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How would you test a coin-operated Coke machine? - Wanderings and Maunderings [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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How would you test a coin-operated Coke machine? [Oct. 31st, 2012|08:21 pm]
What is your favorite interview question*? Could be one you love to ask candidates, could be one you've been asked yourself.

I'm particularly interested in the real curve balls, the questions that stop the candidate short and make them think.

For funsies (did I really just type "funsies"?), I will answer your questions**, provided I see the relevance. If I don't see the relevance, I will ask you about it until I get it, and then answer it.

Because Facebook does not support message threading, please respond here if possible. Anonymous comments are enabled, but if you do post anonymously, I ask (but do not require) that you identify yourself in your comment.

Feel free to comment on other people's questions as well.

Thanks much!

* Mine is the one in the subject line. Coke machines are ubiquitous enough that I don't have to argue back and forth about the spec, they're simple enough in concept that the test planning isn't too daunting, and there's enough discoverable complexity that this one question can keep a good candidate busy for pretty much the whole hour. I learn a lot about a potential tester from how they approach the Coke machine problem.

** Full disclosure: With hopefully a raft of interviews upcoming, I'm hoping to encounter the difficult questions here where I have a chance to rehearse my response, rather than being blindsided on the day. I call this "due diligence preparation", by the way, not "cheating". :) So feel free to tell me how I did with my answer!

This entry was originally posted at http://georgmi.dreamwidth.org/231994.html; please feel free to comment below or at Dreamwidth.


From: (Anonymous)
2012-11-01 04:41 pm (UTC)
I used to ask the soda machine question as well in test interviews and it does reveal a lot. Nowadays I often ask people to test an elevator. I frame it similar to "New building with a new elevator. You work for the building owner. You don't know what testing the manufacturer or contractors did, if any. Prior to letting anyone ride in it, how would you test it and what would you test for?" There are lots of different dimensions that could be covered which is why I like it.

Later -
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[User Picture]From: georgmi
2012-11-01 04:55 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I generally prefer a problem where the tester works for the manufacturer; the user-acceptance test scenario blocks off too many interesting classes of test--I want to see destructive stress tests, too. :)
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