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Automation Testing Interview: Top Tips and Insider Interview Questions to Stand Out

Congratulations on getting the interview! This article covers some business questions you are likely to be asked during the job interview to determine your knowledge, skills, and fit. It also includes various resources such as best practices, frameworks, interview tips, and links to other resources which focus on technical questions.

We have used various job descriptions from global enterprises such as Accenture, resources from job hunt platforms, and our own experience as a tech company to put this article together.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Skills
  2. What you will be doing
  3. Top Tips
    a. The first answers you give can shape your interview for the better or for the worse
    b. Straight to the point with senior and business people
  4. Interview Questions
    a. What are the benefits of automation testing?
    b. When should testing be automated?
    c. What is cross-browser testing and why is it needed?
    d. What are some risks associated with cross-browser testing?
    e. When would it make more sense to use manual testing?
  5. Interview Tips
  6. Resources

Key Skills

  • Programming languages: Python, C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP
  • Superior mathematical aptitude and strong problem-solving skills
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Exceptional accuracy and attention to detail
  • Teamwork
  • Self-development and upskilling

What you will be doing

As a Test Automation Engineer, your responsibilities are likely to include:

  • Designing and developing automated test scripts and executing them
  • Investigating, recording problems and documenting defects, and validating fixes
  • Working with teams, QA analysts, and software developers to resolve issues
  • Participating in the release control process to ensure business requirements are met
  • Informing the test lead of any issues that may affect the schedule, budget, or quality of the product or the testing process.

Top tips

Top tip 1: The first answers you give can shape your interview for better or for worse.

Prepare well so you can really ace the first questions you are likely to receive. While these are likely to be easier, missteps could derail the whole interview. Just as well, a great first impression could mean the interviewer evaluates the rest of the interview through the lens of that great initial first impression. Plus, acing them and receiving a positive response can help you relax and give you a confidence boost.

Top tip 2: Straight-to-the-point with senior and business people

Ironically, this section is the longest. We really want to drive this point home.

Being straight-to-point and being aware of the ultimate business goals can demonstrate wider thinking, help differentiate you from purely technical candidates and reassure the hiring manager you are more likely to be a valuable hire.

If you are speaking with a non-technical or “business” person, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, most businesses exist with the purpose of turning a profit. Hiring an employee is no different. Hiring managers want to make sure that hiring you will bring the company more money than what it will cost. 

Top-notch answers to non-technical questions would include the business reasons, and if you are speaking with a senior member, it would include them first. Time-limited, senior business people prefer to know the most important information first, the “headline”, if you will.

A mistake often made by those of us on the technical side (engineers, software developers, etc.) is that we take the person on the journey with us, only letting them find out where we are headed once we’ve arrived. Tell them where both of you are going first. It is much easier to keep someone’s interest if they grasp what is going on. Moreover, as interviews are time-sensitive, you may find that you do not need to elaborate, and you knowing the final answer without having to meander might be more valuable to some hiring managers.

Interview Questions

What are the benefits of automation testing?

Automation testing can reduce costs in the long run, free up time for more valuable work, increase turnaround times, and increase quality and reliability. It also makes scaling easier, as it decouples the provision of services from human resources.

Naturally, it also includes many benefits from manual testing, namely: detecting bugs early on, making debugging easier, decreasing technical debt, improving reliability, improving code quality, etc. Ultimately, this all helps lower costs and ensure that quality is delivered to the customer.

When should testing be automated?

Automated testing is particularly well-suited for large projects involving complex calculations and for repeatable test cases. It would typically be cheaper to have a human test features that change often or features that are rarely executed, or ones that are rarely tested.

What is cross-browser testing and why is it needed?

A type of browser automation testing that makes sure web applications work well and as intended on different browsers and operating systems. It helps reach a larger audience, improves continuity, increases customer satisfaction, reduces frustration, and therefore improves brand loyalty.

Popular browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Brave, Safari, and Opera.

Sophisticated tools such as Selenium, BrowserStack, Browsershots, LambdaTest can allow the tester to automate cross-browser testing.

It is needed to ensure users have the same experience and features, or as close as possible, regardless of whether they access a site using Google Chrome on an Android device or Safari on a Mac.

What are some risks associated with automated testing?

Negative ROI (Return on Investment)

Setting up automated tests can be expensive and time-consuming. If an application is going through a major overhaul, such as with a startup pivoting, then a lot of the set-up automated tests might be obsolete. In some instances, especially when there is not enough scale, manual testing can be more cost-effective.

Sunk cost bias

After making a significant investment, a company or a manager may be reluctant to accept that the solution is not cost-effective and be unwilling to cut their losses. So much time or money has already been spent. This can lead to continuing with activities that lose the business money or time.

Learning curve

Apart from requiring programming knowledge, learning how to use automated testing tools can take time, and there is a steep learning curve

Maintenance risk

As with other code, it has to be maintained and kept up to date. There are instances where this could divert resources and manpower away from fixing bugs or building features.

When would it make more sense to use manual testing?

First, when the cost of implementing automated testing is higher than the long-run cost of manual testing, taking into account the benefits of automated testing. It is not practical to automate all tests. 

Secondly, some tests can only be run by humans. User interface, usability, accessibility, and exploratory testing all fall within this category.

Lastly, while automated testing is more suitable to avoid running into known problems, or to avoid already fixed bugs from showing up again, manual exploratory testing is necessary to find those unknown unknowns, the bugs one doesn’t know about, incorrect implementations, etc.

Interview tips

Some top tips from Forbes and Indeed include:

  • Be prepared
  • Plan
  • Rehearse
  • Think of the interview as a conversation
  • Focus on your strengths and your purpose
  • Breathe and take your time.

You can also see Indeed’s video titled Top Interview Tips: Common Questions, Body Language & More.

Resources:

For best practices, frameworks, test tool selection, execution, and more, you can take a look at Guru99’s Automation Testing Tutorial.

For a job description from Accenture look here, or look at Target Jobs and Betterteam for typical job descriptions, actual job descriptions, and roles actively recruiting.

For in-depth, technical automation testing interview questions see InterviewBit’s Guide here.

For more questions with examples, check out this article by Indeed’s Editorial Team.

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