5 Common Mistakes When Hiring Your First QA Engineer

Madigan Johnson

So, your company has decided to invest in quality assurance, that’s amazing! The first hire will probably be a QA engineer. Listen, we don’t have anything personal against QA engineers, in fact, we know a lot of great ones. But those great ones can be hard to find. We want to share with you some of the common mistakes that we see companies make when hiring their first QA engineer. 

1. Intense Focus on the Resume

A resume is one’s version of their previous work. Yet, it can be exaggerated or not show the whole picture of someone’s work ethic. If you are too focused on their education or the jobs with technical expertise, there is the chance that you are missing out on other key aspects of their life experience. Yes, you want the best candidate but sometimes that does not mean the one with the 4.0 GPA from a prestigious university or years of experience in tech. It might be the person that worked a full-time job alongside studying full-time or it may potentially be the person with bad references but who has the experience versus the one with glowing references but no experience.

You need to find a QA engineer that is willing to learn and adapt to your company, who has a strong work ethic, and a positive attitude. Those are the people you want to bring into your team. So while the resume might be a good starting point, do a little bit more research into the candidates. Feel them out as a person and see if they would be a good fit for your company. 

2. Cost

Before hiring your QA engineer, take an in-depth look at the cost. Hiring a QA engineer in-house is an expensive process. On the low end of things, they end up costing around $70,000 a year while excellent QA testers can set an organization back $125,000. This means the cost of hiring one QA engineer can be prohibitive for small businesses or start-ups who then cannot compete in terms of quality with their competitors who do have that money to spend. You want to have a quality candidate, but these are often the ones with knowledge and experience who tend to be the higher cost. The cost of QA engineers is something that your company needs to think about internally. 

3. Turning Developers Into QA Engineers

One of the biggest mistakes we see is the hiring of in-house developers to suddenly become the QA engineer. This is a mistake for a variety of reasons. One reason is that developers can be stuck in their way of thinking. It is tricky to find a developer that can suddenly switch from coding and product development to quality assurance. Another mistake is developers being so focused on the number of tests performed, rather than the quality of those tests. 

The biggest issue we see with turning developers into QA engineers is that they often have very technical minds, focused on the mathematical and logical side of things. This can result in them being very narrow-minded when it comes to testing. With this narrowness, the ability to get creative is lost and limits how they perceive the software product and the quality that they need to push. Not being creative is extremely outdated when it comes to software testing. Your company needs people to think in innovative ways that push the boundaries of what high-quality software is. 

4. Focused On Automation and Pass/Fail Tests

Another issue that we have seen occur is the intense focus on automated testing from QA engineers. QA automation should not be just focused on the building of automated suites, the QA engineers need to open up the scope of the testing. The issue oftentimes is that the QA engineers have a single process for testing and are not willing to adapt or process other testing methodologies. We have seen QA engineers believe that the end result is to automate every process and that manual testing is a waste of time. They are so focused on the quantity of automated tests that they forget about the quality of the customer experience. 

With pass/fail tests, you need a QA engineer who will be able to explain the differences in the test results. If you do not, there will not be much value that is added to the test automation. There needs to be creative thinking and extending of limits.

5. Lack of Perspectives and Diversity

Automation doesn’t just require a logically inclined brain, it needs creativity. This will never happen if you continue to hire people with the same thought process. You need a team with different backgrounds and personalities, unusual perspectives so that you can take every single scenario and run tests against them. The users for the applications being tested will come from different demographics. Therefore, your team should be diverse and understand these differences pertaining to the demographics. Often QA engineers are white males of a certain age. When you hire your next QA engineer, diversify from your normal pool and take on a diverse person to fill that role, one that challenges your perspectives. 

Concluding Thoughts…

There can be quite a few mistakes when expanding your QA team for the first time. Any one of the mistakes listed above can have devastating consequences for the overall quality of the application. If you still want to hire a QA engineer, keep these mistakes in mind. However, if you are unsure about hiring an in-house QA engineer, talk to us. We can help you walk through your options and discuss how Loop can benefit you.

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