Reader question from the Starting a BA Career LinkedIn group: For job interview purposes specifically, but also pertaining to those early days on the job, what questions should an entry level BA be asking?
To provide additional context, I am currently interviewing for BA positions that match my experience level. Although I’m hoping for another job opportunity, I don’t want to wake up and find that I’ve talked myself into a position that doesn’t challenge me to grow and where I am not gaining exposure to valuable project experience.
Are there questions I should ask in the interview to expose the company’s commitment to their BA’s, or should I expect those barriers as a common path to the more challenging BA roles? What are the “signs” to look out for that will tell me whether the organization I’m interviewing with will utilize and value their BA’s?
This is a great question. There is a delicate balancing act, as you recognize, in terms of asking questions without putting the manager on the defensive. Also, in many business analyst job interview situations, you might have the opportunity to meet with multiple people, so think about what questions you might ask different people. The BAs will probably be more honest and upfront.
Now, if you are hiring for a position and you don’t get to meet with anyone but the hiring manager, that could be a different sign in and of itself — I always gave at least a few members of my team an opportunity to meet candidates. It was good to help build their skills, judge fit for the organization, and also for the candidate to get a real flavor for the position. I would sit in on these conversations and just listen and watch for rapport (or not). But I digress.
I think for the most part you want to understand the business analysis role and the business analysis methodology. By understanding the manager’s approach to roles and process, you’ll indirectly be able to see support for BAs.
Ask questions such as:
- What different roles are there within the organization? How do they interact with business analysts?
- When it comes to process, do you have a big process or an informal one?
- What are your expectations for someone filling the business analyst role? t
- Another good one is “What makes a person successful here?” or “What kinds of challenges will I be able to help with?”
If you are feeling comfortable, you can ask questions about professional development opportunities. I would think about asking a BA something like, what do you do as a team to improve your process? What sort of support do you get to grow your skills? Or, have there been any recent improvements to how you do requirements? How were those received?
What do you think? What questions do you ask in a BA interview?
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