Whether you’re just embarking on the business analyst career path or you’re a longtime professional in the field, preparing to address common types of business analyst interview questions can help ensure you’re ready to impress a potential employer when you’re looking for projects.
Business analyst jobs vary from company to company, but there are a number of questions you’re likely to hear in any interview for this position. The more familiar you are with what you may be asked, the better your chances of acing the interview.
Here are eight typical business analyst interview questions and some basic tips for how to prepare for them:
1. What do you think are the key strengths of a business analyst?
Since business analysis is an evolving and multifaceted profession, hiring managers want to know that you are aware of the necessary skills for success. You probably have your own list, but make sure to highlight both technical and nontechnical attributes you can bring to the job.
The job description should provide clues as to what types of skills the employer is looking for on both fronts — especially technical requirements. Learning what you can about the company culture prior to the interview can also provide insight on interpersonal abilities that will likely be valued.
Read this post for more tips on how to prepare for business analyst interview questions.
2. Tell me about your typical project approach.
Here, the hiring manager wants to ensure you have an overall understanding of the business analysis planning process. Rather than listing numerous projects and processes, talk more about the general phases or types of deliverables you might create, while letting the hiring manager know you can customize your approaches to projects.
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3. How have you handled difficult stakeholders?
Answer this one head on. The hiring manager is trying to assess your soft skills, particularly your communication and collaboration abilities. Working with people from different areas of the company and perspectives is an area where nontechnical skills are key.
Find out how today’s finance leaders are helping their teams to overcome cross-departmental collaboration barriers in this post.
4. Which business intelligence tools or systems have you worked with?
Cite the specific tools and how you've used them. If you have used a system the company employs, mention your experience to the hiring manager. If you're not familiar with the technology the employer uses, discuss how you plan to get up to speed quickly.
Did you know that business analytics skills are a requisite for many accounting and finance jobs today?
5. What do you know about SDD?
Your lingo acumen is being tested when you get one of these types of questions. Explain that the system design document (SDD) is a middle step separating business users and developers.
Check out these five hiring and salary trends for senior business systems analysts.
6. Can you define the diagrams most used by business analysts?
Again, the hiring manager wants reassurance you have the skills to get the job done and know case, activity and sequence diagrams.
Demand is rising for consultants to support business systems initiatives. Learn more about this trend.
7. How do you handle changes to requirements?
Your logical-thinking skills are being put to the test with this question. As you answer, highlight how you thoughtfully respond to changing situations.
One potential response is something along the lines of, “First, I prioritize the changes to requirements, scope of changes and the impact analysis to the project. Next, I perform an impact analysis to the project cost, timeline and resources. Finally, I evaluate whether the scope change is introducing new gaps to the technical or functional designs or development and testing.”
See these additional tips for making a good impression in a job interview.
8. Why are flowcharts important?
The hiring manager is trying to learn how you will work with all team members. A suitable answer here is that flowcharts play an important role in explaining concepts and processes to both technical and nontechnical members.
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Create a resume that will impress
This is an exciting time for business analysts: Employers of all types are looking to hire these specialists to help support big data-related initiatives, improve fiscal efficiency and more. However, despite the urgent need to hire these professionals, many companies are very selective in their hiring process.
Therefore, in addition to preparing for business analyst interview questions, be sure to take the time to develop a business analyst resume that will stand out from the crowd — otherwise, you may be overlooked by hiring managers. Consider applying these strategies for success.
What salaries are business analysts commanding right now? Visit our Salary Center to download a free copy of the latest Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance.
The Business Analyst Resume: How to Make Yours Stand Out: Employers of all types are in hot pursuit of skilled business analysts to help them support big data-related initiatives and to improve fiscal efficiency. But they’re also very discerning when selecting these professionals for their team. So it’s important for business analysts to make sure their resume stands out from the crowd. See this post for more business analyst resume strategies to consider.
This post was originally published in July 2014 and has been updated to reflect more current information.