A prototype of this post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Today I was using Microsoft Word, and for the first time I took a look at a feature that’s probably been there for a long while.
Also today, there’s at least one more LinkedIn poll with an interview question — apparently aimed at testers — on a fairly trivial aspect of Java programming.
Questions of that nature might reasonable if the interviewer’s goal is to hire a Java programmer, and to sift out the novices from the veterans. They might be reasonable if the intereviewer wants a toolsmith — someone is going to write Java code to support testers.
But such questions are very poor ways to assess testing skills. If you’re a tester, beware of them; your prospective employer may be have a trivialized model of testers and testing work. The interview question may be revealing that you won’t be a good fit if you’re ambitious to test software.
It seems to me that for people who want a tester, a much better approach would be to present this dialog:
Then ask: “How would you test the functions presented in this dialog? Where might you start? How might you use code or tools — whether you or someone else created them, in whatever language — to help you?”
Of course, this requires the interviewer to have some capacity for assessing and evaluating testing and skills and tactics related to doing it well. This document might be of some help.