Improbable Defence test practice: come apply to us
What does a hiring manager in Defence look for in a person when they apply to work with us in the test practice?
We completely appreciate that we’re asking you to put a lot of time and thought into your application, so we try to help people fully prepare by being clear about who we are, what we do and what we’re looking for.
Our Quality Engineering managers, Kalpen Patel and Elizabeth Fiennes, offer six tips for testers looking to represent themselves to the best of their ability during the application process.
Tell us what you want
Invest in yourself and take some time to consider what you want from your next company. Be as clear and detailed as you can – writing it in a list often helps. We cannot emphasise how useful this will be to you in finding a company that works for you. This may be Improbable, it may not be, but taking the time to do this will pay dividends.
Think about what has worked for you before in terms of role, responsibilities, environment, teams, culture, management style, tech, learning and project types. What new things would you like to work on as part of your next role?
Being able to articulate what you want allows us to be able to tell you to what degree we can offer that to you. Come prepared to share your list so we can have a good chat and see where we have common ground.
List your accomplishments
Good ideas: you’ve had them. We’d love to hear them. The talent and test teams read every word of all candidate CVs and they can’t wait to learn more about you and what you’ve accomplished.
Please do tell us about who you’ve mentored and coached. Pairing and sharing for the benefit of all the teams around us are an essential part of our DNA. If you value that as a cultural net benefit, tell us about the times you’ve done it too.
It’s great if you’ve worked on every flavour of operating system since Windows ‘95, but it’s a better use of your time to tell us about the changes you have contributed to or the innovations you’ve driven.
Please don’t use your valuable time writing CVs that are lists of keyword bingo. CVs that are lists of operating systems, apps, tools and courses don’t tell us what you have executed, delivered, rolled out, made better or taught others to do.
Describe your skills
‘Vagueisms’ are best avoided. As an example, “I have exposure to…” does not give a CV reader much insight into your many talents. Nobody’s an expert in everything, so tell us where your strengths are and if you’re lacking experience in certain places then let us know – it won’t count against you.
If you have toolsmith skills, tell us about that and what you have been able to accomplish with them. If you don’t and you want to learn, tell us that too.
Share your expertise
Show your contributions to the testing community – we love to see it. Link to your blog posts, talks, contributions to testing sites, Github, Tweets, YouTube videos and LinkedIn posts.
Even if you only start writing and following today, we want to know what motivates and interests you. We like people who share nicely with others in order to upskill them. In fact, we’ve built an entire team around that whole premise.
Look us up
Finding your perfect fit company – one that supports your ambitions, nurtures your wellbeing and hones your skills – is a process that should be undertaken with patience and care. As a tester, you’re intelligent and curious, so please use your craft-honed skills to do your research on us.
We’re not shy – we have social media, internet presence and a blog – so have a read and let us know what you find.
Hopefully, your research throws up some questions. Great – please bring them to interview.
Consider national security
We work in defence. This means on any average day we could be working on testing a large scale training simulation, attending Ops training workshops or be part of a delivery team that is taking our product to a customer demonstration.
Look up our work and our philosophy in this domain and have a think about why it might be for you in advance of being invited to interview.
What we offer in return
You’ll get to work on a large range of projects which go across a number of tech stacks and tooling so people can consider if they want to work in a project where they are comfortable and experienced or try something completely new with support from the team around them.
We encourage all our testers to work with a high level of autonomy in cross-functional teams. This means freedom to work with your team to decide on ways of working and where that work takes place. Our teams are smart, experienced, motivated and collaborative team members who are invested in the success of the people they work with.
You’ll be part of a diverse team of people from a broad range of backgrounds, with different experiences and ways of thinking. We don’t have any determinism about the tools or methodologies we use. We experiment to find the best solution, iterate on it and then move on to something better when the time is right.
The only test practice ‘rule’ is: ‘We’re not here to play with just our toys or convert teams to our favourite ones’. We’re here to find, implement and maintain the best solutions to our testing challenges. In order to do this, we carry out proof of concepts, we demo to our peers and we socialise our choices so others can understand how we work.
We have regular learning sessions – talks and hands-on training that are engineering wide and test specific at different times of the month.
Our work-from-home perks include (but are not limited to) top-of-the-range IT equipment, an allowance to make your home office work for you and a benefits card to use to pay off all those extra expenses that build up when working from home.
Our working from the office benefits consist of monthly team bonding activities, breakfast club (pancakes anyone?), regular social events, bring your dog to the office, healthy refreshments and really, really good coffee.
Interested in joining?
If you’d like to learn more about test roles in Improbable Defence you can see our open roles for Exploratory Testers and Software Development Engineers in Test (SDETs) on our careers opportunities page.