This question is not intended to determine how much you are looking to make. If an interviewer asks you a question like this, they are likely looking for answers to a number of other unspoken questions such as:
Do you understand the real value a business analyst brings to an organization?
Do you ever think about the cost associated with employing you as a business analyst?
Do you have the skillset required to be a marketable business analyst?
Are your expectations of the value of a business analyst realistic?
Companies don’t hire business analysts for fun; they hire them to save money. It’s that simple. So how does a business analyst save an organization money? You might mention a few examples such as:
If you have quantifiable examples of work that you have produced in the past and know precisely how much your work saved a company (not the work of the entire team, but YOUR actual contributions) this information can be very powerful. This is your true value as an analyst within a similar organization and role. But few people have the information required to make this kind of assessment. In addition, the value you bring to an organization is very different from your “potential value”. If an organization has you writing specs for a system, your opportunity to bring value may be much lower than if you are re-engineering a multi-million dollar business process to eliminate hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars of waste.
This line of reasoning leads us to the question “Do you have the skillset required to be a marketable business analyst”? You may have expert knowledge of traditional SDLCs and be able to create complex analysis diagrams, but if the organizations that are hiring all require you to work in an Agile environment then what value can you bring them? Even though your potential value for some organizations may be quite high, your value to others that use a different range of skills may be quite low. This example shows how your value is dependent upon the industry environment and the tools, competencies, and methodologies that are popular at that time. It also shows the need to keep your skillset current and then stress those skills that are most relevant to the interviewing organization.
If you can talk through these concepts with an interviewer, then you will have demonstrated that you don’t take you value as a business analyst for granted and that you are the type of person that will maximize your value within the organization that hires you.
posted @ Sunday, August 8, 2010 5:23 PM by Chris Adams