People frequently ask me what to look for in potential candidates when hiring testers. Michael Hunter “The Braidy Tester” has a great post on The Hallmarks of a Great Tester. He has some good thoughts in this post. I recommend checking it out.
I would add the traits honesty and integrity, as well as someone who has courage to the list. Testers seem to end up in situations where ethical concerns may arise. A tester needs to know what their ethics are, and to stand for them. As Lesson 227 of Lessons Learned in Software Testing says:
You don’t have to lie. You don’t have to cover up problems. In fact, as a tester, the essence of your job is to expose problems and not cover them up. You don’t have to, and you never should compromise your integrity. Your power comes from having the freedom to say what’s so, to the people who need to hear it. If you compromise your reputation for integrity, you’ll weaken one of the core supports of your power.*
Discovering these traits in a potential candidate can be difficult, but there are effective ways of interviewing to tell if someone is a great tester or not. Check out Johanna Rothman’s Hiring Technical People blog for more information on hiring techies.
*Excerpted from p.200 of Lessons Learned in Software Testing.