Sunday, December 22, 2013

I shouldn't be a tester - I was tested

I did a course with a company this week, and as part of the course we discussed the different people there are in testing, and how different skills, interests and personalities are important. This brought back a memory I feel I should share more widely.

About 1,5 years ago I had decided I need to change jobs to a tester job for personal happiness - to see if I still can do it after years of test management, and in particular to learn more on the types of things you miss if you are not hands on in the actual testing work.  Looking for a job, there were a few opportunities available. Plenty of jobs in consulting it seemed then, and a few really interesting ones in product development - interesting for me, that is. There were two I seriously considered, the one I'm holding now being the other one. The other job was in financial sector in a bit larger company. My main concern of not wanting to join at that point was that as I was moving away from financial/insurance sector job that did not allow time for hands-on testing, the same risk would remain with a larger company, so having  the choice, I chose smaller and a product I believe in.

For the larger organization, I went to be tested as part of the recruitment process. That's something I've managed to avoid for all of my testing career since 1995, as I've slipped into jobs without needing to do that, for no particular reason. But this time I went to tests that would try to analyze my style of collaboration, my personality and my skills in mathematics, all in less than a day.

I enjoyed the experience of being tested. The group exercises in particular were a lot of fun. Towards the end of the testing day we all got a scheduled 10 minute appointment with the psychologist in charge.

As he looked at my papers, he asked some really brief confirmatory style questions about what he the tests appeared to be showing. And then he told me what we would write in the analysis that my potential employer had contracted for.

I was told that I not the right kind of personality to work as a tester. That testing is the most boring job ever, and that my focus was too short-term so that I would make a bad tester. I pointed out that regardless of my "tested personality", I had been a tester since 1995, with a history of being actually pretty good at that. With the 10 minutes, he however wrote down that I was unlikely to succeed in the job I was already doing. I should go through my papers to find the recommendation as in my eyes, it was just a piece of evidence on how little HR departments recruiting software testers know, if they think that that testing is the most boring work in the world.

The paper would not have stopped me from working at the company that had me analyzed. My choice of smaller team and hands-on work did. Having logged over 2 bugs on average every day of this year, including also the days when I was not working at all on projects where other people fail to see the problems and their locations is proof enough for me that I have what it takes for this job. And working on the same products for 1,5 years and still feeling excited about it isn't exactly a hint of wrong kind of personality either.

At an earlier day of my career, that info could have really brought me down. After 18 years in testing, I just think there's something seriously wrong in recruiting of software testers if it actually relies on these personality tests. Or on software testing certifications.