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Behavioral Interview Preparation

To answer behavioral job interview questions, you need to give real-life examples and stories. To answer it right, you need to follow the STAR method. As a reminder, the acronym stands for: S - Situation, T - Task, A - Action, R - Results. The format is quite straightforward to follow.

Tell Me About Yourself.

General Tips

  • Ask the interviewer....My background is lengthy & diverse, is there any particular part of my background you'd like me to discuss?
  • Keep your response specific to job description, that is what skill set the company is looking for such as: Based on the job description, I'd like to share my background as it relates to this.
  • Here's my assumption about what the job entails and the skills that are required in order to be successful....
  • Shift the Focus on Future, what company want to do and how your past experience matches with it.
  • Why Do You Want the Job? Your ability to effectively articulate your qualifications and potential contributions. It all comes down to your ability to communicate how your qualifications match what the employer needs.

Common Questions

  • Elevator speech max 2-3 secs, and what skills you bring to the company. Address 3 questions in your intro:

    • Who you are? What you do?
    • For whom you do it?
    • How they benefit?
  • Sample:

    • I am a Senior Quality Engineer, helping organizations release a quality product by automating testing process.
    • I am a Senior Quality Engineer, who helps organizations optimize their testing process, so they can deliver a quality product on time, increase their revenue & reduce costs.
  • Why did you choose to study Computer Science?

  • Why did you decide to become a software engineer/developer/QA?

  • What do you do in your spare time?

  • What are your hobbies?

  • What are you passionate about? Sharing Knowledge - Knowledge is Power & Knowledge shared is power multiplied.

  • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?

  • Tell us something that is not on your CV

Work Experience

Can you walk me through your resume?


  • Do you want me to start at the beginning and bring you current or do you want me to start today and go in reverse chronological order and work backwards to the beginning of my professional career, or you would like me to cherry pick those areas that I think are most important for you to know to determine whether I'm a good fit for the job, the things that I think best prepare me for the role?
  • After describing every area, ask the interviewer, Is that enough there, Do you have any more questions about it? Did you want to discuss that any further? Should I go to the next point?

Can you run me through your time at Company ABC?

Sample Answer: " Sure! I was working with Company ABC from 2016 to 2019. They’re one of the largest retailers in North America, and the company is valued at $2B. I was part of the ERP Team which focuses on ERP Projects internally for North America. Here I worked on Project X, where we had to complete an upgrade to ERP ABC. They had an older system in place and we were tasked with upgrading for our North American offices. As a Team, we were responsible for [describe responsibilities and targets, as well as Team outcome]. My personal involvement in the project was [describe your personal involvement, what you were tasked with, etc]. Ultimately I was able to [explain results you achieved for the team and company]”

Interest In Company

Why do you want to work at ABC Inc.?

Going through the job description, I feel I will be able to leverage my experience and make an impact right away.

Good people, interesting technologies, in a high-trust work environment.

I want to work at ABC Inc. for 3 main reasons:

  1. Technology Stack: Purely technical, ABC is working with lots of new technologies that really excites me.
  2. Culture: ABC's culture of moving fast...Unique culture...Social impact
  3. Domain - e.g. eCommerce: Serving common people help them start their own business; Business Model.
  4. Digital By Default: More Productive, Less Commute Stress, Getting more time to spend on learnings.

Another Answer: I have 10 reasons I want to work here. I did a thorough research about Shopify before applying here, and I am very self-aware, I identified the things that makes me happy & I made a good decision of applying here.

Resourceful, Organized, Thorough, Basically Awesome

  • Strong corporate financials
  • A product & Service I believe in
  • Market Leader in the space
  • Career Development Opportunity
  • Happy employees, my ex-collegues who joined are quite happy
  • Great onboarding process
  • Blogs mentions all interesting things I am interested in

Why do you want to leave your current job?

There are a few good approaches to answer "Why do you want to leave your current job?" Here are some tips and positive reasons to focus on:

  • Career Growth: This is a common and safe reason. You can say something like:
    • "I'm looking for an opportunity to take on more responsibility and grow my skills in [specific area]. I feel like I've reached a plateau in my current role, and this position seems like a great chance to take on new challenges."
  • Alignment with your goals: Express how this new opportunity aligns with your long-term career goals. For example:
    • "I'm particularly interested in [aspect of the new company or role] because it aligns well with my long-term goal of working in [industry] and specializing in [specific area]."
  • Work-life balance: If that's a factor, you can be honest (but professional) about wanting a better balance. You could say:
    • "While I appreciate my current role, I'm looking for a position that offers a better work-life balance. This opportunity seems like it would allow me to [maintain a healthy work-life balance]."

Here are some things to avoid:

  • Negativity: Don't badmouth your current employer or colleagues.
  • Focus on the new role: While it's okay to mention what excites you about the new position, keep the focus on why you're leaving your current job.


  • Tailor your answer to the specific role you're interviewing for.
  • Be honest, but frame your reasons in a positive light.
  • Use this as an opportunity to show the interviewer how your reasons for leaving align with why you'd be a great fit for their company.

What's your salary expectation?

  • Never provide a salary expectation in the beginning
  • Never provide a number; Ranges are no good either

Best Answer: Well, compensation is important to me, I really want to look at the entire value of working at your company; What I get to do, who I get to do, the training opportunities, the career advancement opportunities, the benefits, the vacation, and all the other things that go along with working at your organization. I am excited to learn about those in the interviewing process and toward the end I would be able to give you a much better idea of what it is that I would expect in terms of my salary based on all other factors. At the moment, to give you any kind of estimate would be uneducated on my part. I look forward to investigating those areas and I look forward to starting the interview process

When asked about salary at the end of the process, answer as below:

I am absolutely certain your are going to make me a fair offer. Just extend your offer, let me look at it, then I'll have a much better understanding of what the whole package looks like. And I'll very quickly give you feedback if not instantly, certainly within a day. Just give me a chance to think about it, and assemble my thoughts, and I'll come back to you.

More Questions:

  • How soon are you available to join?
  • Why should we hire you for this job?
  • Why you are interested in the job and how this job aligns with your professional goals

Working Style/Team Player

Past Mistakes

Describe a time when you made a mistake. How did you deal with the repercussions of the mistake? What lessons did you learn from the mistake?

  • Don't deploy changes to production at odd hours when it is not really necessary.
  • Only merge working code to the main branch

Challenging Project

Describe a challenging project that you worked on. Why was it challenging? What was your role in the project? How did you deal with the various difficulties of the project? Examples:

  • Localized Pricing
  • React Native Automation

Describe a time when you went out of your comfort zone. Why did you do it? What lessons did you learn from the experience?

Example: Leaving my previous employer: I was also leaving seven years of context. I knew where to find the answers to all my questions – technical and otherwise. Joining a new team meant losing that context.

More Questions:

  • Tell me about your responsibilities & day to day activities at your current role?
  • What was the toughest challenge you've faced?
  • Tell us about one of your most challenging projects?
  • Tell me about a time you had to deliver disappointing news
  • Tell you about a time you couldn't make a promise.
  • Problem Solving: How do you solve problems?
    • Engaging Developers into Testing

What tools have you used to organize yourself?

  • OneNote
  • Notes
  • Notion
  • StayFocused App
  • Slack Reminders
  • Timeblocking
  • Task Tracker
  • Shutdown Routine

How to train Devs for testing

Involving DEVs in testing -> Bug Hunt (Timebox 1hr - 2 hr)

Strengths And Improvements

What are your strengths

  • I’m always up for a challenge and saying YES to new things.
  • Being kind and compassionate, learning, sharing what I know, and amplifying the impact of those around me.
  • I’m a huge accessibility advocate

One quote I like is: “You’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.” This helps me to put in perspective that although it’s a new language and framework and the syntax may be different—the semantics are the same

What are your weaknesses?

  • DO NOT actually provide them a with a weakness.
  • Do not use negative words such as “I’m bad at this” or “I’m not good at that” and so on.
  • The best way to handle this question is to cite something you’ve yet to have the opportunity to do.

Say something such as: "One of my areas for improvement is [insert whatever here]. I’ve yet to have the opportunity to perform this function, work in this industry, study these things., etc.". At the end of your statement, make sure to add what you’ve done and are doing to gain experience in that area.

"…Even though I don’t have practical experience in that area, I’ve read [these] books, watched [these] videos, taken [these] training classes, and so on."

Where did you add the greatest value?

  • Making processes more efficient

More Questions:

  • What aspects of quality engineering do you think you're very good at?
  • What about areas where you'd like to improve? How do you plan on improving?
  • What do you consider as your big accomplishments in your current role?
  • Something you suggested to improve the process.
  • What did you like the most in your current/last job?
  • What did you not like in your current/last job?
  • What are your best skills?
  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake!

Team Player

Handling Team Conflict

Describe a time when there was a conflict within your team. How did you help resolve the conflict? Did you do anything to prevent it in the future?

  • Assume both parties have good intent and they want best thing for the team
  • Discuss with them what was their good intent to understand their perspective

Strong Disagreement

Describe a time when you strongly disagreed with a coworker about an engineering decision. How did you go about making the final decision? What did you do after the decision was made?

  1. Philosophy
  2. Process
  3. Outcome

I have a story to share but first I want to share with you my philosophy about any disagreement, People have different approaches, goals, motivations. experiences.

I first try to step back & listen what they are saying & why. I want to make sure my mind is open.

What is the ultimate goal that we are trying to achieve? Finding the best solution.

  1. Dig Deep → Understand the perspective of every person (ideas, arguments, stances); How they came to their conclusion and how you came to your conclusion; Ask Why Questions. Try to find loop holes in their arguments. This will lead to the better decision. Don't attack people; Attack ideas.
  2. Take a step back and see things from a higher level
  3. Once the decision is made, commit to the decision. Move forward as it's your decision (if it's not yours).

You can also do majority voting or escalate to the manager to take final decision (provide full context to them).

Experience: Automation Framework Design for Mobile Team (Ultimate Solution that was belnd of the two)

Tell Me About a Time When You Influenced Someone

Note: Use same approach as for Disagreement with a twisted story.

Tell me a time when you failed / What is your biggest failure?

  1. Did You Own It?
  2. What did you learn?
  3. What was the recovery/success?

Black Friday Fun, First Link not working.

Make sure to add your perspective.

Management Skills:

Develop People: How did you develop someone?

Helped a developer fill communication gaps

Handling Low Performer

Imagine you had a low performer on your team. How would you handle the situation? What would you do to help them?

  • What is Low Performance?
    • introducing defects in production
    • Not delivering on time
    • Introducing lots of defects throughout the project
    • Low performance across multiple projects
    • Repeatedly doing same mistake
    • Getting stuck often and not asking for help
  • What is the cause?
    • Lack of context in codebase
    • Junior assigned to Senior task
    • Code has tech debt
    • External dependency
    • Lack of communication
  • How to help them?
    • Offer help, make yourself available for questions
  • If no improvements, escalate it.

Work Distribution

How would you go about distributing work for a project across a team of software testers? If you've led a project in the past, describe what you did.

  • Scope out the work that is divide work into big logical/sensible pieces. Not too granular, not too high level.
  • Task that is highly critical & difficult, it should be assigned to most capable/senior person to lower the risk to the feature.
  • Balance criticality, people preference & their career trajectory.
  • Also keep logistical issues, like someone not being available for a meeting in a different time zone.

Sudden Onboarding

Imagine you and your team are in the middle of a major project at work, with many moving parts, complicated context, a lot of work, etc.. A new software engineer joins your team, and you're tasked with onboarding them; what do you do?

  • Onboarding new engineer is very important and should be taken seriously.
  • Improper onboarding results in poor employee experience and impact career trajectory of the new employee and later company performance due to poor performance of the employee.

4 Things to do to give proper onboarding experience:

  1. Proper documentation in place (Errors during environment setup)
  2. Make yourself available for any questions and unblock the new employee
  3. Carefully pick tasks/projects for them. Assign them very simple/self contained task in the beginning to give them opportunity to get familiar with the code base & how things are setup.
  4. Assign them comparatively big task that is self contained and out of critical path and they can handle alone.

Tell me about a time you had to deliver disappointing news

Production Outage

Describe a time when you had to deal with an outage at work. How did you handle the situation? What steps did you take after the issue was resolved?

  • After the issue is fixed, create post mortem report describing issue, how it got fixed, how it got identified, how it can be prevented in the future.
  • Create a playbook that describes what to do if such situation occurs.

Giving/Receiving Feedback

How do you think about receiving and giving feedback? Describe a time when you received tough feedback and/or a time when you gave tough feedback. How did you react to it? How did you give it?

  • Always give quality, constructive feedback that is direct and prompt and doesn't put things vaguely also termed as radical transparency
  • Give actionable steps to improve
  • Radical Transparency

Radical transparency means that leaders have to open themselves to oversight and be able to respond to feedback in a positive, non-defensive way.

Ask the Interviewer

Prepare your own questions to ask at the interview to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the role. Obtain key information that will help you decide if this is the right role for you.

General Questions You Can Ask the Interviewer:

  • What the next step would be? And when should I expect a reply?
  • What's your biggest challenge on the job?
  • What does your typical day at work look like?
  • Will company do X in the furture?
  • What are the learning opportunities for QE in company X?
  • What % of your time you spend on manual stuff and what on automation?
  • What are the best and worst parts of your job?

Role Specific Questions:

  • How has this position become available? Is this a new position
  • Who held the position previously and where are they now?
  • Describe a typical day in this department? Week? Month?
  • What are the three main responsibilities of this position?
  • What would you say are the top priorities of this job?
  • What are the key objectives of this position?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities this job holds?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to success in this position?
  • What qualities are you looking for in the person who will be hired?
  • What deadlines would I be dealing with?
  • What scope for decision making does this position have? Independent work? Increased levels of responsibility?
  • Where does this position fit into the company or organization?
  • What are the best parts of your job and this company?
  • What are current challenges you or the company face?
  • Who makes decisions about priorities? How are those decisions made?
  • What I have accomplished in an year, that you'll consider as a successful hire?

Leadership, Team, and Corporate Culture

  • What is it like to work here?
  • Who would I supervise? Who would be my boss?
  • Can you tell me more about the person I would be reporting to?
  • How would you describe the team that I would be joining? How big is the team? The department?
  • Can you tell me more about your customer service approach?
  • Your products/services? Your expansion plans? Your community service?
  • The company or organization’s history? (Tie the answers to your research.)
  • Based on the direction of the company, what do you think will be company's approach about testing in the next three years?
  • If you were to give me an offer and I was to accept it, within one week of starting this job, what will be my biggest surprise?

Performance Management and Career Development

  • How will performance be measured and how often?
  • Where might this position lead?
  • Are there any opportunities to take training courses?
  • How would orientation be handled? Training? Probation?


  • Based on our conversation, how well do you see me fitting in here?
  • Are there any concerns you have about my background? My skills?
  • Is there anything else I can tell you?

Coding Skills Assessment

While doing live/white board coding, keep these principles in mind:

  1. Descriptive Variable Naming
  2. Abstraction (separate code into logical methods i.e make use of helper methods)
  3. Documentation
  4. Descriptive Code
  5. Idiomatic Coding Style (use of map, filter etc in JS)
  6. Testing


  • Clear ambiguity if any.
  • Voice your thought process
  • Discuss Tradeoffs (Space Vs Code readability)