Posted by admin on Jul 22, 2010 in Interviews
Landing a Dream Job
I’ve recently been interviewing for a Lead Tester to join my Team and I’ve been a little dismayed about how unprepared some of the candidates are for interviews be they telephone interviews or face-to-face interviews.
So I’ve decided to put together a few little hints and tips to hopefully help candidates in the job market land their dream job.
- Firstly make sure you customise your CV for each job you apply for. Never send a generic CV to a company and expect it to be good enough. Look through the job specification and list of requirements and tailor your CV to match what they are looking for. Go through your past roles and pick out the parts of the role that matches what you think match the Job Specification.
- Now lets take a look at the cover letter. They do have a bearing on if you will get noticed and virtually all potential employers will look at your cover letter before they look at the CV so make it count. It needs to be about you on a personal level as the CV will tell them all they need to know on a professional level. Hopefully you’ll be like myself and have a real passion for testing if that’s the case then you need to make sure that it comes across in the cover letter.
- Do your homework on the person who you be looking at your details and also the department where you would like to work for. Doing your homework on the company alone is not enough. Anyone can visit the company website and read the blurb however you need the edge so research as much as possible and then use all of that research to let them know you’ve taken the time and effort to find out more than the average Joe about what they do.
- If the Company in question has a Careers or Job offers page or sub site then make sure you register and upload your details before sending in your CV. Not only does it show your interested, it will also show them that your serious about working for them and you are not just sending in your details to every company that comes along.
- If you go to a Careers Fair make sure you have your customises CV with you. It should be no more than 1 page of A-4 you may use both sides if you must however try and bullet point to one side. This CV version is just for the company staff member or Test Manager to see if they think they would like to know more.
- At a careers fair tell them about you and not about your CV they can read the CV however what your CV will not say is what type of person you are and what things excite you.
- Make your CV results oriented. It will mean more if you state I did this and the positive result for the business was this, over I this this.
- Please show some emotion. You may not believe it, but it’s hard work interviewing all day. It makes it much easier on the both sides if the interviewer can see that the interviewee is excited about coming to work for their company.
- Remember not to be so nervous, I always tell interviewees that an interview is a two way process and that they should be interviewing us to see if we match up to their ideals as well as us interviewing them to see if I think that they would be a good fit into my Testing Team.
- Keep a note of who you have applied to and if you had a Telephone interview then during the conversation make sure you note down any keyword which you think may be relevant. You can relate these back to the interviewers in a face to face interview.
- Look into Forer Effect Statements / NLP / Confirmation Bias and Subjective Statements. However before you attempt to use any of these techniques make sure you know what your doing as they can work against you if you do not know how to use them correctly. Once mastered you’ll find them indispensable not only in interviews, they can help out also in every day business.
- Look for yourself in a Search Engine and make sure that what you find is suitable. This means that if a potential employer Googled you, would they get a positive result or not?.
- Salery Negotiation – Make sure you know how much it would take for you to leave the place you are currently working and if asked never answer with an “Urmmm” or “I’m looking for something around” . Let them know how much you would like and have a reason why you think that you are worth that amount.
- The most import and last one is BE HONEST.
Posted by admin on Feb 17, 2009 in Interviews
I spoke with one of my previous employees last week who had attended an interview.
The manager of the company in question put a pencil on the table and said “Test That”. Stewart played along and said “where is the Spec”, what is it? what is it’s function.
Now Stewart is no dummy he knew it was a trick question and infact when he told me of the interview we both laughed for about 5-10 minutes saying we need to get some pencils made up with the words Test That along the side of them for conferences etc. Needless to say he did not accept the job offer and he classed it as a bad interview. Managers must know that such a basic and 1970′s type question is not going to catch anyone out. Infact its only going to make you and your company look dated. We’ve all heard that question many many times before and it doesn’t get any funnier or more interesting.
My point is that a job interview is a two way process. Yes I’m looking for the right candidate, someone who I think will be an asset not only to my testing team but also to the company as a whole. A person who will come on board and give their experience gained in other workplaces willingly, and one who also will be willing to learn a thing or two from the staff members whom are already on the team. (Personal Development is a great thing).
I also know however that its not only me wanting them that counts but its also them wanting us. This brings me full circle to the post title “We Know What Good Looks Like”. Those were the words used by a previous manger of mine in an interview with me, This statement made me think that things there were not perfect, however they wanted to change and that if I worked hard I could help them affect this change.
I was infused and accepted the job offer. If that same manager had put a pencil in front of me and said “Test That” I would have just gone through the motions of “what’s its purpose – is there a spec for the pencil”. Playing along with the game. Lets excite people when they walk through our door and not play games.
Posted by admin on Feb 12, 2009 in code
In this post I want to give people a nice heads up to some of the tools I use in my daily role.
I use these with firefox although IE and Opera should also fine fine for them also. In Firefox just add them to the bookmark toolbar and you’ll have them at your fingertips.
Zap Cookies! This will clear out any stored cookies for the current page/site
Edit Cookies! This will allow you to edit and stored cookies for the current page/site
View Cookies! This does exactly what it states, it allows you to view and stored cookies for the current page/site
Allows you to edit any page you use this on. All changes are temporary of course and only visible to you. (will you ever trust a web page screen shot again?). Not yet sure how this fits into the testing arena, however I though I would include it as someone may make decent use out of it.
Find Redirects! This should list any redirects for the current page, however its currently a tiny bit hit and miss and is does not work 100% of the time, it should however suffice for now and I’ll most likely have to rewrite this at some point in the near future.
remove redirects Lets see what happens if we now remove those redirects we just found using the above Bookmarklet.
Wikipedia lookup This allows you to select any text on a page and once clicked it will lookup that text on Wikipedia
Yahoo site search This allows you to select any text on a page and once clicked it will search on Yahoo for more links from that domain with the same text.
Alexa This will carry out a search at Alexa for the domain you were on when you clicked this bookmarklet.
MSN IP Search Firstly I should thank Robert Hansen (RSnake) for this one. Once clicked it will carry out an IP search which can help you detect a wider network for your testing.
numbered list One of my favourites this one. It allows you to make a nice numbered list of all parameters on the page which contain numbers.
show hiddens This and Zap Cookies are my most used Bookmarklets. this one will display all hidden fields on a webpage and also allow you to edit them.
remove maxlength This will remove all the max lenghts from all input fields (think buffer overflows and code boundary issues)
undisable Who says you can’t click that button . This Bookmarklet will enable any disabled objects on the page.
up This will take you up one directory level in the site structure
top This will take you to the top of the domain.
decrement If your URL ends in a number it will reduce it by one every click
increment As above but the opposite
check images This will check the current page for broken images.
view variables This will list all variable types found on the page. This is more for Developers than testers however its still a useful one to have.
view scripts Like above however it will list all scripts what can be called on the current page.
zap images This should clear all of the images from the page. Works about 98% of the time. This script may need a little tweaking if I ever get the time.
full urls as link text Very useful if you want to see where a link is pointing to.
Posted by admin on Feb 11, 2009 in Testing
, Today's News
I’ve decided to do a new piece called Today’s News,
What I’ll do is take a quick look on the Television news stations to work out what is the top news story and then I’ll give the website of the company or organisation a quick test. I’ll also state how long it too me to find the issue.
The site will be notified of course and I’ll update the blog post with any updates and responses from the site admin.
This will most likely be based on a Web Application Security (WebAppSec) test. I’ll leave out all of the 404′s and orphaned links etc.
Today’s major story was that the head of the FSA and a close advisor to Gordon Brown resigned.
Site = http://www.fsa.gov.uk/
Defect Found =XSS
Time Taken to find from arriving at homepage = 3minutes and 12 seconds.
Now some people may think that this is low hanging fruit type stuff and you may be correct, however as these sites in question will be all over the TV today and front page on tomorrows papers they are easy targets for potential hackers and Seo BalackHats alike.