Screening, behavioral, and technical questions–all of them wait for you in a typical interview for a quality assurance job, be it a position of an engineer, or of a manager. You can expect a stern competition too, since both quality assurance and quality control have become a popular career fields with the boom of automotive industry in the second and third decade of 21st century. Let’s have a look at how you can ace your interview.
Before going through individual questions, you should realize one thing: in everything you say and do in the meeting with the hiring managers, you should demonstrate your precision, attention to detail, and your strong interest in quality and in the discipline in the workplace. Showing the right personality and attitude is crucial. Unless you do that, they will not hire you. Let’s have a look at the questions.
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Whether you get any technical questions, and the level of their difficulty, depends primarily on who leads the interview with you. If it is an HR generalist, or anyone else from human resources, you likely won’t get any technical questions. Simply because they aren’t capable of interpreting your answers, and their accuracy. QA just isn’t their field of expertise.
However, when one of the senior engineers leads the interviews, or a head of the quality assurance department, you will almost certainly get some technical questions. Let’s have a look at some.
Define a typical quality assurance process.
The main steps depend on the object of testing and the goal of testing. However, we can outline some steps that apply to most QA processes:
- test of quality of the processes
- report of mistakes
- design of improvements
- implementation of improvements
- new testing of quality
You can elaborate on each step of the process if you want, but you do not necessarily have to.
What is six sigma level of quality and ISO 17025?
Six sigma level of quality means that the probability of failure is confined to six sds on the normal distribution function. In practice it means that the chance of failure is less than 1:1,000,000.
ISO 17025 is (it was) an international standard that clarifies ten technical and fifteen managerial requirements for the competence of carrying out quality tests. It used the be the standard for the industry.
What characterize a great QA engineer from your point of view?
A great QA engineer should be able to verify, detect, prevent and reflect on the level of quality of the object they are testing. They should have attention to detail, ability to focus on their job, they should think systematically, and have good communication skills.
And, of course they should be able to use logic to solve a problem, and to translate the technical details of the QA process into the language of managers and business people, so other guys from the company understand what they are talking about.
Which testing types do you know in quality assurance?
We know eight main testing types:
- Acceptance testing
- Ad Hoc Testing
- Software testing
- Compatibility testing
- Cloud testing
- Black box testing
- Risk Based testing
- Requirements testing
You should mention only the types of testing you understand, and can elaborate on, explaining their advantages and disadvantages when compared to other testing methods. This is something they maty ask about, especially if a senior QA engineer leads the interviews.
How would you test a vending machine?
This is a simple case study, and they can actually use another object, instead of a vending machine–can be more simple, such as a pen, and more complex, such as a car.
What they try to see is whether you can systematically describe a testing of something new to you, whether you can design the process from scratch. In many cases, there won’t be a single right answer to the question. That’s why it is important to think out loud, to explain your reasoning and the steps, and it can actually turn to an interesting discussion between you and the hiring managers.
Screening and behavioral questions
You will get questions from this group each and every time. The hiring managers try to understand your personality, your motivation for the job, as well as your behavior in various situations that happen in a workplace, such as a conflict with another colleague, loss of motivation, dealing with ambiguity, and so on. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Why did you decide to study quality assurance?
Speak about the inner technician that you carry within. Mention your quest for perfection. Explain how you have always spotted defects in your life, and strove to remedy them. Show them that you didn’t enter the field just because it is a fancy one, or because you’ve been always good in Math and Physics.
They should get an impression that you enjoy the process of quality testing and improvement, that you still have some passion for this type of work.
This is a repetitive job. What would motivate you to do it well every day?
You can talk about a good collective of people, about a sense of responsibility, or about anything else that motivates you in job–including a hefty paycheck you’ll get every month, and the things you want to buy for the money, for you or for your family.
Alternatively you can say that in your opinion, the job isn’t repetitive. Sure, you will look at the same processes and things over and over, but some details will always change and you will always try to improve something.
Describe a conflict you had with a colleague in the past.
Talk about a constructive conflict, one that made sense. For example when you discussed a defect, and had a different opinion on the reason or remedy, or a form of testing you were considering for certain process or product.
Such a conflict can eventually result in an improvement of a production or testing process. What is more, try to ensure the interviewers that you do your best to avoid useless personal conflicts with colleagues. Sure, one cannot avoid conflicts, but you always make sure they do not grow into something bigger, some sort of destructive conflict that will have a long term impact on the atmosphere in the workplace.
Describe a situation when you struggled to get your message over.
People of all intelligence levels work in the factories and production plants, and it is not always easy to convey a message, especially if it is highly technical, or if the person is not interested to hear you out.
Show the interviewers that you use all possible means of explaining things in a simple way, such as pictures, demonstration, illustrated charts, and so on. You can also say that you are persistent and patient when explaining things, and won’t give up easily when someone does not understand you.
Why do you want to work for us, and not for one of our competitors?
This is your chances to show them that you did your homework, that you clearly know why you want to work for them. Look for something unique, something you can compliment them for.
For example, the company may be famous with a great working environment. Or they may occupy the prime position on the market with their products. Pick something that distinguishes them from their competitors, and claim it as your reason for application.
And if you can find nothing else, you can just say that you have a good traffic connection to the place, or prefer their brand to the rest of the pack, considering the salary offer, employment benefits and other perks that caught your eye.
Other personal and behavioral questions you may face in your Quality Assurance job interview
- What does quality mean to you?
- Are you a team player?
- Tell us about a time when you used logic to solve a problem.
- Describe a situation when you struggled to meet a tight deadline in work.
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?
- What things are you looking for in an ideal job?
- Tell us one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want us to know.
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