Challenges when recruiting testers – number 1

Recruiting testers….

I find recruiting testers to be somewhat challenging! I don’t know about you – it may be easier for you, but there are a number of issues that I have dealt with over the last few years and I felt it was time to share my recruitment experience with others.

Recruitment is a lengthy process from the point at which you identify that there is a position to be filled through to the successful new hire walking in the door on day, so at the UK Test Management Forum in April I shared a talk with a group of Test Managers and we had some interesting discussions.

(I wasn’t aware of that many people doing talks on recruitment, although after meeting Stephen Janaway last week I found out that  he has a blog on recruitment which is well worth a read!)

Part of my April talk was around my Top Ten challenges with recruiting, and I decided it is time to put them up on the blog and invite your comments.


Number 1 – The ‘Scattergun’ approach.

By this I mean getting in CV’s for a role where the applicant is not suitable.

Now, to be fair, this may not always be the fault of the applicant, as many CV’s come through from agencies as speculative, but it is a time wasting pain, no matter where they come from.

When recruiting, I know what skills I am looking for in a role, and I expect to receive CV’s that contain those skills. There are compromises to be made of course, so if the requirement is for C#, Selenium & Jmeter, if a CV is sent through with two out of the three, then that’s ok, as sometimes a candidate may have similar experience (substitute Java for C# for example). 

BUT – and this is the issue – I get CV’s with none of those! Ideally a 70% fit works as it gives the candidate some room for growth in the role, but a zero % fit? Really?

Would you apply to be a driving instructor if you could not drive? No – you have to learn to drive first!

So why are I.T. jobs any different?

It may seem trivial, but the number of CV’s that are sent in for any job can run into the hundreds, and someone has to sift through looking for those elusive CV’s which actually fit the role. I would say that a good 90% are rejected during the initial pass. Imagine what we could spend our time doing instead…….

Challenge number 2 coming soon!


2 thoughts on “Challenges when recruiting testers – number 1

  1. Hi, question for you. Why are you looking at technical attributes for a testing role. For me the most important attribute is functional knowledge of the thing you are testing. It is our job to test the product and document problems for developers to investigate. Actual vs expected. Or failing that an ability to pick up a requirements spec and appreciate the functionality or better yet an appreciation of the underlying problems the product is trying to address as well for context . So for me its good analysis ability, attention to detail, organisational skills that jump out. But C#, really?, do you expect the testers to find the issues or fix them?


    • Hi Simon. Good question. The reason I am looking for technical ability is that we do a lot of automated testing. The testers cannot manually execute the regression tests in a reasonable length of time every sprint across a number of browsers. They use Selenium with C# code to write automated tests, pairing with a developer if needed.
      Testers do not debug the application code, but they will debug their own tests.
      Of course in a truly agile team, the tester may write application code as well – but thats not how we do things.


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