After doing the hard labor of sending out numerous business analyst job applications, you have finally been invited to attend an interview. Congratulations! Through the interview, you can prove your competence and get the job.
Nevertheless, before going for the interview, you need to prepare thoroughly for the possible questions that may be asked during the interview session. The more acquainted you are with the most common business analyst interview questions, the better youR chances of convincing the interview board that you deserve the position. Here are the most common interview questions you should expect:
A) Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
Almost all business analyst interviews start with this seemingly vague question. When responding to the question, you should seize the opportunity to shape the direction of the interview. Therefore, instead of taking the interviewers through a long introduction, you need to simply summarize your most compelling qualifications, skills and personal experiences.
B) How do you approach a typical project?
This question targets your knowledge of the business analysis planning process. When responding, talk about the general types or phases of deliverables that you might create when working on a project. Avoid the temptation to list several projects and processes. Instead, give an expert summary of how you would prepare for and complete a typical project. Moreover, you should make it clear that you can customize your approaches according to the projects.
C) What is a ….? (The blank space may be filled with: data dictionary, use case, business process etc).
The “what is a …” questions are usually aimed at testing your understanding of certain key terms from the business analyst job description. Whenever you are asked such questions, make sure to give very concise answers and then to highlight specific experiences you have had with the terms/items in the questions. Examples include:
- What is UML Modeling? Answer: UML (Unified Modeling Language) is the industry standard language for the construction, visualization and documentation of different components within a system.
- What is an alternate flow in use case? Answer: The alternate flow is the flow that comes into action whenever a use case system fails and the expected results have not come into fruition.
- What is exception flow of a use case? Answer: Exception flow is a type of flow accounting for an unusual or unexpected result within an application process. The exception is handled according to its flow design.
- What are includes and extends within a use case? Answer: Includes are points where specific actions must take place; Extends are actions that may not necessarily occur.
- What are the documents used for a use case? Answer: Two documents, namely, FRD (Functional Requirement Document) and SDD (System Design document). The SDD may also be called TRS (Technical Requirements Specifications).
- What is a flow chart? Answer: It is a clear graphical representation of a process/system, making the process/system easy to understand for all individuals involved.
- What is a use case model? Answer: The use case model is a diagrammatic representation of the use case, which typically shows the series of actions and events to be performed by actors in any given process.
- What is the importance of Activity Diagram? Answer: activity diagram is an outline of a business work flow, activities and completed actions. It highlights departmental differences and makes coding and designing easier for developers.
- What different types of diagrams are used in business analysis? Answer: Use case diagram, collaboration diagram and activity diagram.
- What are the most common tools used by business analysts? Answer: MS word, MS Visio, Power Pint, MS Excel, Test Director/Quality Center MS Project.
- What is the major role of a business analyst? Answer: A business analyst acts primarily as a communication conduit between business stakeholders and the IT solution team.
- What is the distinction between a Systems Analyst and Business Analyst? Answer: system analysts assess programs (utilities) and identify various codes and the changes that should be made on them. On the contrary, business analysts must understand and align IT systems/solutions to business stakeholder needs.
- What is the difference between business analysis and business analyst? Answer: Business analysis refers to the set of skills needed to effectively carry out the duties of a business analyst. Business analyst is the liaison person between business stakeholders with various problems and technology experts who can develop automated solutions for various businesses.
D) What do you consider the most essential strengths of a business analyst?
While business analysis is a rapidly evolving field, employers usually ask this question to see if you have a good grasp of the skills needed to succeed as a business analyst. When responding to the question, make sure to give a broad set of skills that are relevant to different business analysis roles and then to narrow down to the specific skills needed for success in the role you are being interviewed for. Besides, you should make sure to include technical and non-technical skills and attributes.
E) Can you describe a typical day in your most recent business analysis job?
While a day’s work varies massively from day to day and from company to company, this question is intended to dig out your actual work experience. Start responding to this question by pointing out to the hiring panel that there is no such thing as a typical day in the business analyst’s work and then proceed to underscore the types of days you have had or the types of activities you have engaged in on different days. Speak about client meetings, client engagements, how you plan your time, how you remain focused on projects and how you handle conflicting priorities.
F) Can you tell us how you handle difficult stakeholders?
A hiring panel asks this question so they can better understand your soft or non-technical skills (particularly the communication skills). Make sure to give a direct answer to this question and then to give an example of when you used your skills previously when dealing with a difficult stakeholder. Even if you have had no such experience when handling business analysis projects, make sure to highlight a relevant experience you had in a different profession.
G) Tell us how you handle changes to requirements?
This question is simply testing your critical thinking skills. When responding, state the sequence of actions you will take. For example, you can say that you will prioritize the changes to requirements; extent of changes and impact analysis to the project, before you conduct an impact analysis of the project timeline, resources and cost; and finally evaluating whether the extent of changes will introduce new gaps to the functional or technical designs, or to testing and development.
H) When are you usually done with requirements?
This is one of the most common business analyst interview questions that fail many analysts. When responding to the question, explain how you move through a business analysis project from the beginning to the end. Make it clear to the hiring panel that when you finish a project, you always meet a set of requirements that suit the business needs and that have been vetted by the IT solution team.
I) Do you have any questions for us?
This is the moment to demonstrate that you can ask intelligent and thoughtful questions. Turn this part of the interview into a delightful conversation by sharing out your experience or offering interesting suggestions. Ask at least 2 questions and make sure to engage the panelists.