What kind of test can you give the candidates as part of the interview?

Hey all,
We currently do not have any automation testers in our company but have been on the look out for a while. We recruited a couple but they left after a couple of months.
We are still on the look out, however I wanted to know whether it’s common to give the candidates some sort of test as part of the interview?
There has been quite a few interviews where the candidates have reached the 2nd stage and when it got techy they struggled.
I think this can be avoided if a test scenario of some sort was given to the candidate who is experienced in automation testing and passing that they can be called for a 2nd interview but also it gives you a feel as to where they are at?

Anyone agrees or disagrees on this? can anyone elaborate on this if this is common?

We have done a few interviews for automation testers and it hasn’t worked out, however when the company interviews for developers they do give them tests as part of the interview.

Thanks all for reading

Do whatever you need to do in order to not waste their time/emotions and your time/money. I’ve never led a first-stage interview for a tester without seeing them test and explain their actions and choices. I don’t know what your first interview is for, but it seems like it’d save you a lot of hassle to include some hurdles that are important to you - even if just to ask them if they can do what you expect them to do in the second interview.
Also consider what your current interviews look like. Maybe your second interview is very difficult to pass because it is flawed, or the person evaluating it is rejecting newcomers out of fear they’ll lose their job, there’s a lot of reasons that interviews fail. Make sure that your hypothesis that it’s to do with candidates’ technical ability is correct, and not to do with the way you evaluate it, otherwise you’ll be pouring effort into something already doomed to fail. Humility, strategy, success.

  1. Consider what you can and cannot expect of a candidate. Maybe you expect them to know how to write C#, but you can’t expect them to know the context around your domain. This will depend on the scope of the role, how you work, what business you are in; everything I don’t know but you and your teams do. Are you hiring someone to just write code, or will they be proper testers who need to know how to formulate a test mission, do test framing, strategize, risk assess, all of the associated skills? Do they need to work in a team, and talk to people, or work alone?
  2. Make some simulacrum of something you expect them to do. If you hire a chef you watch them cook. If you hire a coder you watch them code. If you hire a tester you watch them test.
  3. Your test should not be pass/fail. Firstly it would be arrogant to think you’re perfect at making the test, second it’s not what you’re looking to see. Ask questions of them, why they’re doing what they are doing, make their invisible brain processes more visible to you - good coders and bad coders writing code look exactly the same. Sometimes a candidate has a good reason why they’re not excelling at your test, and you should have the humility to listen if you want your test to be useful. Know what you’re looking for.
  4. Encourage them to ask questions, give them hints, make them feel calm, anything you can do to see them at their best. Imagine if I interviewed for a chef but they failed because they couldn’t find where we kept our frying pans and I didn’t help them.
  5. Involve other people if that person will be working with other people or those people can better evaluate candidate answers and behaviour.
    It’s a big subject, but hopefully some of that is helpful.

Really appreciate your response thanks. I’ve never been involved in the 2nd stage interview as it’s the dev manager and devs are involved in that, not sure what I could bring to the table. It’s definitely not the case of someone evaluating and is rejecting newcomers out of fear as we have a big gap and need an automation tester to automate and also help us qa’s improve in the automation testing field.

I have sat in the first interview with the dev manager and asked a few basic questions in their current day to day job and a couple of questions to do with automation . They can comfortably talk about selenium /specflow/c# but talking about it is one thing and doing it is another and that’s the problem we have. 1st stage is pretty much getting to know the person and whether they can fit into the team. Maybe this needs to change?

I do agree they won’t have the domain knowledge but they will be working as part of the QA team. They wouldn’t be setting up test frameworks from scratch as it’s already setup .

Having some sort of test I think is good maybe a scenario where they can write the test in gherkin? and maybe code using c#. I think it gives us a good idea what level they are at (no disrespect to them).

I’m not sure where to start and how to achieve this as I’m not an automation tester myself. I have some basic experience, watched tutorials in the past