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27 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Published January 10th, 2020 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Question 1 of 27
Here at VAuto, we ask our test engineers to follow specific QA protocols. What role do you feel QA plays in software development and testing?
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How to Answer
As an experience software testing engineer, quality assurance should be ingrained in your brain and your interviewer is looking to get a sense of your personal feelings towards it in your work with this question. In your answer, be sure to highlight QA's importance in reducing errors, maintaining specifications, testing failure parameters and preventing defects from occurring. In the end, make sure that quality is your mantra in the eyes of your interviewer by giving an example or two of how you put QA in the forefront of your work.
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Top 25 VAuto, Inc. Interview Questions
1.
Here at VAuto, we ask our test engineers to follow specific QA protocols. What role do you feel QA plays in software development and testing?
As an experience software testing engineer, quality assurance should be ingrained in your brain and your interviewer is looking to get a sense of your personal feelings towards it in your work with this question. In your answer, be sure to highlight QA's importance in reducing errors, maintaining specifications, testing failure parameters and preventing defects from occurring. In the end, make sure that quality is your mantra in the eyes of your interviewer by giving an example or two of how you put QA in the forefront of your work.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As a test engineer, I take great pride in my role of ensuring that systems go out to consumers as error free as possible. In my current role, I take the time to learn all of the system specifications that are laid out by our design engineers and customize my testing to follow those specifications."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In my work throughout my career, quality assurance in my testing was an every minute of every day job on my part. While creating effective testing processes on new software is extremely important in following QA protocols, the recording of defects, issuing of reports and assisting the designers on fixing issues are equally important parts of the process that I'd love to let shine here at VAuto."
2.
What do you consider to be a good litmus test for when you would automate a test process for a new system versus testing manually?
As your role with VAuto will look to help further their automate testing processes for new systems, you will need to have a good sense for when automation makes sense and when it does not. Reiterate your sense for this to your interviewer by sticking to the high level response that repetitive tasks, as are common with large software companies, are prime candidates for automation whereas one time test cases are not.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Having been in automation in both manufacturing for many years and now software for the last three years, a common misconception among people is that automation can help improve any situation and that couldn't be further from the truth. The amount of time, effort and resources that goes into an automation process makes it ideal for repetitive tasks and tests that have multiple data sets. If a testing process calls for unique and one time process, it would make the most sense to run that process manually."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I"n my current position, most of the automation testing that I design is in program sanity testing. These automated tests work great because they run on similar systems following changes in code to ensure that no bugs remain in the system. If our group of engineers are working on unique, one off type projects, my automation processes are not utilized."
3.
If hired for this position at VAuto, what leadership skills would you bring to our team?
While this position at VAuto may not hold the title of manager, supervisor or director, the organization firmly believes that employees that demonstrate key leadership qualities are better set for future career success. Aside from that, leadership skills help you work better as part of a larger team and with potential customers as well. Prior to your interview, think about one or two leadership qualities that you possess and talk in detail about how you've exemplified those qualities in the past.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I would say that my credibility is my best leadership skill. My openness and honesty suits me well when working among a team of individuals and this helps them gain trust in following my lead when working on projects. Another skill I would bring here to VAuto would be my ability to lead by example. I'm not afraid to take a risk in seeking innovation and I've been commended for this trait many times by my current manager."
Ryan's Answer #2
"If you were to offer this position to me, you'd quickly find that my positive attitude is an inspiration to those that I work closely with. In my current job, we work under the constant stress of tight deadlines and my positivity can be infectious to help others maintain their focus when negativity can easily take over in most situations. I would say that my other strong suit as a natural leader is my ability to be fluid on a day to day basis. Sometimes our world can be monotonous and when change comes, most resist that change. For me, change is a chance to break the current mold and grow as an employee."
4.
What unique values can you bring to VAuto in your user experience design skills?
While your interviewer has shown confidence in your technical abilities to succeed at VAuto as a UX designer, this question is helping them gain insight into your ability to see the big picture in the work that you do. As you think about the unique personal values that you would bring to the role, try and paint a picture of your work tying to the end user and how you can help make it more productive, enjoyable and satisfying for them.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I have really taken pride in my ability to add value to the business needs of the customers that I work with. During any design project, I take the time to work with end users to find their wants and needs out of the program. Then, as I create the UX design, I keep their needs at the forefront and do anything possible to exceed their expectations."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As you can see from my resume, I have formal training and experience in user experience research and I know that this would benefit the work that I would be doing here at VAuto if hired for this position. I pursued this additional training in my career because of my passion for the customer journey in the programs that I design."
5.
If you were asked to review a colleague's code that they had written, what key things would you look for?
For this question, your interviewer will obviously be looking to hear that you have adequate knowledge when it comes to coding processes. But most importantly, your interviewer will be looking to gauge your ability to be a team player and focus on the bigger picture when working on a project. In your answer, focus on your attention to detail and your ability to help others when needed.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As an experienced software engineer, I fully expect my colleagues to reach out to me for my insight and I never hesitate to provide open and honest feedback. When asked to do this, my main focus is ensuring that the code is readable and functional. If there are lines of code that need to be removed, I don't hesitate to let my colleague know that while also giving them feedback on why I feel it is unnecessary."
Ryan's Answer #2
"When I'm asked to do this in my current position, my main focus is on regulatory requirements that were put in place for the project and security issues. I work with a team of great engineers that are very efficient coders and these two areas are most often overlooked."
6.
What data cleaning methods are you familiar with and comfortable using if hired for this role at VAuto?
To improve data quality and increase overall productivity of a system, VAuto relies on their data analysts to use data cleansing methods to ensure quality data exists in their software. Be open and honest with the ways that you've helped ensure quality and accurate data in the systems that you've worked with while also showing that you have an open mind to learning and utilizing more methods if hired for this position.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current work, I use a very methodical fashion in cleaning data for finished systems. My first step is to remove duplicate and irrelevant observations within the data. Then I scan the data to remove extra spaces, convert numbers stored as text into numbers and remove duplicate data. These steps help ensure clean and accurate data and I never overlook them. If hired for this position, what methods does the current data analyst team her at VAuto utilize?"
Ryan's Answer #2
"I am familiar with many methods used in the cleansing of data. The initial monitoring of errors within a system is very important to identifying where errors occur and give insight into how to fix corrupt data. I have utilized the tools within Domo software to validate data accuracy and scrub for duplicate data in my processes as well. Being very proficient in data analysis, I'm very open to learning new methods as well if hired for this position."
7.
When would you utilize a trigger within Oracle to execute a function automatically?
To answer this question, it is important to first have an understanding of what a trigger is within Oracle. Simply defined, a trigger is a named block stored within the database that executes on its own when a certain even takes place. While you talk about your understanding of what a trigger is, be sure that you explain that you understand how to create a trigger in Oracle and that you understand that proper situations to utilize them in.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In the current work that I do in Oracle, I utilize triggers to prevent invalid transactions within the software that I am working with. I have a full understanding of how to write create trigger statements using declaration statements, executable statements and exception handling statements to set the appropriate triggers. If hired for this role here at VAuto, you could have full confidence in my ability to utilize triggers within Oracle."
Ryan's Answer #2
"With my two prior years spent working on Oracle, I have written database triggers using insert, update and delete statements that are issued against a table. These database triggers allow our end users to be able to reap the benefits of the triggers. The instances that I've utilized database triggers have been for pulling statistical information from the tables within the system."
8.
Give an example of a time that you used a universal design practice in your work as a UI or UX designer. Why was it important to do this?
In the technology, software and mobile app fields today, accessibility is a huge topic. As a designer with VAuto, you will be expected to help create products that are as accessible as possible to as many end users as possible. In this two part question, talk about why you feel that universal design is important in the work that you will be doing with VAuto and then really sell your ability to do this by giving an example of a time you used a universal design in your previous work.

Ryan's Answer #1
"From a very high level, the business success of a program really relies on being universally designed. If we pigeon hole ourselves, a product will only reach a very limited group of end users. But taking that a step further, universal design is the morally right thing to do to help reach people that may not have access to the average program design. Last year, I was part of a project that utilized a voice user interface for users that were deaf or hard of hearing. This simple yet effective design was a huge win for our current customers and in helping drive new business with our groundbreaking software."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Early in my career, the best piece of advice that I receive was from an experience designer and she said that when UX doesn't consider all potential users, we are no longer working on the user experience. We live in a very diverse world and the programs that I've designed for in the past have certainly had the goal to reach a wide audience. With your financial products here at VAuto, this same philosophy applies. Last year, based on some feedback from current customers, we switched our design to include a strong color contract to make the system much more user friendly to color blind users. This was both a simple and very effective change to enhance the look of the program."
9.
Discuss a couple of software sales techniques. Which sales technique do you think is most effective for VAuto, and why?
The interviewer would like to see that you have researched VAuto, putting some thought into the most significant selling features of their products and services. When it comes to software sales closing techniques, you could:

- Offer a short trial for free
- Have a great email marketing campaign showing off the features of your software
- Give product or software demos, but keep the short
- Sell pre-paid annual memberships

Perhaps you have some ideas of your own! Discuss which selling options you think would be the best fit for what VAuto is offering. Be ready to support your answer with facts.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I recently read that free trial offers can increase conversions by up to 25% and, because, VAuto has a straightforward product, I believe it would be very effective to allow people to try it for free for 14 days. The prospective customer would quickly see that it's simple to navigate and incredibly helpful."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Since there are so many customizable features that come with your product, I feel that the best sales technique would be a free 30-minute demo, followed up with a short trial period. I think it would be important for prospective customers to see the product in action, and how it would work for them, specifically."
10.
In SQL, how do you explain the differences between clustered and non-clustered indexes? Can you name a time that you used each?
VAuto uses indexes to improve query performances within their software and for this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you have a basic understanding of both clustered and non-clustered indexes. Explain the differences between the two types of indexes and be sure you can either speak to relevant times that you've used each or when would be the appropriate application to use each.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In the simplest of terms, a clustered index order records in a table the way that they are physically stored. There can only be one clustered index per table. Non-clustered indexes do not store data to match the physical order that it is stored. Rather, it can hold up to 249 indexes per table. Both types come with their own benefits over the other. In my experience, clustered indexes are suited best for programs that use primary key as an identity integer column. On the other hand, non-clustered make the most sense for programs that need JOIN and WHERE clauses within them."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In my experience, clustered indexes are faster to read but very slow when it comes to update data within. Non-clustered indexes are just the opposite in that they are slower to read but much fast to insert new data into them. In my current role, I mostly use clustered indexes when large numbers of rows need to be retreived and when insert operations are important. Most other times, I will use non-clustered as the standard."
11.
Tell me about your problem-solving skills. Do you enjoy analyzing and solving complex problems?
Software developers spend a great deal of time debugging programs. It is essential for VAuto to have someone experienced in quickly identifying problems and responsive in providing solutions. The interviewer would also like to gauge how you work with internal and external customers when problem-solving.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my last development position, I was responsible for front-line communications with end users. Third tier helpdesk staff would contact me with software bugs, and I was able to quickly and professionally respond to problems. I was able to reduce the bug backlog by 70%."
Ryan's Answer #2
"If you did not have a good relationship with your previous boss: "I have had healthier relationships in the past with previous employers, but we did the best that we could. Our communication styles were very different which made it challenging at times."
12.
As you reflect back on your career to this point in your search for a new position, what would you say is your ideal work environment or culture?
While using this question as a key indicator on how you'll fit with the team and the organization at VAuto, it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at VAuto so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at VAuto prior to your interview, that can shed valuable information. In the end, the culture and value of an organization are often a key indicator of long-term success in a job, so make sure that you reflect your values into what the company values.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As I begin this job search now 15 years out of college, I'm looking for an employer that promotes and encourages innovation, new ideas and collaboration among all members of the team. From what I know about VAuto from speaking with others, you sound like a perfect match for what I am looking for in a career."
Ryan's Answer #2
"With all of the companies that I have both worked for and consulted with in the past, I realize that a company culture is basically the personality of the company and I am looking for a new organization that really meshes well with my personality. I am a casual person that believes in hard work, teamwork and having fun on the job. As I embarked on a job search, I was so happy to see that VAuto was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."
13.
What skills do you use to cope with the day to day stress and pressure on the job?
In modern technology industries, consumer demand has led to high volume of work and high pressure situations to work on tight deadlines. To prove that you are able to handle high stress, high pressure situations on the job, your interviewer is looking to hear first hand how you handle this type of environment in your own words. As you answer the question, try to turn potential perceived stress into a positive by highlighting your personal skills that enable you to perform well in those situations. If possible, try to use specific examples in your answer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Where many others get overtaken by stress to the point that they can't function in this field, high pressure situations sharpen my focus and that helps me work through them with ease. Last year, I was assigned a high priority, short notice project for a high profile customer. My manager gave it to me because of my proven success in those situations. From the start, I created a timeline for completion and mapped out a plan to make it happen. While staying in communication with my leaders and the client, I was able to create a great system update in just a few short weeks."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I am confident in high stress work situations because of my ability to adapt, communicate and be organized in my work. These skills came in very useful a few weeks ago when our support staff were experiencing an extremely high volume of help desk calls. My adaptability helped me go with the flow and handle items on at a time. My communication skills enabled me to quickly and efficiently call on needed support. My organization skills helped me be prepared for anything on that day and enabled me to work through tickets in a quick and efficient manner."
14.
What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?
While this question gives your interviewer insight into the diversity of your programming language experience, they most importantly want to know that you are adaptable and able to learn on the fly if needed. Talk about the different languages that you consider yourself fluent in and, if possible, do as much research into VAuto as you can prior to your interview and try to speak to the specific languages that they work with.

Ryan's Answer #1
"From the start of college, where software engineering grew into a passion for me, I've become very fluent in Java, JavaScript and C++. My current role has me working primarily with C++, but I pride myself on my ability and passion to learn new programming languages and would be able to do so if hired for this role with VAuto."
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my training to be an engineer and then in my current role since graduating, a majority of my experience falls within Python. My current role delves deeply into artificial intelligence and Python is awesome with this advanced technology. As I understand it from talking to another engineer here at VAuto, a requirement would be for me to learn Scala. Though I haven't worked directly with Scala, I believe my experience and willingness to learn would have me up and running in no time if hired for this role."
15.
What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?
As a reputable company, VAuto takes their software maintenance processes seriously and your interviewer is looking to hear that you are familiar with the four different types of software maintenance. Talk to your interviewer about any work you have done in the past with corrective, adaptive, perfective and/or preventative software maintenance. Use specific examples and make sure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you understand the importance of proper system maintenance.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Being familiar with all four types of software maintenance, my most used method of maintenance in my current role is corrective. Based on bug reports from end users, I work through coding and logic issues to resolve issues in a timely and effective manner. In the maintenance I perform, I never hesitate to pick up the phone and contact customers to hear first hand about what they are experiencing. By doing this, they feel like they are an important part of the process and it reflects well on me and my organization."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In my current role, I'd definitely say that a majority of the maintenance work that I do is adaptive maintenance. Working in banking software that is used around the globe, I help perform system maintenance for changes in currency on a pretty regular basis. This work requires research and talking with end users to help adapt the programs for their use. If hired here at VAuto, I also have experience performing perfective, preventative and corrective maintenance on software as well."
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