TestGorilla LogoTestGorilla Logo

How to hire a skilled QA team and build error-free applications


While businesses in most industries do some sort of quality assurance (QA), this business function is especially prevalent in software development. Testing and vetting a software product is crucial before it can reach the market, because an underdeveloped product can tank a company’s reputation and sales. 

With this in mind, finding and hiring professionals who can easily spot and remove bugs becomes essential.

In this article, we’ll look at how to build an effective QA team for your company. We’ll go over the following topics:

  • The purpose of QA teams

  • Key roles within QA teams – and their responsibilities

  • Essential skills to look for 

  • A step-by-step QA hiring guide

What do QA teams do?

QA teams are responsible for creating and running tests, solving any issues that might arise during the testing phase, communicating and providing feedback to clients, and ensuring that the final product meets clients’ expectations before it hits the market. 

Why QA teams are crucial to help meet client expectations chart

According to Zandesk, 50% of your customers will go to your competitor after one bad experience with your product. This number goes up to 80% if they have two or more negative experiences. 

Those staggering numbers show the need for quality control and assurance in all industries, especially in software development. 

If you don’t have a technical background, however, it can be difficult to know what QA professionals do. You’ll find the most essential responsibilities of QA teams below:

  • Requirements analysis: Before starting the testing phase, your QA team needs to determine what your client is looking for. This includes working with them to iron out the details of your service level agreement (SLA) and ensure they are on the same page with the client.

  • Planning: If in the past QA teams waited for the development team to finish their work before commencing their tests, nowadays the testing phase begins simultaneously with product development. This leaves less room for error, because all team members can brainstorm and work together to create a better product. 

  • Status updates: The QA team must be able to provide detailed information about how product testing is going whenever the project manager or the client requests it. In this case, they must work shoulder-to-shoulder with the development team so they know what’s happening. 

  • Error prevention: If software engineers spend a lot of time fixing bugs, this can quickly become costly. It’s the task of the QA team to find bugs and fix them before they start causing expensive headaches. 

  • Validation and maintenance: Once the QA team finishes their tests, the software development team can move on to deployment. Once the product goes live, the QA team will continue monitoring user behavior, collecting feedback, and suggesting improvements and updates of the product as needed. 

What are the most essential roles in a QA team?

A successful QA team comprises various professionals with different tasks and goals who ensure a product is fully tested and ready for the market. 

The most important roles in a QA team are:

QA manager

The QA manager is in charge of managing the entire QA department. 

They are the link between the QA team and the client or other departments. They also devise the QA strategy for each project and hand out tasks to each member. 

They would also be in charge of completing projects within budget, estimating the necessary time and effort, and delivering reports and updates to all stakeholders.

QA lead

The QA lead supervises and controls the work of QA team members.

While the QA manager has more of an administrative role, the QA lead will actually control the team’s work and collaborate with team members on locating and fixing problems. 

Strong technical expertise and managerial qualities are necessary for this role, because the QA lead must provide guidance and understand what each team member is doing. 

QA engineer

QA engineers are responsible for the quality of the final product before it reaches the market.  

To execute tests at all stages of the development process, they must have strong knowledge of:

  • Coding principles

  • Framework development

  • QA automations

Depending on the scope of your project, you may hire:

  • QA software engineers, who are responsible for monitoring every stage of software development 

  • Automation engineers, who are in charge of creating and deploying automated testing processes

Skilled QA engineers will be familiar with all testing processes, regardless of whether they are QA software or automation engineers. However, having dedicated personnel for each role will create a more meticulous testing process. 

Test architect 

The test architect is responsible for designing and creating the testing infrastructure the QA team will use. They must understand the project's requirements and the team's resources and develop a testing infrastructure to meet the project’s needs. 

Test architects also aim to:

  • Develop tests that can be reused on future projects 

  • Build frameworks for automation tests

QA analyst

QA analysts focus on documenting and analyzing test results and identifying areas of improvement.

They work closely with the QA team lead and manager to analyze business needs, define success criteria, and ensure each testing automation idea is viable. 

Skills to look for when building a QA team

When building your QA team, you need to look for people with specific QA skills so they can carry out their roles successfully. 

Here are some of the key skills you should look for:

QA hard skills 

Core hard skills that you should hire for include programming, tracking and fixing bugs, and familiarity with essential QA tools for test management. 

1. Programming skills

QA team members should have a working knowledge of certain programming languages.

In order to perform testing automations, they need to know how to use the main programming languages your development team is using, like, for example, C#, Ruby, Java, and Python

Not all members need to be proficient coders, but if they all have a working knowledge of the languages you use, this will enable you to build a more robust QA team.

2. Tracking and fixing bugs

Tracking bugs, debugging code, and maintaining a bug database is one of the core skills to look for in all QA team members. 

Bug tracking is the process of identifying, documenting, and resolving issues in the software’s code. When done properly, bug tracking provides visibility of what is happening with the product, and different team members can address issues on time. 

3. Familiarity with testing software and tools 

In order to deal with bug tracking and test management efficiently, QA team members need to be familiar with certain tools and software. These include:

  • Bug tracking tools: BugHerd, Mantis Bug Tracker, Stryka

  • Test management tools: TestRail, Jira, QAComplete

  • Project tracking: ClickUp, Asana

QA soft skills

Apart from technical knowledge, QA candidates must possess certain soft skills to perform well on the job, such as:

1. Problem solving

Since your QA team’s main job is running tests and finding and removing problems, they must possess excellent problem-solving skills.

Effective problem solvers use a systematic approach to break down a problem into more manageable parts, find the root cause of the problem, and fix it.

2. Attention to detail 

Attention to detail is another important skill for QA teams; the detection of bugs requires excellent observation abilities.

QA team members with strong attention to detail will be more thorough with their work, which enables them to minimize errors and be accurate when testing applications. 

3. Communication 

If a member of your QA team finds a problem but cannot manage it themselves, they need to report it so that someone with more expertise can take over. 

Strong communicators can not only relay information to relevant parties, but are also active listeners. They’re interested in receiving feedback and constructive criticism and know how to use that information to improve their skills and work. 

In the case of your QA lead and team manager, they must also be able to communicate with the client or key stakeholders in easy-to-understand terms and explain the project’s progress at all times.

4. Critical thinking 

Finally, critical thinking enables a person to question, analyze, and interpret information and make a judgment on a specific issue. Evaluate critical thinking skills during recruitment to see how applicants approach new ideas and make conclusions. 

Look for QA candidates who can think creatively and find novel solutions to problems they encounter.

How to build a successful QA team: A step-by-step guide

Now that you know the essential roles in your QA team and what skills to look for, it’s time to start the QA recruitment process. Follow our step-by-step process, and you’ll find qualified candidates with ease. 

Step 1: Define the structure of your future QA team

In most cases, your QA team will have a hierarchical structure. The QA manager will be at the helm, followed by the QA lead, with everyone else reporting to them. 

However, that structure will depend on the size of your company and/or project. 

A single QA engineer will do the job for a small project, like a simple app. If you’re working on a more complex project, like a large enterprise software program, you’ll need an entire QA team with specific tasks assigned to each role. 

Step 2: Identify the roles for which you need to hire

Depending on the scope and complexity of the project you’re looking to build, you might need anything from a single QA expert to a dedicated QA team assigned to your project. 

If the project is smaller, a part-time worker or freelancer could do the job for a fraction of the cost. 

Hiring a full-time QA team will be best if you have a large ongoing project they’d need to work on. Obviously, the cost of hiring a dedicated in-house team will be higher, so ensure you have sufficient funds when making this decision. 

Step 3: Define key QA skills for each role

Once you’ve decided whether you’ll be hiring a full-time team or freelancers and defined for which roles to hire, you need to define the specific skills you’re looking for. 

If you’re hiring a QA manager or QA lead, you’ll want to make sure they have excellent leadership and organizational qualities.

If you’re hiring QA engineers, analysts, and architects, you should look for people who have strong technical expertise.

Based on what roles you’re hiring for, you can decide on the tests you can use to evaluate your candidates’ skills. 

Step 4: Source QA candidates

Your next step is to find eligible candidates. Consider the following options:

  • LinkedIn: It’s always a great idea to look for and approach candidates on LinkedIn 

  • External agencies: If you don’t have an internal QA team but have a big project coming along and not enough time to look for new hires, you can outsource the entire project to a software development agency.

  • Freelance job boards: If you decide to hire part-time employees or freelancers, consider job boards like Upwork and Fiverr. For more complex projects, you could use Toptal, which is a platform pre-vetted freelance software development experts, including QA engineers

  • Referrals: Employee referral programs are another great way to find new employees

Step 5: Evaluate QA skills

Once you source eligible candidates, it’s time to evaluate their skills.

TestGorilla offers numerous pre-employment skills tests that will enable you to identify your best applicants fairly and objectively – and without relying on resumes. In fact, 70% of employers agree that skills-based hiring yields better results than resume screening, according to our 2023 Report on the State of Skills-Based Hiring.

When you evaluate skills early on in your hiring process, you effectively shorten the hiring time, reduce hiring costs and staff turnover, and avoid hiring biases and mis-hires. 

With TestGorilla, you can combine up to five skills tests in a single assessment. Our top QA skills test recommendations are: 

  • QA testing skills: Make sure applicants have the right QA skills to manage projects, use the right testing and execution methods, and communicate effectively with others.

  • Algorithms for software engineering: Assess applicants’ knowledge in algorithms used in software development, including growth functions, sorting algorithms, divide-and-conquer approaches, and more.

  • Critical thinking: Find out whether your candidates have the right analytical skills to assess complex information and make the right decisions.

  • Communication: This test enables you to identify applicants who have excellent communication skills in a professional setting.

  • Problem solving: Problem solving skills are essential for any QA role; with this test, you’ll be able to make sure your candidates have what it takes to solve problems efficiently.

  • Attention to detail: QA work is all about spotting errors; use this test to see whether candidates are capable of paying attention to the tiniest details.

Step 6: Use the right QA interview questions

Once you assess applicants’ skills with skills tests, it’s time to invite your best talent to an interview. 

Here are some questions you can use to evaluate QA professionals’ abilities: 

  1. What is a test case, and can you outline how to create one?

  2. How do you prioritize testing tasks in a project?

  3. What is regression testing, and why is it important?

  4. How do you approach testing a product with little documentation?

  5. What methodologies (e.g., Agile, Waterfall) are you familiar with?

  6. How do you handle missed deadlines or delays in testing?

  7. How would you set up a QA process from scratch in a new company?

  8. Can you discuss the role of QA in a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) environment?

  9. Describe a time when you significantly improved a testing process.

  10. How do you handle testing for non-functional requirements (e.g., performance, security)?

If you need more ideas for QA questions to ask, check out our: 

Step 7: Hire and onboard new employees

The final step is to hire and onboard your new QA staff.  

Onboarding is the process of welcoming new employees and introducing them to the rest of the team, familiarizing them with internal rules and processes, and providing them with training and the right tools to start working as soon as possible. 

Follow our onboarding best practices to seamlessly welcome your new recruits into your team.

Hire the best QA team with TestGorilla

Hiring your future QA team can be a breeze when you have the right tools at your disposal.

The most important thing is to know the scope of your project, which will determine what roles you need to hire for and how many new QA professionals you might need. Use pre-employment skills testing to make sure you’re able to hire the best candidates. 

So don’t wait; sign up for your free TestGorilla plan or a 30-minute live demo with one of our experts to start building your QA team today. 


Hire the best candidates with TestGorilla

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

TestGorilla Logo

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Free resources

Anti-cheating checklist

This checklist covers key features you should look for when choosing a skills testing platform

Onboarding checklist

This resource will help you develop an onboarding checklist for new hires.

How to find candidates with strong attention to detail

How to assess your candidates' attention to detail.

How to get HR certified

Learn how to get human resources certified through HRCI or SHRM.

Improve quality of hire

Learn how you can improve the level of talent at your company.

Case study
Case study: How CapitalT reduces hiring bias

Learn how CapitalT reduced hiring bias with online skills assessments.

Resume screening guide

Learn how to make the resume process more efficient and more effective.

Recruiting metrics
Important recruitment metrics

Improve your hiring strategy with these 7 critical recruitment metrics.

Case study
Case study: How Sukhi reduces shortlisting time

Learn how Sukhi decreased time spent reviewing resumes by 83%!

12 pre-employment testing hacks

Hire more efficiently with these hacks that 99% of recruiters aren't using.

The benefits of diversity

Make a business case for diversity and inclusion initiatives with this data.