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Why do most test engineers fail interviews?

Posted on:November 20, 2020

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing candidates for my QA team. Sometimes, they were hard. You may ask why so I’ll try to explain. I hope that in the future we can teach and prepare wanna-be test engineers to pass every interview they want to:)

Our roadmap for this article:

Basics of the language

In my opinion, knowing the basics of the language you want to use to write automated tests is quite important to write them well.

Many wanna-be test engineers (and not only beginners) know how to write a test, but when it comes to creating a custom solution - it could be hard without the basics of the language. In my daily work I’m facing various problems. Sometimes I’m just writing tests, which is kinda repetitive and easy, but there’s been many situations when we had to create some custom solution to simplify our work (like our custom runner, based on jest or TestKeeper which is an application to handle tests by micro-services). In this situation, I’m pretty sure that they could write this, but the quality of the code would probably be awful and hard to maintain. It’s not the point:)

And to give you an example. One of my questions was very simple: what’s the difference between let, const, and var? It’s a very basic question often asked in interviews. And you know what? Many of the candidates couldn’t answer it. I was kinda shocked because it’s like the first question from the Top Ten JS interview questions.

Compatibility with the team

Another important aspect of the recruitment process is your compatibility with the team. I mean, if your approach and personality doesn’t fit the team – you won’t be processed to the next stages. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not your fault but you have to be aware of this.

I’m mentioning this because for us, leaders, it’s a very important topic when building the right team.

But… I can give you some tips, what skills a good tester should have:


As you may have guessed, the quality that I particularly value is the problem-solving attitude. And it’s essential not only during the interview but also on a daily basis. But what does it mean?

In my opinion, a good tester shouldn’t be afraid of confronting problems. Sometimes people come to us and ask difficult questions – it’s just daily work. We should try to face them and if at that moment we don’t know the answer – ask around and try to find it. Probably this asking part will be connected with doing something so treat it as a challenge.

In my recent interviews I met various candidates. Some of them, when given a task, tried to solve it, even if they haven’t encountered a similar problem before. The answer from another group was “I don’t know”, and it was wrong. I mean, when you don’t have experience in a given topic, just say it and try to answer what you feel it could be. I’m not saying it’s the best approach every time to every question but I really like it when someone tries to give an answer with their own words, just thinking about how it could work. We could at that moment recognize how each of the candidates handled challenges and problems.


Going through interviews is hard and most of the time – stressful. It’s not a piece of cake but proper preparation before the talk should help you get the job. In my opinion, as I’ve written above, you have to go with a proper attitude and thorough knowledge of the language basics. But of course it’s not everything, these are just the fundamentals you should have. The rest depends on the position you’re applying for, your seniority and experience.

I hope this article gives you an idea of some basic problems which are easy to tackle and could boost your confidence in interviews.

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Have a nice day!