Top 25 Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers

by StarAgile

December 31, 2020
Category Project Management


Learn about the most popular and frequently asked interview questions for business analysts!

Description

The purpose here is to help the business analysts prepare for the interview. To be able to land the job, you need to prepare adequately and answer all the BA interview questions in a factually correct and best possible way to enhance your chances of getting the role.

This blog is a comprehensive guide containing all the information you need to crack your BA interview and get the job.

Introduction

With Big Data having gained a lot of traction in the last few years, the role of a Business Analyst has also become crucial. They are the professionals who excel in improving the business processes, products or services, software usage and implementation of the same through data analysis. 

As the business analyst role is gaining popularity across sectors, the demand for qualified BAs is also getting high. This makes it essential for candidates to be well prepared for the interview and effectively navigate the competition in the field.

Overview

As a business analyst job candidate, you need to display in-depth knowledge of the domain along with various soft skills to ace the interview. In this blog, we're outlining common business analyst interview questions with examples and tips for the best ways to answer them.

Ideally, a management degree in business analytics from a reputed institution is required to get the best business analyst job offers. However, the candidates also need to clear the business analyst interview to finally land the job. Here are some of the top interview questions for a business analyst to help you prepare for the job interview-

Skill Based Business Analyst Interview Questions


1. What are some core competencies of a Business Analyst?

Although every organisation is different, the core competencies of a business analyst profile are quite similar. Here you need to answer the most common core competence that a BA should have. Among these include-

•In-depth knowledge of industry and business
• Expertise in business process management
• Decision-making skills and analytical thinking
• Technical expertise
• Soft skills such as communication, team management, attention to detail
• Robust problem-solving and negotiation skills

Apart from these, a business analyst should have practical experience of working in similar projects to be able to excel in the role.

2. Describe your SQL skills?

In terms of technical capabilities, SQL skills in a business analyst are considered as very important by hiring managers and interviewers. Through this business analyst question, they want to know your ability to manipulate data, write queries, and navigate databases to derive powerful business insights.

An example to answer this question could be:

"I have experience in using various advanced techniques to extract and manipulate data apart from writing general queries. I am well versed with SQL conditional operators, self joins, aggregate functions, cross joins, and other similar techniques that allow me to gather deeper insights that excel in my responsibilities."

3. Define the role of business analyst in an organisation?

It is one of the fundamental BA interview questions that you can expect. Answer this question by clearly explaining what the role of a BA entails.

You can start by saying how a business analyst in any organisation acts as a liaison or a link between various stakeholders belonging to multiple domains. This requires a business analyst to have the capabilities to fulfil various business objectives and balance the needs of different stakeholders.

4. As a business analyst, how do you handle changes to requirements?

This question is asked to test your logical thinking skills. While answering this, you need to highlight how you respond to thoughtfully changing situations.

An example of the answer could be:

"Doing an impact analysis after prioritising the requirement changes is the typical approach I take. The things I take into account here are the project cost, resources and timeline followed by evaluating whether the scope change is leading to new gaps to the development and testing designs."

5. Explain how you see yourself fit for the role of business analyst in our organisation?

These types of business analyst questions are generally asked by the interviewer to check your understanding of the job role and how well you match the organisation's expectation of the desired candidate.

As you answer this question, focus on your education, skill sets, and experience, that make you a good fit for the role. Do not forget to give examples of the previous works to highlight your expertise and what benefits you can bring to the company.

One important thing here is to focus on the skills outlined in the job role and accordingly highlight your experience and competencies.

6. What, according to you, is a crucial aspect of analytical reporting?

Analytical reporting is an essential type of business reporting that offers data analysis, information, and recommendations. What set analytical reporting in a different league from informational reporting is the recommendations.

A vital aspect of analytical reporting is the ability to solve difficult problems and make decisions based on facts. It allows people to make use of data to make these decisions.

The idea here is to formulate your response in a way that demonstrates your critical thinking and analytical skills and can clearly show how you can create recommendations from data sources.

7. Explain the best practices to follow while writing a use case

Among some of the best practices to write a use case include-

• Capturing all the functional and non-functional requirements appropriately in the use case
• Having one or more alternate flow along with the main flow
• It should only describe what the system does and not the design.

The use case must provide some value back to the stakeholder.

Domain-based Business Analyst Interview Questions 

8. What is SRS, and what are some of its key elements?

An SRS or system requirements specification is a document or set of documents that describe all the features of a system or software application. It includes multiple elements which define the intended functionality required by both the customers and stakeholders to satisfy the end-users.

Apart from this, an SRS also provides a high-level idea of the system, assumptions, the main supported business processes, and the critical performance parameters for the system. Among some of the critical elements of an SRS are-

• Functional and non-functional requirements
• Scope of work
• Data model
• Dependencies
• Assumptions and constraints

9. Define Business Model Analysis?

Business Model Analysis is a well-known technique of analysing whether or not a business is viable and valuable in terms of financial, social and economic parameters. The key aim of this analysis is to encourage innovation and enhancement of the business model that allows the organisation to stay relevant in a dynamic and competitive industry.

The business model analysis is used to set the foundation for business model change. It gives insights into the viability of the business by highlighting the different areas that could benefit from changes and improvements.

10. Name some of the tools that are helpful for business analysis?

This business analyst question allows the interviewer to assess and test your necessary technical skills and familiarity with various business analytics applications.

Business analysts commonly use tools such as Microsoft Office Suite, Python and R, SWOT, Rational tools, Google docs, and ERP systems. It is best to tailor your answer to highlight your own skills and unique experience working with these tools.

11. What is Scope creep?

Also referred to as requirement creep, scope creep is a term related to the uncontrolled changes or deviation in the scope of the project within the same resource range. 

Scope creep is essentially an indication of viable risk to a project or poor project management in some cases. Among the possible causes of scope creep include-

• Lack of proper documentation of the project's requirements
• Poor communication between various stakeholders of the project.

12. How can you avoid scope creep?

You can take these measures to avoid scope creep-

• Ensuring to follow proper change management
• Intimating all the stakeholders about the effects of the changes
• Detailed and precise documentation about the project scope
• Documenting all the new requirements clearly in the project log
• Making sure to not add extra features to the existing functionalities

13. What do you understand by the Gap Analysis?

Gap Analysis is primarily a technique of analysing the gap between the existing business system and its functionalities and the targeted system. The meaning of gap here is the changes or additional functionalities required to accomplish the projected result.

Typically gap analysis can result in four different types of gaps including-

• Performance Gap- Refers to the difference between the actual business performance and the expected business performance.
• Profit Gap – Refers to the gap between the estimated and actual profit of an organisation.
• Product/Market Gap – Refers to the gap between estimated and actual sales of the business.
• Manpower Gap – Refers to the gap between the required number or quality of workforce and actual workforce in an organisation.

14. What do you understand by UML Modeling?

UML or Unified Modelling Language refers to a visualisation approach used by BAs for constructing, documenting and visualising the different components of a system.

UML is used mainly for software development. It is also used for defining and delineating organisational functions, job roles and business processes.

15. What do you know about techniques such as MoSCoW and SWOT?

As a business analyst, you need to be well aware of various processes used to create and implement strategies for identifying the specific needs of the organisation and delivering the best results.

The interviewer checks your knowledge of these terms, and how equipped, you are to incorporate them into your working policies.

MoSCoW here stands for Must or Should, Could or Would. A qualified business analyst is required to be well versed with these techniques and needs to implement this process by thoroughly comparing every demand with other needs to be able to prioritise the framework requirements. 

SWOT is an abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis. It is another commonly used technique in organisations for the purpose of adequate resource allocation.

A professional business analyst should be able to clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses of any such corporate framework and translate them appropriately into opportunities and threats.

16. Name all the documents needed by a business analyst and which of them have you prepared in your previous works?

There is a wide range of documents involved in a project lifecycle, and it primarily depends on the utilisation process adopted by a business analyst. The interviewer wants to gauge your ability to use several types of documents.

Some of these documents include:

• System requirements specifications document
• Functional requirement document
• Change request document
• Business requirement document
• Initiation document
• Use case specifications document
• Requirements traceability matrix
• Gap analysis document

While it's great to know about all these documents, make sure to use only the ones you are familiar with and can explain in detail.

17. What do you understand by requirement elicitation?

Requirement Elicitation refers to the process of collecting various system-related requirements from everyone, including the stakeholders, customers and end-users. Typically, the requirement elicitation process consists of below different techniques:

• Brainstorm and Interviews
• Prototyping
• Observation
• Document analysis
• Survey or Questionnaire
• Focus group
• Interface analysis and requirements workshops

18. What do you understand by BPMN, and what are its essential elements?

BPMN or Business Process Model and Notation refers to a graphical representation of business processes. BPMN typically have five essential elements including

• Data
• Flow Objects
• Artefacts
• Connecting Objects
• Swimlanes

Scenario-based Questions For Business Analyst Interview

19. Describe your typical approach towards a project

This question is mainly to assess your workflow approach to help employers gauge your project management, teamwork, and organisational skills.

To answer this, you need to be very detailed and explain general phases you work through with standard deliverables instead of mentioning specific processes or tasks the interviewer may not be familiar with.

The idea here is to focus on your actual experience to be able to describe your skills and how you use them. For instance, if you have previously worked on the planning stages of a project, make sure to mention deliverables such as a communication plan, a requirements management plan, and a business analysis approach, including whether it is change-driven or plan-driven.

Also, talk about how you have customised approaches to the specific needs of a given project.

20. How do you stay aware of the latest business trends and knowledge?

This BA interview question is generally asked by the interviewer to evaluate if you have the desire and motivation to keep up with all the emerging trends and latest business developments. They need to understand your willingness and strategy to keep your knowledge and skill-sets updated.

Answer this question in detail by adding references to the latest news and industry publications, conferences, and list the events you are part of or regularly attend to connect with the larger business community.

21. Talk about the various kinds of diagrams you use as a business analyst, and how do they impact the work?

This is yet another common question by hiring managers to assess your understanding of the standard business analysis documents and how you can apply them to a client's case. 

To answer this, you need to list your past experiences and examples to highlight your knowledge and validate your credibility.

Among the most commonly used diagram models by business analysts are:

• Flowcharts – Flowcharts are the detailed diagrammatic depiction of the complete flow of the system. They help in understanding the operation for all stakeholders.
• Use case diagrams – Use case diagrams typically model the functionality of a system using a fixed set of functions, actions and services that the system or project needs to perform.
• Activity diagram- Activity diagrams are used for illustration of diverse activities and their flow across various departments.
• Collaboration diagrams - Also known as interaction or communication diagrams, they are mainly illustration of the interactions and relationships among software objects in the Unified Modeling Language.

These diagrams are quite useful for BA's as they help in visualising the various functional requirements of a system and finalising development priorities. Further, they also help in identifying any external or internal factors that should be considered as they can directly influence the project.

22. Explain the strategies you will follow to design a use case?

Keep the answer to this question very clear and toe point. Explain how a use case should be well-defined and correctly documented. Also, elaborate on the typical strategies or approaches adopted in designing use cases which are:

• Initial phase- The beginning phase in designing a use case is the users' identification to create a definite role-profile for every user category along with explicit recognition of goals related to every role.
• Mid-phase-The second phase mainly deals with the structure and creation of use cases by clearly capturing both functional and non-functional requirements. Here a BA needs to include use case diagrams and other user interface details.
• End phase-The final phase of the process is reviewing and validating all the use cases.

23. How is business analytics different from business analysis? Share your thoughts

The difference between these two is in the approach. While business analytics is largely data-oriented, business analysis is more inclined towards various business functions and processes.

You can answer this interview question for business analyst by explaining how business analytics primarily deals with data and data analysis to unpack valuable business insights. Among the different types of Business Analytics approaches include –

• Decisive analytics
• Descriptive analytics
• Prescriptive analytics
• Predictive analytics

Business Analysis on the contrary deals with identifying and analysing various business-related problems or needs and accordingly finds solutions for the same.

Business Analyst Interview Questions Based on Decision Making

24. What strategy would you use to influence multiple stakeholders in a project? And how would work with a specially difficult stakeholder?

This business analyst interview question aims to understand how familiar you are with implementing various competencies such as problem-solving, decision making, influencing, communication, negotiation, and collaboration skills.

In a business analyst role, you will be required to deal with multiple people at different positions, requiring you to successfully navigate interactions with various stakeholders.

Managing difficult stakeholders is a huge responsibility for any business analyst. Use the STAR method to explain the specific situation you were dealing with and what was your task or role in the case.

You can then clearly outline the action you took to strategically resolve the problem and wrap up your answer by explaining the result & leanings of your actions.

25. Describe when you had to convince a decision-maker in your organisation to change course?

The objective of this question is to assess how well you can handle a conflicting situation with a company leader or client and convince them to follow a different approach. 

An example of an answer could be-
"As a BA, I have experience of working with stakeholders in a decision-making position and with a fixed mindset regarding a specific technology implementation mainly because the solution was considered significant for product efficiency.

However, the careful analysis revealed that the proposed technology wouldn't be ideal for the environment we worked in.

I approached the decision-maker with the concern and explained the situation supporting my position with all the relevant data on how that technology would impact productivity in both short-term and long-term. This helped me to convince the decision-maker to change his perspective and stick with the existing solution".

26. What are some of the problems that a business analyst may face?

From the beginning to post-implementation of a project a business analyst may face the following problems –
• Errors in business models
• Various issues related to employees
• Technology and access-related problems
• Issues related to business policies

Conclusion


Getting a business analyst interview gives you an excellent opportunity to forward your career in the right direction. 

While it's fair to feel a certain amount of anxiety as you prepare to face the interview, the above tips and probable business analyst interview question and answers allow you to ace the interview and make a mark.

So, be confident, strategic, and show the hiring manager why you would make a perfect addition to their business analyst team.