How to hire a software automation tester

Hiring the right person for the right role is a wonderful way to grow the team and their capabilities, but the process many times falls apart and results in additional expense, wasted time, and poor team results. 

So, what considerations would we recommend you make when hiring for a software QA role? Let’s dive right into it!


What Software QA is and isn’t

Let’s first begin with a quick discussion on what software quality assurance is and what it is not. The reason for this is because for some organizations the definition of software QA differs, and the type of person that each organization recruits for these roles differ, and that’s an issue because it leads to a disconnect between what the candidate’s expectations and their roles and responsibilities once hired. Equally, there’s a very large disconnect between the candidate’s short-term and long-term career goals and the organization’s ability to meet those career goals with a well-defined promotion path.  So, when these communication gaps come together it results in the wrong person being in the wrong role.


What Software QA isn’t

Software quality assurance is not a junior developer role. Let me just reiterate that one more time. People who are software quality assurance team members are not Junior Developers.  Their career goals aren’t too at one point become a developer, and then a senior developer, lastly followed by manager or architect. That’s not the path that lies before many in a quality assurance world. Does it happen? Yeah! Absolutely it happens but that doesn’t mean that it should happen or that everyone in quality assurance is striving to become a developer one day.


What software QA pros are:

Software quality assurance professionals are experts in understanding how to test code and how to build features that are scalable, user-friendly, properly documented and validated, and able to perform under increasing customer demands. 

Sometimes, yes! It’s the software quality assurance professional will choose to become a software engineer or software developer, however many in the field choose to embrace the quality assurance aspect of their role and build upon a career within QA.

From our perspective we prefer this type of person, we want to see that someone is an absolute expert in testing software. This way we’re able to provide our clients with an incredibly experienced QA team who has spent their entire career mastering software testing rather than getting bogged down in side projects -all of which can happen with reoccurring frequency should a client choose an internal hire.

What to look for in a CV

So, when you’re searching for a software quality assurance professional there are a few things that stand out as exemplary for a resume. 

  • Number of years and a software QA position. You want to ensure you’re hiring someone for a position with an appropriate number of years’ experience for the seniority level of the position you’re hiring.  Equally so, you want to ensure that the roles in which they filled are equal in responsibilities and complexity, or that they increase over time.   By this we mean you’re going to want to find someone who has found more difficult jobs throughout their career or stayed within their job position but that hasn’t decreased in responsibility level or job complexity.  -If this does happen, they’ll need to provide a good explanation of what happened and why it made sense for their career.
  • Professional development and certifications. You want to look for the candidate taking additional education throughout their career because it really shows that you would be hiring someone who’s always hungry for more and looking to learn and develop. These are key traits in any top-performing team member, and the best place to look for these traits is in the education section their resume or listed within their professional certifications.
  • you want to also look for a resume that’s well laid out and organized. Keep in mind that this person knew ahead of time that at one point or another their entire career would be judged on the formatting of a single piece of paper so look to this as an opportunity for them does it take pride and not just the quality there background how they present themselves to strangers. You’re going to want everyone on your team to be presentable in front of your boss at the resume doesn’t reflect what you would be willing to put your name on and hiring them doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

Cultural and personality fit

Every team has its own culture. In reality, the only thing a culture is would be the summation of all the personalities on the team. 

It might be the case where you have a Rockstar and their personality outshines everyone else’s, but that’s certainly not ideal and even then, that one person won’t create the entire culture for the team.

So, when you’re hiring for culture there are a few things to keep in mind besides ensuring the right personalities are hired.  To get you started here are some helpful tips

  • If you haven’t already done so, highly recommend you read the book Strength Finders. It is an excellent resource for understanding personality types and how they play with each other to form a cohesive team. Once you’re done reading map out in an Excel chart all the personalities within the book a long column “A”.  Then along the first row list out all the different roles you need within the team. Then from there put an “X” next to every single personality trait that you feel each team member should possess. Keep in mind that team members can’t have every personality just like no normal human can have every personality trait, but for those traits you need especially present you can put two “x”s instead of one in that cell. Then as you go through your interview with the candidates check off the boxes for each personality trait that you feel they meet based off of their answers. If they openly present you with an answer that suggests they’re a certain personality trait give them two “x”s for that trait, and if you have to coax an answer out of them that would suggest there a personality trait just give them one. Then at the end of the interview you’re going to have a personality map of the candidate and you’ll be able to understand whether or not they truly fit into any of the roles on your team. 
  • During the interview give the candidate a handful of opportunities to openly talk about themselves. For these questions there is no right or wrong answer however what you’re looking for is their ability to communicate effectively. Does their answer tell a story? Does their answer have a beginning middle and end that is well defined and has flow? This is important when hiring a quality assurance professional because the role requires effective communication. Especially when that person is trying to relay an issue to another team member or present their ideas to the rest of the team.
  • Also, during the interview give the candidate an opportunity to persuade you and change your mind on a topic. Present them with an idea and ask for their opinion, when they give you their opinion you then state some form of opposition to that conclusion, then lastly ask them to persuade you to their side of thinking.  This will test their ability to persuade others and that’s an incredibly important skill to have within quality assurance because many times QA professionals have to go up against business analyst, developers, or project managers to ensure a feature is released bug-free, and those other team members might not think there’s an issue at all. So, if your team member is capable of persuasion without conflict, you’ll be bringing on someone who can keep the peace as well as the quality. 

First few weeks

The first few weeks are critical for success when bringing on a new candidate. Having the processes in place to successfully onboard someone is absolutely critical to ensuring their longevity within the team, and their ability to contribute in the short-term so they reach the break-even point as quickly as possible. 

If you don’t already have an onboarding process in place the best place to start is by reaching out to your managers and gathering a list of all the things a new candidate would have to accomplish in their first three weeks in order to be effective on the team. From there you can ask each manager how long each task would take, and then based on a 40-hour workweek prioritize the tasks in order of precedence so that your new hire now has an onboarding roadmap and an expectation for what they need to do to be successful.

Really this is the goal of any new candidate, to fit in as quickly as possible, so by having a plan in place ahead of time, you and the new hire are set up for success.

Now we say all that to say this

It is very difficult to hire the right person for the right role, and it’s even more difficult to groom them over the years to become an even better expert within their specific field. On top of that the training, HR, and career performance goals that go along with keeping up with such a niche field are often insurmountable for many organizations.

When this becomes the case, but you know you need an expert who’s dedicated their entire career to producing high-quality software, then it’s time we have a discussion. Because we can take all the heartache out of hiring the right person, grooming them across their career, and training them and providing incentives along the way. 

From your perspective, it’s as easy as agreeing to an engagement and then gaining immediate access to all of that hard work we’ve put in over the years. Here, all of that knowledge and wisdom will be instantly transferred over to your team and you’ll go from zero to a hundred instantaneously.

So, if this interests you, feel free to use the “contact us” form on our website to book a discovery call so that we can better understand your needs and you can get to know us a little bit better.


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PMIASQIEEESoftware Engineering InstituteInternational Software Testing Qualifications Board