10 Manual Testing Interview Questions to Help You Prepare

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

To help you prepare for an interview in manual testing, we’ve rounded up 15 common questions asked. Start practicing today to land a manual tester job.

[Featured image] A male manual tester, wearing a brown shirt, glasses is sitting in front of his desktop.

When preparing for a manual tester interview, practicing answering common questions is essential to help you feel more confident and land the role. These highly technical interviews allow hiring managers to assess whether candidates have the proper experience and skills to be manual testers.

Below are 15 questions and tips to help you prepare before your interview. If you're interested in a career in software development, manual testing will be a core component of your interviews. Be sure to practice these questions to feel confident and ready when the time comes.

15 manual testing interview questions

Use this guide to test your knowledge, so you can feel empowered during your interview.

1. Explain what manual testing is, and its role within software development.

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of manual testing. You’ll want to talk about the role's context within software development. Discuss your experience or, if you’re new to the field, interest in confirming that systems work and meet business requirements. Mention the value of testing various aspects such as usability, accuracy, completeness, and efficiency.

2. Why do you think you are a good fit for this manual testing role?

You’ll want to bring up your education, skills, and experience that are relevant to the role here. If you have any insights into the company culture at the organization, also talk about why you would think you will be a good fit. 

You might also use this as an opportunity to reiterate the importance of software testing. Outline your answer, with examples where possible, the importance of manual testers pointing out defects and errors, reducing coding cycles, and improving user experience.

If you know the organization uses Agile testing, be sure to emphasize any experience you have in this approach. 

3. How have you used manual and automated testing in your previous role(s)?

You would opt for either manual or automated testing in different test cases. While automation is more suited for to exploratory and usability testing, short-time projects, and ad-hoc testing, while manual testing is more hands-on and individualized.

Use this question to demonstrate that you:

  • Understand the distinction between manual and automated testing

  • Differentiate between verification and validation in software testing

  • Have exposure to various types of software testing

  • Know when to stop the testing process

  • Can communicate effectively about test planning and test coverage

  • Have the problem-solving skills to find innovative solutions

4. What types of manual testing are there? Please explain.

This question assesses your breadth of knowledge in manual testing. You'll want to be able to explain very clearly the following:

  • Black box testing

  • White box testing

  • System testing

  • Integration testing

  • Unit testing

  • Acceptance testing

  • Usability testing

  • User acceptance testing

5. What is black box testing, and what techniques are involved?

Technical questions dive into your ability to explain why you'd use black box testing (when the internal architecture or code structure is unknown). You'll want to explain the following techniques:

  • Boundary value analysis

  • Equivalence partitioning

  • Cause-effect graphing

Concisely explain that black box testing is a standard approach to validating the software from the end user’s point of view. If you’ve done white box testing, compare your experiences with the two. Every question is an opportunity to give concrete examples from your own background instead of answering with just a definition you could have learned in a textbook in school.

6. What is white box testing, and what techniques are involved?

Questions like this might act as a follow-up from the previous question, so that you can elaborate on your knowledge.

White box testing analyzes a system's architecture and implementation, alongside source code quality. Techniques include:

  • Decision coverage

  • Statement coverage

7. Describe the difference between alpha testing and beta testing.

This question aims to gauge your knowledge and understanding of the nuances of your role as a manual tester. Speak about the work you’ve done in alpha testing, which end-user representatives typically do at the developer’s site. 

You may also have done beta testing as a potential customer, but that’s not what they’ll be hiring you to do in a manual software testing role.

8. Describe the difference between manual testing and automation testing.

Just like the other compare and contrast questions, this one will test your knowledge of testing manually for defects in software. Manual testing executes specific steps, which are compared against what was expected to happen. Automation testing requires the use of special software to control test execution and compare them with expected results. Automation testing is faster, and can be more accurate.

9. When do you opt for manual testing over automation testing?

This important question requires you to know the why in addition to the how. Manual testing is chosen over automation testing when tests have quirks and require an extra pair of (human) minds to interpret. It's better for exploratory testing, usability testing, testing on more than one operating system, and when testing with specific hardware.

10. What are examples of experience-based testing?

You'll want to know the following and the differences between each technique:

  • Exploratory testing

  • Adhoc testing

  • Error guessing

  • Checklist-based testing

  • Session-based testing

  • Exploit-based testing

  • Alpha testing

  • Beta testing

  • Usability testing

  • User acceptance testing

11. Tell me the difference between quality control and quality assurance.

This question aims to check your understanding of the role in quality management. Quality control (QC) is a subset of quality assurance (QA). QA is broader and more focused on the performance of a process or the making of a product production and whether it will fulfill quality requirements. QC meanwhile focuses on the inspection of the quality management activities. As a manual tester, you’ll be on the QA side.

12. How would you ensure you achieve the highest possible testing coverage?

You might answer this question by sharing your best practices for writing test cases. For example, you might mention the 80/20 rule that suggests you’ll achieve the best coverage when 20 percent of your test covers 80 percent of the application. You might also talk about test case prioritization, and how you ensure you're taking a granular, modular test case approach, while regularly monitoring your test cases.

13. Tell me about the different types of testing software you’ve used and why you like them.

Many different tools are on the market for testers to use. Instead of listing the ones you have experience using, talk about how you have used each one. Consider the benefits or drawbacks of each type of testing. This provides a chance for you to differentiate between the types of testing. Maybe you’ve found one software is better for acceptance and performance testing while another is best for unit, integration, or functional testing.

14. What do you understand about end-to-end testing?

End-to-end testing is costly and more complicated since it replicates user behavior with the software in a complete application environment. As these tests are hard to maintain when automated, you can expect to do end-to-end testing as a manual tester. Mention examples of end-to-end tests you’ve done, such as logging in or verifying email notifications or online payments.

15. What would you do to identify and resolve latent defects?

A latent defect is hidden from the user and will not cause a failure unless it meets certain conditions. For instance, the system might not recognize February 29, which happens only every four years. 

Since latent defects are only triggered in particular scenarios, they can be challenging to identify in the testing environment. Here’s a chance to discuss your attention to detail, diligence in inspecting the product, and the importance of exhaustive testing.

How to prepare for a manual testing interview

The more research you do ahead of time, the better equipped you’ll be.

Research the organization. 

If you’re looking for a job in manual testing, research the companies you apply for. Reading roundups of top companies available online is a great way to prepare. They are often customer-focused, helping an organization decide whether to take their business to that company. Still, you can learn about the top software testing companies this way.

Practice the interview.

Ask a friend or family member to pose the questions above to you in person, by phone, or via Zoom call. Try to replicate the actual interview environment you will experience. This can include dressing the part and setting yourself up without distractions to do your best in the practice stage. It can give you more confidence when you’re live and on the spot.

Ask for feedback.

Ask the person doing your mock interview to tell you what you did well and could improve. With manual testing, it will be helpful to do a mock interview with someone in the industry so that they can give you feedback.

If an interview doesn’t go well and you don’t get the job, you could follow up afterward with a request for feedback. They may or may not oblige. But there’s no harm in at least politely asking.

Learn software testing and ace your interview

As you prepare for your interview on manual testing, you might consider a course to help get you up to speed. The Foundations of Software Testing and Validation from the University of Leeds is a crash course in all types of software testing. No education or experience required to start learning today.

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