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QA interview questions: a practical guide from EPAM Anywhere

multicolored interviewer and candidate speech cloudsmulticolored interviewer and candidate speech clouds
written bySoftware Testing Manager, EPAM Anywhere, Lithuania

If you're a Middle- or Senior-level Testing Engineer, and you're looking for career opportunities with us – this article is for you. We wrote it with Andrey, Software Testing Manager and Leader of the ProQuality Community at EPAM. You can find more about the community on the YouTube channel.

Andrey walked in the technical interviewer's shoes many times. That's why he shared some tips and QA interview questions to help you pass the interview like a pro, and we are passing them on to you. Enjoy your reading!

Stages of an interviewing process

A typical hiring process at EPAM Anywhere consists of the following steps:

  • An application pre-screening and General Interview. At this stage, a candidate shares their CV or LinkedIn profile, describes their job expectations, and completes online test(s) (if applicable) right on the EPAM Anywhere platform. Our Talent Acquisition team reviews all of the information in a candidate’s profile and invites successful candidates to a General Interview in the form of a video session.
  • A technical interview is the step at which our technical experts ask basic QA interview questions and more complex questions about technical tasks to evaluate soft and hard skills. We'll talk about this stage in more detail below.
  • An offer interview with our Hiring Managers settles the final details, including working conditions, promotions, etc., and provides a candidate with the job offer.
  • A project and/or customer interview allows the candidate and key project stakeholders get to know each other.

Technical Interview

After passing the pre-screening (application review and General Interview), candidates proceed to the Technical Interview stage. As a rule, we ask technical interview questions at EPAM Anywhere in a 1:1 format with an interviewer (for example, a Team Lead or a Senior-level specialist) and a candidate.

Generally, a Technical Interview at EPAM Anywhere is divided into two parts: a theoretical block and a technical block, and lasts for 1.5 hours. Within this timeframe, we conduct a brief background check, ask technical QA questions, and engage in a practical session to test the candidate's skills on-site.

The goal of a Technical Interview is to confirm the candidate's experience. Candidates sometimes forget to update their skill sets, for example, or may provide incomplete information on their CVs.

Another reason why we conduct Technical Interviews is to pre-screen the candidate's soft skills. We ask common QA interview questions like:

"Tell us more about yourself."

"Why did you choose quality assurance and testing as your career?"

"How did you start your testing journey?"

QA interview questions like these help us learn more about a candidate's personality and assess the "culture fit." At EPAM Anywhere, we highlight culture fit. By culture fit, we mean the "engineering" mindset; the candidate's willingness to develop personal skills, push the company forward, and contribute to the IT community. Andrey, for example, has been developing the largest community of Software Testers and Automation Engineers at EPAM. They recently partnered with Microsoft to organize a series of events to boost the tech community and popularize testing technologies.

QA Engineer interview questions: examples

There's no strict list of questions that our interviewers ask. We stick to one rule: consider an interviewee's background and build an interview around it. For instance, if a candidate's domain is UI web testing, our interviewers will concentrate on QA questions and practical tasks that will help the candidate showcase their expertise in that area.

The interviewing process is gradual: we move from simple questions to more complex ones. If our interviewers spot skills that a candidate hasn't mentioned on their CV, they will ask questions to test those skills as well.

There are basic QA interview questions that we usually start our interviews with:

  • Types of software testing, e.g., "What types of software testing do you know and have successfully applied in past projects?"
  • Knowledge of testing tools, e.g., "What testing tools have you used?"
  • Knowledge of software development methodologies like Agile, e.g., "Describe the steps of the Agile methodology?"
  • Experience with devising and implementing testing strategies, e.g., "What testing strategy would you recommend in a specific case?"
  • Communication with a team and project stakeholders, e.g., "How would you resolve an issue with a software developer who disagrees with your test results?"

Interview questions for testers (QA): Practical task

To test practical skills, our experienced interviewers prepare screenshots, web pages, or functional requirements. These materials help us model a hypothetical situation ("How would you test this functionality?"), in which an interviewee has to find existing bugs, create a bug report, etc.

The practical task is a critical part of senior QA engineer interview questions and aims to test mandatory hard skills for QAs at EPAM Anywhere, namely:

  • Testing fundamentals and testing types;
  • Requirements analysis;
  • Test case development;
  • Defect hunting;
  • Analysis and reporting on testing results;
  • Test strategy development;
  • Writing a test plan;
  • Work according to popular software development models and methodologies like RUP and Waterfall; and
  • Automation principles.

As an interviewee fulfills a task, our interviewers ask QA questions designed to reveal the logic behind the candidate's decisions.

We complicate the practical tasks gradually, and in addition to obligatory basic tasks, we check other competencies like:

  • Database fundamentals (SQL), principles of data migration, and logging;
  • XML and XSD fundamentals;
  • REST/JSON fundamentals;
  • Web Services Testing;
  • Performance Testing;
  • Security Testing;
  • Mobile testing (complexity ranges from general concepts to specific questions depending on the operating system);
  • Business Analysis;
  • Automated Testing (tools and frameworks (Selenium, QTP, Soap UI, etc.))
  • Continuous integration and delivery; and
  • Other specific skills and knowledge of business domains like Finance, Health Care, and others).

We choose tasks based on the candidate's experience level, and we never assign overly complicated tasks. In a nutshell, we maintain a friendly atmosphere that helps a candidate relax and demonstrate their skills, solving real-life tasks. So, you can Rest assured, we won't do stress interviews or ask you to solve puzzles.

Expect to solve one or two practical tasks during the interview.

Wrapping up: valuable tips from our interviewer

Finally, we asked Andrey to share his recommendations for all Testing Engineer candidates at EPAM Anywhere:

I advocate for honesty. If you realize that you forgot something, or don't know an answer during an interview, the best thing you can do is admit it. Our interviewers always ask questions designed to elicit as much information as possible to evaluate candidates properly. Also, don't forget about self-presentation. Even though an interview is conducted online, a person behind the screen can perceive the non-verbal signals you are sending. So, you should look neat (opt for a casual style), and place your web camera so that you're appropriately visible. I’ve conducted interviews with candidates whose cameras were pointed at their ceiling – the whole interview was like talking to a wall rather than a real person! I'm sharing this to emphasize the importance of verbal communication and body language.

Andrey IvanovSoftware Testing Manager, EPAM Anywhere, Lithuania

We hope that this article sheds some light on our internal process of interviewing the Testing Engineers. Our next blog post will share tips for passing an interview at EPAM Anywhere for Automation Testing Engineers.

Meanwhile, you can check out available vacancies and send your CV. We hope to see you among our global EPAM Anywhere family!

written bySoftware Testing Manager, EPAM Anywhere, Lithuania
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