QA for startups

As a candidate, you should feel free to press me about any concern you may have. I promise to give you an honest reply. But I know some candidates still feel uncomfortable having these crucial conversations. I also know that there are a few screening questions you would love to ask me before even considering interviewing with Qxf2. I have compiled a list of such questions and answered them over here.

Frequently asked questions

1. Is Qxf2 a financially stable company?

Yes. We are financially stable. We have cash in the bank, a steady pipeline of clients and a decent runway. We started in February, 2013. We have been profitable every year so far. I have not had to lay off any employee, ever. We have never had trouble paying salaries and providing our employees raises during their annual reviews. I will not offer you a job unless I know that I can keep you even during lean times.

2. I don't know automation. Do I still stand a chance in your interviews?

Yes! As long as you can test well, you will do well in the interview. We will ask you automation or code related questions only if you claim experience with them on your resume. We find it easy to train people to write automation. We use Python - which is very easy to pick up. We have written many tutorials and prepared training material to help you get started with automation. So you will do just fine even if you are new to automation.

3. How soon can I take advantage of the work from home option?

Usually you spend a month in the office and then start working from home twice a week. But I will be flexible enough to accommodate your needs. Working from home is a freedom that comes with responsibility. You need to invest in a good Internet connection as well as a back up connection. We advise that you have a fiber connection as your primary ISP and use a wireless dongle as your back up. You also need to have at least two headphones that work well.

4. Will I be employed even if there is no client work?

Most probably, yes. All company face tough situations. Good companies face them responsibly. Full disclosure - Qxf2 faced a tough situation once in the last 36 months of its existence. Our only client had a massive layoff (>75% of engineering were laid off) and suddenly our only revenue source disappeared overnight. I handled that situation with as much transparency as I could. I gathered the team and told them that we had about x more months before we ran out of money. I gave them as many details as I could and opened up about our sales efforts. I also promised to start helping them find work about 4 weeks before we ran out of money. The team pulled through and we solved our sales situation within a few weeks. I did not have to layoff anyone. In fact, since then we have gotten stronger and now have a diverse base of clients. Today, the risk of Qxf2's revenue streams drying up is rather low. But if a black swan event were to occur, I can promise you this much - I will handle tough situations transparently and responsibly.

5. What exactly will I work on?

It depends. It depends on your aptitude, our client needs and how you fit in with the rest of the company. We do not hire for specific skill sets as yet. We want smart testers. Just know that whatever it is you are working on, you will need to experiment, learn and share what your did on our blog. So reading and writing are key skills you should develop.

6. You are a small company. Can you afford to be so opinionated?

May be. Time will tell. I have set out to model Qxf2 Services based on business philosophies I admire - Basecamp, Fog Creek, Netflix and ThoughtWorks. I hope shaping Qxf2 this way ends up addressing a number of things that I dislike about the current state of the outsourcing industry. I do not like the quality of service provided by bigger outsourcing providers. I do not like the model of treating employees as replaceable resources. I do not like that they thrust junior folk who are not yet client-ready on to projects just to increase profit margins. I do not like managers figuratively beating up direct reports. I do not like that a tester with about 10 years of experience is perceived as over the hill. I do not like that work is largely optimized for bachelors in their twenties. I do not like that outsourcing is associated more with low cost than with competence. I see building Qxf2 as a long term play. And if I am going to be spending time building a company, I might as well take the time to build something I like.