Business analysts use tools, skills, and their own intuition to glean insights from massive amounts of company and industry data. It is complex work, and the business analyst the job interview process is also often complex; you must demonstrate a range of technical and “soft” skills (such as communication and empathy).
When preparing for a business analyst job interview, Josh Drew, regional manager at Robert Half Technology, says it’s essential to research the company before the meeting and gain insight. the needs of the organization, as well as its history and recent projects and developments. .
“We can’t stress enough going to the company’s website, finding out what the company’s product is and what their business model is,” he said.
At the start of an interview, candidates are likely to answer questions about their previous experience, including past employers. There may also be industry or even department specific questions about the processes you have used, the end partners you have worked with and your specific role on a business analyst crew.
“There may have been one or more business analysts, so they’ll want to know where you fit within that group and what documentation tools you used,” Drew added. “As you get into larger enterprise-level clients, some tools are a bit more mainstream, like developed use cases.”
Expect questions about the platforms you’ve worked on, the processes you’ve used, and the deadlines you’ve had to meet. Frank Recruitment Group President Zoë Morris points out that different organizations and professionals may have a different understanding of a role. So it’s not uncommon to be asked for your own interpretation of what a business analyst does.
“This question can take the form of an explanation of how it differs from a data analyst, or maybe what you think a good business analyst looks like,” she said. “No matter how it’s framed, they’re usually just trying to understand how you see the job, while making sure you understand your own responsibilities.”
Ultimately, a business analyst should be able to make good business decisions based on analysis and know how this data influences an organization or an industry, as well as the business processes around it. “Being able to articulate this properly and differentiate it from a data analyst role, which is more about problem solving and data analysis, will help you get your interview off to a good start,” Morris said.
Sample Questions: Your Past Projects
- “Was it a one-off project or was the project linked to a larger scale initiative? »
- “How do you report on the progress of your daily and weekly prizes?”
- “Do you do scrum meetings and daily updates? Is it an Agile environment where everyone collaborates? »
- “Do you share workloads and updates on projects using like Jira or Microsoft Teams?”
- “How do you communicate within your groups in your advancement project? »
Before going into the interview, review the job posting. Write down requirements, such as skills and knowledge of tools, and determine how these relate to your own experience. Depending on the needs of potential employers, you can also guess pretty well which of your previous experiences will interest them the most.
“Very rarely are you going to interview for a job that you really don’t know too much about,” Drew said. “In theory, job descriptions are sort of the answers to the test: you want to use the job description to identify the main needs of the client and be prepared to give specific examples of how you performed that particular task. ”
Sample questions: BRD and SRS
How would you tell the difference between a BRD and an SRS?
You may be asked about the analytical tools or systems you have worked with as a starting point on your technical skills. Beyond that, being asked to differentiate a Business Requirements Document (BRD) and System Requirements Specification (SRS) can often happen.
“The main difference is that the key elements of the BRD will come directly from the client, whereas the SRS is what is created in response to that, after speaking to the client for any additional information,” Morris explained. “So your BRD will contain the functionality required from the customer, with the responses you create as a business analyst in response.”
She said an SRS will be created by systems architects with more technical prowess, using the actual capability of any software, but based on the requirements you’ve identified together with the customer.
Sample Questions: Attention to Detail
- Are you detail oriented?
- Do you like taking detailed notes?
Drew said that from a soft skills perspective, candidates can expect questions about their methods for ensuring efficiency and strengthening business processes.
“When we interview candidates to work internally at Robert Half, I volunteer on a daily basis, explaining what the job entails,” he said. “The idea is to give the candidate the opportunity to put their own personal touch on why they want the job and within that particular company.”
Sample Question: Cultural Fit
- “Why would you be a good fit here and what value would you add to the organization?”
Morris said a common question that can trip people up is “What is your greatest weakness?” It’s tempting to wonder about the best answer (i.e. the one that doesn’t make you off-putting as a candidate).
“The reality is that most interviewers will see through answers like ‘I’m working too hard’ or ‘I can’t turn off,'” she said. “The truth is that being able to identify areas that need improvement and being able to admit it is a strength in itself.”
It also gives the employer confidence that you are comfortable working on your weaknesses. “So look at your soft skills that you’ve worked to improve,” she said. “Talk about identifying them as a weakness, the impact they had on you, your colleagues, or your work, and the steps you took to address them.”
It is important to realize that the objective of any question is to understand how you have applied your knowledge in a work environment, in a way that is transferable to your potential employer. “After all, understanding something on paper is different from being able to apply it in a work environment,” Morris said.
This means making sure you demonstrate the entire process, from identifying a problem and how you did it, to the analysis and research that went into creating a solution, and the subsequent impact on the organization. “Identifying both positives and negatives during any given storyline will also help you stand out because someone has an analytical eye not only on the role, but also on your own performance,” Morris said.