Business analysts are the rudder guiding your company through difficult challenges. BAs need to think on their feet and possess excellent analytical skills. Asking the right business analyst interview questions can help you discover a great candidate. We've got questions that will help whether you're hiring a junior or senior business analyst or a business system analyst.
To Fermi or Not to Fermi
You’ve probably seen the occasional recommendation to ask Fermi problems as job interview questions. They're great for business analyst jobs, and other jobs such as a financial analyst and investment banking positions that require a lot of analysis.
That’s a great way to assess analytics thinking skills, and if you’ve got the time, we’d say go for it. Unfortunately, interviewing can be an intense process for interviewers and interviewees alike. You need to get a good idea of what skills your candidates possess, too.
While we focus on questions about methods and terms in the field, we’d strongly suggest that hiring managers listen for your candidates thinking process and problem solving habits in their answers. If they don’t give you a good idea how they tackle individual problems, considering asking them a Fermi problem, like “How much does the average coffee shop make in profits per day in center-city Philadelphia?”
It might seem random, but pay attention to how they answer – do they detail logical steps? It doesn’t matter what the actual amount is. You’re listening to how they think.
Want to get better at screening candidates? We've got some interview question resources for you.
Learn how to do great phone interviews. Also, learn more about common job interview questions. It's a great interview question and answer reference, especially if you're looking for a good behavioral interview question. Below we've got some great business analysis interview questions for hiring managers to ask.
Question # 1: What do you think is better: the waterfall or spiral model?
Although this question might seem like its looking for a simple definition, think again.
You’re listening for in-depth knowledge of both project management processes. Someone capable in the analyst position should be able to compare and contrast both methods, voice a preference for one, and argue why – even if their preference is different than yours. They should also be able to explain in which cases the spiral model is preferred by a project manager and in which cases the waterfall project management model might be a better choice, and what is at stake if the correct model is not used, and describe the project life cycle under each.
Question #2: Define Application Usability
This is more than a definition. You want the candidate to provide an overview of application usability, how it can be measured, and why it matters. Yes, this is a terms question, but it should also provide a window into the candidate’s thought process.
Question #3: What Can You Do for Our Company that Other Candidates Can’t?
This question gives candidates a chance to show their character.
Watch out for the egotistical job seeker, and look to hire a business analysis candidate who expresses a mature analysis of their role in a team. They should be able to mention specific and unique skills that contribute to their success in the analyst position, but portray a strong affinity towards teamwork. It also takes some communication skill to find that balance.
Question #4: What Does User-Centered Design Methodology Mean to You?
This is another terms question. The reflexive ending allows candidates to expand on their interpretation of the term to include ideas outside the standard definition. Pay attention to this difference – what do they add? Do they leave anything out? How closely does their definition match your organization’s?
Question #5: How Do You Feel About Agile? What Can You Tell Us about It?
Agile software development emerged more than 15 years ago, and quickly grew in prominence. In 2015, it surpassed waterfall as the norm in the field, and principles from agile have been adopted in other businesses as well.
It offers several development life cycle strengths that a good business system analyst and project manager will be able to name, and most should feel favorably towards it. If not, they should be able to provide a strong argument for an alternative preference, or a willingness to use agile if that is your company’s norm.
Question #6: Can You Provide Us Suggestions for an Effective Use Case Model?
Business analyst interviews often involve preparing actual plans for work – this is a highly-coveted position and narrowing down to the appropriate candidates is almost never easy. Provide the information and materials necessary for job seekers to provide an actual use case model for your business. Look for the candidate whose work process, systems, communication skill and style most closely match your own organization (even if the proposed plan doesn’t).
Question #7: How do you define the role of a Business Analyst in an organization?
No two business analysts are alike. You’ve already tested their practical knowledge of the field – now it’s time to see how well they fit into your company’s culture. Listen carefully to be certain that their expectations of the position match what you’re looking for.
Additional Job Interview Questions to Ask:
- How have you handled difficult stakeholders? - This is a good behavioral interview question.
- Which business intelligence systems or tools have you used?
- Why are flowcharts important?
Business analysts are in demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics forecasts 19% job growth through 2022 for this position – a great sign for candidates. This also likely means that employers will have several candidates to choose from. Our interview question and answer info should help you choose.
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