Category Archives: Finding testers

Minority Tester Report

This is not a science fiction movie set. It’s a blog post.

Minority tester

It is a good practice to define a minority tester before heading off.

Sorry, I prefer to tell about it.

In my career as a tester I can only remember one peer who had an engineer degree in Computer Science like me.  This is not the minority tester I want to write about.

In 1991 I wrote my first program for a software supplier. At the moment the majority of my peers in the industry are younger than me. This is getting closer to my image of a minority.

Most people in the Netherlands don’t look like me. I feel a minority tester, if they mention it.

The Good

During a hiring event I visited a company which really cared for their employees.
“If they hate the clock, I remove the clock.”
The CTO looked for potential in people, not for the other things.

I talked about IT and where testing is heading to.  There was no single question about how I looked.

Once upon a time  I clicked on a button in LinkedIn
and I got attention weeks later. My standard answer of “no test automation experience” was dismissed.

So I visited the website. This was the first time I saw a company explicitly encouraging minorities to apply. Benefits were also shown on the same page.

During the hiring event I spoke with a manager. We had a good discussion about testing. What are the limitations of automated testing? How could exploratory testing add advantages?
I felt appreciated for my experience and knowledge.

Another time another company.

10 minutes in the job interview I told about an idea popping in my head. There was an expectant silence. I told how Test Driven Development could be used with tools they used. They liked it.

The interview changed in a chat between peers exchanging thoughts about testing. My CV was referred to less and less.

The Ugly

Some of my red flags or alarm bells. Also known as some signs that I will not be hired.

  • There are managers who spent a lot of time on my explanations for changing jobs.
  • “We doubt there is a fit.”
  • “Where are you from?”
  • “No test automation experience. That is bad.”
  • I was never hired by a company where HR people used telephone interviews for the first round.
  • If I have no space left to tell something during the job interview.

Not Bad

How to get talented minority testers in your company.
Spoiler: there is an abundance available.

  • Use social media. There is strong Test Community out there.
  • Organise meetups with talks. In case of shortage of speakers hire a minority tester to give a talk or workshop. On a regular basis lists are exchanged on Social Media.
  • Sponsor diverse test conferences like TestBash, Euro Testing Conference, and Agile Testing Days.
  • Give a number of free diversity tickets for tech conferences away.
  • If you have experienced speakers in your company, there is an option to mentor diverse speakers via SpeakyEasy.
  • Listen to the answers of the job seeker and explore the reasons. My side project is speaking.

Happy hiring!

Getting Personal

Suppose I have a good friend. She is already dating a man for a month. She is still hesitating And sure I want to help her.

Suppose that evening I shook hands with a good looking man. His flow of words muted me. He had a Porsche, he had a good job and he would fly to Spain just for fun. And ..
It was like a salesman selling himself.

Suppose my friend expected an honest advice after an one directional overwhelming monologue.
What was I supposed to say?

“And here’s to you, Mrs. Recruiter
Testers love you more than you will know
Wo wo wo
We need you, please, Mrs. Recruiter
Office holds a place for those who say
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey”
[On the melody of Mrs. Robinson]

Let me get this straight: I am not looking for a job.
Another straight thing: I am badly surprised the way recruiters approach me.

It goes like this:
Hi Han,

We noticed your profile on AllConnectedNow.com. And we are looking for someone with your background.

Our customer is a well-known international company. It is number 1 in medical software in EMEA. A new product will be developed in the coming years. You can be in this team.

The candidate must have
At least 5 years of experience in software testing
4 character Test certificates
Seniority to help junior testers
At least 5 years of experience in automated testing
A background in medical software is preferred.

If you are interested about this job, please call us at 123weneedatester or send us a mail.

Regards,


Mrs. Recruiter

Some people would enjoy this mail. I don’t. Apart from the fact that my profile had not been checked properly, it is not really personalised.
Let’s say Cecilia has the same background I have in juggling. She can juggle the devilstick, pass 6 clubs, and has an act of 3 minutes. Excuse me. It was about software testing, but I only read the word background.

Let me start again. Cecilia has the same experience in software testing I have. I could start the mail with “Hi Cecilia”. And it still make sense. Another straight thing I want to share: I do not know a Cecilia with this profile. I just made it up to make my point. So if you did not find Cecilia, that’s why. By the way AllConnectedNow.com does not exist for the same reason.
I like recruiters who can spot senior testers, but I have some suggestions to connect. That’s fine with me and hopefully you.

Last months I got several friendly requests to exchange thoughts about a new job. The mails looked like the one I described. Why me? So I politely asked why they would have me in their team. The answers were .. Let me put it this way: I did not receive an answer on this question.

I felt like a number. It could be 8 or 754. So if a junior peer would ask me about this company. I am not jumping up and down for her or him. It’s just another company.

Of course some recruiters might like numbers: “I sent 100 invitations to interesting candidates this morning.”
But a company is not happy, if they get 40 junior people who are willing to do the job. But it was actually looking for senior or expert or whatever you call her or him.

In marketing Unique Selling Points are used. E.g. a company is number 1 in medical software in EMEA. Let me turn this around. As a recruiter I would look for someone with Unique Buying Points. “I noticed you have experience with medical information systems on a Windows platform.” Or even better “I noticed you tested a Dutch medical information system on a Windows platform a few years ago.” My guess is there are about several hundreds. And it is easy to reduce the scope using “information system for house doctors”. This might lead to a number close to 60 on the Whole Wide World. I would feel appreciated as a tester.

Today the world is moving fast. I ignore commercials or invitations, if they do not resonate with me. But I do remember companies which felt right or wrong to me.

“We’d like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes”
Mrs. Robinson sung by Simon & Garfunkel

FAQ for Tester Recruiters

An imaginary situation decades ago.
[Phone rings. I pick it up. Interested, who is calling]
I: “Hi”
Caller: “Hi. Joe mentioned you were interested in a blind date.”
I [Pleased to be called]: “Sure.”
Caller: “Are you intelligent?”
I [Ignoring the undertone]: “I am studying at the university.”
Caller: “That’ s great. Can you talk about computers?”
I [Internal sigh]: “I am studying computer science.”
Caller: “Are you attractive?”
I: “Just pretty.”
Caller: “Hum”
I [Annoyed]:”Why can pretty people have no blind dates?”
Caller: “Do you look good in a bikini?”
I [Upset]: “Excuse me. I am a man!”
Caller: “I just thought you had a low voice. Sorry for wasting your time.”
I [Angry]:”What the …”
[Caller ends conversation.]

Standard questions from tester recruiters, which are usually asked at speed date speed

Are you interested in a job?
Yes. I don’t have a job.

[LinkedIn] Can we connect?
If I do not know you, then I will not connect with you. I connect with you, if I trust you.

Would you please call me?
If you provide enough information about your company or customer, I might be willing to call you. It is also handy to provide a phone number.

Would you like to send me your CV?
All relevant information is on LinkedIn. I will send you my CV, if I am interested in the job.

Where do you like to work?
In the Randstad and the area southward to and including Breda.

Do you work and think on an academic level?
Yes. I am an engineer graduated at Eindhoven University of Technology.

How long have you tested?
In 1996 I started with my career as a professional tester. The information can be retrieved from LinkedIn.

Do you have relevant test certificates?
Yes, look at my LinkedIn profile.

Do you know the following test automation tools [tools names]?
I have no experience with test automation, but I have theoretical knowledge. At the moment I am experimenting with Selenium, Eclipse, and Java. I have more than 5 year experience with programming in C and C++.

Do you have experience with scrum?
Yes, one year.

Do you know Cucumber?
No. But I can pick it up.

Do you want to freelance?
No.

I’ve got a job for a test coordinator. Is this interesting?
It depends. I can make test plans and test reports, if necessary. But I prefer to test hands on most of the time.
Do you want to be a senior tester?
Yes. Please.

Do you know other testers, who might be interested in this job?
Yes, I know a lot of good testers. Even excellent ones. In the past I suggested some names. I did not get proper feedback, so I decided to stop mentioning names.

More preferable questions for me from tester recruiters

How can I contact you?
Just send a personalised e-mail.
What is “personalised” according to you?
If I replace my name by the name of a random fellow tester and the mail is still applicable, then it is not personalised.

Do you want to know more about my company or client?
Yes, of course. I am really interested in the way they work, the company culture, and the products / services. I am all ears.

What kind of company are you looking for?
A company, which has agile projects in house.

What is important for you?
I like a company, which is committed to go to the next test level and where I still can develop myself.

How do we stay in touch?
I prefer one contact person.

How often can I ask you something?
If there is an interesting job, you can ask any questions. Please don’t ask the same questions twice. It’s extremely annoying for me, especially if you have my recent CV.

When should I thank you?

  • After I sent you an e-mail.
  • For this blog post.

Disclaimer

I wrote this blog post on 8 December 2015. Things might have changed in the meantime.