Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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What is Active Listening and how can it benefit the business analyst?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 45433 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, General, Elicitation (BABOK KA)


Active Listening is a method used to listen and respond to others in a structured and deliberate way.  It requires a listener to understand and actively evaluate what he or she heard.  Actively listening can be used to achieve a number of goals.

One of the more common goals of actively listening is to ensure that the listener accurately understands what the speaker has said by replying back to the speaker and paraphrasing what they believe they have just heard (“So, if I understood you correctly…”).  The speaker can either acknowledge that the listener’s understanding was accurate or can quickly identify any misunderstanding that the listener may have.  Actively listening helps the listener avoid incorrect conclusions due to unintentional assumptions that the listener may have made.  It’s important to note that a listener that employs active listening is not necessarily agreeing with the speaker.

Another goal of actively listening is for the listener to extract additional information from the speaker.  While listening to the speaker, the listener may notice something in the speaker’s tone or body language.  By responding to the speaker with phrases such as “you seem to feel …” the speaker has the opportunity to confirm or correct the listener’s understanding.  This is a non-confrontational approach to asking follow-up questions which clarify the speaker’s intent.

Active Listening can be a powerful tool for business analysts during requirements elicitation.   Requirements elicitation often occurs during a period of a project where not everyone has the same background knowledge and understanding of the project.  Because of this, there are typically many assumptions that are being made by each person as they build a framework in their mind of the project and its problems and challenges.  Actively listening can verify correct assumptions and dismiss false ones resulting in a clearer and more accurate set of requirements.

Chris Adams
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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