It’s been a month since Charlie and I moved to Orlando. We have both been to interviews with at least 3 different temporary agencies. Charlie has received work already but I am still waiting on any assignment. Since we need money in the meantime….pesky rent and car payments…and no one was calling me with anything, I needed to find a job ASAP.

So I apply to be a game tester at EA.

For those that know me, I’m a fairly avid gamer. I roomed with guys (and game playing girls) in college and played them in many different games. I, like most of you, come from the game playing generation so it didn’t seem like a stretch to try and get paid to play games.

So I get a call back from EA for a phone interview and I bomb it. I’m asked who won the Superbowl? I said, I don’t remember. I’m asked who the major sponsor for Tony Stewart is? I say, I couldn’t even begin to tell you. I’m asked what the four BCS bowl games are? I try very hard to remember all four but can only come up with 2 so I don’t answer. Yet, the man on the other end seems to think that I would be a good fit for an EA QA Tester. Alright, I’ll go with it and I schedule a face-to-face interview for that Friday.

Friday comes and I arrive at the area where the other QA Tester wannabes are waiting. A security guard comes out to greet me. It’s a high security area and people have to swipe their badges to get in and out of the building. Hordes of people file into the building as we are waiting. I see only a few girls and lots of guys. This doesn’t surprise me as this division of EA is responsible for sports gaming and let’s face it, I’m sure that women are not lining up to get a job testing sports games….except me that is.

So, I get called back for the face-to-face interview and I bomb that as well. I’m asked on a scale of 1-10 what is my level of attention to detail. I fall into this trap nicely and I say 11 without hesitation. Then I quickly regret that move. I’m called on it. The interviewer says, ok, let’s test your attention to detail. Close your eyes and describe the room, how many windows, how many chairs, what’s on the wall, how many light fixtures, what is the name of the room, what are the guys interviewing me wearing, what are they drinking? Yup, I’ve just been schooled. At this point, I believe that I have no way of getting this position and so feel that I am running a reconnaissance mission for Charlie instead. BTW the room name I did get and it was Dagobah.

I’m asked what I would do if someone on the QA team wasn’t holding up their end of the team work. I tell them I would asked them to help but if they didn’t still contribute to the team, I would tell a supervisor. It would suck to release a game with lots of bugs to the market. The consumer would hate it and the QA lead’s ass would be on the line.

I’m presented with an ordinary pen and asked if I was with the ABC pen company how would I -QA Test this pen and what other uses for a pen can I think of? I say that I would take the pen apart, write with it and try to exploit its faults. My three uses for a pen? To hold up your hair (betcha that’s primarily female answer), to mark your place in a book and to chew on to relieve stress.

I’m asked about some more game environment testing questions. What would I do if there was no game play available and only menu screens? Compare the testing of the game environment for SSX Tricky with an up-coming NASCAR game- How would you test these differently? How would you test them the same? He asked this explaining that I was more familiar with Tricky than NASCAR. He got this information from my disclosure earlier that my weakest point was NASCAR and from the fact that I wrote that I had played Tricky frequently.

So, they think in an interview, interesting…

At this point, I’m buying into this interview. I may not get to work at EA but I am determined to learn from this interview. I start to let my hair loose. I crack a dry joke and see the reactions. One interviewer smiles to himself and the other has his poker face on.

I, on the other hand, never have my poker face on unless I’m playing poker. I’m reacting to each question with sincerity and as much quick thinking as I can muster. I’m saying things like, interesting question both because I honestly think it is interesting and because I’m trying to buy some time. I know, they can see this plainly on my face.

And then we get to the last question: Tell me a joke.

Very interesting…I smiled to myself and looked up for a brief moment. Got into character and said, “So this duck walks into a bar…” Now in true tribute, I screw up the joke but stay in character long enough that they have to laugh. I left the room feeling accomplished and was asked to sit in the lobby while they discussed.
I waited for 3 minutes and he came back out to get me. I’m just inside the door with all of the computer terminals and consoles set up. It’s dark and interesting but also smelly and not what you probably would imagine. I firmly believed that this would be the last time I saw QA testers in action and so I took it all in, with all of my senses. And then he hands me some papers and says welcome to EA and I’m sure my face is saying “What?! You’re kidding, right?”

So that’s how I got a job as a quality assurance tester at EA-Tiburon testing sports games. I’m still very much hoping that Charlie will be called in as well next week. If we both have a job in the same building that would be fantastic. Less money in gas. However, I’m also hoping to get a 3 month contract working in public relations at $15.00/hour and getting benefits to boot.

I’ll let you know how it pans out…

Yikes! Will things be looking up for EA?

Here’s one story about working as a QA Tester
and a livejournal made for EA spouses.

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