Testing Interview Questions

Couple of month’s back I was invited for an interview at one of the big, reputed Indian service based company in Bangalore. This interview turned out to be an eye-opener for me at the state of testing in India.

Let me start with the conversation I had with HR of the company.

Me: When is the interview scheduled?
HR: 12:30 PM
Me: Could you please re-schedule it? Since it is a lunch time and I do not want the interviewers to be hungry.
HR: HaHaHa… no Sharath our interviewers work in shifts, so there will be no such issues.
Me: Ok then, I shall meet you at the location. Thanks.

Date of Interview

12:20 PM I submitted all the required documents to HR, at the interview location
12:50 PM HR informed me that the interview panel will be back after lunch by 2:00 PM.

A lesson taught by the mighty organization – “don’t show up on time for the interview” or “we do not value other’s time”

At around 2:10 PM I am escorted to the interview room by HR.

What followed was an enlightening conversation between me and the 2 interviewers (one of them over tele-con) in the room.

Interviewer 1: When do you do performance testing?
Me: Well, it depends on the context.
Interviewer 2: How can it depend on the context?
Me: If my mission it to test a program stores a minimum x number of packets per minute to help management take a decision on investing development effort - I shall be performance testing early.
If product development team seeks help to test the database for a certain number of transactions in the middle of a project to avoid bottlenecks towards the release – I would be performance testing in the middle of a product time line.
If my mission demands me to record the response time after a specific function – I shall performance test after functional testing.
Interviewer 1: Yes, I understand, but when do you normally do performance testing?
Me: :-)

Interviewer 1: Have you seen a use case?
Me: Hmm… yes, sir
Interviewer 1: How many test cases can you write from a use case?
Me: 0 to n
Interviewer 2: What?
Me: Yes, 0 to n, if a tester does not understand the use case – he might develop 0 test cases, if a tester understands the use case – he might develop “n” number of test cases.
Interviewer 1: Can you think of an average number?
Me: :-)

Interviewer 2: How do you determine the complexity of a test case?
Me: I do not know. I feel complexity of a module/feature under test is more important. Test cases developed for complex module is more important to me, when I compare with test cases developed for a comparatively simple module/feature.
Interviewer 2: Does not number of execution steps in a test case help you identify a complex test case?
Me::-), What if a logo is displayed across 10 different pages. A test case is developed to verify the result at 10 different pages. This test case shall have more steps when compared to other test cases, so does it make the test case more complex?
Interviewer 2: So, how do you know which test case is complex?
Me: :-)

Interviewer 1: Why do you always refer to context? I do not understand how testing is different from any other like development?
Me: Let’s consider an example: Test a program which add integers and returns a value. What will be your test approach? How many test cases will you have to test this?
- What if this program is used to display the number of sms’s in the inbox of a mobile application? Does your test strategy change? Or will it be the same?
- What if this program is used in a ICICI ATM machine? Does your test strategy change? Will you add more test cases? Or will it be the same?
- What if this program is used in a corrective laser eye surgery? Does your test strategy change? Will you add more test cases? Or will it be the same?
- What if this program is used to control a Dam (may be KRS)? Does your test strategy change? Will you add more test cases? Or will it be the same?
Interviewer 1: :-(

Interviewer 1: You use different testing terminologies like para-functional etc, which our customers will not be able to understand.
Me: :-)

Interviewer 2: We always refer Stability in Performance Testing, but you tend to use it for functional as well.
Me: :-)

Well, I was not offered and I acknowledge their decision. May be I did not meet their requirements, or may be I miss-understood their questions or may be my answers were pathetic or may be my attitude wasn’t right or may be....

But, I personally felt the interview was useless. I felt the two interviewers have never tested or understood testing or might have never looked beyond the company process and their campus walls. I might be wrong, but my oracles tell me it was “useless”. I request you all to help me by answering the questions put forward to me by the interviewers.

Further Reading: The (bad) state of Software Testing interviews in India by Pradeep Soundararajan

Disclaimer: All the blogs shared by me are my ideas, my thought, my understanding of the subject and does not represent any of my employer’s ideas, thought, plans or strategies.


Suresh B J said...

Point #1:
You must not have entertained to take up the interview at 12.30 as that was your lunch time ( maybe!).

Point #2:
Clearing Interview Answers:
1. Performance Testing is done when the product/module in question does not have functional issues and when the performance of the product/module is important to the end user.

2. Testcases should always challenge the tester. Hence, number of testcases should be minimum enough the challenge the tester and max enuf to cover the use case ( frozen one).
Average Number of testcase for a use case : 14 ( some number which is not divisible by 5 and 10)!!.

3. Complexity of a testcase is directly proportional to the tester's experience, attitude, et al.

I believe that each testcase must only check 1 condition. hence, for me , no testcase is complex.

All of the SWITCH (satyam, wipro, ...) companies have similar model in the space of testing, dev.

these guys wont even realize that something hit them when you are trying to prove your point.

it was your luck that , they did not make an offer..

all the best, BJ

Michele Smith said...

In order for something to be "useless" it cannot have a use. It can serve no purpose and be of no practical good. Your interview was useful. It serves the purpose of informing other testers. It also serves the purpose of being able to speak (write) what you believe. These two purposes, although they do the wallet no good, are very worthwhile.

I got a bit of a laugh out of it when I reading it, too.

Sharath Byregowda said...

BJ and Michele, thanks for the comments.

BJ, I like some of your answers, your answers match the ambiguity in questions perfectly.

Michele, “useless” – to me meant waste of money, waste of energy, waste of weekend, but yes I feel “useless” could be replaced by a better/appropriate word to describe the interview. I also felt sorry for organizations which choose such humans to such important roles.


Anonymous said...

you should answer according to questions they ask. this is not the time you put your beleif. your answer must be consise and preciously.
i randomly searched for performance tester questions, i happen to see ur blog.

it was good, you started interview very good at beginning, but shown some unpreparedness towards end of the interview. please dont take negatively.

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