One Simple Test Automation Scenario Interview Question that Most Candidates Failed

Simple, yet every candidate I interviewed failed.

Zhimin Zhan
8 min readJun 28, 2022


This article is one of the “Be aware of Fake Test Automation/DevOps Engineers” and the “IT Job Interview” series.

After the four screening questions, I usually ask one scenario question during the interview (otherwise, too short, not respecting candidates). Personally, I don’t like long, brain-teasers or tricky questions. So, this only test automation knowledge question must be related to real work.

The Question

Describe the steps you would write for a common E2E web automated test case via UI: “User Change Password”.

Everyone understands this simple scenario, the explanation for business logic is unnecessary. It is so common that this would be among the first batch of automated tests written for a web app. To assure the candidate, I will tell the candidate: “There is no trick here, and no functional limitations (ignore any password change restrictions). This is simply about test design. Just say or write down the steps, such as a user logs in, click profile and ‘change password’ link, …, etc.”

Before the candidate started, I said: “A reminder, this is an automated End-to-End test via UI (functional testing). Don’t overthink, just focus on designing a good automated test that verifies that the user can change password.”

The Answers: Most Got it Wrong!

It is a quick and easy interview question, right? However, not a single interview candidate answered it correctly (regardless of the candidates’ current job titles, such as Senior Test Automation Engineer or Test Automation Architect). Also, I asked this question in my training session and in some conference talks. I’ve only gotten the correct answer once (yelled from the audience at STARWEST 2013 in California; of course, there might be some real test automation engineers, but many seem to prefer to remain silent).

Some readers wonder, how could there be such a high percentage of wrong answers. Is there a trick? NO, definitely not.



Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.