50+ QA Interview Questions And Answers [Updated 2023]
Interviews are anxiety-inducing, and nothing can better boost your confidence than some solid knowledge preparation before you enter the interview room. Here are top 50+ QA interview questions and answers for you to review your knowledge in Quality Assurance and the testing process.
We have categorized these QA interview questions by difficulty level, question types, and even positions (QA manager, QA lead, and QA tester). You may read through all 50 of these interview questions or jump to the most personally relevant sections. The choice is yours!
Common QA Interview Questions And Answers
1. What is Quality Assurance? Give a real-life example of quality assurance in software development.
QA in software development is a process to ensure that software products meet quality standards and requirements by verifying their functionality, performance, usability, and security.
A real-life example is when the QA team tests a mobile banking app pre-release to make sure that it works well on both the front end and back end. They check that the user can log in, view account balances, transfer funds, and make payments on the front end, while on the back end, they test the communication between code modules.
If bugs are found, the QA team documents and reports them to the development team, who immediately resolves the issue. After that, the QA team runs the test once again to validate that the bug is actually fixed, and no new bugs arise.
Read: Software Quality Management Best Practices | 5 Do's & Don'ts
2. What is the software testing life cycle? Explain each step in the cycle.
The software testing life cycle is the standard process that software testing teams follow to ensure that software products are thoroughly tested and meet the specified quality standards.
Read: [Free E-Book] Questions to Improve Software Testing Processes
In the first phase, the QA team analyzes the software's requirements and specifications to create a detailed test plan that outlines the approach, objectives, and schedule of the testing process.
What a developer and a tester absorb from the requirement analysis is different. A developer would be looking into translating requirements into code, specifically its architecture, design method, technologies and what not.
A tester looks into the code testability. In order words, they need to know how the code could be broken down into smaller chunks, scenarios and test cases. Testability is key from the design phase to avoid ambiguous requirements, resulting in invalid software tests.
Together, testers and developers will need to fully understand and input on how business requirements are feasible or not for implementation.
Test planning involves aligning with relevant stakeholders on the test strategy:
- Test objectives: define attributes like functional, usability, security, performance and compatibility.
- Output and deliverables: document the test scenarios, test cases and test data to be produced and monitored.
- Test scope: what areas and functionalities of an application will and will not be tested (in-scope vs. out-of-scope items)
- Resources: effectively estimate the costs for test engineers, manual/automated testing tools, environments and test data.
- Timeline: layout out expected milestones for test-specific activities along with development and deployment
- Test approach: assess the testing techniques (white box/black box testing), test levels (unit, integration and E2E testing), and test types (regression, sanity testing) to be used
Test case development
After defining the scenarios and functionalities to be tested, we’ll go ahead and write the test cases.
Manual test cases can be done on test management tools like Xray, whereas for automated tests, Katalon, Ranorex or TestComplete all offer an intuitive UI for designing tests.
For open source options, building your own framework is still popular with libraries like Selenium, Cypress and Playwright.
Read more: Katalon vs Selenium Full Comparison Updated 2023
With clear objectives in mind, the QA team starts to write test cases, test scripts, and prepare necessary test data for execution.
The execution of these tests go on to be manually or automatically performed. The rule to remember is if it requires insights and judgment from a human, manual testing is the way to go. In contrast, if the flow is repetitive with minor adjustments here and there, it's better to choose automation testing.
In terms of environment selection, set up the hardware and software that best reflect the real-life environment in which the application is used. Teams have the option to choose between cloud environments and physical devices. The decision between the two falls on the nature of an application-under-test and how end-users are accessing it.
Once it’s all done, tests are executed, and any defects found are tracked and reported to the dev team, who immediately resolve these defects.
Read more: What is Software Testing? Definition, Types, and Tools
Test cycle closure
Reporting activities now take place. Before taking off to production, teams need to take a good look at test summary reports, remaining defects and release readiness.
3. What is your experience with automation testing tools?
Test frameworks can either be built or purchased. Automation testing simply means rewriting tests from a text editor or manual format into runnable automation code.
An automation testing tool serves the purpose of providing utilities to write, run, debug and report test scripts. It also needs to be able to work with key DevOps tools like test and defect management, CI and containers.
Depending on the application a team is working with, test automation tools are categorized by:
- Application type: web, mobile, API and desktop applications
- Application layer: UI and API
Some of the common names by application types are:
- API and web services testing: Postman, Katalon, SoapUI
- Web UI testing: Katalon, Ranorex, TestComplete, Cypress
- Mobile testing: Appium, XCUITest, Katalon, TestComplete
Keep in mind that codeless tools shouldn’t be misused. Don’t fall into the trap of think that knowledge of programming won’t be needed.
Low-code methods such as record-and-playback or using a keyword library surely speeds up the creation of quality automated tests. At the same time, it buffers automation beginners more time to play around with pre-built assets and the underlying test code before scripting their first test with a programming language.
After all, automated tests are simply code put together to verify…..code!
Read our eBook: The Software Tester Handbook
4. Explain the different test levels of and give examples
Testing levels refer to the different stages and granularity of testing.
Let’s use an ecommerce website to give sample scenarios for unit testing, integration testing and end-to-end testing.
- Unit testing: tests the login page to handle valid/invalid credentials (usernames, passwords)
- Integration testing: tests the payment processing process where Paypal can verify payment details like valid card numbers
- End-to-end testing: tests the series of actions to place an order (update inventory > send order confirmation email > process payment > updating order status) as a whole
5. What is your approach to test planning? Compare test plan vs test strategy
Waterfall vs. Agile testing
Waterfall or Agile, choosing between the two really depends on what will work for a team.
Agile is meant to address the demand of higher iteration and deployment frequency. But if a team only requires releasing new code every once in a while, say a month, then Waterfall sequential and linear testing would still make sense.
The same applies for risk-based, model-based, hybrid or other approaches.
Test plan vs. test strategy
A test plan outlines what to be done to execute a test strategy.
A test strategy sets the high-level direction with different tactics and plans. Since it’s giving a high-level overview, a test strategy will be applied across products and releases to standardize how quality engineering will be done.
On the contrary, a test plan goes a level lower to give more on the details of things like testing types, tools and timelines.
6. What is exploratory testing?
Exploratory testing is a testing approach that involves simultaneous learning, test design, and execution. It is employed when there is no formalized test plan or script, and when there is a need to discover issues not yet covered by existing test cases.
Exploratory testing is typically performed by experienced testers who use their domain knowledge, intuition, and creativity to identify defects in the software.
7. Explain stress testing, load testing and volume testing?
Stress testing, load testing, and volume testing are all non-functional testing types used to assess the performance of an application under real-world scenarios.
Stress testing puts the application under extreme conditions beyond the normal operating parameters. It aims to identify the breaking point of the system and how it behaves when it reaches its limits. Testers gradually increase the load on the application beyond its normal capacity until it fails or by creating a sudden spike in the load to see how the system responds. The insights from stress testing sessions allow the developers to better manage damage to the system when issues occur.
Load testing involves testing the application under varying levels of normal user load to determine how well the system can handle normal amounts of traffic. Load testing helps to identify performance bottlenecks, such as slow response times, high CPU usage, and memory leaks.
Volume testing involves testing the application with a large amount of data to determine how well it can handle data processing. It aims to identify performance issues such as slow response times, data corruption, and data loss that may occur when the application is processing a large amount of data.
8. What is Agile testing and the importance of Agile testing?
Agile testing is a testing approach that is aligned with the Agile software development methodology, which emphasizes collaboration, continuous feedback, and rapid iteration.
In Agile testing, testing is integrated into the development process and performed iteratively and continuously throughout the development lifecycle. Agile testing involves the entire team, including developers, testers, and stakeholders, to ensure that the released app meets the customer's requirements and is of high quality.
The importance of Agile testing lies in its ability to catch defects early in the development cycle, giving teams ample time to troubleshoot. It also allows the application to be tested continuously throughout the development cycle, enabling teams to respond quickly to changing customer requirements and feedback.
9. What is the difference between TDD vs BDD?
TDD is a development approach to drive software testability. BDD is also a development approach, but drives the design of software via an end-user’s perspective.
Test driven development or TDD aims to ensure code testability by knowing exactly what you want your software to do. Some existing codebase was not designed with testing in mind, leading to less maintainable code and fear of refactoring. And no, TDD isn’t entirely dictating the structure of code. Instead, this methodology wants to use software tests to influence well thought out software implementation as opposed to just banging out code.
BDD prescribes a more effective approach to testing by communicating technical slangs and concepts into easy-to-understand English. It’d be impossible to not have any business stakeholders like clients or product managers in software projects.
For BDD, the end deliverables are Gherkin test scripts written with frameworks like Cucumber.
TDD and BDD compliments each other well in environments that requires a clear alignment between test efforts and software requirements:
- Automated tests are considered as documentation and executable specifications.
- Test coverage and progress to be reported in plain English formats (e.g., test scripts written in Given/When/Then or GWT).
- Technical requirements need to be in a common language that testers, developers and business people share.
- Continuously tested for insights to refactor and keep the codebase maintainable.
Below is a table for quick comparison:
Start software development by writing test cases
Use given-when-then syntax to:
Test coverage and code testability
Alignment between technical and business stakeholders
Varies on the team context.
The ideal scenario is normally:
Test libraries: JUnit, NUnit, TestNG, Selenium
Testing tools: Katalon, TestComplete
Available frameworks: Cucumber, SpecFlow and Behave.
10. What is Data-driven Testing?
Data-driven testing is a design pattern to reuse the same test flow against multiple sets of data.
In other words, you’re testing a module of code under various conditions and not just the happy paths.
Test Case 1
Valid username and password combos
Test Case 2
Invalid username and password combos
The point of data-driven testing is not hard-coding and limiting tests to a single input value. Instead, you’ll be parameterizing and using global variables for your test to read directly from databases, spreadsheets, or XML files.
Data-driven testing is particularly useful for:
- Input validation
- Boundary testing
- Error handling and exception testing
- Compatibility testing with different browsers, devices and operating systems configurations
- Performance testing with different data loads
Read more: Data-driven testing for automated form filling or Parameterization and Variables in Katalon Studio
11. What is performance testing?
Performance testing evaluates the system's performance (i.e. responsiveness, scalability, stability, and speed) under varying workload conditions. Its goal is to determine how the application behaves under normal and peak usage scenarios, such as high user traffic, large data volumes, or simultaneous user interactions.
The results of performance testing will be used to identify and resolve bottlenecks, optimize system performance, and enhance the user experience.
12. What is accessibility testing?
Accessibility testing is the process of evaluating a software application or website's usability for all users, including people with disabilities, such as visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive impairments. It tests the app’s compatibility with assistive technologies such as screen readers, magnifiers, and voice recognition software.
13. Compare manual testing vs automated testing? Should teams move from manual testing to automated testing?
Testers manually perform actions (e.g., open browser, set texts) to interact with the application-under-test. Tests are written in text editors on Xray, test management tools or spreadsheets.
Testers outline interactions with the application-under-test then write an automation script to execute those actions. These test scripts can be scheduled to run on-demand and continuously optimized.
Investment in human testers. This offers lower upfront costs but is hard to scale in the future.
Investment in developers/automation engineers and tools for test automation, CI, test management and defect tracking.
Test content cannot be easily reused
Test content can be reused easily:
Types of Testing
Ad hoc testing
If the testing effort is repetitive and requires frequent regression testing, QA teams should consider automation testing. However, manual testing still has its value in ad-hoc testing or exploratory testing, so the decision really depends on the type, goal, and complexity of the project. Here is a guide to move from manual testing to automation testing.
14. Compare black-box testing vs white-box testing
Write tests without access and visibility to an application's internal workings and code structure
Write tests with full access and visibility to an application's internal workings and code structure
Testing for user experience, security, and compatibility
Testing for code quality and optimization
UI E2E testing
Static code analysis
Test engineers (manual or automated)
15. Explain end to end testing in your own words. Compare End to End Testing vs Integration Testing
End-to-end testing evaluates the entire application flow from start to finish, to ensure that all integrated components of the software system work together as expected. Integration testing looks at how individual integrated components, from the API to UI, work.
The test pyramid is always the best theory to refer back to 3 test levels: unit, integration and end-to-end testing.
Top QA Tester Interview Questions And Answers
The list above includes fairly common QA interview questions that anyone in the industry can face in interviews. In this section, we provide you with QA Interview questions specifically tailored for QA testers.
QA testers are professionals responsible for executing test cases, identifying and documenting defects, and providing feedback to the development team. They are usually asked technical questions aiming to uncover their understanding of the testing activities and automation testing best practices.
16. How do you perform visual testing?
Visual testing can be performed manually, where the tester checks the application visually for inconsistencies. This can be time-consuming and prone to human error.
Many testers employ the Image Comparison technique, which involves capturing screenshots of the UI elements in a baseline state, then comparing them with screenshots of the actual UI to see if there are any unintended visual changes.
However, even this approach is not the best. There are so many factors that may cause false positives in visual testing. Using visual testing tools can reduce false positives and make the process more efficient.
Read more: How Automated Visual Testing Will Redefine the Testing Pyramid
17. How do you prioritize test cases for execution?
There are many criteria to consider when prioritizing test cases for execution. Below is a list of 9 most common criteria QA professionals use:
- Business impact: test cases that are verify critical flows (e.g., Login, Checkout)
- Risk (test cases of high-risk areas in the app)
- Frequency of use (test cases for features used by large numbers of users)
- Customer or user feedback (test cases that address customers’ pain points)
- Compliance requirements (test cases covering regulations specific to the industry)
- Historical data (test cases that have historically resulted in defects or issues)
- Test case age (old test cases may require updates and maintenance)
Read: A Complete Guide To Choose Test Case For Automation
18. What are the key components of a good test case?
- Know when manual or automated testing would be best
- Use appropriate design method (e.g., data-driven testing) for different requirements and scenarios
- Test cases should be designed to be scalable and reusable, so that they can be leveraged across different testing cycles or projects to save time and effort.
- Each test case should have a unique identifier or name to make it easy to reference and filter for regression testing
- Test data inputs should cover happy and negative inputs to uncover edge cases
- Tests should run on environments (browser, device and operating system) that end-users use the most
- They should be stored in a centralized repository or test management tool to allow for easy access, maintenance, and reporting.
- QA testers should design independent test cases, so that the execution of one test case does not impact the results of another.
19. What are defect triage meetings?
Defect triage meetings are used to prioritize and assign defects to the appropriate team members. During defect triage meetings, QA testers present the defects identified during testing, including their severity and priority, and discuss the potential impact of the defects on the project.
20. Can you provide an example of a particularly challenging defect you have identified and resolved in your previous projects?
There is no true answer to this question because it depends on your experience. You can follow this framework to provide the most detailed information:
Step 1: Describe the defect in detail, including how it was identified (e.g., through testing, customer feedback, etc.)
Step 2: Explain why it was particularly challenging.
Step 3: Outline the steps you took to resolve the defect, including any collaboration with developers or other team members.
Step 4: Discuss any obstacles or roadblocks you encountered.
Step 5: Explain how you verified that the defect was fully resolved and the impact it had on the project and stakeholders.
Step 6: Reflect on what you learned from this experience.
21. Explain API Testing and show your approach to API Testing
API testing is key because almost every application type is heavily reliant on APIs. The UI and API are interlaced, making it even more critical to understand how data and logic processes from one layer to the other.
Here are what to consider when designing an API test:
- Read the API documentation: understand the specifications for functionalities and technologies of the APIs to write test cases with clear objectives
- Architectural style: schemas written in REST, GraphQL and SOAP differ in concepts and implementation which makes testing them different as well
- Automate data-driven tests: let API flows parse through various data types, formats, structures, and scenarios
- End-points management: avoid duplicating or missing scenarios by grouping API/web services endpoints
22. How do you ensure that test cases are comprehensive and cover all possible scenarios?
Although it is not always feasible to cover ALL possible scenarios, testers should try to venture beyond the happy path i.e. testing the app under normal conditions. Apart from the common test cases, QA testers also need to consider edge cases, and negative scenarios, which are test scenarios that involve unusual or unexpected inputs or usage patterns. Attackers are more likely to exploit non-standard scenarios, so including such scenarios in your test plan is a great way to improve test coverage.
23. What is your approach to identifying and reporting defects?
Many QA testers follow these steps to identify and report newly found defects:
- Replicate the defect and gather relevant information such as steps to reproduce, screenshots, logs, and system configurations.
- Assign a severity level to the defect based on its impact on the application and users.
- Log the defect in a tracking tool with a clear description, expected vs. actual results, and steps to reproduce.
- Communicate the defect to the development team and collaborate with them to identify the root cause and potential solutions.
- Continuously follow up on the defect until it is resolved and verified to be fixed.
24. How do you measure the effectiveness of your testing efforts?
There are several testing metrics to consider:
- Test case execution rate
- Test coverage
- Defect density
- Defect rejection rate
- Mean time to failure (MTTF)
25. What are test management tools?
Test management tools are used by testing teams to manage and organize their testing activities. These tools provide features to manage test cases, test plans, test execution, and test reporting.
Top QA Manager Interview Questions
QA interview questions for managers usually focus more on leadership, strategy, and management skills, sometimes even on compliance standards if you are in a highly regulated industry like BFSI or Healthcare. For technical QA interview questions, you can refer to the previous section. In this section, we will go over management-focused questions.
26. Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision in managing a testing team, and how you handled it.
This is a situational question, and of course, there is no correct answer. You can use the STAR method to ensure that your answer provides the information your interviewer wants to hear:
27. How do you ensure that the testing team is aligned with the development team and the product roadmap?
- Regular communication between testing and development teams
- Collaborative refinement of user stories
- Agreement on common testing methodologies and standards
- Integration of testing activities into the overall development process
- Continual review and adjustment of testing priorities based on changes to product roadmap or development progress
28. What is your experience with implementing an automation testing tool?
- Identify areas for automation testing and prioritize them based on impact
- Evaluate and select appropriate automation testing tool based on technical requirements
- Define KPIs and success criteria for automation testing and establish continuous monitoring and reporting mechanism
- Train testing team on automation tool and test plan and establish necessary governance, policies, and procedures
- Track automation testing tool effectiveness and make adjustments if needed
Read more: How To Choose The Right Automation Testing Tool?
29. How do you leverage your technical knowledge and experience to guide your team in identifying and resolving complex testing issues and challenges?
QA Managers are not just managers. They used to be testers, and their subject expertise makes them a valuable asset to the team whenever roadblocks arise. QA managers should also collaborate with cross-functional teams, including development and product teams, to identify and resolve issues that impact the product's quality.
With their skills, QA managers usually take on high-level analysis and make data-driven decisions based on testing reports to best improve testing efficiency and effectiveness.
30. How do you manage your QA team?
This question is designed to learn more about your management style. Not just in QA, managers in any industry need to have good communication skills, empathy to understand diverse perspectives, good leadership skills to connect a diverse group of testers together, and have accountability for the performance of the whole team.
General QA Interview Questions
There are also other common questions that the interviewer might ask to learn about you, your personality, and your understanding of the company. Have a look at these general QA interview questions and prepare in case you are asked. They are not tricky questions, and you can easily answer them on the spot:
- What are your key strengths? Also, share a weakness and explain how you plan to address it.
- How did you learn about this job opportunity?
- Why are you interested in this position?
- What is your ideal job?
- Describe yourself using three adjectives.
- What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
- Why should we hire you as a QA tester/QA analyst/QA manager?
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- Who has influenced your career the most?
- What are your career goals for the next five years?
QA Interview Questions On Background And Work Experience
They are QA interview questions that allow interviewers to take a deep-dive into your professional life. These questions come after the general questions. Try to give a more detailed answer, and demonstrate your professionalism. Showcase who you are in a work setting.
- Can you tell us about your background and experience in QA?
- What brought you to a career in QA?
- What do you think were your biggest achievements in your QA career?
- Have you worked on any challenging QA projects? Can you describe them in detail?
- Can you show us your thought process when you resolve this specific testing problem?
- How do you handle and prioritize multiple testing projects at once?
- Can you give an example of a bug you found that took a lot of back and forth communication between you and the dev team?
- Are you familiar with any automation testing tools? How do you use it in your daily work life?
- What are some current QA technology advancements or updates that you know?
- Can you describe a situation in which you had to collaborate with developers or other teams to resolve a testing issue?
Tricky QA Interview Questions
These QA interview questions can’t easily be answered by pure knowledge. They are tricky situations that QA testers tend to find themselves in when doing the job. Experienced QA testers (who will probably interview you in the technical interview round) can easily differentiate a tester who has been through such situations from one who hasn’t.
We recommend that you only use the answers we provide in this section as references, and try to put in your real-life stories for the most authentic response. You can leverage the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) we mentioned above for such behavioral questions. Be specific, and don’t forget to show your thought process. This helps the interviewer understand how you approach problems and can be more valuable than simply giving a correct answer.
- What is your approach when you encounter a scenario where the requirements are incomplete or missing?
- How do you handle testing in situations where there is a tight deadline?
- Can you explain how you would test a complex software system with limited documentation?
- What are some of the most common technical problems in software testing?
- How do you ensure compatibility of a web application with multiple browsers and devices?
Recommended Readings For Your QA Interview
The list above only touches mostly the theory of the QA industry. In several companies you will even be challenged with an interview project, which requires you to demonstrate your software testing skills. You can read through our Katalon Blog for up-to-date information on the testing industry, especially automation testing, which will surely be useful in your QA interview.
As a leading automation testing platform, Katalon offers free Software Testing courses for both beginners and intermediate testers through Katalon Academy, a comprehensive knowledge hub packed with informative resources.
Katalon Academy offers short-form, easy-to-digest video courses for beginners, and in-depth guides on the Katalon platform for advanced learners. It also offers courses focused on specific testing types, such as API, desktop, mobile, or web testing, to cater to the specific needs of QA professionals. The platform is continually updated to keep up with the latest trends, and experienced testers can even have a look to keep their knowledge up-to-date.
For testers who want to advance their automation testing skills, acquiring certificates can polish your resumes and make you more attractive on the job market. Many e-learning websites offer software testing courses.
The Complete 2022 Software Testing Bootcamp from Udemy is among the most comprehensive software testing courses available. The course has over 312 lectures, covering up to 27 hours and 38 minutes of coursework. Learners will gain all the knowledge needed to launch their software testing careers and prepare for web API testing and mobile testing interviews.
Another reputable course is the Software Testing and Automation Specialization from Coursera, offered by the University of Minnesota. This course is designed for intermediate testers and covers essential concepts in software testing, automated testing, testing theory, and automation tools. To earn a certificate, learners must complete a hands-on project, which equips them with practical experience in testing.