Depending on the company, QA jobs can be a great place to start applying if you are looking to get into the tech industry. With the various types of testing available, QA can utilize different educational backgrounds and work experiences. Testing does not always involve coding and while Computer Science degrees are preferred, they are not always required.
Nevertheless, there are some key things hiring managers may look for when hiring for QA positions. Take a look below at our steps for how to nail an interview for a QA job.
STEP #1: PREPARING YOUR RESUME
It’s in the Details
QA is about noticing the small details and catching errors. This means, when you put “Attention to Detail” as a skill, you can illustrate that by having a resume and cover letter that are error-free. Make sure you set aside time to read through your application from top to bottom, ensure that your punctuation has consistency, and you keep the same verb tense (ie. worked or working). Missing details like this could show that you will miss bugs in a testing environment.
Additionally, make sure you follow the details of the application. If the company asks for a cover letter, do not skip this step. Showing that you can follow detailed instructions can also illustrate that you can follow a test case.
Google Docs has some great resume templates to help you keep format consistency throughout your resume.
Explain What Tech Means to You
If you haven’t worked in the technology industry before, it is important to explain in your cover letter why you are interested in pursuing a career in this field. After explaining why you are interested in the position, you should also detail how working in QA will help you reach your goals. Hiring managers are looking for individuals who can clearly identify why they want the position they are applying for.
Make Connections to Your Past
When you are looking at positions that interest you, take a look at the skills and requirements for the position. Look at how you could rephrase the skills you have to complement the QA job description. As always, you should never lie on a resume or cover letter, but you should take the time to add forgotten skills that you possess that match the job you are applying for. For example, Localization testing is focused on a particular culture or location. This typically involves testing in another language. Therefore, if you can speak another language fluently, it would be a good idea to add the language to your resume and search for localization testing opportunities.
Can’t remember all the details from previous jobs? Retrace your steps. Write down on a separate sheet of paper what you would do on a normal day. You’d be surprised at what you forget!
STEP #2: PREPARING FOR YOUR INTERVIEW
Understand the Different Types of QA
There are various types of QA testing you may be asked to perform on the job. Broadly speaking there are two overall types of testing—functional testing and non-functional testing. Knowing the subcategories under these two types is important to understand the type of job you are applying for and can help you come up with a series of questions for your interview.
Be sure to come with at least 3, but no more than 5, questions for your interview.
Know your QA Tools and Devices
Do some research on bug reporting tools. You will more than likely be asked about your experience or knowledge around bug reporting tools. If you don’t have experience with them in a work setting, look at how they work and what they do. Some popular tools include Asana, Trello, Jira, and Redmine. It is great if you can recognize the names and have a brief understanding of how they work.
Additionally, in the testing world, you could be working with a variety of devices and operating systems daily. It’s important to understand the different devices and operating systems in the market. A quick way to do that is to check out our blog posts. Understanding the newest features available and how they can impact an app or website’s performance is important for a tester as they enter a testing environment.
Connect with QA Resources
A great way to learn more about QA jobs and make connections with others in the tech industry is to connect with some QA resources. Here are some suggestions:
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, get one! Make sure you keep your profile up-to-date with your experiences and provide references.
Software Testing Help has many free resources on their website and links to helpful articles about testing and development. Visit their website here.
LinkedIn Learning provides a myriad of free and training opportunities. Visit here for a list of software testing resources through LinkedIn.
Research the Company
No matter what the position is, candidates are expected to have researched the company they are applying for. There are a few things you should research:
- What the Company Does – After applying for the position, it is assumed by the hiring manager and interviewers that you know what the company does. In most cases, during the interview, they will ask “Can you describe what we do?” Make sure you feel comfortable answering this question in detail. By looking at the services or products the company provides you can help prepare to answer this question. This might take additional research into various industries or terminology, so make sure you give yourself enough time before your interview.
- Mission and Values – Most companies post their mission and values on their website. A good tip is to take the verbiage they use and connect it to your experience. The interviewers will be determining if you can help support their mission, values, and culture through the way you answer your questions.
- Management – Make sure you know who the CEO of the company is and any other managers you can find on the website. Another great way to find these individuals is to look at the company on LinkedIn. You can search “See all Employees on LinkedIn” and see the executives and managers at the company. Take note of the managers and executives that you might be working with. If you know who you will be meeting during your interview, it’s helpful to know their title and tenure with the company.
STEP #3: INTERVIEWING
What to Bring
Do not come empty-handed to an interview. First, make sure you bring a few copies of your resume to the interview. While most interviewers will have a digital copy of your resume some managers may be invited to the interview last minute and do not have a copy. This shows that you are not only prepared but detailed. You also want to bring a copy of your resume for yourself. You can reference your resume while in the interview and also provide talking points on your resume. This is a great place for you to put your notes about what the company does, its mission and values, manager names and titles, and questions for you to ask at the end.
Being invited to an interview means the team wants to hear from you. While it’s understandable if you are nervous, it’s important that you are not making the team dig for responses. Make sure you are answering their questions with details and you speak clearly. If they ask a multi-part question, be sure to answer all the parts. Also keep in mind that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Therefore, make sure you have questions to ask.
Come with a list of prepared questions to ask the interviewer based on the things you were seeing online. This emphasizes that you took the time to learn about the company and demonstrates that you are really interested in the position. Another great question is asking what a typical day would look like on the job. Knowing this can help you make an informed decision if the position is a good fit for you too. It is also important to know if the company has training in place and what they expect from a new hire. Taking notes of these answers can help you start a new position on the right foot.
QA is an integral part of the tech community. Starting a career, or continuing a career, in QA is an awesome opportunity that can lead to different paths in the tech industry. By presenting a complete version of yourself in your resume and preparing for your interview, finding a job in QA is only a matter of time!