Interviewing Tips for the Business Analyst and Systems Analyst

The Interview

There are two main objectives of any interview. The first is for a company to determine if you, the candidate, are the right fit for the position. The second is for you, the candidate, to determine if the company and position are the right fit for you. The following tips will address how to present your best to the prospective employer. In addition, you will find some helpful tips for determining if the company and a position are the right fit for you.

Interview Guidelines

  • Relax
  • Dress one better
  • Turn your cell phones and pagers off
  • Understand the question
  • Show interest
  • Show confidence, not arrogance
  • No badmouthing
  • Do your research
  • Be on time

Relax. Many people tend to tense up at an interview. While you should always remain professional, don't forget to relax and let you personality come through. The hiring manager should get a real sense of who you are. You will be working for or with this person every day, so it’s important for them to feel they can get along with you easily. No one wants to work with a business or systems analyst with a difficult personality.

Dress one better. A good rule of thumb is to dress one degree nicer than the group you are interviewing with. If the employer has a business casual dress code then you should dress in conservative business attire. If the employer has a casual dress code (jeans, t-shirts, etc) then you should dress in business casual. This ensures that you are always presenting yourself in the best way possible without seeming completely out of line with the company’s culture. You would never want to appear underdressed, nor would it be wise to show up in a full suit or conservative business attire if the company has a culture of being very casual. It would appear as if you wouldn't fit it.

Turn your cell phones and pagers off. Simply turning off the ringer or placing the phone on vibrate is not enough. Everyone knows the sound off a vibrating phone or pager, and it's very distracting. By turning off your electronic devices ahead of time you can remain focused on the interview at hand. Nothing is worse than trying to focus on a question the interviewer has just asked you while your phone buzzes incessantly.

Understand the question. Listen carefully to the question being asked as well as what it not being asked. If you don't understand the question, or you believe the interviewer has left out some important information required to answer the question, then ask a series of clarifying questions to obtaining the necessary information. This an excellent way to demonstrate one of the most important skills required of a business or systems analyst (information gathering). Be straightforward and concise with your answers. How long or short your answer is isn't nearly as important as the content of your answer. Don't be evasive and don't lie or bluff. Bluffing will destroy all credibility. If you don't know the answer, then say so. If you think you can make an educated guess then let the interviewer know that you aren't sure but based on the experience you do have you believe you can figure it out. Let the interviewer see your thought process as you work out your answer. Many times how you go about problem solving is more important than whether you arrive at the right answer. In any case, take a few seconds to think about your answer and formulate a structured response. Rambling and saying the first thing that comes to mind conveys that you think randomly and in an unstructured way.

Show interest. At the end of the interview thank the interviewer for taking his or her time to see you and shake their hand. If you are still interested in the job make sure to let the interviewer know that you are interested and that you want the job. Let the interviewer see that you are excited about the position.

Show confidence, not arrogance. Always present yourself with confidence, but be careful not to come across too strongly or the interviewer may perceive your confidence as arrogance. This is always a delicate balancing act. State the facts of the situation needed to get your point across and convey the information using powerful action words.

No badmouthing. Be positive and avoid making negative remarks about former jobs, managers, or employers. Business and systems analysts need to be able to work with a wide range of personality type. Badmouthing others will not help you land the position.

Do your research. Prior to the interview research the company to learn as much about your prospective employer as possible. Make a list of questions to ask the interviewer. This shows that you are able to research areas that you know little about, another important skill of business and systems analysts. Convey what you've learned from your research and what you found interesting about the company.

Be on time. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Plan to show up for your interview at least 15 minutes early, and plan for unexpected delays. Showing up early gives you the opportunity to clear your head of the day’s events. Take the time to refocus on the interview at hand. If you do encounter an unexpected delay, be sure to call ahead and let the interviewer know that you may be arriving late.

Do you twitter?: If you want short updates on what's going on in the BA world and at, simply follow us on Twitter:

Copyright 2006-2024 by Modern Analyst Media LLC