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Business Analyst Interview Questions

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Business analysts fulfill vital roles within the corporate structure. Because “business analyst” is an umbrella term that covers different types of specific job titles, in-house management or third-party company recruiters tailor their interview questions to pinpoint the best candidate for a particular job. On the other side of the table, landing a job in this niche begins with nailing the interview.

What Is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst wears many caps to achieve the goal of boosting a company’s profits. As a problem solver, a business analyst evaluates data to identify areas that could be improved to optimize a company’s performance. Analysts review documents and operating systems, often using a fine-tooth comb to reveal areas where even small tweaks make a difference to the bottom line.

Because a business analyst’s work impacts different positions and departments within a company, good communication skills and leadership abilities are also important to keep operations running smoothly.

Business Analyst Degrees

With a business analyst degree, jobs depend on the type of degree a candidate possesses. Rutgers identifies the top five types of degrees that employers want from their entry-level business analysts as well as the percentage breakdowns:

  • Business administration and management, general (58 percent)
  • Computer science (39 percent)
  • Finance (22 percent)
  • Management information systems, general (14 percent)
  • Accounting (11 percent)

As the results reveal, business analyst degree requirements cover a range of expertise that includes knowledge in business administration, finance and computer science. A well-rounded business analyst may be expected to demonstrate expertise in all these areas to be considered for a job.

Types of Business Analysts

With the wide variety of business analyst degrees needed to perform different jobs, there are also numerous job titles given to different types of business analysts.

Hiring managers pinpoint which type of business analyst they need by assigning titles such as:

  • IT business analyst
  • Data business analyst
  • Functional business analyst
  • Business systems analyst
  • Business requirements analyst
  • Reporting business analyst
  • Enterprise business analyst

Business Analyst Interview Questions

Each interviewer structures questions around the specific type of business analyst a company seeks, so all questions won’t apply to all business analyst candidates. However, anticipating some of these most commonly asked business analyst interview questions can help candidates prepare for their interview.

1. What Skills and Tools Would You Bring to This Position?

Skills can be broadly categorized by fundamental, technical and business analysis skills. Fundamental skills include verbal communication, writing proficiency, leadership qualities and problem-solving abilities. Technical skills include knowledge of databases, domain knowledge, system engineering concepts and familiarity with operating system skills. Business analysis skills include documentation, decision making, requirement elicitation and creativity.

Tools may include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, MS Project, ERP systems and rational tools.

2. How Do You Perceive Your Role as a Business Analyst?

Because the role of a business analyst varies from company to company and even within different departments of the same company, the successful interviewee researches specific needs of each organization to fuel the answer to this question.

General answers include being able to identify a company's needs and problems by gathering pertinent data, implementing solutions and also having the skill to predict potential future problems. A core role of a business analyst is that of an effective communicator who is able to facilitate changes effectively within the organization.

3. What Is the Difference Between Business Analytics and Business Analysis?

The primary difference is that business analytics is more data related and business analysis is more functions and process related. Business analysis identifies an organization's needs and finds solutions to meet those needs. Business analytics take the data and analyze it to gain insight on a organization's processes using four general types of analytics: decisive analytics, descriptive analytics, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics. The results of the business analytics process are compiled in reports.

4. What Diagrams Are You Proficient in Using?

Business analysts use a variety of diagrams to inform the work they produce. Among these diagrams are activity diagrams, which show the movement from one activity to another in the organization's overall system operations; data flow diagrams, which use graphical diagrams of the shared flow of data in and out of different systems; and use case diagrams, which show how different company systems interact with each other.

5. What Documents Are You Proficient in Using?

As part of a business analyst's scope of work, there are many commonly used documents with which an analyst should be familiar. Some of these documents include required management plan, requirement traceability matrix, system requirement specification/system requirement document, functional requirement specification/functional specification document, project vision documents, test cases, use cases and user stories.

6. How Can You Measure a Requirement's Quality Using the SMART Rule?

As an acronym for measuring the features, standards and quality of a requirement, the SMART rule stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely components. A requirement's description should be specific and easily understood, its scope should have measurable success criteria, its resources should be feasible and attainable, its results should be aligned with the project's case with a relevant requirement and it should be communicated early and achieved on a timely basis.

7. What Is Pareto Analysis?

Pareto analysis is a process by which a business analyst can resolve defects and improve quality control. Based on statistics, Pareto analysis uses a small number of certain inputs to have a big impact on the final result. For this reason, Pareto analysis is also called the 80/20 rule because this ratio represents 80 percent of a project's benefits that are achieved from 20 percent of the work behind the project.

8. What Are Your Steps for Requirement Gathering?

Gathering requirements is a multipronged process that divides numerous steps into three subcategories each: specific tasks that must be performed, principles that must be followed and documents that must be produced.

Depending on the project, steps may include:

  • Gathering background information
  • Discovering business objectives
  • Evaluating options
  • Defining the scope
  • Creating a business analyst delivery plan
  • Defining the project requirements
  • Using software development life cycle to support the project's implementation
  • Evaluating the project's value

9. What Are Requirement Elicitation Strategies?

Requirement elicitation is a collective process that gathers all system requirements from multiple sources such as customers, stakeholders and end users. According to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge guide, which is the global standard for business analysis, requirement elicitation includes nine methods: brainstorming, interviews, observation, document analysis, focus groups, requirements workshops, interface analysis, surveys or questionnaires and prototyping.

10. What Are Some Important Agile Manifesto Metrics and Methodologies?

As a software guide, the Agile Manifesto ensures specific solutions to development principles.

Some of the Agile metrics include:

  • Velocity
  • Sprint burndown
  • Work category allocation
  • Cumulative flow diagram
  • Defect removal awareness
  • Business value delivered
  • Time coverage
  • Defect resolution time

Some of the Agile methodologies include:

  • Scrum
  • Lean software development
  • Extreme programming
  • Feature-driven development
  • Crystal methodology
  • Dynamic software development method