Are you preparing for a business analyst job interview and wondering what questions you might be asked? In this article, we’ll look at the types of questions you are likely to be asked in a business analyst job interview.
You may also want to check out this video on how to really sell your business analyst skills in a job interview.
(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.)
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #1 – Tell me about yourself.
Nearly every interview starts out with this question, but it’s frustratingly vague. Does the interviewer want a complete rundown of your career history? Or a synopsis of your key skills? Or a more personal account of how you got where you are today?
Instead of stumbling through a long-winded introduction that may or may not be relevant to the position or interesting to your interviewer, a good approach is to provide a brief summary and turn this opening question into an opportunity to shape the direction of the job interview and focus the discussion on your most compelling business analysis qualifications.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #2 – Tell me about a time you ____.
Fill in the blank with any key term from the job description. These are called behavioral interview questions and your interviewer wants to hear about how you used a skill or technique required to be successful in this job. Select one of the more positive and complex experiences from your career background and tell this story with as much detail as possible.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #3 – What is a _____?
Again, fill in the blank with any key term from the job description. (Common examples would include business process, use case, or data dictionary. These questions seem different from behavioral interview questions, but I would suggest providing a brief answer and then sharing a specific experience you have related to the skill. That’s what is going to help your interviewer believe you really know what you are doing anyway, even if they don’t directly ask about your experience.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #4 – How do you deal with difficult stakeholders?
This one can crop up in a variety of forms, depending on the difficulties perceived by your interviewer. This question is nice because it gives you a bit of insight into the challenges you might face at this organization, which you’ll want to understand before you accept an offer.
Like many interview questions, you’ll gain the most confidence from your reviewer if you provide a direct answer and then speak to a similar challenge you had in a previous stakeholder environment. Working with difficult stakeholders is one of those areas where your transferable soft skills are extremely important, so even if you don’t have a relevant BA experience, be ready to speak to a relevant experience from a different profession.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #5 – What will you miss most about your current job?
Typically someone asking this question is looking to get a feel for your orientation and what you perceive as most important about a job opportunity. They may want to be sure they can position their organization in a positive light against your past experience or they may be looking to make sure that you would be a good fit for the work environment they have to offer.
Avoid answers like “being the expert” as that can make you seem tied to your current position and lacking confidence in your ability to perform in a new role. Saying you’ll miss the people is always a safe choice – just be sure you can say it honestly and back the sentiment up with detail.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #6 – What was a typical day like at your most recent job?
I used to like to start with this question to get a good feel for the candidate’s actual work experience and their ability to summarize it briefly and relevantly. It’s a bit of a false question because everyone knows that there is no “typical” day. As a business analyst, your work varies greatly day to day.
The best candidates I’ve interviewed were quick to point out that there is no typical day and then speak to the types of days they had or activities they engaged in. (As a side note, having a candidate nicely but clearly point out that your question is a bit off shows that they have the confidence to correct a potential manager. This type of leadership is a quality that managers are often looking for in BAs.)
To answer this kind of question, be ready to speak more to the types of meetings you attended and client engagements you had than the deliverables you created. This is also a good question to speak to how you organize your time, handle conflicting priorities, and stay focused on moving your projects forward.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #7 – Tell me about your typical approach to a project.
This question is looking both to understand your business analysis process and see how flexible you might be. If you start spouting lists of deliverables and processes, you’ll probably turn most hiring managers off. Instead, speak to the general phases or types of deliverables you tend to create and let them know how you’ve customized specific approaches to the project needs. Then ask about their project and business analysis processes.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #8 – When are you done with requirements?
When I was interviewing BAs, this was my favorite question as part of the screening process. I can’t tell you how many candidates couldn’t answer it or provide clear criteria for finishing a set of requirements. Don’t be those candidates!
Be prepared to speak to how you see the business analysis effort through from start to finish – and that you know how to finish. Finishing typically meets a set of clear and approved requirements that represent the business need and have been vetted by the solution team.
(For more information about what you can do to cultivate a manager’s confidence in you as a BA job candidate, you might also read about our BA job search process.)
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #9 – What do you see as the key strengths of a business analyst?
Business analysis is a growing and emerging profession. Employers want to know that you are aware of the skills needed to succeed as a business analyst, and that this is not just technology skills.
Be prepared to speak to the variety of business analyst roles within the profession and the key business analyst skills that are important for success in the role.
Business Analyst Job Interview Question #10 – What questions do you have for me?
As a business analyst, you will ask questions – lots of them. There is no better place to demonstrate your ability to ask thoughtful, intelligent questions than in the interview. Your interviewer should ask you if you have questions and you should have at least a few.
Turn this part of the interview into a conversation by sharing more about your experience or offering a suggestion. Use active listening techniques so your interviewer feels heard and understood. This is a time to demonstrate your elicitation skills, not just simply get a few questions answered.
>>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.