Test manager interview questions (with example answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 November 2022

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.

Test managers, also known as QA managers, ensure the quality of a product or service, develop and implement testing plans, supervise testers, manage defects and track progress to ensure that deliverables meet requirements. Interviewers may ask potential test managers about these duties and key skills for the role. If you're interviewing for a test manager role, prepare to answer questions about your experience with various testing methodologies, tools and techniques. In this article, we provide a list of common test manager interview questions and example answers to help you prepare.

General test manager interview questions

Your answers to general test manager interview questions introduce you as a person, helping an interviewer understand your motivations, your values and how you approach work. Interviewers tend to ask these questions first, sometimes using them as icebreakers, and they are typically broad. Use this opportunity to give the interviewer a snapshot of your personality and individual approach. Some general questions interviewers may ask include:

  1. Why are you looking for a new opportunity?

  2. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

  3. Why do you want this job?

  4. Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

  5. What would you say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  6. What is your ideal project to oversee?

  7. What is your greatest achievement?

  8. What is the biggest challenge you've faced as a test manager?

  9. How would your friends and family describe you?

  10. Who has made the most significant impact on your career?

Related: Smart answers to interview questions (With examples)

Questions about your experience and background

As the interview progresses, questions become more specific to focus on your experience of the testing field and the various testing methodologies, tools and techniques you've used in previous roles. The interviewer wants to understand how you approach designing and executing test plans and how you've managed team members, stakeholders and clients. Be sure to give examples of challenges you've faced and how you solved them. Specific questions about your background may include:

  1. What experience do you have in leading a team?

  2. Where did you complete your studies?

  3. What tools and techniques do you find to be most effective when testing [product]?

  4. Have you ever needed to issue formal warnings or discipline to a team member?

  5. Have you ever encountered a problem with a project that you couldn't solve?

  6. How do you make decisions when there are multiple stakeholders with different opinions?

  7. What is the most important trait of a successful test manager?

  8. How do you manage and prioritise your workload?

  9. How would you categorise the different risks of a product?

  10. What characteristics do you look for in team members?

Related: What are software testing certifications? (Plus examples)

In-depth questions

To assess your technical understanding of testing, quality assurance and the sector you're applying for, your interviewer may ask more detailed questions about a past project. Here, the interviewer wants to understand how you approached the project and what methodologies, tools and techniques you used. To prepare for these questions, it's helpful to review a previous project in detail and remind yourself about testing and industry concepts. For example, your interviewer may ask such questions as:

  1. What testing and QA methodologies would you use in [example scenario]?

  2. How do you maintain quality control of your team?

  3. What is the most important factor to consider when testing a new product?

  4. How do you determine if a test is a success?

  5. Can you give me an example of how you improved the testing process in your last role?

  6. How do you accurately estimate how long a test may take?

  7. What manual testing methods do you have experience with?

  8. Can you share an example of how you've used data and research to improve your process?

  9. What is your experience with Agile methodology?

  10. What are the first three things you would do when setting up the testing process for [product]?

Related: Complete guide: QA interview questions and how to answer them

Test manager interview questions with sample answers

When preparing for a test manager interview, be ready to answer questions about your technical and management skills. The interviewer is looking for you to demonstrate technical skills in the industry and show that you can effectively manage a team. It's helpful to have specific examples in mind that you can use during an interview to better explain your skills and experience.

1. How do you select a testing tool?

This question allows the interviewer to understand your approach to setting up a new testing project and whether you have experience with different tools. Your answer demonstrates how confidently you can lead a project and ideally instils confidence in your analytical processes. Try to mention the criteria you consider when deciding, such as the type of product, budget or existing team familiarity, instead of naming specific tools you like to use.

Example: 'There are a few things I consider when choosing a testing tool, starting with what kind of product I'm working on. After considering our planned testing methodology, I look at what resources we have available, both in terms of budget and the skill sets of our team. From there, I'll consult online reviews and talk to other testers in my network to get a sense of which tools might work best for us.'

Related: The 5 phases of testing software (Plus Agile testing)

2. A customer has identified an issue in our reporting process that has impacted their business decisions. What would you do to solve the problem and ensure it doesn't happen again?

A situational question assesses your ability to handle customer complaints and solve problems quickly and efficiently. The interviewer wants to know that you can take charge of a situation and find a resolution that meets the needs of both the customer and the company. Consider using the STAR method to recall a previous experience where you managed a similar situation well.

Example: 'Firstly, I would apologise to the customer for the inconvenience and assure them that we are taking the issue seriously. Then I would work with the team to identify the root cause of the problem and put a plan in place to fix it as soon as possible. Finally, I would follow up with the customer to keep them updated on our progress and ensure they're satisfied with the resolution.'

Related: How to use the STAR interview technique in interviews

3. What quality assurance process do you prefer to use, and why?

An interviewer may want to know if you're familiar with different quality assurance processes and whether you can select the most appropriate one for a project. This question allows you to demonstrate your understanding of how testing fits into the software development process and how it affects the final product. Include why you prefer the process, using examples of the software or tools you use.

Example: 'I frequently employ a Waterfall approach to create a test plan, try several conditions and note any issues as part of my team's process. I use a Scrum board to keep track of activities and progress and bug-tracking software, such as FogBugz, to identify defects. This combination of actions has worked well for conventional and Agile projects, allowing me to produce reviews and reports in short sprints.'

4. What interpersonal skills are important for a test manager to have?

This is an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the soft skills necessary to lead and motivate a team. When answering this question, be sure to focus on qualities that are essential for success in any management role, such as effective communication, problem-solving and leadership skills. In addition, this is an opportunity to share what you've found effective in a manager when you've acted as a team member.

Example: 'I believe that a test manager's most important interpersonal skills are excellent communication, active listening and empathy. I like giving clear instructions and provide constructive feedback. Additionally, as a manager, the ability to build trust and rapport with your team members can help them feel comfortable to come to you with problems.'

Related: Interpersonal skills: interview questions and sample answers

5. What factors do you consider when deciding whether to stop a test?

This question probes your understanding of how you can tell if a testing process is progressing, when it's appropriate to end a test and how you would make that decision. Interviewers want to know if you could effectively manage the risks associated with a project and make decisions in the team's best interests. If possible, include an overview of the steps you'd take in your assessment.

Example: '**I'd start by looking at our goals for the project and considering whether we've achieved any of them or if we've already found any critical issues. From here, I would assess any risks associated with continued testing, both financial and reputational, and weigh them against the potential rewards. I would also consider the impact a delay would have on the overall project, consulting with the project manager to get a sense of their timeline and objectives.'

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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