Challenges when recruiting testers – numbers 9 & 10

The final two recruiting challenges are lumped together as they both involve time

Number 9 – Passing the interview and then failing the HR test!

This is very annoying – it has only happened a few times but it does show that having a verbal reasoning test is actually very useful.

It also means that the candidate answered the questions, and passed my “tester’s test”, but struggles with the verbal reasoning questions. Now I must admit that you can be a good tester and not necessarily ace these, and I have taken on people who didn’t do as well as we had hoped, but still within the expected range, however when someone gets the lowest score you have ever seen, it rings alarm bells!

Number 10 – Time!

So much time and effort goes into recruiting:

  • Thinking about the role – where it sits, what level the role needs to be at, salary level, and how it fits in with the existing team structure, what project or work stream allocate to etc.
  • Thinking about the person – level of seniority, level of mandatory skills needed and skills that are desirable, amount of experience etc.
  • Sorting out the job ad and associated marketing (if it is you that does it rather than a dedicated HR person),
  • Reading through CV’s, assessing against the job requirements,
  • Planning the phone interview questions,
  • Speaking to the candidate and doing the admin afterwards (feeding back),
  • Planning the face to face interview questions,
  • Seeing the candidate!
  • Reviewing afterwards,
  • Repeating the last 5 steps if the first candidate was not suitable

And so on.

Then of course when you find someone, you need to plan for their first day/week/3 month probation period – goals, training, knowledge acquisition etc, but that’s for another time!




Challenges when recruiting testers – number 8

Recruiting challenge number 8 is…..late cancellations or not turning up for interviews.

Most of what I have blogged about up until now has covered CV’s, but moving on from that there is the challenge of getting someone actually in to see me.

So many times within the last 15 years that I have been involved in interviewing, I have spent time preparing for either a phone or face to face interview, only to find that candidates cancel at very short notice (1 minute beforehand was the record!), or do not turn up at all and do not tell me. I find this very rude to be honest, and extremely unprofessional. It is basic good manners to tell someone in good time if you are unable to make an interview!

There have been some bizarre excuses (when candidates have bothered to make them), including one from a lady who got offered a job 2 hours before a face to face interview, so did not turn up. When we phoned her, she was surprised! Was I supposed to be able to guess that she would have been offered a job? 

As a manager, recruiting takes so much time, so this is really unhelpful and I could be spending the time on other things, rather than preparing for a candidate, and sitting around waiting for them.

I treat candidates with respect – they deserve my time in preparing for the interview given that they have taken time off work to attend in person or over the phone. All I ask in return is that candidates show me respect, and turn up if arranged, or cancel with a decent amount of notice!

Challenges when recruiting testers – number 7

Continuing the theme of recruitment challenges, and number 7 is unrealistic salary expectations.

This one may well generate comments but I will explain what I mean.

A Tester needs to understand the value of their skills in the marketplace based upon their skills and experience. Unfortunately many feel the salaries they can ask for are far higher than should be the case, and this causes a number of issues:

1. Distortion in the market. As soon as one company pays 20% more for a role, then that starts to create an expectation that everyone else can afford to do so and follow on. This is not healthy.

2. The effect it has on existing employees. If you have someone who has been promoted to a Senior tester and they move to the next salary band, they are generally happy with this. But if you then have someone more junior who you have to pay more than the senior person, then it can cause resentment if the senior person becomes aware of it. And as a manager you are in a difficult position as you want to treat people fairly.

3. The effect on everyone else if a company decides they cannot justify paying people more than the role is actually worth. The work needs to be done, but there are less people to do it.

Of course it’s this ‘market’ that we all blame (its the same for house prices) – like a mythical entity that has it’s own brain and behaviour. But that is not true – the market can be sensibly ordered if people decide to be realistic about what they will pay for a role, and for candidates to be sensible about what we can and should ask for based on their skillsets.

We all want to earn more, but greed for the sake of it is not a good thing. Good candidates are missing out on opportunities to get in at ground level in organisations for the sake of asking too much money. And money is not the sole factor when looking at a job – there are many other things to consider:

Holidays, charity days, flexible working, pension scheme, office environment, free food and other perks, some or all fares paid, training opportunities etc. An overall package is based on salary plus the value of all the extras.

There are times when candidates need to consider taking a job that may not pay exactly what they think they are worth, as they have a chance to learn new skills, prove their worth and see their salary increase based on merit, and that has to be more satisfying.

Why would any employer want to overpay someone when they don’t know how they will actually perform? It makes no sense.

So for me, the best candidates are those who have a true sense of their value, and are not asking too much or too little…..

This is the flip side of asking too much – asking for too little. It can be an issue especially for a senior role, as it may make the recruiter think a candidate is not confident or experienced enough for the role. It could be that the candidate hasn’t done their homework and assessed their true value. There is no point undervaluing their worth either.

My advice: be realistic, assess the role, the salary offered plus extras, the training, the job growth opportunities and also assess your worth. Then you can go in confident that you can justify the salary you would like.