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Interviews – Stop thinking aloud. Start thinking, Channelize your thoughts and Reply…

Some of the questions that were asked in Testing interviews are:-

"How do you test a pen?", "How do you test a mobile?", "How do you test a remote controller?", "How do you test a random number generator?", "How do you test an application that generates the fibonacci series?" etc.

When I asked them "How do you plan your testing for a website selling mobile phones, interacting with 3 suppliers?", none of them paused to think. The answer came immediately like below.

"I'd plan for sanity testing. Will plan for testing the site against XYZ interfaces. L&P Testing needs to be a part of the test plan. I'll have daily stand-ups. I will talk about cost and variances to think about estimation. I'll have a risk plan for managing risks proactively. I will do a requirements-traceability-matrix..."... and he'd go on and on and on.

After talking to many candidates, it struck me that most of them, when answering the above questions, did not pause to think; or ask for time to think. Though it seemed that they were answering the question, they were only "thinking out their thoughts aloud".

Thinking a bit more, I guess the best way to answer such questions, in an interview would be in the following 4 steps: 

STEP 1:- Think
Ponder about the question for a minute and think about the answers and various possibilities for the next couple of mins and speak up when you are prepared to answer. If you want more time, please ask the interviewer for time.

STEP 2:- Channelize your thoughts.
Think about the solution and channelize your thoughts to ensure that your answer is structured correctly, or how you want it to be structured. A structured answer, will definitely earn you a lot of brownie points with your future employer. If you want, write down short points on paper before you start talking about the answer

STEP 3:- Prioritize the reply and speak it out accordingly
Go ahead and speak up and start answering the question. If required, refer to the short points while you answer. If you need more time to think, please ask for more time. 

STEP 4:- Invite him for discussion on your reply
Ask if the interviewer has any questions or invite him to discuss the finer points of your answer. Try to give logical reasons for your decisions for prioritizing.


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