Are you offering a career in testing or just a job?

Many companies are offering a job in testing.

Many companies are offering a career in testing.

Testing - A Job or a Career
Testing – A Job or a Career

A career is a series of experiences. These experiences may come from many  jobs at many companies. Or they may come from a single place of work with a varied set of experiences.

A job is what some companies are offering. And there is nothing wrong with this.

Jobs are good. So too are careers. Some people can experience more in a single company than others may experience in 10 other jobs.

Being honest about the role you have is the key to getting the right person.

If you are offering a job then say so. If you are offering a career then say so too.

Some people just want a job. Some people want a career. It’s important to match the person and the job. By matching the right people to the right jobs you stand a chance of solving your problems. (You are solving a problem..right?)

It seems so simple but it’s a mistake many hiring managers make.

Get it wrong and you spend money recruiting the wrong person.

I once took a role that I believed to be a career. When I joined it was clear it was a job. I didn’t want a job, I wanted a career. I knew I would never get that at this company – I left after just 6 days (3 of which were spent trying to find out who to hand my notice in to).

I’ve also made the mistake of hiring people who wanted a job when I was offering them a career. It’s not good.

One is no better than another. Someone who takes a number of jobs can build a strong career.

Contractors, by their nature, are often looking for the next job. But they can build a strong career from those different jobs.

Your task is to match the right person to the right role.

In the interview be clear about what you are offering and strive to understand what the candidate wants.

Is it a job, or a career?

Be honest with the candidate and you’ll likely get the right match. Get it wrong and you’ll have probably hired the wrong person.

7 thoughts on “Are you offering a career in testing or just a job?

  1. Hi Rob

    Aside from the excellent general advice here on recruitment, isn’t there also an underlying issue with testing careers in many IT organisations?

    In my experience organisations offer a career path to developers, but not to testers. Testers are trapped in dead end Release Testing roles (, When an organisation moves to a Continuous Testing model, testers are freed up to become genuine exploratory testers and can become a subject matter expert, BA, or product owner if they wish.



    1. Steve,

      Absolutely agree – most testers are treated as second class citizens. In some cases they don’t help themselves by complying with some ridiculous ideas about testing but in some cases they simply cannot be heard due to poor management and lack of respect for testing.

      I see the same thing with the Continuous Delivery model – the tester can gain more respect as an expert. The reality though is that not all testers are capable of doing this which sometime purpetuates the idea that testers are not valued.

      I remember a talk a well known test leader did at Agile Testing Days when talking about moving to agile and rapid releases – he said something along the lines of “we should hide incompetent testers from management” or something like that – I blogged about it years ago here –

      What this implies is that there is room for incompetent testers in other models of delivery – and we wonder why testers get little respect 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  2. It’s quite easy to understand what is offered just from the size of the company and the complexity of the products,
    I guess it would be even more interesting to discuss what does the company offer as career path, as well as what training it offers during this path.
    Today, with the low budget, many companies are more reluctant to send employees to course & conference.

    @halperinko – Kobi Halperin

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure it has anything to do with the size of the company. There may be fewer opportunities in larger massive corporates but I know of people on great career paths in big companies. Smaller companies too can promise the moon-on-a-stick and not deliver on this. I think the budget is the interesting part – although some large companies have huge training budgets but choose to send all of their staff on certification courses 🙂

      The discussion is the key part – but this does also rely on the hiring manager being honest about what they can deliver – I’ve been lied to so many times. That’s why I’m honest in interviews about the reality of the work I do.

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. Wow! This post is fantastic.
    Whenever I’ve thought of “Job vs Career” I’ve always thought of the perspective of the person and not the company. I’ve always assumed that there is always a career on offer, but it was down to the individual to take that opportunity or not.

    I’ve recently realised that there might be situations where a career might be blocked in some way, for whatever reason in an organisation. But reading this post has definitely made the penny drop around the perspective of the company not actually offering a career, but just a job… It makes so much sense now.

    1. Thanks Dan!

      Great to hear that this post helped to clarify a few things. A lot of companies also pretend to offer a career but don’t provide the opportunities. I hear about this a lot from people who have been promised X only to find it’s not possible to achieve it.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Dan.


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