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How to Hire a Quality Assurance Engineer

The 4-step guide to hiring a QA Analyst for your startup

how to hire qa engineer quality assurance analyst startup scale up

Picture this: you’ve finally got your startup off the ground. It’s been hours of hard work, dedication, dreaming big, and finding the right team to make it all happen.

Your product? Prototyped and ready for marketing. Does that mean you need to add another teammate to the roster — A QA engineer? It might. Before you front the resources that go into finding the perfect candidate, you need to read about how to hire a QA engineer for your startup successfully and whether or not your startup is ready for one yet.  

First things first, what the heck is a QA engineer, what do they do, and why does your startup need one?  

A Quick Q&A about QA engineers: 

  •  What does the QA stand for?  

The QA in QA engineer stands for quality assurance. This can look like many different things when it comes to your startup’s product, but we’ll get to that part later.  

  • What does a QA engineer do?  

Basically, a QA engineer’s role is to ensure your product hits the market without a hitch through testing, tweaking, and perfecting the software, and making sure it complies with any legal requirements.  

  •  Who needs a QA engineer? 

Any company with a product and a priority on customer experience and satisfaction should (eventually) have a QA engineer.  

  • What does it cost to have a QA engineer on the team? 

According to a recent survey from Built In, the average salary for a QA engineer is $90K USD. (But don’t let that scare you – other perks and a strong belief in your startup’s mission might be worth more than a hefty base salary alone.)

“Employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.” — U.S. Board of Labor Statistics 

So, where do I start?


As you probably noticed in our other articles about how to hire for a startup, the first step is determining which roles are crucial to the stage you’re at. As you saw, it can be a hefty price tag to have a full-time QA engineer!  

 So, how do you know if your startup is ready to hire a QA engineer?  

UTOR breaks QA engineer readiness into product stages: early, seed, growth, maturity, and acquisition. A QA engineer won’t have much value in the early stages of building your product. They tend to swoop in during the seed stage onwards.

This is when your product is ramping up and must be tested and perfected by a QA engineer so that you can:  

  • Impress investors and lock in more funding to make your startup dream come to fruition! 
  • Grow your business and establish your product in the market.  
  • Continue capturing your market’s hearts and keep them coming back by developing and adding innovations and new features to your suite.  
  • Test, analyze, and improve your product to withstand criticism from competition and critics. 

In other words, your startup is ready if:

  • the role fits your budget,
  • your prototype is at the stage where you may want to start pitching for seed funding, or
  • your product is out there but keeps coming back with issues that need tweaking and should have been perfected before launch.  

Does any of this sound familiar? If so… It’s time! Here’s how to hire a QA engineer for your startup.  

 #1: Decide the exact role necessary.

A QA engineer can do many things, but you might already have a development team in your startup. That means they don’t have to do everything under the broad umbrella of the QA engineer title.

Figure out what exactly you need them to do. Is it testing and analyzing the product? Writing code? Ensuring compliance? Check out You Team’s list of responsibilities, find the gaps in your current team, and go from there.  

Once you’ve determined the exact role, write up that job description and get posting in the right areas to reach your ideal candidate. Pro tip: add your salary range in the description. We believe in pay transparency… Here’s why it’s important for a startup. 

#2: Look for these qualities.

There is a blend of analytical, technical, and personable skills in QA engineers.  That means there are some particular qualities you’ll want your dream candidate to have:  

  • Good communication 
  • Ability to work in a team 
  • Open-mindedness 
  • Innovativeness 
  • Adaptability 

That’s not to say you need to list all of these in your job description, but do keep them in the back of your mind as you filter through candidates.

#3: Test for these skills.


The QA engineer role is a technical one. That means you’ll want to test all the essential technical skills that go with the role. Ensure they can maintain and manage a bug database, understand the system your product uses, and test their coding skills in your selected language.  

If you ask Eventbrite, some of these technical requirements can be taught. They suggest looking internally for your new QA engineer in your customer service department. Many employees want to learn to code and elevate to an engineering role, and no one knows your customers or product better than your customer service team.

It might be worthwhile if you have someone with all the right soft skills and qualities and who’s already a fantastic cultural fit. Plus, it’s the best way for a startup on a budget to hire a QA engineer. 

#4: Make sure they fit (or better yet, add to) your company culture.

As always, the perfect hire isn’t just a combination of hard and soft skills; they need to have the right attitude and personality to fit or add to the overall company culture your startup has worked so hard to hone. Be sure to see how they fit in before extending that offer letter.

When someone is the right fit, they’ll be more engaged in what they do. According to recent statistics, high employee engagement can boost performance by 2025! 

 Feel free to dive into our interview scorecard and discover an effective way to streamline and balance your interviewing process. You’ll find it allows you to lock in better candidates,  hire more diversely to strengthen your team, and create a happier workplace culture overall.  

If you have any questions, well, don’t hesitate to reach out… We’re happy to help! 

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