Business Analyst Interview Questions: How You Should Prepare
Business analyst interview questions will largely focus on your ability to analyze organizations and systems: Your prospective employer will likely want to determine if you can juggle multiple projects and priorities at once, and whether your analysis “makes sense” with regard to the company’s broader strategy.
Business analysts have a crucial job: They must determine if products and projects are viable (and profitable, in many cases). That means understanding the various aspects of a project and why they’re sound; they often work in tandem with project managers, the C-suite, and teams, which makes interpersonal skills an absolute must.
In addition to that, here are some other skills that pop up frequently in job postings, according to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country on a continuous basis:
These skills—and your proficiency—will almost certainly come up in the course of typical business analyst interview questions.
How should candidates prepare for an interview for the role?
Reading every part of a business analyst job description is always key, as it will offer specificities that you will need to address. Pay particular attention to the skills and tools listed, and think about what in your education and experience aligns with them; much of your interview will likely focus on these.
Depending on its needs, a company is looking for a business developer to serve a particular (or a set of particular) purposes. For example, they might want an analyst who can identify the weak points in strategy, and/or who can deduce the best long-term market approach.
Many business analysts also come onboard with an internal mission, such as making sure the elements of the company communicate better with one another, or that workflows are completely optimized.
Whatever the mission, your typical business analyst will need to exhibit a lot of proficiency in designing and monitoring data models, analyzing processes, and, finally, presenting roadmaps and business cases to teams and the C-suite.
In light of all that, make sure you know what the company wants out of its business analysts. During the actual business analyst interview questions, you’ll have to describe how you’ll leverage your skills and experience to achieve those goals.
It is also best to make sure to initially catch a company representative’s attention with a well curated business analyst resume.
What are the challenges faced in this position?
“Whether you’re a business analyst within a company or consulting as one, you often face resistance from the people whose products or processes you are working with,” said Jen Hood, career coach at The Career Force and owner of Avant Analytics. “We all tend to feel defensive when someone comes in to tell us we should do something differently.”
Business analysts have to appreciate many viewpoints within a company, often with disparate goals. Negotiation skills are a must, along with some peacekeeping abilities; a hiring manager or recruiter will use the business analyst interview questions to try to determine your skills in that regard.
Diagraming the workflow and how a project can succeed is also critical. “You also often depend on others for inputs to your work and to implement the results of your work,” Hood added.
What is the most important skill a business analyst candidate should have?
Like so many other roles in tech, there’s one key trait every great business analyst shares: resourcefulness.
“The people doing the work in specific areas often know more than you when it comes to their tasks,” Hood said. “Spend more time up-front listening, asking questions, and looking for their perception of what is frustrating or time consuming.
“Sometimes your data may contradict this, but often there are explanations, or the data validates what they already think,” she added. “Being up-front that you’re trying to help make their work easier—which just so happens to save money or time or improve sales—leads to happier people and more innovation.” (Relying on the expertise of others also helps you frame or re-frame the core narrative of a business case.)
The ability to weave a narrative between teams is vital. Transparency in your own process illuminates your role in overall company workflow. Prepare for your interviewer to ask you about times when you’ve demonstrated transparency and/or eased conflict between stakeholders—this is an issue that pops up again and again.
Why should someone want a business analyst job?
If you enjoy sitting at the intersection of how projects are developed and delivering them to clients or customers, a role as business analyst may be perfect for you. Fortunately, business analysts are a high-demand occupation; Burning Glass predicts that the profession will grow 14.3 percent over the next 10 years, and the current time-to-fill for positions stands at 34 days, indicating an elevated level of demand. Paired with those, the average business analyst salary can be quite generous making for a quite sought after position.
The best business analysts have a healthy mix of technical know-how, knowledge of industry-standard procedures, expertise in tools used to get the job done, and soft skills.
Always keep in mind that, when it comes to business analyst interview questions, companies will want an overview of what you’re delivered in the past, so be prepared to discuss such things in a very granular way. Companies will also need to know the context of how you helped drive results, though this likely comes in the later stages of the interview process when you speak to stakeholders directly.
This article was originally published on Dice.