Top 8 Automation Testing Interview Questions (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Preparing for interviews is an essential part of the job application process, especially for specialist positions. In specialist roles like automation testing, expertise, industry knowledge and extensive experience are vital for success. The interviews that you may undergo are tough, so it's important that you prepare effectively for a full range of technical questions. In this article, we outline eight automation testing interview questions and provide example answers.

How to answer automation testing interview questions

The first thing to consider when preparing for automation testing interview questions is what exactly the role is and how you can relate your answers to its primary duties. Automation testers find and fix errors and faults in new software before a company releases it. As an automation testing engineer, you fill a specialist role that creates and runs automated testing programmes using a tool or framework. Your role differs from manual testing, where a person goes through one software program many times to find errors and check the program against the set criteria.

Your automated tests save time, money and resources, reduce human error and optimise efficiency. Your role involves quick thinking and meticulous attention to detail to produce results and feedback rapidly that software developers can use. With an average salary of £43,232 per year, automation testing is a well-paying job with lots of benefits. Landing the role requires that you demonstrate extensive industry knowledge and specialist skills throughout the interview process.

Related: 6 Essential Software Engineer Skills

Example automation testing interview questions

When the time comes for an interview, it's important to have a set of answers in your mind, the relevant experience you can use to support your responses and a thorough understanding of the company you're pursuing. Research where your job fits with other roles in your prospective organisation, such as software engineers and developers. Use these sample answers to prepare your responses and make a positive first impression:

1. What do you see as the differences between manual and automated testing?

This initial question tests your knowledge of the role and the recent advancements in automated testing capabilities. Keep your summary brief and use it as an opportunity to foreground the importance of your role.

Example: 'I'd summarise the difference between manual and automated testing by the extent of human involvement. While people carry out manual testing without software assistance, automated testing uses tools or frameworks with no human help. So, while manual methods are useful for exploratory and randomised testing, automated testing gives you fast results free from human error. You need a qualified programmer to set up automated tests, meaning you need a specialist on your testing team'.

2. When selecting tools for your automation test, how do you decide which ones to use?

The interviewer may want to know more about your decision-making process and your knowledge of applying automation testing tools. It might be helpful to use the STAR technique, which stands for Situation, Task, Analysis and Result, to offer a specific example of how you chose a tool for a previous project. You can demonstrate your knowledge base and experience in one answer.

Example: 'When selecting a tool for an automation test, I have a checklist of criteria I typically use to determine which tool is most appropriate. For example, when I worked at Company X as an automation tester, some factors I considered when choosing my software testing tool included:

  • the tools testing capabilities against the elements I reviewed

  • the test environment specifications

  • identification features for UI elements

  • my budget and scope for including new tools if needed

  • capacity for database testing

  • debugging features

  • how easy the tool was to use

  • the speed of the test results

This allowed me to pick the right tool for the job and complete testing for the SoftCoderX before the deadline'.

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Technique in Competency-Based Interviews

3. How would you describe the differences between UI testing and performance testing?

This is a knowledge-based question that tests your understanding of your specialism and comprehension of the different roles. Summarise UI and performance testing differences, contextualising where you might use them. Consider providing additional context to highlight any supplemental training you've had with the software.

Example: 'I would describe UI testing as a way to check all the visual elements are working correctly, ensuring users experience the graphics and visuals to full effect. Meanwhile, performance testing is more about the software's capacity to work under heavy loads or under hard conditions. It's about pushing the software to its limits to ensure it doesn't crash. While I'd conduct any performance tests using automated tools, I'd probably use a combination of automated and manual tools for UI testing, as this area is still in the process of automation and developers are still perfecting the tools'.

4. Do you think automated testing makes manual testing obsolete?

When presented with questions like these that ask for your opinion, remember that they are still competency-based. The interviewer wants to determine your critical thinking and decision-making skills, asking you to demonstrate that you know when and when not to use automated testing. An interviewer uses this question to assess whether you have the skill set to use and allocate the tools at your disposal appropriately.

Example: 'While automated testing is definitely on the rise, I don't think it's making manual testing obsolete. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, so it's about knowing when it's best to use each tool and framework. For example, automated testing is great for repeatable tests and for testing regression issues. Manual testing has its uses and can help to find bugs you didn't know about by conducting manual checks, notably on accessibility or usability issues. Once you've identified the bugs, you can start developing automated testing to catch those issues in the future, meaning the two work together'.

Related: Interviewing Techniques and Tips To Make a Great Impression

5. Are you familiar with Selenium?

An interviewer might ask you this question or a similar one to gauge your knowledge of specific automated testing frameworks. Selenium is a popular automation tool for web applications that can work across many browsers and operating platforms. If you're familiar with this framework, draw on specific instances where you've used Selenium in your work. If you're unfamiliar, explain this to the interviewer and demonstrate your willingness to learn about new frameworks and tools in your position.

Example: 'I am familiar with Selenium and I used it on several projects in my last position as a test automation engineer. I like that you can use different programming languages to suit your current project and that Selenium regularly updates its framework to add new features and fix bugs. I would reserve this tool for testing web applications and would offer support to any colleagues new to the program, as I know there's a steep learning curve when you first start'.

Related: Engineering Skills: Definition and Examples

6. Describe your preferred testing environment

With automation testing interview questions like this one, you can convey your personality and your professionalism. A test environment refers to the type of server or computer you're using to conduct the tests. Consider your answers from multiple perspectives when responding to this question.

Example: 'I find it's useful to consider real-world scenarios when setting up my testing environment, as the end goal of any automated testing is to ensure the software is user-ready. Ideally, this environment matches the production's environment to reflect this user's setup. I'd instal the software under the same conditions to cover the end-to-end experience'.

7. Should the developers or the QA be responsible for test automation?

While it might seem more obvious to allow the quality assurance team to test this automation, you can use this question as an opportunity to demonstrate your collaborative, team-orientated approach to work. Consider the ways you would work with this team to ensure it works properly. Also, provide additional context if there's a portion that is specific to the QA testers.

Example: 'While it's the developer's job to make the software and a QAs job to test its quality, I think it's best to avoid pigeonholing automated testing into a single role. Instead, I'd promote collaboration between the developers and QAs on automated testing so that the whole project benefits from each skill set. I believe our team can create quality-focused developers and design-conscious testers, streamlining the overall process'.

Related: QA Interview Questions and How To Answer Them

8. How many tests have you automated in one day?

There is no one correct answer to this question, as it's subjective depending on the test. For example, one test can take up an entire workday, whereas many smaller tests can encompass far less time. Use this question to demonstrate your understanding of automation testing's complexity and highlight your productivity.

Example: 'I would say the number of automated tests I complete in a day varies depending on the type of tests. For example, I've completed approximately 80 tests in a single day, but each test was small in scope and straightforward to conduct. For more complex tasks, I perhaps complete one or two in a working day. On an average day with tests of medium complexity, I average between eight and 10 per day. So, my answer depends on the type of tests I'm working on'.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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