Business analysts help companies improve their performance. A big part of their job is analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the company and coming up with solutions to help them become more efficient. Whether you are an experienced business analyst or new to the role, this article can help you prepare for an upcoming interview with some common questions and example answers.
Preparing for a business analyst interview
A business analyst needs to understand business policies, operations, the structure of an organization and to be able to come up with working solutions. As you prepare for an interview, think about your experiences as a business analyst and how you can apply scenarios in order to answer the questions that a hiring manager might ask. Be sure to research the company and its culture before you go in, and find out what types of tools they use in the department so you can talk about them with some familiarity.
Common business analyst interview questions
Here are some of the more common business analyst interview questions:
What are some of the tools that are most helpful for a business analyst?
This question allows the interviewer to test your technical skills and knowledge. They want to find out what tools you are familiar with, and they want to see if you have done any research about what the company currently uses.
Example: ‘As a business analyst, I use a wide variety of tools, depending on the project. These might include the full Microsoft suite and web-based tools such as Google Docs for sharing documents and collaborating. I have also used Pencil for requirement gathering and Trello for collaboration and communicating with my team.’
What is scope creep, and how would you handle it?
A business analyst should know what scope creep is. How you answer this question can help your interviewer determine how you would handle one of the toughest parts of the job and overcome obstacles.
Example: ‘Scope creep is a term used to describe uncontrolled change to the scope or requirements of a project. It can be caused by poor management and poor communication between the stakeholders and project managers. The best way to avoid scope creep is by clearly documenting the scope of a project and following changes in management. I would also make sure to clearly communicate with the stakeholders and clearly document any new requirements. If I encountered scope creep, I would first identify who or what was causing it because this would determine the steps I would take to prevent it from happening any further.’
When would you use the waterfall model over the spiral model?
The interviewer wants to find out what kind of knowledge you have about both the spiral and waterfall management processes. A capable candidate should be able to compare both models and even give a preference for the one they prefer.
Example: ‘The waterfall and spiral models are used in software development. The waterfall model is a better method for smaller projects, while the spiral model is usually used in larger projects. I used the waterfall method in my previous job when my team was working to develop a new CRM system. It worked well because we went through the process step-by-step, completing each phase before moving on to the next. Everyone involved in the project knew exactly where we stood and was able to contribute their expertise.’
How would you define the role of a business analyst in this organization?
This question is important because it gives the interviewer an idea of what you believe your role is. It shows whether or not you have done your research about the organization and what the team atmosphere is. The interviewer will look for an indication that you understand the organization’s culture and if you will fit in.
Example: ‘A business analyst works as a liaison between the various stakeholders in an organization. The most important role for a business analyst is to work as a connector to make sure that teams work together to complete projects in a timely, efficient manner. In my role as a business analyst with this organization, I will work hard to effectively balance the needs of the various stakeholders, while at the same time, considering the business objectives.’
Can you describe a time when you had to persuade someone to accept a decision?
A business analyst needs strong communication skills. This is a behavioral question that will give some insight into your ability to solve problems and your ability to communicate with team members and stakeholders.
Example: ‘In my current position, I had a situation where we worked with a vendor for many years. I did some research and found some much better alternatives, but other managers in my department wanted to keep using the current vendor because it was easy. I put together a written proposal with evaluations of the top vendors in the field. In the end, I was able to change their minds and to save our department several thousand dollars a year.’
How would you handle a difficult stakeholder?
This is an important question because it lets your interviewer know if you can adapt to change and still get the job done. There are a lot of ways to handle this type of situation, so you want to make sure you have prepared a strategy that you can talk about.
Example: ‘An important role of a business analyst is listening to the concerns of the stakeholders. If possible, I would meet with them in person to talk about their concerns and provide an explanation of the process so they feel more comfortable with it. During the meeting, I would identify their specific concerns and make sure I communicated that their concerns are valid and have been taken into consideration, but I would also clearly communicate what the project goals are and how I was working to achieve them.’