No one was born an expert in being interviewed by strange people you haven't met before, you can always be having a bad day, there could have been a lot of traffic before you arrived to your appointment, or as simple as you are not good at being questioned about what you do every day.
Imagine that you find a great company that has a job opening that's a perfect match for you, but everything that I described before happens to you on that very important day, the day of interview, your big opportunity has gone all because of a bad interview.
I have been helping Inflection Point for the past months on interviewing new candidates for QA positions, and I have seen a lot of great candidates in paper, be auto-sabotaged, or as simple as not being able to sell the product, themselves, the best they could have sold it.
For that reason, I would like to write down some important facts or tips to help people outside the company, have a good interview, at least for a QA position.
Tip #1 – Confidence
Can't sell what you don't have: the confidence to sell. The first issue that I see in people that comes for an interview is that, they lack of confidence in themselves. They are great candidates in their CV, they look interesting, but they get to the interview, and they can't sell themselves to the interviewers, and I always think: who else could be surer about yourself than yourself? So never hesitate when you're trying to convince someone that you are a great candidate. If you are very good doing functional testing or if you are great automating anything or you are good doing documentation, whatever it is that you are great, believe you are the best in the world.
Tip #2 – Back up your resume
I think that everyone exaggerates a little bit in their resumes so they look great, and there's no problem with that, but you have to back it up in the interview. A lot of people write down things and when you ask about that in the interview they don't know what to answer, and that's a double fault, because you don't know it and you lied about it. If you don't know something there's no problem, but don't say that you do. Keep it simple, write what you know, nothing else. There's no need to have in your resume your expertise in all the in-house software that you’ve worked on, if at the end of the day you will talk about ALM (QC) or Jira, or naming all the internal courses that you took, when they will ask you if you are certified in ISTQB or similar.
Tip #3 – Daily examples
Everyone can study before an interview, learn a lot of concepts or definitions so you have something to say during the interview; but it’s so easy to detect when you start asking about the application on a daily basis, if you don't know how or where to use them on daily activities… well, you will be busted in your interview preparation. Whenever you are asked about something, try to give an example of some occasion when you used it, that's what we are looking for, someone with the day to day experience.
For example, if you are talking about how you raise defects, talk about a specific defect of a specific functionality that you’ve tested in the past, that will make you look like you actually know the daily struggle of everything (like dealing with the Devs).
Tip #4 – Be unique
In a world full of mass-made products, be a handmade QA. Most of the QA Engineers know kind of the same stuff, we all have been in different projects that make us a little different from each others; so imagine that we have 10 candidates with the same experience and knowledge, the only thing that will give you the advantage to take the position is that “something” which is unique and only you can provide. So be unique, have something that only YOU can bring to the company and you will win the race. Maybe you are the fastest person to write down documentation (almost 99% of people hates it) so that’d your big plus, or you have a super particular sight to identify misalignments in any page that you test, anything that you have, bring it to the table.
Tip #5 – Eager to learn
No matter if you are coming for a JR or the QA Supreme God position, always be eager to learn more about everything, there's nothing worse than someone thinking they know everything or that there's nothing else to learn or they don't have the motivation to learn. Always be eager to learn things especially when you are trying to get into a new company, each company does things differently so you will always have something to learn. If you don't know about Automation testing, maybe bring up that you would like to learn or if you have never done performance testing, say it, so your interest in learning is received and well understood.
Obviously this are not the only things that will get you a job, but at least with these tips you won't be discarded quickly, maybe, just maybe, if you follow them you can get at least, to the second interview.