend time before the interview reading about the company, you rehearse your answers to the questions they think they’ll ask you, and then on the day of the interview you’re nervous and have to wait at reception, or, if it’s more informal interview at a coffee shop, you show up an hour early and drink far too much coffee. 

Yeah, we’ve all been there – interviews are anxiety inducing at the best of times. 

Well, we’re here to help reduce some of that pre-interview anxiety. This guide lifts the lid on QA interviews and explores some QA interview questions and answers to help you prepare for the big day.

QA Interview Questions and Answers

QA interviews, whether it be for QA testers, analysts, managers or leads, can take a long time. Often there will be several rounds of interviews. My goal with this article is to help prepare you for the kind of QA interview questions you’ll be asked, and also to give you an understanding of what they’ll be looking for in a hire and what you should be looking for in a job. 

Often, the interviewer will be interested in two things: your abilities as a QA member and your approach to testing. No two companies test products the exact way and as QA it’s important to be open to learning new methods and approaches to testing. Some QA interview questions will be open ended or seem vague. This is because the interviewer wants to listen to your approach. They’re trying to get a sense of the kind of worker you are, and, more importantly, if you’re the kind of worker that will fit in with their team. 

Without further ado, here are 21 critical QA interview questions and answers for you to study. Good luck!

1. Why Should We Hire You?

A favorite question for interviewers from all over the world. This isn’t a trick question – it’s an icebreaker.

Answer: Take this opportunity to put your strongest foot forward. Talk about what makes you passionate about QA testing, why you’ll do the job better than anyone else due to the unique combination of talent and personality traits that only you can bring to the role. Don’t worry about being self-critical or overly humble here. The question is designed to talk about the strengths of the applicant. 

This question is so often mentioned in interviews that entire columns have been written to put minds at ease. If you’re still feeling like you need more guidance on how to answer this question, I recommend checking out BigInterview’s comprehensive article for further advice.

2. What is a Bug?

Answer: A bug is any kind of error, mistake or failure in software code that prevent the software function from executing properly. 

3. What is the difference between severity and priority?

Answer: These are important distinctions that must be known for proper time management. Severity is how difficult the issue is to fix. Priority is how important the issue is to fix. 

Just because an issue is high severity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s high priority and vise versa.

Here’s an example of a high severity, low priority issue:

  • The application crashes when a rarely used function is run on legacy software that most users can’t access.

Here’s an example of a low severity, high priority issue:

  • The wrong company logo is displayed on startup. 

4. What is the difference between Assert and Verify commands in test automation?

Answer: There is a lot of similarity between the two commands. Both check if the codes conditions are true. The difference is what happens next.

  • When an assert command fails it will stop executing code and the test will pause.
  • When a verify command fails it will plow ahead and execute the rest of the code.

5. What is the difference between Quality Assurance, Quality Control and testing?

Answer: Quality assurance plans the way in which test process will be monitored within a team and organization. Quality control finds buds defects and suggests ways to improve the software. Testing is the process in which quality assurance and quality control find bugs

6. When Should QA start?

Answer: QA should begin as soon as possible. The earlier QA analysts, testers and leads get involved in the process the more headaches are being prevented later in the development cycle. Static tests can be performed before the software is fully functional. 

7. What is the QA Testing Life Cycle?

Answer:

  1. Requirements
  2. Planning 
  3. Analysis 
  4. Design 
  5. Implementation 
  6. Execution 
  7. Conclusion 
  8. Closure 

 8. What is a test plan? 

Answer: A test plan is a document that outlines the details of the intended test. It states before testing begins the required roles, potential risks and solutions, and resources it will use.

9. What does a test plan include?

Answer: Test plans should include:

  • The scope,
  • The approach
  • Resources required
  • Intended schedule of the test/s 

10. What is a Use case?

Answer: Use cases describe the cause and effect of a function. It makes sure that the user action and the system response are talking to each other properly. 

 11. What is a Test Strategy?

Answer: The test strategy outlines the plan for the testing stage of software development. Unlike the test plan, which describes one specific test, the test strategy covers the entire testing phase of development and includes a description of the testing tools, test groups, test priorities, test record maintenance, and the test summary. 

12. Are Test Strategies and Test Plans the Same Document?

Answer: No. Test plans collect and organize test cases.

Test strategies describe the approach towards testing. In general, test strategies are managed by the QA manager or QA lead while test plans are managed by the QA testers.

 13. What are some different kinds of testing?

Answer: Regression testing, exploratory testing, functional testing, integration testing, unit testing, white box testing, black box testing, alpha testing, and beta testing. For more on different testing techniques, check out our post on software testing.

14. What is a good test case?

Answer: A good test case clearly states the parameters in which the test will be performed and the bugs it hopes to find. 

15. What is the difference between functional and nonfunctional testing?

Answer: Functional testing tests the key parts of the software to ensure it matches requirements and specifications. Nonfunctional testing tests important but not crucial aspects of the software such as load times, stress and overall performance. 

16. Should QA’s resolve production issues?

Answer: Yes. It’s often good for the QA to be involved in solving production issues. They should, when possible, write test cases and try to find the issues. By getting involved, the QA is minimizing the number issues in the final product.

17. When You Find a Bug in Production, How Do You Ensure That The Bug Gets Resolved? 

Answer: The best course of action is to immediately write a test case for the bug and run a regression test. That way any future tests performed on the software should check specifically for that bug. 

16. What Did You Do In Your Last Project?

For these last four questions, there are no clear answers, only guidelines. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to answer as honestly as possible. Don’t exaggerate or undervalue your contribution in previous teams. Tell them what your day-to-day role was, what tools you used and how the QA testing went. 

18. How do you prioritize when you have so many tasks?

Think about how you’ve approached busy moments in the past. Are you a strict scheduler? Or do you prefer budgeting your time more loosely, allowing room to adapt to sudden issues? Again, these questions are more about determining whether you’re a good personality fit for their team. 

If you’re somebody who feels that prioritizing multiple projects is one of your weak points, the Harvard Business Review has a guide on how to properly prioritize at work. 

19. Tell Me About Your Most Difficult Project

Take a deep breath. Let it all come back to you, the emotions, the late nights trying to find the problem, the inordinate amount of take-out boxes piled up on your test. This is a great opportunity to let your passion for QA come out. Walk them through what caused you the most difficulty, why it was so hard to find the solution, and how hard you worked to resolve the issue. 

 20. Tell Me about A Time You Missed a Bug

 In the very first question I told you to unselfconsciously put your best foot forward. This is why. Not every question is going to be phrased in a way that puts you in the best light. In a QA interview, the person tasked with hiring needs to know that any potential team members are open about making mistakes. The worst thing a QA tester can do is act as if they’ve never made an error. Be open and honest. By the time you’re sitting in an interview, it’s a certainty that you’ve missed a bug or made a mistake. Talk them through the mistakes you made, how you resolved the problem, and what you’ve learned from it. 

21. How Would You Test A Broken Toaster?

This is a bonus question because some organizations like these sort of questions and others don’t. On one hand it puts the interviewer in a difficult position, and one they almost certainly didn’t expect to be in. But the benefit is that it requires quick, out of the box thinking and presents an opportunity for the interviewee to demonstrate their creativity. 

Due to the spirit of the question, I’m not going to tell you how to test a broken toaster. That’s up to you. 

 QA Interview FAQ

How to Prepare for QA interview?

Read this article! No, seriously, the best way to prepare for a QA interview is to honestly evaluate your abilities and focus on your strengths while acknowledging your weaknesses. Brush up on your definitions, read through the questions and answers above, and remembering that the hiring process is as much about finding the right culture fit as it is finding the most qualified candidate. 

How long does a QA interview take?

It depends on the interviewer, the interviewee, and how quickly you go through the questions. In general, most QA interviews will take between one and two hours to complete, though there may be multiple interviews over the entire hiring process. 

What Do You Think?

What questions to you ask in QA interviews? Do you agree with any of our questions? Think we missed any? Add them to the comments below.

The interview process can be difficult and stressful. Are there any tips you learned here that you’ll apply to your next QA interview? Let me know in the comments!

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