The Impossible Job

The Impossible Job


I’ve been recruiting recently and whilst researching the typical job ads and roles available here in the UK for style and content I noticed a worrying trend. Well, to be honest I noticed several worrying trends but don’t get me started on why certification should NOT appear as the number 1 requirement for any tester…


The trend I noticed was the impossible job.


The impossible job requires you to predict the future.
“Test plans should be prepared in advanced to cover all eventualities”
“Your Test Plan should explain in detail what will and will not be tested prior to testing, to ensure no defects escape to live”
“Your test cases will cover all user interactions”
“Your ability to release zero defect software will be exceptional”


The impossible job requires you to do exhaustive testing.
“No defects will be released to live”
“You must cover all features and functions in full depth”
“You will be expected to provide complete test coverage”
“Your ability to release zero defect software will be exceptional”

The impossible job requires you to be the Quality Control.
“The product quality will be exceptional because of your expert testing ability”
“The product quality issues will be solved before release through excellent testing”
“You will ensure that the product is of exceptional quality”
“Your ability to release zero defect software will be exceptional”

The impossible job requires you to be the master of everything.
“You will be an experienced Test Manager, expert Programmer, talented Performance Test Engineer and amazingly experienced electrician”
“You will be an experienced test lead, have lead large and small teams, have every certification possible, be well verses in C#, Java, Python, Ruby, and C++ whilst also being a talented performance tester and capable of seriously great exploratory testing. You will also be required to help out on support, do sales pitches, prepare legal paperwork, set up and configure the internal IT infrastructure and have some knowledge of agile principles”
“Your ability to release zero defect software will be exceptional”


Always be wary of the impossible Job.


(Disclaimer : The text in speech marks was paraphrased and didn’t exist in this form in the original job adverts – I may also have made some of it up)
(Disclaimer : From first hand experience, you don’t need to set impossible job roles to get the right people)
(Thought : Could the impossible job be the cause of misused metrics…or the effect of misused metrics…or both?)

8 thoughts on “The Impossible Job

  1. Metrics have a minor role. The Impossible Job happens because of a more basic misconception: that managers are not responsible for the quality of the work that they manage.I recommend Jerry Weinberg’s Quality Software Management series, and Perfect Software and other Illusions About Testing.—Michael B.

  2. I used to be wary of going for roles advertised in a way that suggested the writer really didn’t know what they were talking about. Now I just don’t bother with them.Ever had that strange feeling in an interview when you realise that you know more than the supposed expert who is interviewing you, and you can also see that the interviewer has twigged too and is feeling uncomfortable? The rest of the interview is generally pointless.

  3. Nice post (could easily become cartoon material) but are you saying that certification should appear as the number 2 requirement for any tester? ;o)

  4. Hi all@Dave – I’ve seen many jobs that ask for several years of experience for a tool that’s only been out a few years – classic mistake@Michael Bolton – Absolutely. I use metrics all of the time also, but they aren’t the only things I use to inform my decisions and reporting. Thanks for the book suggestion.@James Christie – Oh I know what you mean. I’ve been in several interviews/conversations like that and it is just pointless – you know you’re not going to get the job…there is no way they would employ someone who knows more than them…unless they were super smart :)@Andy Glover – I’m looking forward to some cartoons on the subject. Lol – I don’t believe certification should be ignored or held against people, but it shouldn’t be a marker of excellence and certainly not used as a filter for application@phil kirkham – Indeed – Guru of everything for not a lot of money@Tarun K – 100% automation – Always a killer. :)Thanksrob

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