If you are reading this post, you have most likely secured yourself an interview for a Business Analyst (BA) role.
First of all, congratulations on getting this far! You have undoubtedly beaten out many other applicants in order to make it to the interview stage. Make sure you record what you did to get to this point; was there anything in your CV that made you stand out, maybe something you said to the recruiter on the phone? Keep these in mind as they obviously work and you can use them again in future applications.
But we are not going to need any future applications. We are going to nail this interview and land the job on the first try.
This is what we will be focusing on achieving within this article.
In this post, we are going to look at the most common job interview questions you will face when applying to be a Business Analyst. Along with the questions, we will discuss what the interviewer is looking for when they ask their questions and also provide some guidance and examples on how to answer.
But before we get into that; how many applications has it taken you to land this interview?
1? – Absolutely fantastic, it seems like you don’t require additional help from me on your application!
2-5? – A decent return but could be better
5-10? – Your application is clearly missing something or perhaps the jobs you are applying for are outside of your skill set.
10+? – Your CV needs significant work as it is clearly not working for you.
Get your CV professionally reviewed (for free) to understand where you are going wrong. Pop your CV in the form below and within a day or so, you will be contacted to advise you how you can improve your chances at success.
Submit Your CV For Review
If you are already happy with your CV, then we can get cracking with the interview prep.
Ready? Let’s see the questions:
- 1 What is your understanding of the Business Analyst position in our organisation?
- 2 When you are given a new project what do you do first?
- 3 Tell me about a time you have had to manage a difficult stakeholder
- 4 How do you go about defining the requirements for a project?
- 5 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- 6 Why are you leaving your current role?
- 7 How do you assess and monitor Risk within a project?
- 8 What would you do if a Stakeholder approached you with a change midway through a project? (Could also be “What have you done when…”)
- 9 What Project Management Methodologies are you familiar with?
- 10 What Project Management Methodology do you believe is better?
- 11 Imagine you are going to be late delivering on an important task, what do you do?
- 12 What steps do you take when performing GAP analysis
- 13 How would you use the MoSCoW method/technique during requirement gathering?
- 14 How do you seek to promote diversity when working in a project team?
- 15 Why do you want to be a Business Analyst and not a Project Manager?
- 16 What experience do you have with data analysis?
- 17 What area of the role do you believe you will perform strongest in?
- 18 What area of the role do you believe you will perform weakest in?
- 19 Tell me about a time when you have made a mistake in a project.
- 20 As a Business Analyst how do you handle a team member who is not providing you with the needed information/work/documents?
What is your understanding of the Business Analyst position in our organisation?
What the interviewer is looking for: There’s a few things that the interviewer is looking for when asking this question. Firstly, did you read the job advert/description and understand what it was the firm was looking for. Secondly they are looking to see if you understand the role of the BA and how they fit into the wider project environment. And finally they are looking to see if you have the necessary skillset that they are looking for.
Example answer: From my research into the role – reading the job advert, deep diving into the company, talking to other employees – I believe that your organisation requires someone who can create that link between business and IT. Someone who can understand both the business processes and the IT capabilities and is able to derive requirements that are both acceptable to the development team while providing benefit to the business. I have significant experience of performing within this area having provided a similar function in my previous role where I was primarily responsible for holding requirement gathering sessions to define the functional and non-functional requirements and tracking these throughout the project within the Requirements Traceability Matrix.
When you are given a new project what do you do first?
What the interviewer is looking for: The interviewer is looking for an insight into your personality, are you someone who jumps straight into a project all guns blazing, or do you approach it cautiously. More importantly however the interviewer is looking to ensure you understand the project stages, the BA role and the best practices of project management. A lot of people make the mistake with this question of answering the question as though they were a project manager and talking about how to correctly initiate a project, that is not the question. This is an interview for a BA and you should answer as such.
Example answer: The very first thing I do when given a new project is to schedule a meeting with the person who brought me onboard, usually the Project Manager or the Project Sponsor. While waiting for this meeting to take place I will try and research the project as much as possible so I am able to hit the ground running. At the meeting I will have X objectives:
1 – Clearly define my role and responsibilities in the project – this is to avoid any confusion down the line.
2 – Try to understand where in the project timeline I am being brought in and what has already been completed or decided.
3 – Finally I will try to glean as much information as possible about the project and our objectives, I particularly like to learn what is considered a “win” by the project sponsor.
Tell me about a time you have had to manage a difficult stakeholder
What the interviewer is looking for: Being a business analyst is very much a people person job. You will be expected to communicate with many people from all across the business in varying levels of seniority. And as life has probably taught you, not everyone is going to be easy to work with. The interviewer here is looking to see if you have experience working with troublesome coworkers and are looking at an insight into how you will deal with tricky situations
Example answer: The first thing I do when I have identified that a stakeholder is being difficult is ensure that everything on my end is correct, I make sure the stakeholder has been correctly engaged (and is the correct person to engage), I ensure that what I am asking of them is not arduous or time consuming and finally I consult with other project team members to understand if other people have noticed the same things I have with regard to the stakeholder. Once I have looked into all possible angles, if the issue is still unresolved I setup a 1-on-1 meeting with the colleague and seek to understand what we can do in order to get the project running smoothly. I needed to do this once with a Test Manager that was assigned to a project. The colleague in question was failing to turn up to project calls, was turning in test deliverables late and of low quality and gave minimal responses when directly questioned about test activity. When I was looking into reasons why this colleague was being difficult I came to learn that this was the colleagues first foray into Test Management, previously only holding Test Analyst roles. I arranged a 1-on-1 with the colleague and we discussed that the reason for the perceived difficulty was because the colleague was not confident in creating documents – even though he was well versed in all other areas of testing. This gave me the opportunity to offer support from our PMO analysts and provide training materials via our online training portal. All of which gave the colleague the confidence to complete their work to a high quality and become one of the more high performing members of the team
How do you go about defining the requirements for a project?
What the interviewer is looking for: This is a pretty straightforward question from the interviewer, they are looking to see if you understand the basics of Business Analysis and one of the fundamental things a BA does is gather and define the requirements for a project. As there are a number of different methods to gather requirements the best answer to this question will express that the candidate knows and has used numerous methods but then expand on one to show they have direct experience in the task.
Example answer: The first thing I do is gather background information on the project in order to learn who my stakeholders in the business are and what level of involvement I need from them, it could be a workshop or just a simple phone call. Then I discuss with the business what the specific objectives of this project are for them – ‘what does the end result look like?’ At this stage I should have enough information to begin brainstorming options with the development team. Once I have the final requirements I send them back to the business for their comments/feedback and approval.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What the interviewer is looking for: This question is a tricky one to answer, but hopefully you have done your research into the firm and know what their future plans are. The interviewer here is asking where you see yourself in 5 years because they want to ensure that your plans and goals align with their own. This is a good question to ask from the interviewer’s perspective as the BA position opens up many doors for career advancement so it is good to know what a candidate is planning to do going forward.
Example answer: I learned from my research into the company that you are looking to grow your project management teams and expand on the number of BAs you have working for you. If I were to get this role I would hope to spend the next 5 years growing alongside the organisation building my skillset and experience so that at the end of that time I am working in a senior capacity as either a Programme/Portfolio Manager or, even better, the manager of an internal BA department.