Hiring Entry Level / Junior QA: Pros and Cons

Recruitment for the new course stream is open at OTUS right now “QA Lead”… In this regard, Anastasia Sharikova, the course teacher, shared with us her author’s article. We give the floor to Anastasia:

Hello! My name is Anastasia Sharikova, I am the head of the testing department at Bookmate and running a telegram channel Yet another QA

In recent years, more and more people strive to get into IT by any means, and more and more often when choosing a profession they stop at the career of a conditional “tester”. As a result, a huge number of “juniors without experience” are pounding the doorstep of large and not so big companies and looking for an answer to the question “how to get to work if experience is needed everywhere?”.

But today I would like to speculate not about how to get a job, but what benefits an employer can get from this whole situation and what difficulties he may face if he nevertheless decides to hire a person without experience or a novice specialist. Therefore, the target audience of this article is precisely the executives and everyone else who is interested in the process and result of hiring.

In addition, I want to stipulate right away that today we will not touch upon philosophical topics in the spirit of “everyone should take Juns / everyone shouldn’t / and who are Juniors and what happened to the cozy IT world”, but we will go over the main potential advantages, cons and recommendations.

Who do we consider as beginners? These are Entry Level, that is, those who have no commercial experience at all, and Junior QA.


So, let’s start from the positive side: what can we potentially get for our department or team in the long and short term if we start hiring completely green specialists?

  • The ability to grow a specialist “for yourself”: corny, but the truth is often easier to find a beginner and teach him the stack that you need than endlessly looking for that very “ideal” with experience. A case for an example from the experience of colleagues: it is easier to find a young handbrake tester and teach him a certain automation stack than to look for an experienced middle for a long time.

  • The ability to unload more powerful specialists from work that does not require high qualifications. Again, a trivial example – if, for some specific reason, regression automation is difficult or economically unprofitable, then it is better to hire a person who is willing to do everything without experience, and not wait for your experienced specialist to quit because of boring tasks.

  • Money: a moot point, but nevertheless, in some cases it can be a potentially profitable economic solution.

  • Motivation and engagement: remember about the “I want / can” model of motivation and understand that most young specialists (of course, if we didn’t get it right in hiring) belong to the category “I want but I cannot” and are motivated to actively participate in work and develop simply because they were able to get a job.

  • A fresh look: yes, this item is not relevant for everyone, but, for example, for product teams it may be useful to look at your product not with a sophisticated look, but to hear the opinion of a person far from It yesterday about it. Yes, sometimes snobbery should be turned off.

  • You can catch real talent: and I’m completely serious. Among the hundreds of applicants with no experience who have read Savin and / or completed courses, there are, as I call them, born QA who find and document bugs or write test cases better than many specialists with 3+ years of experience. A well-written test item is our everything in this case. And if you have found such an uncut diamond, then with the proper effort, you can soon get a loyal tough employee.

  • Loyalty: despite the fact that there is a standard fear that “we will invest money and effort, and the person will just leave,” you can turn the opposite direction – raise an extremely loyal employee who will appreciate that you “helped him”. But, of course, this does not happen as often as we would like.

  • Using an external background: if you are developing, for example, a service for medical workers, then the ideal candidate for you may not be a middle / senior, but an entry level / junior who decided to change his profession and left just the area you need. He or she will be able to bring you highly relevant expertise and insight from someone who has been immersed in the topic.

  • “Relocation” from related departments: And finally, a very popular and potentially useful option. Try to look for specialists “from within” – an employee of your own support can become an excellent tester who, moreover, does not have to delve into the product and its features.


And, of course, you need to consider the common difficulties associated with hiring an Entry Level / Junior QA:

  • Got to waste time learning… Let’s be honest: not everyone has a well thought out system of mentoring and training employees. Frankly, not everyone has at least something that resembles her, and the Juns that you hire and just throw into the embrasure can be not only useless, but also harmful. So think three times if you are ready to do this.

  • The control: if it will be possible to delegate tasks to an experienced employee fairly soon after hiring and entrust independent work, it is more difficult to do this with newcomers. Yes, and 1: 1 and such meetings will have to be held more often – is it worth it?

  • Not always in the subject: controversy on this topic is eternal, but nevertheless it is worth admitting that not everyone and not always can be approached by employees with little or no experience. Startups, complex systems that require expertise, and simply mixed teams with high-tech features – in many cases, this is simply not your option.

  • Testing vs QA: if you just need to pierce the regression, then there will be no problem, but if the tasks include not only checking according to the technical specification, but also a deeper understanding of processes, opportunities for improvement at all stages, and the like, then, to put it mildly, not every novice specialist can help you with this. Even if he was taught the basics of QA in the courses, experience will still play an important role here. And self-confidence, by the way, too.

  • Risk of instability: The most popular objection, of course, is not unfounded – the risk that you will invest everything in a newcomer, and he will go to where the grass is greener, is huge, especially if you are not the “dream company” where everyone is striving. You can work with this, but you also need to assess the risks.

  • High expectations: pain of all employers (sorry, dear june, if you are reading this text) – if before the newcomers were ready to work for food for little money, now every second person who has completed any courses immediately asks for from 60 thousand in Moscow and from 100 after a year of experience, even if he does not know how to open DevTools and does not know how the test case differs from the checklist. At the same time, paradoxically for everyone, more and more often the interest of QA beginners in self-development without mentoring from above is extremely low, and the demands on the employer are growing and growing. And I’m certainly not talking about basic hygiene factors.

What to do if you still decide:

  • Sort out the mess on the project: knowlege managment at a basic level is useful even if you do not have a constant hiring of new employees, and when you need to introduce newcomers, it will definitely come in handy for you. And of course, it is worth finally ending up with the technical assignment by phone, bug reports by correspondence, tickets on paper and other similar practices.

  • Consider a mentoring system: responsible persons, tasks, goals, planning, motivation and so on. It is not always necessary to rush into the maelstrom headlong and build matrices of competencies and IPR, if you take Jun to a startup with three testers, but it is worth at least minimally thinking through plans.

  • Admit yourself honestly how difficult your tasks are.: do you really need june at all? Maybe you should try to knock out more money for the Middle QA bet, and not try to plug holes with those who simply cannot cope?

  • Outsource problems if possible: for example, you can partner with online universities and courses and they can prepare exactly those who you need, and also select the best. Or hire mentors or mentors from the outside for the time of adaptation, if you do not have the resources for this from within. Delegating such tasks can potentially be extremely beneficial.

To summarize: of course, not absolutely all the pros, cons and solutions are described above, and every company always has its own peculiarities of hiring, but nevertheless, sometimes it is worth stopping, studying the situation and thinking – am I, as a leader, doing everything right ?

Still, you always need to be able to assess the existing personnel policy as objectively as possible, weigh the pluses and minuses, assess sensibly the front of tasks and their complexity and understand whether you really need only experienced “stars” or vice versa, it’s time to stop at a thoughtless recruitment of applicants without experience who will do no good in the long run.

That’s all. We invite you to Open Day, within the framework of which our teachers will tell you in detail about the course and the training program, as well as answer all your questions.

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