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Rational Functional Tester Interview Questions

Posted by Matt Archer on July 3, 2008

One of the things I get involved in occasionally is interviewing. I’m not particularly fond of it, but it’s one of those necessary evils because what I’ve found (from bitter experience) is if you don’t give them the time they deserve you only end up hiring someone you wish you hadn’t and are then are faced with the really awful job of trying to find them something they can do (rather than the job you hired them for) or politely asking them to leave 😦

I’m also a firm believer of giving people an overview of the type of things they are going to be asked before they arrive, which is why I’ve always been happy to discuss interview questions with anyone that asks me as well as on-line because if they don’t know their stuff a weeks worth of cramming isn’t really going to help once you begin to scratch below the surface.

If they’re expected to use an industry recognised tool as part of their new job, I find it useful to not only talk to them about the specifics of using the tool and the tool’s features, but also the body of knowledge that surrounds that tool. If we take IBM Rational Functional Tester as an example (one of my favourite GUI level automated testing tool) it should make the distinction between the two types of questions obvious.

Specific IBM Rational Functional Tester Questions

  1. Why would you use the RFT Proxy SDK?
  2. If I have my test data in MS Excel, explain the steps required in RFT to create a data-driven test.
  3. How do you version control your automated test scripts in RFT?
  4. Explain the concept of the RFT Test Object Map. What are the benefits?
  5. Can you give me an example of when you would use a Helper Superclass in RFT?
  6. Which environments (technology domains) are supported by RFT?
  7. What are the differences between the Data verification point and the Property verification point in RFT?
  8. Which other IBM Rational tools does RFT integrate with?
  9. How is Keyword-driven testing different from Data-driven testing. How does it work in RFT?
  10. Explain to me the concept behind RFT ScriptAssure?

General GUI Test Automation Questions

(Applicable to any GUI test automation tool, like QuickTest Pro, WinRunner, SilkTest, Robot, TestComplete, etc, etc)
  1. What is your defintion for “automated testing” / a “test automation tool” ?
  2. Give me an example of a test that is likely to deliver a good ROI when automated
  3. Give me an example of a test that is likely to deliver a poor ROI when automated
  4. Which other tools have you used to complement IBM Rational Functional Tester?
  5. What are the benefits of using the “recorder” feature of a GUI level test automation tool?
  6. What are the potentials pitfalls of using the “recorder” feature of a GUI level test automation tool?
  7. When is the best time to start creating automated test scripts on a project?
  8. Would you run a test manually before you automated it? Would you document that test?
  9. People sometimes talk about a test automation architecture. What do you think they mean?
  10. Re-working automated test scripts because of changes to the GUI is part of GUI level test automation. What percentage of your time do you think is acceptable to dedicate to this task?

I tend to find that it is the body of knowledge type questions that really sort the men from the boys. I think it’s because there are millions (well, maybe not that many, but at least a large number 🙂 ) of different ways to answer these type of questions depending upon the assumptions you make. The interesting bit then comes when you get to watch people as they think through these assumptions and then provide a collection of it-depends type answers. Of course, some people crash and burn at this stage, but hey, thats interviews for you!

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12 Responses to “Rational Functional Tester Interview Questions”

  1. Kelvin said

    Hi, May I know how do I use verification point to verify certain record in the listview? I found out that it cannot really specify a specific cell to be verify even after I select the particular cell in the verification point test object.

  2. Hi Kelvin,

    There are a number of reasons why you may not be having much success reading a specific cell/record from a listview. The best people to help you find a solution (or at least tell you it’s not possible) would be the support guys at IBM Rational. You can raise a support call here.

    When you raise your support call I would recommend providing some more information, including the version of RFT you are using and also the technology of the application you are testing, such as .NET, Java, Web, etc. An extract from you script and also a screenshot of the application area it tests may also be useful.

    Good luck,


  3. Saurav said


    Please tell me what is the benefit of record and play back methodology in GUI automation. I am using RFT 7.0.1. We normally avoid the record and play back as in our case the AUT is very inconsistent. So we are mainly depending the on the rich APIs provided by RFT. Is it useful to develop a framework using this APIs to automate the script? I don’t know much but I think using APIs can ease the task of maintaining the scripts and also adapt to any change in AUT quickly.Is this approach is good for GUI Automation?

    • Hi Saurav,

      When people mention “Record and Playback” to me, I assume they are talking about the process of recording an automated test script and then without any modification, executing (or “playing”) that automated test script at a later date. Due to the fix values inserted into an automated test script when it is “recorded” this often leads to an automated test script that require more regular maintenance.

      That said, in my experience this doesn’t mean that you should necessarily avoid the “record” feature or the “playback” feature of your automated testing tool. In fact, you can’t ignore the “playback” feature as this is how all automated test scripts are run, regardless of how they are created. I also caution people against completely avoiding the “record” feature of their tool for the reason that recorded automated test scripts are typically a mixture of good and bad code. With a bit of modification, we can keep the good bits and replace the bad bits. This approach can sometimes be quicker than writing an automated test script from scratch by hand.

      So for me, recording isn’t necessarily bad, it’s often what people do with their automated test script once they’ve been recorded that leads them down the path of success or failure.

      Yes, RFT has a rich API, but remember your automated test script will use that same API regardless of whether you type the commands into your script by hand or let the recorder enter them for you and then tweak the script once the recorder is complete. You can create a framework using the API, however, be careful not to spend too much time perfecting the framework and writing framework code. Remember you are testing to provide feedback about the quality of your application and a framework is mean to achieving that goal, not the goal itself, so by all means create a framework but only if the framework will help you achieve you goal of providing meaningful feedback.

  4. deepti said

    how can i begin with RFT?
    i hv basic java knowledge.
    where can i get tool?

    • Hi deepti,

      You can download a free trial version from the IBM website.

      Once you have downloaded and installed RTF, the built in tutorials are a good place to get started as they cover all of the major features of the tool.

      Good luck!


  5. Varun Sharma said

    Hi Matt,

    In my short tryst with RFT I haven’t encountered any situation yet where using the proxy SDK is required. Could you point some specific instance where using proxy SDK will be indispensable.


    • Hi Varun,

      I’m not sure I can quite manage “indispensible”, but I can certainly give you an example.

      The last time I used the Proxy SDK was when I was testing a Lotus Notes plug-in. Lotus Notes is one of those technologies that very few automated testing tools have the knowledge to interrogate out of the box – at least not to the depth required for most testing. Groups of screen objects are often seen as a single control and the reliability of the tests is often unacceptably low.

      How does this relate to the Proxy SDK? Out of the box, RFT comes with a collection of standard proxies it uses to interrogate anything we care to point it at. Each time we record or playback a script it does its best to select a proxy that will give us the greatest control over (or visibility into) the thing we are testing. Nine times out of ten we will be happy with the result, however, on the odd occasions the results are not to our satisfaction we can use the Proxy SDK (Software Development Kit) to build our own.

  6. Ragavendra said

    Hi Matt Archer Sir,
    Very good interview questions. I can answer nearly around 70% of the posted questions. Unfortunately I didn’t get to face such questions for interviews in Bengaluru here :(. I am looking for RFT job ASAP. You can help me find a job. You can mail me of any job reqmnts. My email is
    Can you also post the most suitable answers to the above questions. Please give me any links to learn more of RFT using Java scripting.

    • Hi Ragavendra, I don’t currently know of any RFT jobs that I could recommend, but hopefully your post will attract some attention. In relation to your request for answers, I use the above questions in real interviews so to publish the answers just wouldn’t make sense. I’m sure with a bit more work you will be able to figure them out for yourself 🙂

  7. Ragavendra said

    Hi Sir Matt Archer,
    The issue I am facing here in India, Bengaluru is. There are many testers having knowledge or even expertise of QTP. I am not the one of them. If I faced an RFT interview here. I don’t get to answer professional or RFT specific questions. In fact I was called for an RFT interview in one of the largest IT company and I had to come back without the interview. Simply because they did not have a panel to interview me.
    I end up a job with only Manual Testing like so many in market. The RFT skill being like a stong sibling unable to grow further without oppurtunities. I posses good working knowledge of Manual Java Scripting on RFT but unable to work on it.

    Thanks for your reply Sir……….

    • Hi Ragavendra,

      Have you considered learning QTP, maybe just in your spare time through self education? It used to be possible to download a free trial – I assume you still can.

      In my experience, once you know how to use one automated testing tool, it isn’t too difficult to get to grips with another. You could then add QTP to your CV and apply for both RFT and QTP roles.

      Good luck with the job hunting,


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