8 common business analyst interview questions

By Robert Half 27th May 2016

Whether you are heading into your first interview or you're an experienced business analyst looking to further your career, 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 as the hiring manager attempts to assess your business analysis skills. The more familiar you are with what you may be asked, the better your chances of acing the interview.

To help you in preparing for a business analyst interview, here are eight typical business analyst interview questions, along with some basic tips for how to prepare your answers for them.

Common interview questions for business analyst roles

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 soft skills you can bring to the job.

The job description should provide clues as to what types of business analyst 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.

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 customise your approaches to projects.

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3. How have you handled difficult stakeholders?

One of the most common senior business analyst interview questions, so answer it 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 non-technical skills are key.

4. Which business intelligence tools or systems have you worked with?

Senior, and in particular junior business analyst interview questions, will focus on any additional training you may need, considering the most common tools used for analysis and your experience of using 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 business analyst interview 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 business analyst skills to get the job done and know case, activity and sequence diagrams.

Demand is rising for IT business analysts with a strong background in all aspects of database technology.

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 prioritise 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 interview 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 non-technical members.

Create a CV 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 a business analyst interview with these common interview questions, be sure to take the time to develop your business analyst CV, so it stands out from the crowd — otherwise, you may be overlooked by hiring managers.

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