All job seekers look forward to receiving a job interview invitation. At the same time, the interview process makes most people, beginners and seasoned professionals alike, very nervous. That is why even fully qualified candidates sometimes fail to make a good impression on a hiring manager. The best remedy for such interview-caused anxiety is to prepare yourself in advance.
We have you covered if you are looking for a job in quality assurance. Our list of 25 commonly asked QA interview questions and suggested responses will help you prepare and feel more confident during your interview.
What Does a Quality Assurance Engineer Do?
Most of the questions recruiters ask candidates for testing positions are aimed at determining whether the candidate can do the job well. So before diving deeper into common QA interview questions, let us summarize the main responsibilities and daily duties of QA professionals.
QA engineers ensure that a product meets all the requirements and works correctly. They oversee every phase of software development, perform various types of tests, and implement processes that help identify bugs as early as possible. Their day-to-day duties include:
- Review product specifications and business requirements
- Develop test plans and create test cases
- Conduct functional and non-functional tests
- Write bug reports and update the defect-tracking repository
- Research new testing technologies and tools
- Evaluate test coverage and suggest improvements
Roles in quality assurance appear with a wide range of job titles:
- Software QA Engineer
- Software Test Engineer
- Software Quality Engineer
- QA Analyst
- QA Tester
- Test Analyst
- Manual QA
Sometimes, different job titles can be used to distinguish between positions with different responsibilities. However, in most cases, employers use them interchangeably.
What Do QA Interviewers Look for in Candidates?
Job descriptions are a great source of information on what hiring managers are looking for in candidates for QA roles; you can find the expectations regarding technical knowledge, proficiency with certain tools, and necessary soft skills. Commonly required qualifications include:
- Understanding of different software development methodologies (Waterfall, Agile, etc.)
- Knowledge of software QA methodologies and approaches to testing (manual and automated tests, negative and positive testing, white-box and black-box testing, functional and non-functional tests, integration and regression testing, and so on)
- Experience with issue-tracking software (Jira or similar)
- Experience with test case creation software (TestRail or similar)
- Good analytical and problem-solving skills
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Attention to detail
Most of the questions you hear during the interview are intended to determine if you possess these hard and soft skills. Hiring managers will verify your knowledge of quality assurance terminology, ask about your previous experience in software testing, and possibly add more in-depth questions to understand your proficiency with particular tools or technologies.
Now, let us look at different types of QA interview questions and examples of how you can answer them.
QA interviews often start with general questions. Hiring managers use them to learn more about your personality, motivation, and career goals.
#1 Tell me about yourself.
Answer: I work on web and mobile applications, ensuring everything works well and all the requirements are met. I use TestRail to create and execute test cases and report issues in Jira. I also work with tools like Chrome Dev Tools, Xcode, Android Studio, ADB, and Unix.
When answering such a question, you want to provide a brief overview of your experience in software testing. Be prepared to hear some follow-up questions regarding the tools you mentioned.
#2 Why do you want to leave your current job?
- My current role is an internship. And I am looking for a long-term opportunity.
- The project I am working on ends in a few months, so I am looking for a new opportunity.
- I am looking for new challenges and opportunities to explore new tools and technologies.
Provide a clear reason, avoid badmouthing your colleagues or manager, and do not complain about the salary.
#3 Why do you want to be a QA engineer?
Answer: New technology has always been my passion. I love finding issues and helping create high-quality products.
Here you can emphasize that you are genuinely interested in tech and QA.
Basic QA Interview Questions
These are questions that aim to verify you understand the basics of quality assurance in software development.
#4 What is the difference between quality assurance, quality control, and testing?
Answer: Quality assurance is the process of implementing certain steps to maintain quality and prevent issues. Quality control is the set of activities that help detect defects and verify that the product meets all the requirements. Testing is the process of finding errors.
#5 When should QA activities start, in your opinion?
Answer: QA requires planning. It should start at the very beginning of the project to ensure the most effective processes are put in place and that issues are identified as early as possible. It is important because the later errors are found, the more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming it is to fix them.
#6 What is the difference between validation and verification?
Answer: Verification is evaluating the product against the requirements. It answers the question: "Are we building the system right?" Validation is checking if the product meets the user's actual needs and expectations; it answers the question: "Are we building the right system?"
#7 Describe the bug life cycle in your company.
Answer: First, a bug has the "Open" status. Then it moves to developers who fix it, and the status changes to "In Dev." After the bug has been fixed, it goes to "In QA." We try to reproduce it and, depending on the results, change the status either to "Close" or "Reopened."
#8 Name the main components of a bug report.
Answer: Bug report should contain:
- Project name
- Descriptions with steps to reproduce the bug; actual vs. expected behavior
- Evidence (screenshots, videos, or log files)
Questions About Quality Assurance
These questions help an interviewer assess your understanding of the main QA concepts and knowledge of different testing methodologies.
#9 What are examples of functional and non-functional testing?
Answer: Functional testing verifies what the system does and includes such types of tests as smoke, integration, regression, system, or acceptance testing. Non-functional testing analyzes how the system works. Examples of non-functional testing are load, stress, performance, compatibility, and scalability tests.
#10 What are negative and positive testing?
Answer: During positive testing, we use valid input data and compare the output with the expected results. During negative testing, we use invalid input data to verify that the system does not accept it and that the correct error message is shown.
#11 What is the difference between load and stress testing?
Answer: Load testing simulates the expected application load, and stress testing analyzes its performance under heavy loads beyond standard operational capacity.
#12 Can you explain the difference between white-box testing and black-box testing?
Answer: Black-box testing is a methodology where the tester does not know the application source code and relies only on requirements. White-box testing means that the tester knows the source code and internal system structure. Gray-box testing combines both approaches. In my work, I mostly do black-box testing. I am also familiar with gray-box testing. For example, I have experience with database testing using SQL.
Questions about Experience and Background
In addition to verifying candidates' theoretical knowledge about quality assurance, each interview includes questions about their background and work experience in testing. Here are examples of such questions:
#13 What kind of software have you tested before?
Answer: I worked on e-signature software, web and mobile apps for job search management, and accounting software.
#14 What did you do in your last project?
Answer: I tested different devices and platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. I was responsible for functional and UI testing. In my work, I used such tools as Chrome DevTools, Android Studio, Jira, and TestRail.
#15 Have you used any automation tools in your work?
Answer: No, I have not used any automation in my work yet. But I recently started classes for automation testing with Python.
#16 Have you worked on Agile or Waterfall projects?
Answer: I worked on Agile projects. And the framework our teams used was Scrum.
#17 Which bug-tracking tools have you used before?
Answer: I reported bugs in Jira.
#18 Describe one big bug that you found in your project.
Answer: Once I found that when a user logged out, you could get back to the logged-in page by hitting the "back" button.
Of course, you can tell them about any interesting bug you found. The point is to prepare a couple of examples and be ready to discuss them.
#19 Do you have any experience with API testing?
Answer: I have experience working with REST APIs. I used Postman to make test calls.
#20 Did you use SQL in your job?
Answer: I used SQL on test cases, such as checking if a new user entry was created in the database when a new user created an account or if the data was updated when a user changed his personal information in the app.
The answers to these questions might seem straightforward. Obviously, you know what projects you worked on and what tools you used. However, it is essential to think through your answers beforehand and prepare specific examples so that no question catches you off guard.
Interviewers also ask more in-depth questions, which help them understand your comprehensive knowledge of quality assurance best practices and evaluate how you will behave facing challenges at work.
#21 How would you test a toaster/soda machine /pencil?
Answer: First, I will study the requirements and see what it's supposed to do. Then I will start with functional positive test cases and verify the following:
- If the toaster turns on and off
- If it warms up to the right temperature
- If it is possible to put the required amount of bread in it
- If the power turns off automatically when the toast is ready
I will continue with negative functional testing and check what will happen if users misuse the toaster.
#22 What would you do if you needed to complete 80 test cases in five days and during the first day you completed only six?
Answer: I would continue to execute tests and raise a concern to the QA Manager that we need more time or people to complete all activities on time.
#23 What do you do if a developer reassigns a bug back to you and marks it as "can't reproduce?"
Answer: First, I will try to reproduce it on the reported device, following the steps described in the ticket and using the right environment, platform, and build. Then, I will try reproducing it on other devices to ensure that the bug is not device-related. If the bug is reproducible, I will add my comments and assign the ticket back to the development team. If it is not, I will add a comment and close the ticket.
#24 What would you do if a developer reassigns a ticket/bug back to you and marks it "as-designed" / "not a bug"?
Answer: I would double-check the requirements. If it is really the expected behavior, I would add a comment and close the ticket. Otherwise, I would add my comments and reassign the ticket to the developers. If requirements were missing, I would ask a product manager for clarification and proceed accordingly.
#25 What would you do if you needed to write test cases without documents indicating the requirements?
Answer: I would try to ask a product manager about the expected behavior. I would also look at emails that might contain helpful information and check older test cases. In addition, I would research similar features on other apps.
The key to success in a job interview is preparation. Think through your answers and prepare examples of how you used each tool or technology. And remember that not just what you say matters, but also how you say it. So, take some time to practice with a career coach or friend. You will see that you will be much more confident and relaxed at the actual meeting with a hiring manager.