If you are preparing for a job interview in QA, it is important to familiarise yourself with the most important interview questions that might come your way. Want to give yourself an edge? Then you should study the most tricky QA interview questions and prepare structured, strategic answers for them.
When you apply for a QA engineer, manager, or tester role, it is crucial to have a strong understanding of agile testing. If you can demonstrate your knowledge of agile testing, you will certainly stand out from most candidates. Even if the company does not commit to Agile testing, you still demonstrate the skills and experience to adapt to a fast-paced, modern, collaborative development environment.
However, even if you know what agile testing is and can apply it, it might not guarantee you pass the job interview. Application processes for QA positions are highly competitive, and some questions will require you to apply 120% of what you know and have experienced. The extra 20% are outright confusing or actually seemingly easy questions that are also easy enough to get wrong. Find our pointers for some of the tricky QA interview questions and answers to them below.
And also, check out our new video to master your next QA interview.
1. Describe your steps to develop and execute a test plan for a complex software system.
This one is one of the well-known, common software QA interview questions. And it requires a well-structured, extensive answer from the candidate, as well as their approach to tackling a complex problem. Also, the candidate should be able to demonstrate an understanding of software testing principles, technical knowledge, and critical thinking.
Answer: To develop and execute a test plan for a complex software system, you need to implement a strategy including these steps:
- Understand the requirements — Before you develop a test plan, it is crucial to understand both functional and non-functional requirements and identify potential risks.
- Identify the scope — Identify the main features and functionalities to test and outline the types of testing you will use.
- Create test cases — Make test cases that ensure each feature and functionality is tested thoroughly while prioritising the most critical and impactful features.
- Identify the testing environment — Your testing environment should have the required hardware, software, and network requirements for the test.
- Define a testing approach — Sort out the testing types and the criteria for software passing or failing the testing stage.
- Execute the plan — Execute your test plan while documenting each test’s results.
- Analyze the results — Verify that the software met the passing criteria and identify potential improvement areas.
- Report the results — Summarise the test results, point out discovered issues, and identify risks.
As you describe these steps to the interviewer, it would be great to touch on the business value of what you’re doing.
2. What is exploratory testing, and when do you use it?
Not all QA interview questions are about black-box or white-box testing, so you should be prepared to answer various kinds of questions, including exploratory testing. As exploratory testing is only needed in a handful of cases, it might be tricky for the candidate to come up with suitable situations.
Answer: Exploratory testing is a different approach to the testing process where you explore the application during the test rather than having a predefined plan. It requires the tester to identify the areas of dynamic improvement, issues, and potential defects. There are several instances where you might use exploratory testing:
- There are new testers in the project
- You need to minimise test script writing
- New features should be tested
- The user experience should be tested
3. How do you test a complex API that involves multiple endpoints and integrations?
This is also one of the interview questions for QA that you can come across, especially if the position requires the development and execution of a comprehensive test plan for a complex API. It might be less than trivial for some candidates as it requires the tester to have a deep understanding of API testing concepts and techniques.
Answer: Here is how you should test a complex API with multiple endpoints and integrations:
- Understand the requirements and specifications for API
- Plan performance, security, and scalability tests that you would normally use when testing an API
- Create test cases that cover endpoints and integrations, including positive and negative scenarios
- Design tests to validate API functionality
- Use advanced QA testing tools to automate the API testing process
4. How do you measure the effectiveness of your testing efforts?
As you apply for the more senior positions, you will get asked more quality assurance interview questions about the results of the cases you worked on. These questions require a mix of practical experience and theoretical knowledge.
Answer: Several QA metrics allow you to measure the effectiveness of your testing results:
- Defect detection rate: This metric is crucial because it compares the number of defects you can find during the testing to the ones found in the production stage. Higher detection indicates higher coverage and diligent execution of the test.
- Test coverage: It measures the percentage of the code or functionality you have tested. The higher coverage you have, the lower chance of facing unexpected bugs that are really expensive to fix in production.
- Test case efficiency: This metric focuses on the ratio of successful tests to the total runs. High efficiency means you have well-designed and well-executed test cases.
- Customer satisfaction: No matter what service or product you offer, customer satisfaction is a metric that should be among the most crucial to measuring your effectiveness, and testing processes are no exception. Although poor customer satisfaction does not necessarily indicate poor QA, higher customer satisfaction definitely shows that the software’s performance is good. That certainly means good QA.
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5. How would you test a mobile app that needs to work on different devices and platforms?
Among the top interview questions for QA, you can also come across the type of questions that include diversity. This question can cause problems for some candidates because it requires a modern approach to mobile testing, knowledge of various testing techniques and tools, and an understanding of complexities on multiple devices.
Answer: You can test a mobile app’s functionality on various devices via the following main steps:
- Choose a framework that supports testing on multiple devices and platforms
- Set up the testing environment
- Create a test plan
- Develop and execute test scripts
- Analyse the results
6. How would you identify and mitigate possible vulnerabilities in security testing?
Security testing questions are an essential part of QA engineer interview questions, so you should expect at least one in your upcoming interview. This question might be challenging for some candidates as it requires knowledge of security testing and the ability to think critically, proactively, and quickly about mitigating vulnerabilities.
Answer: To identify vulnerabilities in security testing, you should follow these steps:
- Conduct a thorough security assessment of the application
- Use both automated and manual techniques to identify possible vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting, buffer overflows, or injection attacks
- Prioritise potentially the most impactful vulnerabilities
- Develop a plan to tackle each one of these vulnerabilities
- Test the results of the mitigation measures and see if they addressed the vulnerabilities well
- Run security tests regularly to know the possible security issues you might have in the future
7. How do you decide when a bug is severe enough to block the release?
This is also a challenging QA interview question, as the candidate should be able to balance the factors and decide based on the bug’s severity. Being able to answer questions that require critical thinking and technical knowledge is a big plus for the candidate.
Answer: The analysis to decide whether a bug is severe enough to block the release should include these factors:
- The impact of the bug on the functionality
- The bug’s occurrence frequency
- The bug’s effect on the end user’s experience
- Reproducibility of the bug
- Data loss or security vulnerabilities caused by the bug
- Brand impact of the bug
If the bug appears too often, is easy to produce or affects the aspects mentioned above, you should consider a delay in the release to deal with the bug.
8. Have you ever faced a situation where QA was not given enough time to test a product properly? And how did you handle it?
This QA interview question can also be tricky as it requires the candidate to provide a balanced answer. The candidate should be able to express how they would keep cool under pressure, avoid conflict with their colleagues and still deliver high-quality testing.
Answer: It is not uncommon for QA management problems to occur during the testing process as, from time to time, QA can be given limited time or sources to complete the test. In these situations, ensuring that the project stakeholders understand the risks of inadequate testing is crucial. You can advocate for additional resources or time; if you are unsuccessful, you can prioritise your testing efforts based on the most critical aspects of the product. Communication is vital in these situations.
9. How do you ensure efficient testing in a large-scale enterprise environment?
This QA interview question also can be tricky because the answer depends on many variables. The interviewer will be looking for a candidate who can demonstrate deep knowledge of testing best practices and also provide a strategy that would fit in a large enterprise environment, even if they do not have the necessary experience.
Answer: Using an enterprise testing tool is the best way to ensure efficient and effective testing in a large-scale environment. It allows for:
- Centralised management of testing processes
- Automated test execution
- Comprehensive reporting abilities
- A better streamlining of testing efforts
- Consistent and high-quality results
10. How do you write test cases and make sure they are thorough?
Test cases and how you write them are among the most common QA testing interview questions you might face. A famous professor of software engineering Cem Kaner is known for his popular testing quote, “Tester is only as good as the test cases he can think of.“
This question can be tricky for some candidates because if you do not have a previous test case written for actual software in your experience, you should be theoretically perfect in it to get the correct answer. Before going to an interview, make sure you revisit some actual test case examples that will help you.
Answer: My approach to writing the test cases includes these crucial steps to make sure it is thorough:
- Review the requirements and specifications of the software
- Identify various scenarios (both positive and negative) and create test cases for each requirement
- Prioritise the test cases based on their importance
- Review the cases and their prioritisation with the QA lead/PO to ensure that the test coverage is complete
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