A few days ago, I got the following email from a recruitment agent.


I’m sorry if the email does not apply to you.

I’m currently working on behalf of a client who are looking for a Contract Systems Tester for an intial 3 month period to start immediately. The role is to help implement best testing practice across the company,please find a brief outline below

They need to be able to work on their own and not need handholding. Be able to supervise others in the team that are less experience. In brief their tasks will include:

– Writing of System Test Plans in compliance with the project Gantt and plan

– Writing of System Test Scripts, Conditions and Results

– Completion of test runs in accordance with Functional requirements and solution design

– Reporting of bugs and follow through to resolution

– Managing the customer during UAT reporting of bugs to technical staff and resolution thereafter

– Reporting of progress to the Project Manager

– Be deadline driven

Most of that is standard cookie cutter stuff, there’s certainly nothing that stands out and grabs my attention, nothing that would make me think, ‘Wow, I want that role’.

There were two lines though that I was struck by, but for the wrong reasons.

To help implement best testing practice

I’m more taken with the principles of the Context-Driven school of testing than ISEB/ISQTB, and they quite clearly point out that there is no such thing as best practices.

Maybe if you’re repeating the same task day after day, then there are some ways of doing things that will become ‘best’, but testing is about finding new things every day; looking at changes to existing applications as well as entirely new ones, always trying to come up with new ways of finding defects.

Be deadline driven

‘Deadline Aware’ maybe at a stretch, but deadlines aren’t what drive me, quality is. By that, I mean that I want to make sure that as many of the bugs in there have been found, and that the development team has had a chance to address them. I’d prefer to ship a higher quality application late, than a broken application on time.

(Note: There have been times when an application I’ve been testing has had to go live with serious known defects. This has usually been due to external influences, such as tax and month end issues, but this has so far proven the exception rather than the rule.)

I’m also compelled to point out the typo on ‘experience‘ – we testers do tend to have an eye for detail! (And yes, I know that’s not the only issue with the text.)

It’s a tough economic climate out there, with hundreds of applicants chasing every application. Does that really justify ads like the above?