Top 8 Questions and Answers for a Business Analyst Job Interview
A business analyst’s (BA) job is to look at the business needs of a company, study how it works with technology, and help stakeholders find technological solutions. Business analytics requires both technical and soft skills. For example, you need to be able to manage projects, analyze business needs, and test quality. When you go for your next BA job interview, it’s a good idea to have answers ready for common BA interview questions. Business Analyst Job Interview
In this article, we’ll go over 10 common interview questions for business analysts and give you tips and examples for how to answer them best.
Top questions for interviews for business analyst jobs
1. How would you work with a stakeholder who was hard to please?
As a business analyst, you will probably work with a lot of different people in many different roles. Situational questions like this one test your ability to solve problems, talk to people, and deal with tough situations. This question checks to see if you can deal well with interactions with a lot of different people.
Give a direct answer and talk about a problem you had to solve at work in the past that was similar. You can structure your answer using the STAR interview response framework by addressing the following:
- Briefly describe the problem you were trying to solve in a positive and helpful way.
- Task: Explain what you are doing.
- Action: Tell what you did to fix or deal with the problem.
- Result: Talk about what you’ve learned and how your actions have helped the business.
During your conversation with the interviewer, you may also learn about the challenges you may face in the new job. This can be helpful information to know before accepting an offer.
Example: “I have found that with empathy, communication, and action, almost any problem can be solved. For example, I once had a client who was upset because she thought she had gotten the wrong information that was useless and not helpful. My job was to get this data and figure out what it meant. I decided to call her and the other people involved in the project right away to talk about the problem. After taking the time to listen to her worries, we found that she just didn’t feel ready to use the data’s results. With the help of our team’s business consultant, we set up a workshop to help her feel more prepared. We also sent her weekly email updates to make sure she felt supported for the rest of the project. Over the next two quarters, she spent twice as much with us.”
2. Tell me about a time when you had to tell a client to do something else.
As a business analyst, it’s your job to give suggestions that are good for both the client and the company. Your point of view should be based on how you see the collected data. If a client wants to do something that you don’t think is in their best interest, you may have to show them the data in new and interesting ways to change their mind.
In your answer, you should explain how you can use your problem-solving skills to handle potentially difficult situations with clients and other important stakeholders.
Example: “Once, I had a client who was looking to expand a product line for their store. At the same time, they were having trouble selling a lot of the things they already had. I used a detailed sales analysis to show them why they should focus on selling their current products instead of putting money into new ones. I also gave them ideas for how to increase sales and pointed out where they were already doing well.”
3. Which part of analytical reporting is the most important?
Analytical reporting is a type of business reporting that gives information, an analysis of data, and suggestions. This kind of reporting is different from informational reporting because of the recommendations. People can use data to make decisions with the help of analytical reporting.
As a business analyst, you should know how important analytical reporting is and what it can’t do. In your answer, explain how the analytical reports you have made in the past have made a difference that can be measured. This helps employers see the value you can bring to their business. Create your answer to show that you can think critically and analyze information, and that you can use data sources to make recommendations.
Example: “Even though data by itself can’t solve problems, it can help you make good business decisions when it’s looked at in the right way. Even if a decision doesn’t turn out the way you hoped, data lets you learn from the results and keep getting better. The ability to solve problems and make decisions based on facts is the most important part of analytical reporting. It can be hard to make decisions based on guesses or assumptions that aren’t backed up by facts. Analytical reporting gives real data that can be used to make plans and set goals.”
4. Talk about how well you know SQL queries.
SQL is the standard language for systems that manage relational databases. As a business analyst, you often use SQL queries. This is because SQL lets you work with structured data where there are relationships between different variables.
Even though a business analyst doesn’t have to have advanced technical skills, there are some skills that are very useful. During an interview, you might be asked to describe the parts of a SQL Statement so that the employer can judge your technical skills and advanced analysis skills in this area. You could also give an example of how you used SQL to make an impact in your previous BA work, in addition to giving definitions that show you know what it is.
Example: “An SQL statement has four parts. The Data Definition Language, or DDL, is used to describe how data is set up. The Data Manipulation Language, or DML, is used to add, delete, and change data. The Data Control Language, or DCL, is used to control who can get to the data in a database. Last, the Transactional Control Language (TCL) is used to organize the data that the DML has changed. I’ve used SQL statements to find out which of my client’s customers buy which products. This has helped them make important decisions about future product lines. Because of this work, they have come back to us three years in a row.”
5. What tools do you think a business analyst needs the most to do their job well?
This question gives the interviewer a chance to see if you have basic technical skills and know how to use common business analytics apps as well as ones that the company might use. BAs often use tools like the Microsoft Office Suite, but you may have used other tools or programs in your work. Make sure your answer shows off what you can do that no one else can.
Example: “Word, Excel, PowerPoint, MS Visio, and Rational tools are just some of the tools I use often. I’m also very good at SQL. I use SQL when I need to analyze things like customer purchases that would be too much for Excel to handle.”
6. Explain how you usually go about a project.
Employers can judge a candidate’s teamwork, project management, and organization skills by looking at how they handle their work. To answer, talk about the general stages you go through and the standard deliverables you usually make, rather than listing specific tasks or processes that the interviewer might not know. Talk about your skills and how you use them in terms of what you’ve actually done.
For example, if you worked on the planning stages of a project, you could talk about deliverables like a communication plan, a work breakdown structure (WBS), a requirements management plan, and a business analysis approach, including whether it is plan-driven or change-driven.
Talk about how you have changed the way you did things to fit the needs of a certain project. You can find out more about how you would fit in by asking about the organization’s projects and processes. This will show the interviewer that you are interested in how they do things.
Example: “First, I listen to what a client wants and pay attention to what they say are the project’s goals. Then, I look more closely at our data to figure out how to help them succeed or how to change how they think about their goals so that they can move forward in a more productive way. Every project and client is different, so I never force a one-size-fits-all solution on them. Instead, I always make sure to think about the specific situation.”
7. Name two diagrams you use as a business analyst and explain how they affect your work.
The interviewer might ask you this to see if you know what standard BA documents are and how to use them in a client’s case. Even if they don’t ask you directly about your experience, giving examples can show that you can add value to the company.
Example: “Activity Diagrams and Use Case Diagrams are two types of diagrams I like to use. Activity diagrams show all the different things that happen in different departments. Activity Diagrams are a way for me to show who interacts with a system and what their main goals are. Use Case Diagrams help me a lot when I need to see the functional requirements of a system so I can make good decisions about design and figure out what needs to be done first.”
8. What questions do you have?
Asking smart questions at the end of your interview shows that you know how to ask the right questions to get the right information, which is a skill that business analysts need. This is your chance to talk with your potential employer or coworker about things that matter to you. During your interview, make sure to use active listening skills to help you figure out what to ask. The person interviewing you should get the sense that you care and are interested in the conversation.
Example “I often work with clients who want to grow their businesses, and I’m good at helping them make smart choices that put their strengths first. How would you describe a typical client?”
When you interview for a job as a business analyst, these tips can help you make a good impression. During the interview, be sure to talk about your experience and show off what you know.