10 Risk-based testing Interview Questions and Answers for qa engineers

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If you're preparing for qa engineer interviews, see also our comprehensive interview questions and answers for the following qa engineer specializations:

1. What made you interested in specializing in risk-based testing?

My interest in risk-based testing began during my time at a previous company, where there was a significant increase in the number of software failures reported by users. I found that many of these failures could have been identified and prevented through proper risk assessment and testing.

Digging deeper, I found that the costs associated with these failures, both in terms of monetary losses and damage to the company's reputation, were significant. In fact, a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that software failures cost the US economy an estimated $59.5 billion annually.

  1. Through my research, I discovered that implementing risk-based testing could significantly reduce the likelihood of software failures while also saving companies a significant amount of money. For example, a study by the University of Houston found that a major software company was able to reduce their overall testing effort by 32% while improving the quality of their software through the use of risk-based testing.
  2. Furthermore, I became interested in the challenge of identifying potential risks and implementing testing strategies to mitigate them. This requires a deep understanding of both the software being tested and the potential risks associated with its use.
  3. Overall, my interest in risk-based testing stems from a desire to improve software quality, reduce costs associated with failure, and constantly challenge myself to identify and mitigate potential risks.

2. Can you explain your process for identifying and prioritizing risks in a project?

My process for identifying and prioritizing risks in a project includes the following steps:

  1. Review project requirements and create a risk register: The first step in my process is to review the project requirements and create a risk register that lists all potential risks that could impact the project.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment: Next, I conduct a risk assessment to evaluate the likelihood and impact of each risk on the project. I use a risk matrix to analyze each risk and assign it a level of risk based on its likelihood and impact.
  3. Identify high-risk items: Once I have conducted a risk assessment, I identify the high-risk items that are most likely to impact the project. I prioritize these risks based on their potential impact on the project's schedule, budget, and scope.
  4. Create a risk management plan: I create a risk management plan that outlines the steps that will be taken to mitigate and manage the high-risk items. This includes assigning responsibilities for each risk item and defining the steps that will be taken to mitigate it.
  5. Monitor and update the risk register: Throughout the project, I regularly review the risk register and monitor the status of each risk item. If any changes occur, I update the risk register and make any necessary adjustments to the risk management plan.

By using this process, I have successfully identified and mitigated numerous risks that could have impacted project timelines and budgets. For example, in a recent project, I identified a potential issue with a third-party vendor that could have delayed the project's completion date. By working closely with the vendor and implementing a mitigation strategy, we were able to avoid any delays and complete the project on time.

3. What strategies do you use to mitigate identified risks and ensure quality assurance?

As a Risk-based testing expert, I always aim to mitigate risks and ensure high-quality results. To achieve this, I heavily rely on a variety of strategies, such as:

  1. Developing a comprehensive risk management plan that outlines all identified risks and their potential impact on project deliverables. This helps me prioritize the risks and develop a mitigation strategy for the most critical ones.
  2. Creating an effective testing strategy that ensures complete test coverage and identifies any issues early in the development cycle. By doing so, I can quickly address any gaps in the test plan and improve the overall testing quality.
  3. Identifying and establishing a robust quality assurance process that is integrated into the development process. This helps me identify any issues early on, ensuring that they are fixed before they cause significant problems.
  4. Using automation tools to automate repetitive test cases to reduce manual errors and speed up the testing process. This has proven to save time and improve the efficiency of testing.
  5. Encouraging proactive communication and collaboration among the team members. I am always open to feedback and suggestions; therefore, we can identify risks earlier and work to mitigate them before they become serious problems.
  6. Regularly reviewing the testing results and metrics data to identify trends and patterns. This way, I can identify any problem areas and adjust the testing strategy to ensure maximum effectiveness.
  7. Conducting comprehensive post-project reviews to identify areas where the testing strategy could be improved. This helps me refine my approach and ensures that I am continually improving my risk-based testing techniques.

These are just some of the strategies I use to mitigate risks and ensure quality assurance. Using these methods, I have achieved significant results, including:

  • Reducing overall development time by 20% through identifying risks and potential issues earlier in the development process
  • Increasing overall testing efficiency by 30% through the use of automation tools and improved communication strategies
  • Reducing post-launch defects by 25% by conducting thorough post-project reviews and refining the testing strategy based on results.

4. How do you balance the need for thorough testing with the constraints of time and resources available?

As a risk-based tester, I prioritize testing efforts based on the areas of the application where critical functionality is located, and where defects are likely to generate the most significant impact. This approach allows me to balance the need for thorough testing with the constraints of time and resources available.

  1. First, I work closely with developers and stakeholders to identify the most critical functionality in the application that needs the most attention. For example, if we are testing a financial application, the core accounting functions would be prioritized over UI changes.
  2. Next, I use my risk analysis skills to assess the likelihood and potential impact of defects in each area. For example, a defect in the authentication process that exposes sensitive user data would be prioritized higher than a cosmetic issue.
  3. Based on this analysis, I create a testing plan that includes the most crucial test cases for each identified area. I also organize the testing plan into critical, user-impacting scenarios that must be tested immediately and less-urgent scenarios that can be deferred.
  4. To optimize time and resources, I use test automation wherever possible. I establish a regression testing strategy that makes use of automated test cases to ensure that both the new features and existing functionality have been tested effectively.
  5. Lastly, I continuously monitor and analyze the results of our testing efforts to identify areas where more testing is required. This allows me to update our testing plan to include any missed critical areas, ensuring we have thorough testing coverage.

Using this approach in a previous role, I was instrumental in delivering a project on time with over 95% test coverage while maintaining a high level of quality. This approach allowed us to focus on the most essential areas of the application while ensuring thorough testing coverage and optimal resource utilization.

5. Can you give an example of a particularly challenging risk you encountered and how you addressed it?

During my time working as a software tester for XYZ company, I came across a particularly challenging risk while working on a project for a client in the healthcare industry.

  1. The risk involved ensuring that the software was HIPAA compliant and could handle sensitive patient information securely.
  2. In order to address this risk, I first conducted a thorough analysis of the requirements and protocols outlined by HIPAA regulations.
  3. Next, I worked closely with the development team to implement security measures such as data encryption and secure data storage.
  4. We also conducted rigorous testing, including vulnerability scans and penetration testing, to identify any potential security weaknesses in the software.
  5. As a result, we were able to deliver a secure and compliant software solution that exceeded the client's expectations.
  6. The software was able to handle sensitive patient data without any incidents or breaches, and the client was extremely satisfied with the final product.
  7. Thanks to our thorough risk assessment and testing processes, we were able to successfully mitigate the risk and achieve a positive outcome for both the client and the end-users of the software.

6. What metrics do you use to track the effectiveness of risk-based testing?

As a risk-based testing professional, I understand the importance of tracking metrics to measure the effectiveness of our testing strategies. Here are some of the metrics I utilize:

  1. Percentage of high-risk test cases executed: This metric shows the number of high-risk test cases executed out of the total high-risk test cases identified. In my previous project, we identified 50 high-risk test cases, and we executed 48 of them. This showed a high level of coverage and helped to uncover critical defects.
  2. Defect detection percentage: This metric measures the number of defects found during testing against the total number of defects identified. In my previous project, we found 120 defects during testing, and there were a total of 150 defects identified. This showed that our testing was effective at uncovering defects.
  3. Defect severity distribution: This metric categorizes defects based on their severity, such as trivial, minor, major, or critical. This helps to prioritize defects and focus on the most critical issues first. In my previous project, we identified 10 critical defects, 30 major defects, 50 minor defects, and 60 trivial defects.
  4. Test coverage percentage: This metric measures the percentage of the requirements covered during testing. In my previous project, we achieved 95% test coverage, meaning we tested almost all the requirements specified in the project.
  5. Test execution cycle time: This metric measures the time it takes to execute all the test cases identified. In my previous project, it took us 3 weeks to execute all test cases for a particular release, which showed we had a robust testing plan and a high level of efficiency.

These metrics helped my team to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve our risk-based testing strategies. I am dedicated to using relevant metrics to ensure that the risk-based testing approach is thorough and meets its objectives.

7. How do you collaborate and communicate with developers and other stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive approach to risk-based testing?

Collaboration and communication are key in ensuring a comprehensive approach to risk-based testing. I believe in fostering an open dialogue with developers, product managers, and other stakeholders to understand their perspectives and priorities.

  1. To start, I hold regular meetings with the development team to go over any new or planned changes to the product. This allows us to identify potential areas of risk and discuss how we can mitigate each risk, without sacrificing the quality of the product.
  2. I also leverage communication tools, such as Slack and Jira, to ensure that all stakeholders are up-to-date with any changes or updates in real-time. This helps us avoid any delays in addressing potential risks or issues.
  3. In addition to regular discussions and updates with developers, I also collaborate with product managers to understand any new features, changes, or updates they are planning. This helps me identify potential areas of risk and ensure that we are fully testing and mitigating those risks before releasing any updates.
  4. One concrete example of my collaborative approach occurred during a project in which we were implementing a new billing system. After speaking with both developers and stakeholders, I identified a potential risk around data security. I collaborated with the development team to implement robust data encryption protocols and worked with stakeholders to ensure they were satisfied with the final solution.
  5. Another example of my collaborative approach occurred during a project in which I identified a potential risk around user experience. After speaking with users, I collaborated with the development team to conduct additional user testing and implemented changes to address any issues identified.

Overall, my collaborative approach has ensured a comprehensive approach to risk-based testing, resulting in high-quality products and satisfied stakeholders.

8. Can you walk me through your experience with test automation and how you incorporate it into your risk-based testing approach?

Test automation and risk-based testing approach

  1. My experience with test automation is quite diverse. I have worked on several projects where I have implemented a wide range of test automation frameworks, tools, and techniques. One of the projects that I worked on was a web-based application where I automated about 80% of the tests, which helped in reducing the testing cycle time from 24 hours to just 6 hours.
  2. In my experience, I have found that a risk-based testing approach is most effective when combined with test automation. By identifying the key risk areas of the application, I can focus my test automation efforts on the areas that require the most attention. In one project I worked on, I used a risk matrix to prioritize my testing efforts. This allowed me to identify the most high-risk areas of the application and to focus my test automation efforts on those areas.
  3. One of the key benefits of incorporating test automation into a risk-based testing approach is that it helps to reduce the overall risks associated with the application. By automating the tests in the high-risk areas, I can identify defects in these areas quickly and efficiently. This prevents the defects from moving forward in the test cycle and ultimately reaching production.
  4. Another advantage of using test automation in a risk-based testing approach is that it helps to improve the overall quality of the application. By automating the tests, I can run them more frequently and get instant feedback on the defects. This allows me to identify and fix the defects quickly, which leads to a more stable and reliable application.

Overall, my experience with test automation and risk-based testing approach has shown me that the two approaches work well together. By focusing my test automation efforts on the high-risk areas of the application, I can identify and fix defects quickly and efficiently, reducing the overall risks and improving the quality of the application.

9. Have you ever identified a risk that was not initially considered by the development team? If so, how did you address it?

During my time as a risk-based tester at XYZ Company, there was an instance where I identified a potential risk that was not initially considered by the development team. The team had not considered the impact of a third-party API that was being integrated into the system.

  1. To address the risk, I first brought it up to the development team in a meeting where we discussed the potential impact of the API on the system. Through this discussion, we identified that there could be a potential outage in case the API was not available.

  2. We then decided to conduct a risk assessment and prioritize the risk based on its potential impact and likelihood of occurrence.

  3. As a result of the risk assessment, we decided to add a fallback mechanism in case the API was not available. This involved implementing a secondary API to be used as a backup in case of any issues with the primary API.

  4. We also conducted additional testing to ensure that the fallback mechanism was working as expected. This included running integration tests, reliability tests, and failure scenario tests to validate the fallback API's ability to provide a seamless experience to end-users.

Our efforts paid off as we were able to quickly detect a few incidents where the primary API was unavailable, but the fallback mechanism kicked in without any issue. This prevented any outage, and our users continued to use the system without any interruptions.

This experience taught me the importance of being proactive in identifying potential risks and conducting a thorough risk assessment to mitigate the impact on the system. By doing so, we were able to ensure that our users had a seamless experience, and the system was available without any interruptions.

10. In your opinion, what role does risk-based testing play in the overall software development lifecycle?

Risk-based testing plays a crucial role in the overall software development lifecycle as it enables the identification of high-risk areas in the software application. Conducting risk-based testing ensures that the testing team focuses their efforts on the areas of the software that pose the highest risk to the business or end-users. By doing so, it reduces the likelihood of defects slipping through the cracks and being released to the end-users, which could result in reputation damage or financial losses.

  1. For instance, at my previous company, we implemented risk-based testing for a complex trading platform that involved financial transactions. By conducting a risk assessment, we were able to identify that the order placement feature presented the highest risk to the end-users, as it involved large sums of money. We prioritized the testing efforts on that particular feature, performing thorough testing and ensuring that any defects were addressed before the release.
  2. The results showed that post-release, there were no critical defects that impacted the order placement feature, and the end-users could confidently use the platform without any issues. It resulted in positive feedback from the clients and increased usage of the platform, leading to a 15% revenue increase.

In conclusion, risk-based testing is an essential aspect of the software development lifecycle, allowing the testing team to focus their efforts on what matters most to the business and the end-users. It ensures the delivery of high-quality software that meets the users' needs, resulting in increased adoption and revenue for the company.


Congratulations on mastering these essential risk-based testing interview questions! Now that you've polished your skills and prepared for your interview, it's time to take the next steps towards securing your dream remote QA position. One critical step is to create an impressive cover letter that highlights your skills and experience. We've created a comprehensive guide to help you craft the perfect cover letter, which you can find here:

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Another important step is to create an attractive CV that showcases your expertise. Our guide to writing a great resume for QA engineers will help you to create a compelling document. Check it out here:

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