Interview tips for a new BA

Business Analyst InterviewWhen it comes to interviews I have been on both sides of the desk on many occasions and I’ll share with you what I think works well for Business Analysis interviews.

  • Don’t blag or stretch the truth, it’s not worth it. If you have been doing testing for a while or are just starting your BA career, say so. Testing is a great way to get into the BA world, and shows you have a good understanding of the business side of things plus you have been exposed to projects at the sharp end. Testing is stressful and relentless. Perfect training for a BA. If you have been a developer for a while then don’t hide it. Embrace it. You have a logical detailed approach to things, that is invaluable. Hopefully you will use that to see gaps in processes and question the business.

 

  • When you’re a new Business Analyst demonstrate you really understand the project life cycle, I remember doing some graduate recruitment many years ago and I asked the candidate if they had ever done a project. They replied they had set up a music event at university. It sounded quite a big thing to organise and there are lots of transferable skills so I was very interested but when I pressed the candidate they couldn’t remember the order they had done things, there was no mention of any kind of thought process or evaluation of different options or planning and eventually I came away with a poor impression. Even with no experience of business if they had started at the beginning and worked through the steps and showed some organisation in their thoughts it would have been a different outcome.

 

  • Personally I only use technical terms if I am really comfortable in using them. I think it’s better to explain things in layman’s terms, in everyday language. For example if I was talking about prioritising requirements I wouldn’t say “oh, I’d just do a MoSCoW  prioritisation” I would explain how I catagorise requirements into Must have, Should have etc and explain why I think that tool is appropriate. Or if I was talking about identifying Stakeholders, I would still drop into conversation what I consider stakeholders are. So I would say something like, “I would work out who has an interest in the project or can help or is impacted in some way, you know ….. the stakeholders”   It shows a better understanding than just dropping in some “buzz words”

 

  • The next thing I find really important is a general understanding of the business domain. Now it does not need to be expert detailed knowledge, but I think a general idea of what the company is about, and the market they operate in is very important. (and easy to research on the internet) Without this basic knowledge capturing and developing requirements is going to be a struggle, you need some frame of reference to fit analysis into otherwise it will be impossible to challenge and effectively question what you are seeing and what you are being told. If a candidate has not done some research on either of the above then this does not come across very well in the interview and I would question if they are really interested in the role.

 

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