Preparation is the key to success in any job interview, including those for positions in quality assurance. Even if you have years of experience in the role of Test Lead or QA Manager, don't underestimate the importance of this step. Thinking through your answers to possible questions in advance can boost your confidence and significantly increase your chances of landing the job.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of the top 15 QA Manager/Test Lead interview questions along with sample answers.
The role of QA Manager/Test Lead
Before discussing particular interview questions, let's take a moment to summarize the primary duties of QA Managers and Test Leads.
A QA Manager develops quality assurance processes, plans and oversees all QA activities, establishes metrics, and monitors progress. This person is responsible for:
- Leading the QA team
- Participating in interviewing and hiring QA team members
- Defining the scope of testing for a particular project and allocating resources
- Writing test reports
- Optimizing quality assurance operations
- Coordinating the work between the QA teams and other departments
Sometimes the titles QA Manager and Test/QA Lead are used interchangeably. However, bigger teams with more complex structures can have both roles. In such cases, the QA Manager usually manages several testing groups, with each group led by a QA or Test Lead. It’s also important to mention that the responsibilities of QA Managers and Test Leads can vary from company to company. That’s why it’s better not to limit your search to a specific job title when looking for a leadership position within a QA team. The job description can reveal more about whether a particular role may suit your skills, experience, and career goals than the name of the position itself.
During QA Manager/Test Lead interviews, hiring managers typically test candidates in three major areas:
- General knowledge of QA terminology, tools, and best practices
- Core technical expertise
- Leadership skills and management style
The majority of questions in the first category are similar to those asked in interviews for other QA positions. You can prepare for these by reviewing our 25 QA Interview Questions & Answers article. The second and third types of questions will be specific to QA Manager and QA Lead interviews and are designed to determine if a candidate has the necessary skills to fulfill these roles. Today, we will focus on these two areas. Let's get started.
QA Manager Interview Questions on Technical Expertise#1.
What is a test plan?
Answer: A test plan is a detailed document that outlines the testing strategy, objectives, scope, test methods, required resources—including QA professionals and necessary tools—estimated schedule, and test deliverables. There are three types of test plans:
- A master test plan. It’s a comprehensive document featuring high-level information.
- A level-specific test plan. For example: a unit test plan, integration test plan, or system test plan
- A type-specific test plan. For instance: a functional test plan, performance test plan, or usability test plan
#2. What is the Requirement Traceability Matrix? What are its uses?
Answer: The Requirement Traceability Matrix, or RTM, is a document that maps requirements with test cases. The primary purpose of such a document is to ensure that all requirements will be tested.
#3. What is test estimation? What techniques do you use to perform it?
Answer: Test estimation is the process of measuring the duration and actions required for testing software. During test estimation, we evaluate the cost, resources, and time needed for testing. I am familiar with the following techniques for test estimation:
- Work breakdown structure
- Three-point estimation
- Testing point analysis
#4. What is a three-point estimation?
Answer: A three-point estimation is a method where we produce three values for every task based on our past experience:
- Optimistic scenario. For example, we have a highly skilled team of QA analysts and expect that they will be able to complete a certain task in 120 work hours.
- Most likely scenario. For example, we know from previous projects that our team will most likely need 160 work hours for this task.
- Worst-case scenario. For example, we estimate that even if something goes wrong, our team can complete this task in 200 work hours.
Based on these three values, we can then calculate the final estimate.
#5. How would you choose testing tools for your test project?
Answer: When I need to choose tools for a new project, I go through the following steps:
- Analyze the requirements for the project.
- Evaluate which tools meet the requirements.
- Consider the budget, estimate the benefit-cost ratio, and compare the time we will need to train users.
- Consult with team members and make the final decision.
#6. What does PDCA stand for?
Answer: PDCA refers to the Plan-Do-Check-Act model for continuous improvement. We can use this model to improve test processes.
- Plan: We identify what can be done better and set goals.
- Do: We implement new ways of working.
- Check: We evaluate the results.
- Act: We take action based on what we've learned from the results.
#7. What is configuration management?
Answer: In software testing, configuration management refers to processes that help coordinate and control test artifacts such as requirements, automation codes, documentation, or change requests. We use it to ensure that the test environment is set up correctly and stays stable and consistent. That is essential for accurately testing the software. It also helps reduce the risk of errors and issues caused by misconfigured resources and makes it easier to reproduce and troubleshoot problems.
#8. How can you measure the quality of test execution?
Answer: We can determine the quality of test execution using two metrics:
- Defect leakage ratio, or the total number of defects identified in the upper environment / the total number of defects identified both in the lower and upper environments x 100
- Defect rejection ratio, or the total number of defects rejected / the total number of defects raised x 100
#9. What are the key challenges of software testing, in your opinion?
Answer: Some of the most common challenges in software testing include:
- Understanding requirements
- Time constraints
- Limited resources and a lack of skilled QA analysts
- Setting priorities
- Frequently changing requirements
- Maintaining test coverage
#10. How can we manage different types of risks in testing projects?
Answer: The main ways to manage risks are:
- Avoidance. We can implement processes that will help us to eliminate risk factors.
- Mitigation. We can develop strategies to decrease the impact of risks that might occur.
- Transferring. We can share the risk with another team or outsource potentially risky operations.
- Acceptance. We can accept risks and plan a budget to deal with them.
Test Lead/Test Manager Interview Questions on Attitude and Management
#11. What are the most important soft skills that a test manager must have, in your opinion?
Answer: I think the most important soft skills for a test lead are:
- Effective communication
- Active listening
- Strong conflict resolution skills
- Ability to motivate team members
#12. What will be your criteria for hiring team members?
Answer: When hiring a new team member, I would consider three key areas:
- Technical knowledge. Does the candidate have the hard skills necessary for our project? This might include an understanding of testing methodologies, experience with test automation tools, familiarity with databases or API testing, etc.
- Soft skills. Does the candidate possess such skills as attention to detail, problem-solving, adaptability, analytical thinking, communication, and collaboration?
- Personality. Does the candidate fit into the company culture? Will they be a good addition to the team?
#13. How would you handle a conflict between team members?
Answer: My priority will be to ensure that everyone is heard. I would start by sitting down with the individuals involved and listening to their perspectives. Then, I would work with them to identify the conflict's root cause and develop a plan to address it. It might be finding a compromise or implementing a change in work processes to prevent similar conflicts from happening in the future.
#14. What actions would you take if you found out that your team is performing a test on the deliverable after a significant defect has been identified?
Answer: If I discovered that my team was performing a test on the deliverable after a significant defect had been identified, my first action would be to stop the testing immediately. Otherwise, it can result in unnecessary work of little value, as re-testing needs to be done after the defect is fixed. I would then assess the situation to determine the best course of action. Probably, I would need to cooperate with developers to make sure they fix the defect before my team can continue with the testing process. I would also communicate with the project manager and other stakeholders to keep them informed of the situation.
Finally, to prevent such situations in the future, I would take the following steps:
- Tighten acceptance criteria
- Re-evaluate test cases
- Possibly add more test cases
- Modify stop criteria
#15. How can you ensure that all team members get sufficient support in their work?
Answer: Here are a few ways I would ensure that my team gets the necessary support:
- I would make sure that all team members understand what is expected from them and how they can access support when needed.
- I would also ensure that they have all the necessary resources, including training materials, documentation, tools, etc.
- In addition, I would encourage collaboration by pairing team members up on tasks, for example.
- Finally, I would establish one-on-one check-ins with each team member to regularly discuss their challenges or concerns.
Of course, these are not all the possible questions you might hear during a QA Manager/Test Lead interview. For example, there might also be some specific questions regarding the company's products or services, so it is always a good idea to do the proper research beforehand. However, although this list is not exhaustive, we hope it will help you prepare for your next interview so you can land your dream job. Want to become a QA specialist? Apply for Careerist training.