Your dream job as a business analyst is within reach, but preparing for your big interview can be stressful and time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if you had an idea of what questions the interviewer would ask you?
To help you crush your interview, we’ve got 10 business analyst interview questions that you can prepare for in advance and walk into your interview confident and prepared!
Table of Contents:
- What motivated you to pursue a career as a business analyst?
- Why are you interested in this company?
- What do you think are the key strengths of a business analyst?
- What is your biggest achievement?
- Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Tell me about a time that you provided exceptional customer service to a client.
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone to accept your decision?
- How do you stay up-to-date on general business knowledge and trends?
- What sets you apart from other business analysts that we’re interviewing for this position?
This is a common business analyst interview question that interviewers use to get an understanding of your interests and career goals. This is a great opportunity for you to speak to your academic pursuits and any related jobs that you’ve held.
“One of the main reasons I want to be a business analyst is because I like to be able to see a direct relationship between my efforts and the company’s success. In my summer work term, I was able to improve the company’s operational efficiencies resulting in a cost savings of 2%.”
Your interviewer knows you’re probably interviewing with other companies, but she wants to know, “Why us?” This is your chance to demonstrate a genuine interest in the company and opportunity by showing off what you know. This is a common business analyst interview question that you can prepare for ahead of time by doing your research. Recent company news and the company website are a great place to start to prepare an answer like the following:
“I want to work for this company because I associate with your commitment to sustainability. Working for a company that has a genuine commitment to sustainable practices has always been a goal for me, and I know I would conduct my work with the same approach.”
Your answer to this question should show your interviewer that you understand what skills and abilities are necessary for success. A good answer to strength and weakness interview questions should include some examples of the hard and soft skills necessary in your profession:
“Technical skills like a strong aptitude for numbers and an ability to quickly pick up new systems and technology are key, but so are people skills like communication, facilitation, and negotiation skills.”
You might consider winning an eating competition to be your greatest achievement, but keep your answer to this question work-related. Tell a story about a recent work success that shows the interviewer what benefits you’ll bring to the company. A good answer contains a problem and your solution such as the following:
“In my previous position, I identified a major issue with inventory control. The system wasn’t keeping close enough track, and the company was short on product each month. By investigating 12 months of previous data, I was able to identify the problem and implement a new control measure which allowed us to track product more closely. From that point forward, inventory was no longer an issue.”
This is one of the more difficult business analyst interview questions to answer. No one likes to talk about their failures. The good news is that the interviewer knows you’re not perfect—no one is. Use the STAR method to highlight what you learned from your failure.
“In my final year of college, I had two papers due the same week. I accidentally confused the due dates, and one paper ended up being submitted early, and the other late. It was an easy mistake to make, but I should have been more on top of my deadline. I was otherwise a great student, so I spoke to my instructor about the missed deadline, and he was kind enough to only deduct 10% from my grade instead of 20%. From that point forward, I made a point to note all deadlines in my calendar, and I still do that with projects to this day.”
Note that a good answer to this question has a few essential elements: tell a story, acknowledge your responsibility, don’t blame others, and don’t select too large a failure.
One of the main functions of a business analyst is to work with clients to help them achieve process improvements—whether that’s product design, operational functionality, or team efficiency. When answering this question, keep in mind that clients can be internal or external.
You might answer something like this:
“My previous role was focused on finding production efficiencies. My internal client was the head of manufacturing. I really enjoy working with clients to understand their pain points and creating solutions to solve those issues. Seeing those solutions implemented, and the resulting business improvements are very rewarding”.
This question is similar to the business analyst interview question on failure (#5) in the sense that the interviewer knows you have a weakness and wants to see you confront it. In answering this question, it’s best to focus on a non-essential skill, highlight skills you have improved, and turn a negative into a positive like the following sample answer:
“I used to like to work very linearly and focus on one project at a time. This sometimes presented difficulties with taking on new work. I recently developed some organizational practices that allow me to work on multiple projects at once. I have found that this allows me to share learnings across projects and be more creative in my work.”
In answering this question, you want to highlight your ability to influence others. Choose an example where your decision was clearly correct based on data, not opinion.
“In my current position, a vendor contract was up for renewal, and we had to decide whether to continue with them or evaluate other vendors. While most people wanted to stay with the current vendor, I knew they hadn’t been providing particularly good service. To support my argument, I provided a brief summary of the vendor’s cost and service record compared with other providers. With this evidence, I was able to convince others to select a new vendor, improving the service we received and saving the company money.”
In asking this question, the interviewer is trying to assess whether you’re self-motivated and driven enough to take actions to keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date outside of your regular day-to-day activities. Your answer could include reference to industry publications, news, and conferences or events:
“I start my day by checking my news app over my morning coffee. I also set Google Alerts for things that I’m specifically interested in such as financial news. I also try to attend at least a couple networking events or conferences each year to keep connected with the business community.”
This is your time to shine! Don’t hold back. Tell the interviewer about any skills or experience that make you special.
Try something along these lines:
“As a business analyst, I would be able to contribute to your company immediately with my deep understanding of how to deliver business insights from raw data. I have experience working with SQL, data models, and in Agile product development. I am also very comfortable working with clients to assess and analyze their business needs.”
When choosing what skills and experience to highlight, make sure to focus on ones that were outlined in the job advertisement.
By preparing your answers to these 10 business analyst questions in advance, you’ll be able to answer with confidence and impress your interviewer. It may sound silly, but don’t forget to practice! Giving the questions a run-through with a family member or friend, or even in front of the mirror, will make a big difference during your real interview.