How to hire a Selenium scripter

Part of my sales funnel input is monitoring twitter for ‘Selenium’ and so I see a lot of job adverts. And I’ve come to realize that there is a lot bad hiring out there. This post isn’t aimed at those trying to get hired, but those who are trying to find them.

  • Advertising
    • It is insufficient to look for a ‘Selenium’ person these days. Actually, it has never been, but it is very now. Which API are they expected to use? RC or WebDriver?
    • Which language are they expected to use? I, for instance, won’t waste either of our time inquiring about Java or C# gigs (not because I can’t but because I don’t want to), but if you don’t clearly spell that out you could have extra cycles filtering people that didn’t know to self-filter.
  • Location – As Se gets more traction in larger, more traditional organizations you see things like ‘Must reside in New York City. No relocation provided’. Want to remove a large portion of the scripting population? Require them to be in your urban locale. Se (and testing in general) can be done quite successfully remotely. But if you really, really must have them in a specific location then pay for them to get there (which the person has to pay back if they just jump ship upon arriving, etc.).
  • Renumeration
    • Automation is programming. It is not a lower form of testing. Scripters should be paid in line with the manual, exploratory testers. And of course both groups should be paid the same as the programmers.
    • That said, all the good Se scripters I can think of off the top of my head are already employed somewhere. There might have to be a risk bonus added in there.
  • The Interview
    • The best way to see if someone knows what they claim is to ask they to script something. Not silly little logic puzzles like ‘What is the shortest number of tests that you would need to check the maximum height you can drop a watermelon from a building and not have it break?’. So have them write a small script for your site. And observe them. Ask them why they are doing what they doing and to think out loud. That should be the bulk of the interview.
    • Ask about which bug[s] in Se drive them most batty. And how they worked around it[them].
    • Use questions that are specific to your context and need. If you use generic questions about Se you will play right into the hands of the sites that have ‘Se Interview Questions’ for sale. And you risk not knowing the[an] actual correct answer. I had this problem when interviewing at Google once.
    • There should be representatives from both the Test and Dev teams. Se scripting bridges both those teams.

Those are the big things that I have observed in the last bit. If people addressed even just the things in the ‘Advertising’ section then I think their searches would be more successful — and provide more insight into where they should be advertising their gigs. But these are just my top-of-the-head items. I’m sure I’ve missed others. Which ones?

Now if only Bieber and Gomez would break up, coal producers would settle their pollution court cases, and Se wasn’t being discovered as a miracle drug to fight everything from cancer to DNA cell wall destruction then search results would have a lot less crap in them.

Comments 2

  1. Pete Walen wrote:

    Adam, What you describe is painfully apparent everywhere with anything to do with testing. Hiring people/HR people have no clue what technology terms mean so stuff gets cobbled together into “this manager looking to fill a position said Y except I don’t know what that means but I thing X is something like Y and I know what X means.” Except they don’t know what either term means to a geek.

    My laptop is my office – I can do what I do pretty much anywhere I can get a decent connection. Alas that people still have the perception that if they don’t see you at a desk, you mush not be working.

    Now, if I could be paid NYC (or Toronto) rates while living in the hinterlands of technology…

    Posted 01 Feb 2012 at 8:27 am
  2. mam-p wrote:

    Here’s another one from my point of view: Don’t make framework design a requirement unless your company really REALLY needs a customized framework! I’m amazed at how many ads for Selenium scripters want framework design experience. Most companies that think they need a customized framework are probably in greater need of some customized *tests*–they can use somebody else’s generic framework.

    Posted 02 Feb 2012 at 10:04 pm

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