Avoid Discriminating For or Against Personality Type

I was reading Andy Tinkham’s “Disproportionate amount of introverts in software testing” (post is now missing) and saw a comment that one person tends to discriminate for introverts in testing. I agree with the intent of the comment, that the hiring manager wants people who are organized and pay attention to the work. However, I don’t believe any one personality type has the market cornered on organization and attention.You can choose to discriminate for/against any number of personality types. Take a look at one of my previous Do Your Interview Questions Discriminate For or Against Your Needs? for other possibilities.

Although I think the hiring manager is using introversion as a shorthand for his organization requirements in a candidate, I like the idea of looking for people who are organized and pay attention to the details, if that’s appropriate for your group. I use behavior-description questions to ask about those characteristics:

  • “Tell me how you approach testing a product.” Listen for planning and organization activities. If this question is too vague, try:
  • “How do you organize a product’s testing?” Make sure you hear examples, how how the person would like to organize. If that question doesn’t work, try:
  • “Have you ever been in a position where the testing wasn’t organized?…What did you do?”

I more often look for testers who are relatively flexible, who have multiple techniques for organizing their work, based on the product needs, and the reporting needs. If you need testers like that, great. If not, decide the kinds of activities you’d like to see the testers perform at work, not their personality types. You’ll hire the people you really need when you think about the person’s interactions and their output requirements, not their personality type.

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