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Business Analyst Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated August 14th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Business    

Question 1 of 30

How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

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1.

How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

The interviewer would like to know if you are satisfied with your interview performance. If your interview were a flop, you would know, and it's much better to address outright your performance than try to sweep it under the rug.

If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: 'I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?'

If you feel that your performance in the interview is not going well: "I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I would rate my performance to 90% of my ability. When you asked about my exposure to Agile methodology, I feel that missed expressing my breadth of experience. If you have time, I would like to cover that question further."

Anonymous Answer

"Thank you for asking. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. I would rate my performance to 90% of my ability. I am happy how I answered most of the questions; however, I feel that I missed expressing some of my experience in business planning consolidation. If you have time, I would like to talk a bit more about the same further."

Kristine's Answer

Good answer. Of course, you would only rate your performance at 90% of your ability if you're unhappy with how you answered one or more questions. This is a nice way to ask for the opportunity to speak again about a topic.

"Thank you for asking. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. I would rate my performance to 90% of my ability. I am happy with how I answered most of the questions; however, I feel that I missed expressing some of my experience in business planning consolidation. If you have time, I would like to talk a bit more about that topic."

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2.

How do you react when you are dissatisfied with the quality of your work, or the outcome of a project?

As a business analyst, you want everything to be perfect, and you want every project to be pristine, for your valued client and employer. Failure happens to all of us from time to time. The interviewer would like to know how you respond to let-downs in the workplace. There will always be a time when you are not happy with your work environment, but your reaction is what will determine whether or not you recover from the disappointment. Show that you have the maturity to be able to respond to dissatisfaction productively.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In business analysis, there is little room to play around with our work and bounce back from mistakes. I allow myself to make mistakes, tweak my work, and play around with different models; however, an analytical mind is always seeking improvements and will not rest until its right."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When I am dissatisfied with my work, I will not submit it. There is no room in my line of work to hand in work that is not up to standard. I would not say that I am a perfectionist; however, I know what I am capable of achieving, and as a business analyst, I have to set a great example at all times."

Anonymous Answer

"When I am dissatisfied with the outcome of a project, program, etc....I use that moment to learn something; list out the things I could have done differently, get feedback from my team or stakeholders, and listen to what they are saying without being offended. How do I better myself, maybe there is another way that I am not aware of. If we aren't willing to continuously improve, what is the point? While I stand behind everything that I do, I understand that I am by no means perfect and that leads to a few things I have no problem with stating; 1- I don't know, but let me find out for you. 2 - I am/was wrong, or I can do better."

Kristine's Answer

Great answer! You show a capacity for growth during challenging times. Your answer conveys keen emotional intelligence and humility. To strengthen your response, you can stay focused on only providing details related to the question and share an example of a time you were dissatisfied with the quality of your work and the steps you took to improve.

"When I am dissatisfied with the quality of my work or the outcome of a project, I use that experience to learn something. First, I take the time to list out the things I could have done differently. I recognize that we all have blind spots and one of the best ways to improve is to ask others to share their observations and insights, so the second thing I do is seek out feedback from my team and stakeholders and listen to what they are saying. By reassuring others, I genuinely want their honest feedback, they know that I won't be offended and feel comfortable opening up to me. Finally, in situations where my shortfall affects others, I admit to my team or customer that I was wrong or that I can do better."

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3.

What is benchmarking, and why is it important?

By definition, to benchmark is to evaluate or compare with a pre-set standard. When a business analyst is benchmarking, they take a deep dive into a competing organization and then uses those marks to set a standard for the company with which they are working.

This deep dive could include hiring practices, return policies, product development, manufacturing procedures, and more. Explain to the interviewer how you, as a successful business analyst, use benchmarking to help your clients achieve their goals.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In a nutshell, benchmarking is the practice of setting your business standards against your competitors. When properly utilized, benchmarking can help an organization to take a critical look at their competitors' performance, and learn from mistakes of the past while benefiting from best practices which may already exist. This dive could include dissecting existing processes, the analysis of different sets of data, and developing an action plan around what your competitors may, or may not be doing."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Benchmarking is the important practice of comparing your business against other businesses that are already very successful. It's like a smart, analytical comparison. I believe it's essential to benchmark when a company is looking at making a significant change, are seeing a loss of revenue, are anticipating the launch of a new product, or need to recalibrate their business operations in one way or another."

Anonymous Answer

"Essentially, benchmarking is setting your business standards against your competitors. Benchmarking can encompass product development, profitability ratios to manufacturing procedures. Benchmarking is useful in evaluating competitors’ performance and learning how to benefit successful practices and avoid errors. From there, you can dissect existing processes utilizing multiple sets of data and develop a plan to implement."

Rachelle's Answer

A very clear answer - good job! You seem to have a knack for explaining your work in easy to understand terms, a valuable skill in your line of work.

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4.

Are you Six Sigma certified? Why is Six Sigma important to you, as a business analyst?

Being Six Sigma certified is not always a requirement for being a business analyst; however, this type of training never hurts! Six Sigma certification comes in a variety of levels including white belt, yellow belt, green belt, and MBB which is short for Master Black Belt. Discuss with the interviewer if you have this type of training, and how it helps you to do your job as a business analyst.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am currently taking my Six Sigma green belt, having already earned my white and yellow belts. This education has been helpful when it comes to learning about lean management, and the analysis and control that comes with it. The more knowledge I have on helping business to run lean, the more profitable I can make the clients with which I work."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have not begun any Six Sigma training as of yet; however, I can see how further training in lean management would be a beneficial tool for my clients, as I grow my business analyst portfolio. If this opportunity for further training comes up in the future, I would eagerly join."

5.

What are the various SDLC models?

SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle, a concept which is often used by IT Business Analysts. There are various models within SDLC, which include Agile, Waterfall, Spiral, Iterative, and V-Shaped. Display to the interviewer that you understand the variances between these models by briefly discussing their differences.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The SDLC models which I am most familiar with include Agile and Spiral. I like agile because it encourages adaptation, continuous improvements, and offers flexible responses to change. With Spiral, it's more risk driven which is also a fascinating method in which to work. The others include Waterfall, Iterative, and V-shaped which I am less familiar with but keen on learning."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"From what I learned in university, there are five primary SDLC models which include Agile, Spiral, Waterfall, Iterative and V-shaped. Since my focus is not on IT business analysis, I did not perform a deep dive into these; however, I do understand V-shaped analysis and the fact that it is an extension of the waterfall method."

6.

How do you determine the difference between a risk and an issue?

If you have experience as a business analyst or a project manager, you know full well that there is a world of difference between a genuine risk and an issue. The interviewer wants to see that you are not going to overlook probability, but that you can also focus your attention on matters which are current problems.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I treat risk as something that could occur in the future, and an issue is a risk that is currently happening. It's imperative to pay attention to both a risk and an issue; however, issues are usually more pressing, from my experience."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"As a business analyst, I focus more on risk than issues. A risk is a predicted problem or something that could happen in the future, so it's up to my team and me to predict risk and help our clients overcome that risk. An issue is a risk that has already happened. I can certainly recommend to my clients on how to recover from an issue; however, I would much rather help them with precautionary measures before my work becomes damage control."

Anonymous Answer

"Risks are potential predicted problems, whereas an issue is something that has already happened and needs to be resolved. I can recommend to clients how to resolve an issue, but I would prefer to establish precautionary measures before doing damage control."

Rachelle's Answer

Excellent point, and a very solid distinction between risk and issue. Well said!

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7.

As a business analyst, when do you consider a project successful and complete?

Just because a client has signed off on a project, that does not mean your job as a business analyst is done. The interviewer would like to understand when you consider a project to be successful and complete. Share that you are available to your clients when they need you and that you do not abandon them the moment they sign off on a project.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"When I start a project, I am sure to set evident expectations with my clients on what a completed project may look like. I do not consider a project complete until we have delivered what we have promised, and the client can pick up where we sign off."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I understand that different clients will have varying expectations when it comes to the completion of a project. I am not interested in having a client sign off on a project when I feel there are still loose ends. I will always be available to my client; however, I do consider a project being at a close when documentation is archived, and invoices are paid."

Anonymous Answer

"Clients have varying expectations on completion of projects, but I generally operate on the rule that the project is not complete if there are still any loose ends. I usually consider a project coming to a close when documentation is archived and invoices are paid but, I will still be available to the client if they have any apprehensions or last-minute questions."

Rachelle's Answer

Excellent answer! It sounds as though you go above and beyond to make sure your clients are 100% taken care of.

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8.

How would you ultimately describe your work style?

This question is not referring to your personality or character, but more towards your methodology when it comes to getting your work done. Talk to the interviewer about your day-to-day approach to projects, communicating with coworkers, or collaborating with clients.

Your work style might be:

- Collaborative
- Well-Planned
- Speedy
- Flexible or Adaptive
- Independent
- Company-focused
- Team-based

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I would describe my work style as highly team-based. I keep in mind that my pace, quality of work, and the outcome will always affect multiple people on my team. If I am unsure of the path to take on a project, I will consult with my team to ensure that my ideas align well with theirs."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My work style is best described as independent. Once I understand my clients' goal, I am ready to take on all aspects of the project on my own. I take feedback well, of course."

Anonymous Answer

"I cannot put more of an emphasis on my particular work style. My work style includes well planned and team-based. If I talk about well- planned as one of my working styles, I would say that before I leave work for the day, I ensure that my following day is good to go. I like to come to work in the morning feeling organized and in control. This level of preparedness is always welcome by my employer. I would also describe my working style as highly team-based. I always bear in mind that my pace, quality of work, and the outcome will always affect multiple people on my team. If I am unsure of the path to take on a project, I will consult with my team to ensure that my ideas align well with theirs."

Kristine's Answer

This is a strong response! You provide the interviewer with two specific aspects of your work style. I reorganized and reworded your answer a bit for clarity.

"My work style includes careful planning and acting as if I am a member of a team, not working on projects independently. For example, before leaving work for the day, I always ensure that I have a plan for the next day. I like arriving to work in the morning feeling organized and knowing what my top priorities are. My employer has always welcomed this level of preparedness. I also see myself as part of a team, remembering that my pace, quality of work, and the outcome will affect multiple people on my team. If I am unsure of the path to take on a project, I consult with my team to ensure my ideas align with theirs."

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9.

Which data modeling software do you prefer to use?

Most commonly, business analysts will use Microsoft Excel or Visio for their data modeling needs. Likely, the preferred software or program will be mentioned in the hiring company's job posting so be sure to refer to that. If you have experience in the software or applications they use, be sure to mention your level of exposure and expertise. If you do not have experience in their preferred programs or software, discuss how you can apply your current knowledge to their systems.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have the most experience with Visio for data modeling, and I see in your job posting that you are seeking at least three years' exposure to that particular program. I have used Visio for five years now, and consider myself an expert user. I have created hundreds of entity relationship diagrams and other flowcharts within Visio."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Microsoft Excel is my go-to program for most data modeling needs. I find Excel the simplest for data mapping and would say that I am an intermediate level user. I have minimal exposure to Visio although I have begun to take an online training course to strengthen my skills in that particular program."

Anonymous Answer

"I have the most experience with and knowledge of Excel. I would consider myself an advanced Excel user. I find it most useful for calculations, data sorting and mapping, and visual representation of data. I have taken online courses on Visio, SPSS, SAS, and Tableau to strengthen my data analysis and representation skills."

Rachelle's Answer

Your answer is nice and clear, and you highlight deep strengths in Excel. Your interest in expanding your Visio, SPSS, etc. is a significant bonus.

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10.

Are you currently interviewing with any of our competitors?

The interviewer is curious and would like to know if you are visiting any of their close competitors to discuss similar business analyst roles. You are never under obligation to disclose who you are interviewing with, and you are usually best not to name any names, in such a tight-knit industry.

Be direct without giving away too much. Let the interviewer know that you are active in your search but are being very discerning regarding your applications, and final decision. You also do not want it to appear that you are putting all of your eggs into this one basket. Think of this as a first date question - you want to show your interest, but also keep some mystery!

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am interviewing with two other organizations for similar business analyst roles. One position, I am in the third interview stage, and the other was a pre-screen call with an in-person interview tomorrow. It is important to me that I find work soon; however, I will hold out for the right opportunity."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am not in a position to disclose which of your competitors are engaging me at the moment, but I can tell you that I am in early to mid-interview stages with two others. Your company is my first choice, and luckily we are furthest along in the interview process."

11.

What are your thoughts on Agile software development? Do you encourage Agile methodologies with your clients?

Agile software development, and it's overall principles have been openly embraced by organizations all over the world, since its inception. Agile encourages collaboration with teams customers, and the end user, allowing for more cross-functional projects to happen with fewer hiccups.

However; there are still some people who strongly argue against Agile. Those people tend to prefer Waterfall, for instance. Discuss with the interviewer your thoughts on Agile, keeping in mind that it's best to research where the hiring company stands on Agile, before your interview.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I saw in your job posting that you are seeking a business analyst who embraces Agile methodology. I have worked in, and fully support, an Agile environment. I enjoy the team-based approach Agile brings to software development."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"From what I understand, Agile software development is highly collaborative and team-based compared to other software development models. I can see how Agile would be excellent for many projects; but perhaps not all. I look forward to learning more about the methodologies used here. What is most important to me is that projects be tackled and completed professionally."

12.

What key strengths should a business analyst possess?

An excellent business analyst will be analytical, a great critical thinker, and a fantastic problem solver. There are many essential strengths that a business analyst should have, and it may be hard to choose. Start by reviewing the job description or job posting, and pick out a few key strengths that the potential employer is seeking. Then, form your response based on those keywords which you possess.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Looking at my key strengths, and the strengths of other business analysts that I admire, I would say that an elevated sense of business operations through a variety of industries is fundamental. Also, to be a skilled listener who can read between the lines of what is said and what is truly happening is very helpful. Excellent data analysis is also an area where every business analyst should be highly skilled. "

Rachelle's Answer #2

"A business analyst should be a creative thinker, an excellent problem solver, and someone who is resistant to stress. Clients can be demanding and require a great amount of attention to detail. These are all skills that I possess, and I look forward to bringing them to work for your organization."

Anonymous Answer

"The key strengths a business analyst should possess are effective communication, determined problem solving, and be a forward thinker. Communicating effectively is about reading between the lines, identifying points of disconnect, and listening well. Problem-solving requires both critical and creative thinking. Sometimes, traditional frameworks and methodologies don't provide an ideal solution and need further modification to resolve the issue."

Rachelle's Answer

These are very important strengths, and you do a great job highlighting why they are essential. Try making this answer more specific to you by laying out the fact that you possess these strengths, yourself.

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13.

Which career development goals have you set for yourself this year?

The interviewer would like to know that you are motivated to better yourself personally, and professionally. Career development can come in many forms:

- Conferences
- Trade shows
- Seminars & workshops
- Reading
- Podcasts
- Online coursework
- Finding a mentor

Discuss with the interviewer how you plan to develop yourself professionally this year and be sure to tie it into how this goal will benefit their company, should they choose to hire you.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"This year I have put requests to attend a few seminars and workshops on effective leadership and one on macroeconomics. I want to be able to help my team and clients reach their goals while also feeling fulfilled and happy. I look forward to taking what I have learned so far, and applying the concepts to this BA lead role with your company."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"The professional goal that I set for myself recently was to find a mentor to assist me in my career. Being newer to my profession as a business analyst, I felt it was important to consult and meet with someone more seasoned than I. This move to have a mentor can only benefit me and, down the road, I hope to return the favor to someone else who needs a mentor."

Anonymous Answer

"My immediate goal is to secure a position at a company like this one where I can continue to grow and improve myself both personally and professionally. I enjoy challenges and look forward to opportunities where I will be able to assume more responsibilities. Ultimately, I’d like to move into management with a focus on strategy and development and work my way into a long-term position where I can build a stable career. Right now, I’m focusing on improving my communication skills through continuing education programs outside of work. I’m very interested in leadership positions and know effective communication is critical. While I’m very happy as a member of any team I’m on, I’m looking forward to being able to take on small leadership roles, eventually working my way into a position as a manager and team leader. I have been so lucky to have been surrounded by the manager and team leaders who have been generous with their knowledge, and I look forward to an opportunity to become a mentor for others like me within this field."

Kristine's Answer

Great answer! Your interviewer will be convinced you take career development seriously. It's important to keep your answer focused on the question at hand, which is about your goals for the upcoming year. So, I revised your response a bit so that you highlight your career development goals in the coming year. I suggest you provide some specifics about your goals related to improving your communication skills. E.g., Are you working to improve your written English, spoken English, or something else?

"My immediate goal is to secure a position at a company like this one where I can continue to grow and improve myself. I enjoy challenges and look forward to opportunities where I can assume more responsibilities. Over the next year, I'll be focusing on improving my communication skills, and I've already begun the process by enrolling in continuing education programs outside of work. I’m very interested in leadership positions and know effective communication is critical. In the next year, I'd like to take on small leadership roles. Eventually, I want to work my way into a position as a manager and team leader. I have been so lucky to have been surrounded by the manager and team leaders who have been generous with their knowledge, and I look forward to an opportunity to become a mentor for others within this field. Ultimately, I’d like to move into management with a focus on strategy and development."

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14.

Which decision-making technique do you deploy most often?

The interviewer wants to understand the types of techniques and thought processes you use, to come to conclusions when working on projects. Pareto Analysis or the 80/20 rule is a commonly used decision-making technique, as is T-Chart Analysis, and more. Discuss with the interviewer what you know about decision making and the importance of coming to accurate conclusions.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Most often, I find myself utilizing Pareto Analysis. I agree with the fact that about 20% of causes are responsible for 80% of outcomes, or results. With this style of analysis, I can more easily break down which part of the workflow is causing most of the issues. Once we identify that 20%, it's much easier to problem solve and make decisions."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When decision making, I use a variety of techniques, without falling victim to the well-known 'analysis-paralysis.' I tend to go to decision trees, t-chart analysis, or SWOT analysis. The methods that I lean on will depend on the stage I am in with the client, so often, many of these techniques come into play in one project."

Anonymous Answer

"If it is a project that I’m familiar with, then I apply my past experiences to make individual decisions. If it is a brand new project, I would interact with team members and do my research to arrive at an informed decision."

Rachelle's Answer

These are great approaches for either scenario. It's nice that you gave two distinct responses! You sound very competent :)

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15.

Describe Kano Analysis and why it is important.

Kano Analysis was created to meet the ever-changing needs of customers and clients. When analyzing a product, it's vital that a company fully understands how to determine customer happiness. There are three points to Kano Analysis:

- Unexpected Delighters
- Performance Attributes
- Must Have Attributes

Show the interviewer that you understand these three points work together to help you analyze customer satisfaction.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Kano Analysis is a group of qualifiers that a company needs to meet before putting a product to market. Unexpected delighters are seen as the things a company or product delivers that is 'extra.' Must-have attributes are what a customer expects. Then, Performance attributes come from the 'more is better' customer mentality."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Kano Analysis is important because it helps a company to understand their customers' satisfaction threshold better. Kano is used for understanding customer needs, determining their requirements, developing new concepts, and analyzing competitive products."

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