Hiring Testers – Common sense advice for candidates

Around the summer last year I was using the internet and webinars to help me learn how to hire testers.
Some of that story has been documented here.

I have since done a second round of recruitment and at a total of 3 people we are now a small test team! Hurray!

During this second round I had a couple of faux pas, which just baffled me. I actually had to stop and think “Really?”. 

I have no idea if this is helpful but maybe some people can relate to the advice below. Finding a job can be hard, so maybe common sense goes out of the door sometimes if you are a candidate.


Cover letters:

I actually really like cover letters, as they can give me a sense of the person and how the understand and relate to the job ad. But if you do write one tell me why you are good for the job – don’t use it as a lengthy personal statement. 

CVs:

Keep it relevant – what does the job ad say and tailor your CV to it. 
Keep it short – 2 pages maximum – I frequently get 5 page CVs and I don’t read them.
Do include hobbies – I like to get a sense of the person.
Don’t lie. I asked a candidate about their agile experience and they had no idea what I was talking about, but they said they worked in agile software development for the last 2 years!

Phone interview:

Make sure you have enough time to talk.
Research the company and their product; if they have a demo install it and use it. Find a bug in the product and talk about how you found it.
Ask questions; about the role, the development opportunities, the culture. Nothing more off putting than a disinterested candidate.
Know your CV. 
Be honest. 
Don’t google the answer while you are on the phone. Yes this happened. 

In terms of process I actually have a checklist of questions and the candidate on the phone needs to pass a certain amount to be considered for a face to face interview. This includes a score for interest in the company for example as well.

Face to Face:

Be clean and well presented.
Prepare some answers to competency based questions.
Don’t be afraid to make notes.
Ask questions, get to know the people and company as much as possible.
Be authentic and enthusiastic.
Relax. At least as much as you can. You have a foot in the door at this stage so things are looking good.

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