When interviewing a candidate for a business analyst role, employers are looking to assess your analytical problem-solving skills as well as your communication and collaboration skills. Be prepared to analyze a business case study and answer behavioral questions that often test your ability to handle challenging stakeholders or tight deadlines. Business analysts must also be creative thinkers, so expect to tackle a few unusual brainteasers that are designed to see how well you can think through a complex problem.
Business analyst Interview Questions
Business analyst duties vary from company to company, but there are many questions you'll inevitably hear when interviewing for this position. Overall, a business analyst is someone who helps organizations improve their processes and make the most profitable business decisions through data analysis and insights. An interviewer is looking for evidence of problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, negotiating, technical, and analytical skills.
Top Business Analyst Questions & How to Answer
Here are three of the top business analyst questions and how to answer them:
Question #1: What do you think are the core competencies of a business analyst?
How to answer: Interviewers ask this to determine whether or not an applicant understands the skills and qualities necessary for success in the role. Your answer should include examples of both hard and soft skills (strong aptitude for numbers, analytical skills, clear communication, problem-solving, etc.) and mirror the requirements listed in the job description.
Question #2: How do you stay current with general business trends?
How to answer: Your response to this question is intended to show the interviewer how self-motivated and driven you are. An applicant who takes initiative outside of the workplace to improve their skills will leave a lasting impression. Include everything from reading the news each morning to attending conferences.
Question #3: What's your typical project approach?
How to answer: The hiring manager asks this to get a feel for your overall understanding of the analysis planning process. When answering, don't just list projects and processes. Instead, discuss the types of opportunities you might create, and let the interviewer know you're able to customize your approach to suit individual projects.
How would you deal with a stakeholder who was insisting that a complex process would be the ideal solution to an existing problem?7 Answers
Try to present alternate possible process that you think is less complex. Patiently explain pros over the process insisted by stakeholder. Alternatively, try to make the stakeholder understand what would be the risk, challenges and cons of the process they are insisting. If they still do not agree, we will have to escalate or deal the discussion in presence of upper management. Less
How do you give about giving a presentation without preparation or knowledge of the subject?6 Answers
Personally, I would say that this question isn't about giving presentations; it's about how you handle uncomfortable situations that can arise in business with little warning. How do you give a presentation on a subject you know little about? Don't give a speech, instead, utilize a roundtable discussion method to bring any knowledge the audience might have into the discussion in the hopes that the group's knowledge will help to make the presentation more fruitful and beneficial for everyone. Often, interview questions are not about specific job responsibilities, but rather about skills they are looking for in potential candidates. Less
A basic template for presentation is responding to this set of questions: What, Why, Where, When, Who, and How? Some people add How much? Less
To be honest , I would just play it off . I would use all my knowledge and understanding of the topic and say it . If I don’t know nothing , then I don’t say nothing . Easy you shouldn’t be forced to give a presentation with a lack of knowledge, that is plain dumb . Don’t play yourself . It’s better not to say nothing and just excuse your self : Less
You own a Beach souvenier shop that sells primarily 4 items. Calculate Profit per month. What are some issues you could forsee in your revenue streams? After additional information is given, calculate seasonal income.2 Answers
Being told to calculate profit is always a tricky scenario, especially for an analysts perspective. You want to be clear about the profit they actually want calculated. Remembering that profit, in base form, is going to represent anything after that break even point. Simply put, as the owner, your salary is going to be configured into the operating costs. So, let's say your operating cost is 100k a year and this includes your salary, then any dollar made after 100k is "profit". However, this does not totally detail other forms of profit, such as economic profit. This is where you are measuring and analyzing missed and made opportunities versus the profit you brought in. So, one issue you could foresee in your revenue stream is that carrying a 5th product may increase opportunity costs, but potentially the 5th item causes the 4th item to sell at a higher rate as they're often sold in conjunction. Studies show, for example, that a person that buys a beach volleyball is not likely to buy a volleyball net. But those that buy a beach volleyball are 3x as likely to buy a portable air pump. I don't mean to over think it, but you'll notice there's four items that are being sold. You own a business that is contingent about the seasons of the year, which there are also four. To me this speaks directly to the significance of weather in your business and this is not something the employer would want you to miss. Issues in revenue streams here would be a lack of product adjustment due to weather. To me, in an instance like this, if an employer asks you such a soft, information less question, you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not start asking them questions about what they want. Be sure to clarify if they're asking you to calculate profit or forecast profit. Less
From an analyst’s perspective, simply being told to calculate profit can be a tricky demand, especially in an interview setting. You want to be clear about the profit they actually want calculated. Remembering that profit, in base form, is going to represent anything after the break-even point. Simply put, as the owner, your salary is going to be configured into the operating costs. So, let's say your operating cost is 100k a year, and this includes your salary, then any dollar made after 100k is "profit". However, this does not totally detail other forms of profit, such as economic profit. This is where you are measuring and analyzing missed and made opportunities versus the profit you brought in. So, one issue you could foresee in your revenue stream is that carrying a 5th product may increase operating costs; but potentially, the 5th item causes the 4th item to sell at a higher rate as they're often sold in conjunction. Studies show, for example, that a person that buys a beach volleyball is not likely to buy a volleyball net. But those that buy a beach volleyball are 3x as likely to buy a portable air pump. I don't mean to over think it, but you'll notice there's four items being sold. You own a business that is contingent upon the seasons of the year (also four). To me this speaks directly to the significance of weather in your business and this is not something the employer would want you to miss. Issues in revenue streams here would be a lack of product adjustment due to weather. To me, in an instance like this, if an employer asks you such a soft, information less question, you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not start asking them questions about what they want. Be sure to clarify if they're asking you to calculate profit or forecast profit. Also, any time someone asks you what issues could arise in revenue streams, immediately think SWOT. Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Always think SWOT when heading into any BA or PM position. It will quickly allow you to analyze almost any situation. Less
How do you know when you have enough documentation?1 Answers
Too much documentation has never been an issue in projects I've worked on in the past. I feel there's enough when, at a glance, new people coming into the project can be caught up quickly. The way I write my stories allows QA to build an easily readable Cucumber test suite that serves as documentation on features, and I let developers create their own documentation on project set up. Other documentation may include mockups and flow charts but are primarily used for estimation and feature building. Less
It wasn't really difficult. If you know the cookie cutter questions, you can easily walk through this interview. I have added a question when I interview people: What is your passion when it comes to business analysis? Why do you want to be one?1 Answers
Understanding a part of the business well enough to come up with effective solutions that require minimal effort and then getting the required buy-in from other people in the organization. The political dynamics are an important reason for doing the job. Less
how many golf balls fit in an airplane33 Answers
The people who require more info are missing the point. In real life decisions, you are often working on too little data to make an "easy" decision. There is no right answer to this question. What they are looking for is your ability to think the problem though, make estimates and arrive at an answer. My advice with a problem like this is to take a sheet of paper and think out loud as you work through it. Let the interviewer in on your thought process. The WORST thing you could do is ask "what sort of golf ball?"! Less
That's a trick question. Everyone knows that golf balls are now banned by TSA. This question is devised to see if you can go on a business trip without ending up being branded a terrorist. Less
So this type of question is to see how you think and if you can do it under pressure. The question is structured to allow you to ask questions, like what kind of plane is it? On the other hand, the interviewer might have an answer from an interviewing book for golf balls in a 757 or whatever he might tell you the plane is. You might have the opportunity to take control, so pick a plane you are familiar with from a recent flight, say “I flew in on a 727 yesterday, so can I use that for my estimate?” (You will probably get a yes answer and he probably does not know a 727 from a 737, so he can’t challenge your numbers if they sound reasonable). “Ok, when I made reservations on Orbitz and picked a seat, I remember there were 32 seats with 2 on one side of aisle and 3 on the other. I have not done geometry recently, but I think the area of a circle is Pi-R-squared, so a plane is basically a cylinder which means I can multiply the circle area by the length to get volume. (so you can offhandedly ask the interviewer something like “that’s what we learned in junior high right?” – and probably get a confirmation). So it seems like the plane was widest at the floor level and each seat was about 3 feet including arm rests and the space in between, plus the aisle width gets you a diameter of about 18 feet so radius is 9 feet. Let me do a little math over here on the white board: the area of the circle is 3.1415x9x9, so I am estimating and will use 3 instead of PI, so we get 243 square feet.” “So there were 32 seats and it seemed like about 3 feet for the seat and the tiny leg room x32=96 feet. But there was more space for exit door rows, bulkhead, attendant station, kitchen, bathroom and first class leg space, that adds about 30 feet = 126. The cockpit is probably 12 feet long, but tapers down, so we will use 9, plus 8 effective feet for the tapered tail area = 143 feet. Given the inaccuracy of this estimate, we can ignore the .1415 I dropped off PI to make math easy on the whiteboard earlier. (Back to the whiteboard and) 143 x 243 = 34,749 cubic feet. When I toss the golf balls in, I will assume the seats and equipment is there, but the overhead bins are open for the balls. That other stuff probably reduces usable volume by 20% or 6800 leaving about 28,000 cubic feet. So now I need to figure out the volume of a golf ball.” “I have only played golf twice, and was really bad – nearly killed somebody with a slice!” (just adding some humor to the interview - so I make a circle with my finger and say) “I think the golf ball was about this big – looks like less than 2 inches, maybe 1 and three quarters? Do you golf a lot? Does that sound reasonable?” (so he might give you a clue or a nod or admit he doesn’t really know either). “Ok, back to the 8th grade. Volume of a sphere – man, that one’s tough, I kind of forget. Area of circle was PI-R-squared, so that has to be multiplied by something like we did for a cylinder. The “height” of a sphere is the diameter, but it is not a full cylinder, so it would be less than multiplying by the length of the “side” or diameter in this case. So, Mrs/Mr interviewer, I know this question is about estimating, not remembering junior high math, so can you give me a hint on this one? (Yes: it’s V = (four/three)*area of the circle) – (or no, just guess. So then you take the volume if it were a cylinder and reduce it by a reasonable amount. He doesn’t know unless he has a book). “Now we do painstaking math on the whiteboard, ask for a calculator, or take a guess. 3.1414xR2x four thirds = 3.2 cubic inches. Golf balls will leave gaps when packed into a container, but not too inefficient, let’s say instead of 3.2 cubic inches, let’s say 3.4 (just needs to sound reasonable). How many cubic inches in a cubic foot? 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 foot = 12x12x12 inches = 1728. Now divide that by 3.4 and get 508 golf balls in a cubic foot and we estimated 28,000 in the plane, so that is about 14 million golf balls.” (sidenote, this involves tedious math on paper or whiteboard, but it gets you an answer. It may be that he is happy with you reasoning out your methodology, but he probably has a number in mind, so when you ask, he will let you do it out on the whiteboard) So I actually did this by scratch just now and it does take a while. I used Excel for the math so it would take longer on a whiteboard. More importantly, not a single one of my numbers is right, but they don’t seem unreasonable. Does the interviewer know how many seats, rows, wasted space, etc on the plane you are using? No. But he sees an analytical thought process and ability to reason and estimate. Don’t panic. Don’t make a random guess right away. I might give a few hints if I asked this question. So if the real answer is 1 million or 50 million then I sounded dumb, but you have to assume he is asking this to everyone else and they might not do much better, so stay confident and calm. Less
Name 5 uses of a stapler without staple pins30 Answers
1. staple remover 2. paper weight 3. door stop 4. hammer 5. weapon
1) stapling papers together (Staplers don't use pins...they use staples). 2) hemming pants that are too long. 3) nailing co-workers to the cubical wall 4) melting it down and casting 25 mm figures for wargames 5) Sell it on Craigslist to someone that has staples but no stapler. Less
1. paper weight 2. wall decoration (Art work, Conversation piece, etc.) 3. spare parts for my working stapler 4. decoy stapler (for my co-workers to 'borrow') 5. parts for a desk catapult Less