Audition question: How do You Test a Stapler?

Last week, at my PNSQC workshop, we talked about auditions. One of the participants said that when he auditioned testers, he asked each candidate how the candidate would test a stapler. Take a look at Mike Kelly’s answer. Bet you didn’t realize there were so many ways to test a stapler :-)So why is this a good question for testers? Because testers deal with work artifacts, and what a tester does when presented with a work artifact — even a stapler — is a good indication of how the tester will work when presented with your work artifacts.The beauty of this question, is that it works for lots of roles:

  • Writers: Describe how you’d write about stapler use.
  • Product marketing: Describe how you’d derive requirements for a next-generation stapler. Or, explain how you’d organize a product launch for a stapler.
  • Support staff: Describe how you’d deal with a customer who says he/she has a problem with their stapler.
  • Developers: Describe how you’d approach extending the design of a stapler.

I wouldn’t use this as my only audition question, but it’s a great start.

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