Do You Make These Job Interview Mistakes?

Here’s a not so uncommon scenario you might face during a business analyst job interview:

Recruiter: Thanks for taking some time to meet with me today. I’m working with a client who needs a business analyst to fill in on a new project and hit the ground running. It’s really important that they have experience working with use cases. Your resume says you have experience with use cases. Can you tell me more about that?

Let’s look at answers from our Prospective BAs and how they would do for the position. (These all resemble answers I’ve heard from my consulting clients or in real interviews with professionals who were perfectly well-qualified to create use cases.)

Prospective BA #1:  Use cases? Where does it say that?

Not good. I’m sure the interview would be over in about a minute, maybe less.

Prospective BA #2: Oh, well, I do have experience with use cases, I guess. But they weren’t formal use cases. They were documents that were a whole lot like use cases.

A little better. But not good. You undermined the value of your own experience by downgrading it. You might get one follow-up question from a nice recruiter. (And they aren’t all nice.)

Prospective BA #3: Use cases…er, well, yes…hmmm…let me think a minute here…yes, I remember it now. I was working on a project for my call center and we needed to implement some software updates to support how we managed accounts. I created a use case to capture the current functionality and then updated the use case to show the new functionality we needed. I validated the use case with my manager and other members of the customer service team. I met with the developers to walk through the use case. They asked a lot of clarifying questions and I updated the use case to reflect the answers. As the developers implemented the requirements I used the use case to create test cases and assigned different members of my team to execute the test cases.

Decent. The recruiter’s interest is probably piqued. You’ll get a follow-up question. The difference between decent and good in this case simply involves getting rid of the self-doubt and hesitation at the beginning

(You might take a minute and consider how you would answer this question if you were asked right now.)

(Before I forget, 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.)

How Do I Get Rid of the Hesitation?

It’s quite simple, actually. You use a technique that everyone who has ever excelled at anything uses…from classic pianists to professional football players. It’s so simple yet very often overlooked.

It’s called practice.


Yes, you practice answering possible business analyst job interview questions, just like you would practice complicated set of chords or catching passes.

Why Is This Necessary?

When we rewrite our resume to emphasize our most relevant business analysis skills and experiences, it should be expected that we need to practice using these new terms to talk about our experience. After all, until we put the experience into words in our resume, we probably never thought about what we’d done in so much detail or using those words. And if we’re honestly and appropriately word-smithing, the terminology is going to feel a little unnatural.

And that’s perfectly OK. You are not expected to go from talking your old way to talking as a BA overnight.

Just like a football star doesn’t wake up on game day and catch touchdown passes.

Just like a classic pianist doesn’t walk into a concert and play a flawless Beethoven Sonata. (In fact, anecdotal evidence from my musician friends indicates that they practice 4 or more hours each day, even if they are not preparing for a specific gig.)

Being a star or even being good enough doesn’t happen naturally. It takes work. And it’s worth it.

Set Aside the Time

You don’t have to practice for a job interview 4 hours a day, but practicing a total of 4 hours or maybe even 8 wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea, especially if you are new to the language of business analysis, skill solidifying your business analyst skills, and haven’t interviewed for awhile.

A bit of discipline goes a long way to ensure you are not overlooked for the right opportunity just because you don’t communicate about your qualifications with confidence.

>>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.

Click here to get your copy of the BA Job Interview Prep Guide


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