Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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How to answer a question that you don't know how to answer?

Posted by Stewart F

Article Rating // 9192 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: General


It sounds silly, but we have all been in an interview and been asked a question that actually we don't know how to answer. 

You could try bluffing, but the likelihood is that the Interviewer knows the answer, so what do you do?

Those of you that will have read posts by me will know that I am a BA Manager. Therefore I interview a lot of people. Not just for BA roles, but also for Project Managers, Product Owners and many more.

Its intriguing to see how people deal with this scenario. Bluffing, wild guesses and answering a totally different question, that you do know the answer to, seem to be the preferred way.

So what is the right way?

First of all, be honest. We all have 'fuzzy moments' where our brain just shuts down and even answering our name becomes a real challenge. 

Being honest tells the interviewer that you are human. But that alone isn't enough. 

My answer, if I was in that situation, would be this:

"I am sorry, but I don't think I have ever come across that [term, solution - whatever it is you have been asked]. But I am keen to broaden my knowledge. Can you talk me through what that is and how it would impact my role?"

So why answer like that? Well it shows the Interviewer that, OK he doesn't know the answer, but he is honest enough to admit that - BUT he wants to learn, he is enthusiastic to learn and isn't put off his or her stride by a curve ball question. 

These are positives because, as a Business Analyst, you WILL get these during your working life with Stakeholders. The reason why you talk to Stakeholders is because you don't know what their role/process/system is. So why not act in the same manner for an interview?

Of course, not every company will think the same, but if you be honest, but turn it into a positive in asking them about it, and showing an interest, then you will hopefully find that they like your response.

One other thing, don't be afraid to tie in other answers to the question you didn't know. It shows that you have grasped the context and understand it - another key skill for the Business Analyst



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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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