Evaluating a Tester’s potential? Invite him to play a game

Let’s put aside the subject of Testing for a second and talk about more serious stuff – Playing Games!

I had not played Sudoku until about a month ago when I was stuck in a boring meeting and the only thing left in my BlackBerry (after being done with mails) was the Games Menu.

By elimination, and since I had never played it before, I decided to give Sudoku a chance. I choose the MEDIUM LEVEL, after all I was only trying to understand how it worked, and bum!
I got hooked.

cat playing sudoku

Putting aside the addictiveness of the game itself, there are some pretty good attributes to Sudoku that are fundamental to every tester out there.
Naming only a few:
– Analytical pattern recognition
– The ability to look at what is there, and concentrate on what is missing
– Focusing at a problem from multiple angles until you find the thing you were looking for
– Even how to handle sisyphic tasks that not always end in success

There are many games that can be used in order to evaluate and even develop your professional abilities as a tester.

For example, “Where’s Waldo?
I remember playing this game as a kid. It’s all about developing your eye’s capacity to find a needle in a hay stack!

wheres_waldo

You can even play Texas Hold’em poker on the Internet.
Weighting your hand while you try to figure out your opponents’ chances based on the open cards on the table helps you to develop your analytic capacity to extrapolate (and take risks!!!) under pressure.

dogs-playing-poker-main_Full

There are many more games that can help you and your team do a better job as testers.
Remember that testing doesn’t need to boring or monotonic all the time…

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4 Responses to Evaluating a Tester’s potential? Invite him to play a game

  1. sandyol April 12, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    I wrote a post on this too! I often ask people that I am interviewing for QA jobs if they like puzzles and what are their favorites. I have found that the best testers who really love their job are puzzle people at heart.

  2. joelmonte April 12, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    I think you are right, we are both puzzled at heart and inquisitive by nature. Why not adding the link to your post in here, I am sure people will like to read it too!

    I was thinking about writing a follow-up to this one… I had lunch with James Bach a couple of months ago and after food during coffee he produced a bag full of dice and we played “the dice game”.

    To make a long story short he showed me a game that is great for interviewing testers, I started using it and it works wonders! I may still write the post about it one of these days đŸ™‚

  3. sandyol April 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    Thanks so much for the offer! My post can be found at http://astheqaworldturns.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/quirky-interview-questions/

    I have been in QA for 15 years but only started blogging in the past month so I am still new to this and would appreciate any feedback or ideas. I made it a goal to always learn something new every year and so blogging is my new skill for this year. You can never stop learning and improving when you are in IT but it is hard sometimes to keep up to date so writing this blog is really helping me to keep current.

  4. joelmonte April 13, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    I really liked your post and will certainly use some of these questions on my next round of interviews!

    Your blogging style is pretty good too, it feels you are writing both from experience and from the heart. Keep it up (I will surely keep reading it)!

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