In a business analyst job interview, you are very likely to get asked behavioral interview questions. In this post, we’ll look at what a behavioral interview question is, why an interviewer asks these types of questions, and how to prepare to answer them.
(By the way, I want to be sure you know that you can download my free BA Job Interview Prep Guide and receive more detailed information on preparing for your business analyst job interview.)
What is a Behavioral Interview Question?
Behavioral interview questions ask the candidate to give concrete examples of how and when they’ve used specific skills in their work history. Say I was interviewing a candidate and crafting use cases was very important, I might ask the candidate to tell me about a time they used use cases to document requirements. Or, if we tend to have challenging stakeholders (who doesn’t?), I’d ask about how they handled a situation where the sponsor was not willing to compromise on scope.
Why Does the BA Interviewer Ask Behavioral Interview Questions?
Because how you do business analysis is very important. Knowing how to do something is not the same as having done it in a real-world situation. Having the technical skills of a BA or knowing how to write “perfect” requirements specifications is not enough. As a BA, building relationships, communicating well, and handling sticky situations with grace is just as, if not (depending on who you ask), more important. Behavioral interview questions are one way to ascertain whether or not you can do the job and do the job well, because you have done it well before in a similar situation.
(Before I forget, let me also point you to my Mastering the Business Analyst Job Interview course where we cover preparing for a BA job interview in detail and mastering the art of responding to behavioral interview questions without preparing dozens or hundreds of canned answers.)
Just Be Sure Not To Do This…
There are hundreds of lists of possible behavioral questions. As a BA, you like to prepare. Your first thought might be to prepare an answer for every possible question you might be asked in a business analyst job interview. Having a great, canned answer for each is not only not feasible, it’s counter-productive.
It’s counter-productive because in the interview you want to be fully present and putting your best foot forward. If, instead, you are searching your memory for one of several canned responses you’ve prepared, you risk missing the essence of the question and properly positioning your skills and experiences.
How Do I Prepare For Behavioral Interview Questions?
Instead, take a few key career highlights and practice talking about them. If your career background largely matches the background the employer is looking for, it’s likely that in your key career experiences you’ll have a story or two that will be relevant for most of the behavioral interview questions you’ll receive.
Second, before the interview, take some time to familiarize yourself with the terminology of the organization and practice telling your stories using the terms that are most likely to be used by the interviewer.
It’s important to note that this approach also works for the aspiring BA who might have a lot of relevant work experience but is just learning to “talk the BA talk.” By learning to talk about past experience using BA terms, you’ll prepare yourself for the behavioral interview questions, multiplying the value of your past professional experience in a BA context.
>>Go Into Your Next Interview with Confidence
Pick up the BA Job Interview Prep Guide that walks you through the essential steps you need to take to prepare for your first or next business analyst job interview.