Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts


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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

How should you prepare for a business analyst interview?

Posted by Stewart F

Article Rating // 297 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, General

ANSWER

I am a BA and Project Manager leading a team of roughly 10 Business Analysts, 10 Project Managers, and 5 Project Analysts. During my career I have both sat for and conducted hundreds of interviews. It still surprises me, even today, that so many people turn up to an interview with little or no basic knowledge of the role for which they have applied or the company for whom they want to work.  All it requires is a little time and effort. I hope the below helps.

There are several tasks that you should carry out before any interview:

  1. Print out the confirmation of the time and place of the interview.
  2. Print out a map of the route and familiarize yourself with it. If you going by train or metro, note the necessary stops.
  3. Print out the resume that you provided the company and take it with you. 
  4. Research the company. 9 times out of 10 I have asked people “So, tell me what you know about the Company” and they don't have a clue. Showing you've researched the company earns you easy bonus points. Most companies have a website and an “About Us” section. Learn as much as you can. Then, when asked, rattle off what you know. The interviewer is looking to see how much effort you put into things. This also helps when you are asked, “So what value do you bring to the company?” If you haven’t researched the company in the first place, how do you know the extent of the value you bring. I don’t think I have ever hired someone who hasn’t done this research.
  5. Research the role. Look at the job specification.  Remember, job specifications are rarely 100% accurate. They give a rough idea of what you will be doing, but often overstate some tasks and leave others out completely. So take them with a pinch of salt. If there is a phrase that you don’t know or understand Google it (or ask in this forum). You may well know how to do the task, but know it by another name. If you don’t, look up how you should do it and familiarize yourself with it. However, if you have no experience with something, be honest. It's ok to not have every skill, but show interest and show that you've done some research. Don’t over do it, but show you are willing to learn new things. That often scores highly with me.
  6. Print and take important work samples with you. Previously, I have taken a complex Business Requirements Document, a Project Plan, and a Project Roadmap that I had previously created in earlier roles. For a BA, I would suggest a BRD that you completed.
  7. Bring work samples, and anything else you need, in a nice work folder or professional bag or briefcase. 
  8. Bring a pen and pad of paper. Make sure it looks nice.  A piece of scrap paper is not a good look.
  9. Bring any identification required, e.g. passport, proof of ID etc.
  10. Arrive early to account for traffic. Then once you know where the interview will take place, go for a walk to calm your nerves. Come back 5 minutes before the interview and report to the main reception desk.
  11. Turn off your phone before you enter the interview.
  12. Do not bring food or drink into the interview. Most interviews only last around an hour, so you shouldn’t need them.
At the interview
  1. Offer your work samples to the interviewer. They won't read everything but they will look at those areas most important to them. Try to note which areas they spend the most time on.  These might be particularly important to them.  Try to work in references to these experiences later in the conversation. For example, if they are looking at the Requirements Table in the document, if they later ask questions about how you organize your work you can mention that you set out detailed requirements in a table similar to the sample you've provided, etc. This allows them to relate your answers to a tangible work product, backing up your discussion. Don’t take more than one sample of each work product. One is plenty.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either to clarify what they want to know, or to get information that you want to know.
  3. Answer all questions with ‘I’, not ‘we’. Everyone else in your old team isn’t being interviewed – you are. As the interviewer, I don’t want to know what Tracey or Bob could do, I want to know what you can do. So answer everything with “I did this and I did that”. 
  4. Most interviews end with the line from the Interviewer “Do you have any questions you would like to ask?" Always have 4 or 5 questions at the ready. Asking nothing comes across as being unengaged or disinterested. This may or may not be true, but if you do want the job, now is the time to ask a few interesting questions. If it hasn't already been discussed, ask a question that relates the the research you completed on the company. For example, “When you took over Company Y back in 2017, did it create a lot of work for the team I will be working in and if so, has that backlog now been completed?” This is a good question for two reasons. One, you are highlighting that you have done research. Two, you want to know how busy the team is. Also, ideally you should be able to align it with and compare it to experience you have. So for the above question you could add "I ask because when I had a very similar project with Company Z, I found that the companies used different methodologies."  Some additional standard questions you may want to ask are:
    • What office location would I be working from?
    • What are the travel requirements of this role?  
    • What is the size and structure of the team?  
    • What project methodology does the team or company use?
    • How does the company react and adapt to industry or project changes?
    • ONLY ask questions that haven't already been addressed in the interview.  
  5. Take Notes. Interviews are all about making impressions. Show that you are not only interested but also disciplined in your approach to work.
  6. Do not ask about money until a formal offer is made. If they make an offer on the spot, that's great (although I would ask why they are making an offer on the spot). Stick to the amount you want. Don’t let them under sell you or talk you down. If they offer lower than you expected, don't make an immediate decision.

Remember, we are all human. Politeness goes a long way and good luck. 

--
Stewart Fullager
LinkedIn Profile

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ADDITIONAL ANSWERS / COMMENTS

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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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