Are you looking to hire an analyst for your business? You have come to the right place and are already off to an excellent start for two reasons. First, an analyst could become an essential asset for your business’ performance and growth. Second, it is prudent to conduct thorough research about the qualities to look for in a business analyst. 

Ideally, the initial interview process offers an opportunity to evaluate potential candidates’ skills and qualities. However, this depends on the questions you ask and how you generally conduct the interview. 

So, what is the right way to interview a business analyst? Here is a comprehensive guide on how to go about it, including pointers on resourceful business analyst interview questions to ask. 

Appreciating the Importance of a Business Analyst 

The word “analysis” is often tossed around in many business contexts, especially in marketing and performance evaluation. Essentially, business analysis entails evaluating in detail every aspect and component of a business. To this end, an analyst wears many hats and plays many roles in a company

As such, an analyst can identify your business’s fundamental needs and develop answers, sparking positive changes in the process. They engage with and evaluate everything related to the company, primarily data but also including people (employees, partners, and other relevant parties). 

As such, a business analyst can help identify an unproductive employee or one that could be more productive in a different position. Similarly, an analyst can help identify efficient and inefficient ways of managing, marketing, and running other operations. To this end, business analysts have often been described as agents of positive change in the company. 

Starting the Interview – Softball Questions 

The standard way to conduct an interview is to start by tackling the simple issues as you progress to the more difficult ones. The idea is to get the candidate to relax and be confident enough to be open and truthful. It is an ideal way to start such a formal conversation and get it going. 

As such, it is advisable to start off by asking simple questions touching broadly on the candidate’s career. Good examples of questions to start with include: 

  • “Why did you decide to become a business analyst?” 
  • “What are your roles and responsibilities as a business analyst?” 
  • “What is your favorite aspect of working as a business analyst?” 

Besides being a conversation start, a soft start will also enable you to evaluate the following three important qualities in a candidate: 

Personality 

It will be difficult to work with someone you cannot stand – a negative personality can sow division in the workplace. As explained, a soft approach gets the candidate to open up, giving you a glimpse into their behavior and personality. 

Passion 

As explained, analysis involves evaluating large chunks of data, which isn’t everyone’s favorite thing. To this end, it is easy to gauge the candidate’s passion for the job with a simple softball question such as, “What is your favorite aspect of working as a business analyst?” Naturally, an employee that isn’t passionate will also likely be unproductive or counter-productive. 

Communication Skills 

Communication is an integral aspect of working together. As explained, a soft approach should get the candidate to open up and communicate about themselves. After all, an analyst who can’t communicate efficiently cannot effect much positive change in the company. 

Getting into the Specifics 

As explained, the interview should graduate gradually from the softball questions to hard-hitting ones touching on the specifics. These questions should focus on the candidate’s skills and qualities such as experience and achievements. 

Here are some examples of relevant analyst interview questions to ask at this point of the interview:  

  • “What do you consider as the best practices for cleaning data?” 
  • “Which tools do you usually use, how do they work, and which ones among them would you consider the best (or your favorites)?” 
  • “Describe some of the greatest professional challenges you have faced in your career in the past.” 
  • “Describe a project on which you worked that contributed to a business win.” 
  • “Do you have any new ideas about your profession as a whole or certain aspects of it?” 

These business analyst interview questions and answers will give you an insight into the candidate’s suitability for the position. Some of the skills and qualities you can evaluate through these questions include: 

Problem-Solving Skills 

As explained earlier, a business analyst identifies problems and develops corresponding solutions. Consequently, every analyst needs excellent problem-solving skills. 

Tool Familiarity 

Even the sharpest analysts require analytical programs and software to analyze large chunks of data. Some of these tools may be complicated to use, but a competent analyst should know their way around as many tools as they need to do their job. 

Include Context 

As explained before, business analysts have many roles and responsibilities. It is also worth noting that different companies have varying needs and preferences for business analysis. 

To this end, the ideal candidate should accommodate your unique needs and preferences without compromising their productivity. As such, it is important to include context from your company in your interview. 

The context can be company-focused (based on your company’s overall needs and operations) or project-focused (based on a specific project). Here is an overview of how to format the analyst interview questions based on context: 

  • “Have you ever worked on a project/company similar to this one before? How did you perform?” 
  • “How would you evaluate this particular company’s/project’s performance?” 
  • “Can you provide an example of how data analysis could help solve this particular problem?” 

This part of the interview will help you evaluate the two important skills and qualities in a business analyst: 

Business Sense 

A business analyst should get lost in the numbers and lose focus of the practical, tangible company goals. To this end, they should be able to develop solutions to real-life problems plaguing your company. Additionally, they should be able to translate these solutions into a language that everyone understands. 

Preparedness 

A business should always be prepared for the unexpected. This part of the interview includes hard-ball questions, but an analyst who did their homework shouldn’t have trouble acing it. 

Any Questions? 

Interviewees are naturally curious about the company and their likelihood of getting the job. Satisfying their curiosity can help further nurture trust and confidence between you two. Additionally, you can gain a lot of insight from the nature and direction of their questions. 

You Nailed It! 

A business analyst plays an important role in a company, and so it is important to hire the best candidate available. This guide will help point you in the right direction. Epic Placements would also be glad to offer more help, including granting you access to open positions for business analysts. Get in touch today to learn more or subscribe to our email list.