Test Engineer Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Test engineers are the unsung heroes who keep the wheels turning at any generative company.

A quality product that does what it says on the box maintains a returning customer base and ensuring that your company is delivering its best to the customers is what test engineers are all about. 

To establish a high standard of quality assurance, it is vital for businesses to hire excellent test engineers. Here’s how to find the best of the best for your company, one question at a time. 

Role and responsibilities of test engineers

So what exactly do test engineers do? In the simplest terms, test engineers create and run quality assurance (QA) operations on products or systems to confirm that they function properly and meet the needs of the final audience.

Test engineers also run case-scenarios to determine what problems could arise during the use of the product or system and how these issues can be addressed. The goal is to iron out as many bugs as possible, resulting in a high-quality commodity. 

Specific job responsibilities of test engineers may include:

  • Testing various aspects of the product or system, such as function, performance, regression, and service
  • Designing test environments, test plans, test cases and usage scenarios, and executing these operations
  • Providing feedback on usability and serviceability

Senior test engineer duties include:

  • Developing tests and designing hardware or software to execute said tests 
  • Verifying and validating new tests, test systems, and solutions
  • Performing automated and manual tests and interpreting test results
  • Creating, updating, and communicating documentation of tests performed
  • Providing technical expertise and design input

Technical understanding and experience are requisites of this position, but test engineers must have other soft skills to perform their roles successfully. These include:

  • Analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Tact and interpersonal skills which allow them to develop and maintain good working relationships with software developers
  • The ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines 
  • Communication skills that allow them to work effectively in a team

Test engineer interview questions

Finding the right test engineer for your QA team starts with a high-quality interview. Here are the top questions hiring managers should ask when sourcing their next test engineer.

Test engineer interview questions for experience and competence

In all hiring cases, new test engineers should be highly capable and have significant background experience. In order to assess their previous experience, the following questions are a great place to start.

  1. What testing tools have you used?
  2. How do you distinguish a symptom from a cause in testing?
  3. Please explain the SDLC methodology.
  4. Please describe a test strategy which you have found to be most effective.
  5. What’s your experience with object-oriented programming languages?
  6. What test cases would you write for a remote desktop feature?

Test engineer interview questions for method and adaptability

Patience, problem-solving skills, and a willingness to continually learn and adapt to new technologies are all integral qualities which should be exhibited by test engineers. The best way to get this intel is to ask questions that dig into their passion and potential to learn new areas.

  1. How do you go about learning a new product?
  2. How do you stay up-to-date with developing technologies?
  3. Describe a situation in which you cut corners to save time on testing. What was the result? Would you describe the outcome as positive, or negative?
  4. Do you prefer a greater or lesser degree of documentation during testing? Please explain your reasoning.

Test engineer interview questions for communication

Test engineering requires a collaborative attitude and good communication skills to keep things running smoothly. Since at times they need to deliver constructive criticism to fix or enhance the product, it’s important to ask questions about how they go about delivering not so great news to colleagues and counterparts.

  1. Please describe a time when a developer disagreed with your test results. Were you able to defend them? What was the result?
  2. Please describe a time when you successfully collaborated with developers to deploy an application or product.
  3. Please describe a time when your working methodology conflicted with that of a supervising test engineer. How was the situation resolved?
  4. Please describe a conflict you had with a colleague. How was the situation resolved?

Software test engineer interview questions

Software test engineers are highly trained professionals who perform QA and other analyses specifically for software programs. Here  are some questions to ask that pertain specifically to software-related roles for test engineers.

  1. What are the phases involved in the software testing life cycle?
  2. What are the three different methods of testing?
  3. Explain bug life cycle or defect life cycle.
  4. What is verification and validation in software testing?
  5. Name the basic components of a defect report format.
  6. What is meant by defect cascading? 

Senior test engineer interview questions

Senior test engineers being recruited from outside sources should have extensive experience in QA and must be able to demonstrate exceptional technical expertise. You need to ensure they’re seasoned to test your greatest product launches to a high degree.

  1. What are the steps one should follow to create a test script?
  2. What defines the key elements of a bug report?
  3. If proper documentation is unavailable for a given test, how might you proceed?
  4. What are the differences between quality assurance, quality control, and software testing?
  5. What are the differences between retesting and regression testing?
  6. What are the differences between smoke testing and sanity testing?
  7. Please provide a number of examples which illustrate the severity and priority of a defect.
  8. Please list the key challenges of software testing.
  9. What is the precise role of QA in project development?

Products and software applications aren’t the only things requiring quality assurance:

Businesses hiring test engineers must ask the right questions during the interview to ensure competence, experience, and a team-player attitude.

Hiring the right test engineers will set a higher standard for product, to the benefit of your company as a whole. 

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Further reading