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daluu
Member


Reged: 08/24/06
Posts: 339
Finding good QA candidates...hmm...
      #717290 - 10/02/12 12:35 AM

Was just wondering, how one might try to find better or good candidates?

We've been hiring for a while and all candidates are at best minimally satisfactory. Maybe we're aiming too high for superstars or not, but interviewing candidates, can't seem to find good ones.

We're looking for "senior" candidates with good QA know how but with a solid technical background (in terms of programming & automation). Seems most of our prospective candidates fall under the "junior" type and lean more toward manual testing or writing simple test scripts rather than an be at "automation architect" level.

Perhaps our company brand isn't attractive enough or we're not using the right "position name" or job description details, though we do mention all the automation and programming requirements.

I guess we're kind of looking more for Software Development Engineers in Test (SDET) though we still have a significant amount of manual testing that goes along with it since not everything can be easily automated, at least initially. Maybe that's what we should use for titles rather than Sr QA or Sr Release QA...but I dunno.

Anyone experience similar issues finding good candidates for their organization?

Also this is not a solicitation for candidates, just a discussion about finding candidates. But if anyone is interested, PM me (only if you plan to work in Bay Area, California).


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Joe Strazzere
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Reged: 05/15/00
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Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: daluu]
      #717304 - 10/02/12 04:01 AM

Do you plan to pay your Software Developers in Test the same as all your other Software Developers?

I find that some companies express a desire for top-notch people at bargain basement prices. I'm not saying this is you...

Are you using a recruiter? If so, have you expressed to him/her the fact that you aren't seeing kind of the candidates you need?

Is your job posted online? Get some neutral party to look at it and give you an honest reply about their impressions when they read the posting. I'm shocked at what some companies think is an attractive job posting. I read it and think "why would anyone who isn't desperate want that role?" (Again, I'm not saying this problem applies to you, only that you might want to check).

If you are looking for superstars, you should be paying superstar money, and your job posting should read like an ad for a superstar. And you need to be the kind of company where a superstar would like to work, with superstar advancement opportunities and superstar challenges. Remember, there are very few superstars in this world, and very few companies really need superstars.

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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daluu
Member


Reged: 08/24/06
Posts: 339
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #717336 - 10/02/12 09:04 AM

Thanks Joe. I don't work in HR, so don't know the details. Think we pay well enough. I think our devs get paid more (as usual at most places) but our senior QAs with great skillsets get paid well enough (to my knowledge at least).

I think our job postings are good enough. Most in the industry are kind of boilerplate, at least with requirements (and some go overboard with them as well).

But what strikes me as kind of odd is that although we list boilerplate requirements like:

5+ years of experience coding automated tests for web applications using Selenium or Watir
Web testing experience for RIA's is a MUST!
Solid working knowledge of web applications
Web language experience in one of PHP, Javascript, Perl, etc.
Programming language experience in one of: JAVA, C++, C#, etc.

we get candidates with very basic programming skills and/or basic knowledge of Selenium/Watir. Basically, your simple test script writers. Not the ones that can help you build test frameworks if required or complex automated tests.

perhaps as you say the wording isn't good enough. maybe should add years of programming experience as well, though I doubt that will make much of a difference in candidate applications.

FYI, I didn't help write the job position description & requirements.


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Joe Strazzere
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Reged: 05/15/00
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Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: daluu]
      #717340 - 10/02/12 09:33 AM

You are always going to have unqualified people apply for senior positions - it costs them nothing, and there's always the chance (however remote) that they will land a job that provides a large step up for them.

If you are not seeing the right candidates, the first people to talk with are the recruiters (or HR if you don't specifically have recruiters). It's their job to be experts at this. They should be able to provide guidance about how to accomplish that. They know the market for candidates, They know competitive pay scales. They know job descriptions. They have other avenues for sourcing good candidates.

And if you are getting candidates without sufficient skills, again start with the recruiters/HR. Tell them specifically what each candidate is lacking so they can hone their search and filtering skills and avoid wasting your time.

For example, if your requirements say "Web testing experience for RIA's is a MUST!", your recruiter must do more than ask "do you have web testing experience for RIAs?" Instead, educate them on specific questions they can use to gauge a candidates web testing experience for RIAs, and weed out the "goods" from the "bads".

I'm not sure what your process is. But here's the process I use:
- I go over all of the job posting with my assigned recruiter, and explain what it means
- I talk with them about what a good candidate would "look like" and what a bad candidate would look like
- They send me all the resumes they receive early in the process and indicate which would pass their "filter" and which would not. We tune their filter accordingly.
- Then they send me a batch at a time of candidates who they think meet my needs
- I read all the resumes and provide feedback to the recruiter that helps them tune their search further
- When I get a good resume, I set up a phone interview
- I conduct a 1/2 hour phone interview asking basic questions to weed out the folks who have a good resume, but don't necessarily have the right attributes for success in my company
- Once I have gotten 1 or 2 good candidates past my phone screen, I bring them in for face-to-face interviews with me, at least on other person on my QA Team, and usually one other person (a Developer, perhaps). We each examine different attributes for success.
- I choose the best candidate and make an offer
- Success ensues! (hopefully)

Good luck.

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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GregEncke
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Reged: 02/11/08
Posts: 277
Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #717343 - 10/02/12 10:15 AM

I think there is a shortage of automation people, I get inquries all the time from recruiters and I haven't been searching for a job in a year and a half

--------------------
Patience is like bread I say.... I ran out of that yesterday.

Edited by GregEncke (10/02/12 11:35 AM)


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MrBungle
Member


Reged: 05/11/09
Posts: 85
Loc: Canada
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: GregEncke]
      #717377 - 10/02/12 08:18 PM

Those profiles are very rare in my experience because it takes skills that are usually found in the dev crowd as well as good knowledge in Testing. You also have to know the tools well.

Also, there's a lot of manual testers picking up automation because it pays more (can't blame them) but not everybody has the state of mind and/or motivation to go beyond the coding aspect. That's the kind of people you seem to get.

It's more common to find people versed in software architecture in the development crowd than in the testing automation crowd.

The other thing is that you're looking for SDET, automation architect but at the same time you require them to perform a good amount of manual testing. The trend for manual testers is to catch on the automation train, why would an experienced SDET take a position with a good deal of manual testing?
Unfortunately there's still a lot of companies where manual testing is disregarded and not well paid. As a confirmed SDET, I'd rather take a position where I can exercise my automation skills 100% of the time, and accomplish new things in this domain than take a position where I'll have to switch between manual and automation.
Not to mention that those people may enjoy more their automation tasks.

You could argue that a good tester should be able to do both manual and automation, and I would agree but SDET/automation architect is a more specialized position.

My last point has already been mentioned: those profiles are rare, so the compensation need to be commensurate.

Edited by MrBungle (10/02/12 08:19 PM)


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daluu
Member


Reged: 08/24/06
Posts: 339
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: MrBungle]
      #718066 - 10/15/12 06:31 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. I'll see if I can work with HR to improve our recruiting process.

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daluu
Member


Reged: 08/24/06
Posts: 339
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: daluu]
      #718068 - 10/15/12 06:46 PM

By the way, while on this related subject. What do you think about resume page length for typical QA or senior QA positions?

Multiple page ok, how many pages ok?

I personally for myself have always followed the one page resume principle.

But for our candidates that have applied, they've always been 2-4 pages. I've yet to find a 1 page resume candidate.

I wonder if HR or hiring managers ever filter by page length these days. So far we don't seem to at my place.


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Joe Strazzere
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Reged: 05/15/00
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Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: daluu]
      #718103 - 10/16/12 03:48 AM

The length of your resume should conform to your experience, and the type of position for which you are applying.

If you have never held a job before, it makes sense to have a 1-page resume.

If you have been in business for a while, in more than on job, then it would be silly to artificially try to condense a resume down to 1 page. 2-4 pages is far more typical. Would you really expect a superstar Senior QA Engineer to be able to express their experience, abilities and jobs in just one page?

I never filter by page length, and I don't know of any HR or recruiters that do. I'm not sure I'd have ever been able to hire anyone if I did.

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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SimonFromLeeds
Member


Reged: 08/12/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Leeds
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #718111 - 10/16/12 06:10 AM

I limit my CV to two pages. It's tough, but I'm trying put forward the most relevant experiences succinctly. I want to tick all the boxes for 'bring in for interview' asap.

When I read CV's, I want to make the decision to interview asap, pages of waffle or irrelevant details don't help. I have received CV's that are 12 pages long, but I'm already thinking this person struggles communicate succinctly, depends upon the role if that's important. I skip read the 12 pages, maybe I missed a gem. I don't risk that on my CV, I only put gems.

One of my fav recent tester CV 'really?' moments was reading like this (from memory):
  • Good at communicating frequently with the users
  • Good at written communication.
  • Experienced at written communication with the users


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SimonFromLeeds
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Reged: 08/12/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Leeds
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: SimonFromLeeds]
      #718132 - 10/16/12 08:50 AM

Quote:

One of my fav recent tester CV 'really?' moments was reading like this (from memory):


Ahem, feel free to arrange those words into a sentence
Let me try again. I laughed recently when reading a tester's CV, because it included a section like this:


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NoUse4aName
Super Member


Reged: 06/13/08
Posts: 1720
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: SimonFromLeeds]
      #718163 - 10/16/12 12:53 PM

It's sad/amusing to see all the resumes that come in for a QA position with typos and formatting problems on them. That's how they want to showcase their attention to detail, eh?

Networking through linkedin(and attending conferences to build that network) seems to be the best way for us to attract talent.


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Squamry
Member


Reged: 01/22/07
Posts: 145
Loc: UK
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: SimonFromLeeds]
      #718313 - 10/18/12 05:44 AM

Quote:

I limit my CV to two pages.




I used to try to do this but the advise I got the last time looking for work was that as everyone is looking at CVs electronically now it's less of an issue. The other thing to bear in mind is that of you go through an agent they will top and tail it so even if you get it to a nice format/length by the time it arrives at a prospective employer it may have changed remarkedly.

I'd also been wary about spelling mistakes/typos as well. These can often be introduced by the agent rather than the candidae so I tend to be more forgiving and look for the overall flow and experience.

I like Joes's advice on the process he uses. At my place we definitely use the job spec to judge a candidates fit and break this into must have and beneficial skills. We also always pair for interviews and nearly always do at least 2 interview as getting an extra person thinking about a candidate helps identify how well they will fit and makes it less of a risk for us. the last guy I hired had been grilled by 5 people by the time we made an offer which allowed us to get a good measure of him.

--------------------
The story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.


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daluu
Member


Reged: 08/24/06
Posts: 339
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: Squamry]
      #718343 - 10/18/12 04:15 PM

God forbid, recruiters/agents will modify your resume before passing along? I never knew that.

Edited by daluu (10/18/12 04:15 PM)


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NoUse4aName
Super Member


Reged: 06/13/08
Posts: 1720
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: daluu]
      #718344 - 10/18/12 06:29 PM

Yeah, they put them in a standard format of their own and add headers/footers and remove your contact info at the least.

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Joe Strazzere
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Reged: 05/15/00
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Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: daluu]
      #718374 - 10/19/12 03:51 AM

Quote:

God forbid, recruiters/agents will modify your resume before passing along? I never knew that.



When I have worked with an agency in the past, I always required that they send me a copy of any reformatted resume for my approval before they sent it out.

In most cases, agents will only remove your personal contact information, and insert theirs.

Sometimes they want to make "improvements". Make sure they write what you want potential employers to see.

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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swt88
Active Member


Reged: 05/13/03
Posts: 1193
Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #718405 - 10/19/12 09:01 AM

Quote:

Quote:

God forbid, recruiters/agents will modify your resume before passing along? I never knew that.



When I have worked with an agency in the past, I always required that they send me a copy of any reformatted resume for my approval before they sent it out.

In most cases, agents will only remove your personal contact information, and insert theirs.

Sometimes they want to make "improvements". Make sure they write what you want potential employers to see.



Agreed Joe!

Had 'improvements' added to mine once - and I have never used that firm again.
Changing contact info is one thing - changing my experience is quite another!

--------------------
Mary


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NoUse4aName
Super Member


Reged: 06/13/08
Posts: 1720
Re: Finding good QA candidates...hmm... [Re: swt88]
      #718408 - 10/19/12 10:18 AM

Yeah a common one you see is that if your resume indicates that you tested a java project, the headhunter will change that into you having Java programming experience.

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