Strategies for Setting Yourself Apart in an Interview – Part II

Here you will find the recommendations of our instructors as to how you can convince your potential employer that you are the best candidate for a particular position. In our previously posted article, we covered general professional skills. This article is concentrating more on technical skills per position type:

Quality Assurance (by Tanya Varshavsky)

QA is a very unique specialty, which is often underestimated.  From my own experience, employers look for candidates who demonstrate the following:

- a feeling of ownership with regard to the project/application

- excitement in describing previous jobs in the field and about QA in general

-ability to work within the team and with other teams, finding common ground with diverse groups of people

-initiative and ability to self-manage

-resourcefulness in the search for the right technical solutions

Specific technical expertise required for a QA role might vary between companies, depending on the technology used and specific project needs. Without the required technical knowledge, a candidate wouldn’t even be brought to the interview. In order to be the “best candidate,” however, you need to convey more than technical knowledge — the feeling that no other job will satisfy you! Many times, when this question is asked of former developers, their answers demonstrate whether they look at QA as a temporary solution or as a life-long passion. One might know QTP or some other tool, but sometimes it cannot be used for a particular project, and one needs to be able to do extensive R&D and come up with a solution to automate or simply identify a way to test the application. My former manager, for example, looked for ‘strong analytical skills’ as an indication of future success in this role.

Some other important technical skills that hiring managers are looking for are:
1. Knowledge of SDLC methodology, best practices and industry standards that can bring a lot of value to the firm and make the testing process cost effective.
2. Understanding of web architecture that will enable you to identify issues during the early testing stages.
3. Experience with automation of different applications and strong analytical skills, which help solve almost impossible technical tasks fairly quickly.
4. Experience testing similar applications/systems using similar tools, resulting in minimal time to ramp up and bringing value almost immediately.
5. Involvement in IRT and ORT that enabled consolidation of test procedures & systems.

The above points will make a strong impression only if they are supported by enthusiasm and passion about the job, as described in the beginning of this article.

Project Management (by Leon Kirshtein)

Projects vary by industry and even within an organization, but every project would expect a Project Manager to ensure that scope is delivered in accordance with deadlines, budget and quality standards. Quite a lot of coordination is required to accomplish these goals. Therefore, any technical skills which enable more effective  communication are beneficial. With this in mind, knowledge of Excel, Word, Visio, SQL, and some sort of project management software, such as MS Project, will go a long way to prove that you are the best qualified person for this position, and are ready to ‘run with the ball,’ once given the opportunity.

Communication is 90% of the job!

Business Analysis (by Irina Brekhman)

Since a Business Analyst is a communications middleman who has extensive daily interactions with virtually all project stakeholders, excellent verbal and written communication, as well as consensus-building skills, play a very big role in candidate selection. Other important and more technical skills would include:

  • Understanding of various requirements types and clear vision of how requirements can be structured to best serve the needs of the business, as well as technical audiences.
  • Visual modeling skills (UML and data modeling).
  • Ability to demonstrate a portfolio of various types of projects where requirement analysis and documentation skills were applied.
  • Familiarity with Agile methodologies and solid understanding of how requirements elicitation and analysis phase affect the overall IT cycle.
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