Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts


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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

Are You Stronger with Your Business Knowledge or Technical Knowledge?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 2286 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, General

ANSWER

This is a universal interview question for Business Analysis professionals as it applies to entry-level jobs as well as senior-level roles.  As a hiring manager, I want to know the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate’s knowledge so I can envision how well they will fit into my team.   

Our profession is about communicating well between technical (or solution) resources and business resources.  We need to understand both worlds to do our job well.  But when I’m interviewing entry-level candidates for a business analysis role, I feel it’s unrealistic to expect them to have a good balance of business and technical knowledge.   

I conducted a survey recently on LinkedIn in a group for CBAP professionals to find out how they started their career in business analysis.  Of the 39 responses, over 70% had a different career before their business analysis career.  These are people who had deep knowledge that helped them transition into their new career.  For example, I’ve worked with several BA’s that were Certified Professional Accountants.  They discovered Business Analysis by working on a project as a subject matter expert and enjoyed the work. 

My first career out of university with a business degree was as a software developer.  After several years I transitioned into a business analysis role, but I didn’t have much business knowledge.  My key asset was my technical knowledge.  I could talk in-depth with technical resources, but I didn’t have the same depth of knowledge about business. 

For entry-level roles, make sure you understand how to clearly articulate what knowledge you’re bringing to the table.  Be honest and realistic about it with the interviewer. 

For senior roles, my expectation is that candidates will have a better balance of business and technical (or solution) knowledge.  But even with this, there are areas where we gain knowledge more than others.  It could be business knowledge about Finance, Human Resources, Operations, Customer Service, or another area of expertise.  It could be technical/solution knowledge about Salesforce, process design, cybersecurity, data analytics, etc.  It’s reasonable to answer this question with an even balance of both business and technical knowledge, but in answering the question, share where you have expertise.  This knowledge is an asset that you’re offering your potential employer.  Be prepared with a concise description of your knowledge for the interview.  This will help the hiring manager envision where you can complement the existing team. 

You may want to chat with colleagues you’ve worked with about where you have strong knowledge.  It’s sometimes easier for others to see your strengths.  Good luck with your interview!  Go get ‘em! 

--
Scott Bennett
Manager, Business Analysis
Owner of the Business Analysis Leaders LinkedIn group

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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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