Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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How do you handle stress and pressure?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 40837 Views // 3 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, General


A nice, brief response to this question may sound like this: I handle stress well.  I’m the type of person that mitigates stress rather than folding under it.  I thrive on challenge and I’m used to working in a goal oriented environment with demanding deadlines.

But if you just leave it at that, your answer will sound canned and won’t be very believable.  Expand on how you feel about stress and specific action you take to deal with it.

Stress and pressure in small quantities can be a motivator and allow us to operate at peak performance. However, in too large of quantities it causes anxiety, frustration, fatigue, and a host of other bad things that ultimately are counterproductive to achieving our goals and objectives.  So it’s important to manage stress and to find the right balance that works for you.

When you do feel stress coming on and rising to levels which are counterproductive, you must first identify that the stress is there.  This can be harder to do than it sounds, since when we are in a stressed state are brains aren’t usually in control of the situation. So how can you train yourself to do this?

Stress and pressure typically arise from a number of common root causes.  Understanding these causes ahead of time can help us be able to quickly identify the stress and take appropriate action to manage the stress and bring it back down to reasonable levels.  Here are some of the more common causes of stress and how you might deal with them.

1.  Too much work/overburdened.

Feeling overburdened creates stress, but for most people this can be overcome by doing two specific things. 

First, create a prioritized to-do list where you track every task along with progress notes detailing what has been completed for each task and what remains.  The key is to track the information so that you don’t have to remember and so that you don’t worry over forgetting something important.  If the list is too long, don’t stress, that’s what the second step is for.

Second, if time required to complete the tasks is too great, talk to your manager immediately.  Review the tasks with him or her and talk about realistic expectations.

2.  Lacking direction.

If you feel as if you don’t understand the direction you need to take on a task, raise it to your manager.  Ask him or her to explain their vision for the outcome of the task.  It could be that your manager doesn’t have a clear vision of what the results should look like, but they probably know what requirements or problem the outcome should solve.  Explain to your manager that you would like to make an attempt at a solid start and then schedule periodic reviews together to review the progress that you’ve made.  This gives them the opportunity to provide guidance and redirect your efforts if they feel you are going in the wrong direction. Remember that your manager probably wouldn’t have given you a task with such an undefined vision if he or she didn’t have a great deal of confidence in your abilities.

3.  Lacking knowledge or experience.

Lacking the experience needed to perform a task certainly isn’t a confidence builder, but it’s important to remember that lack of knowledge or experience isn’t a weakness.  Everybody is always learning, and no one person has all of the answers.  If it’s information you lack, the key to reducing stress in this situation is taking a structured and well thought out approach to acquiring the information you need.  If it’s experience with a specific skill set then it’s not out of line to discuss training options with your manager. 

Ultimately, remembering that nobody is expected to know or have experience with everything is key to keeping stress levels in line.

You can’t completely avoid stressful situations, but one overarching approach that has always worked for me is approaching every challenging situation more like a strategic, thoughtful game of chess.  Identify the challenges in front of you, evaluate multiple options for proceeding in the most efficient manner possible, and then act.




Sri Hari Kolusu posted on Sunday, September 5, 2010 8:47 PM
Great! explanation is still half complete. Stress not only comes with Office work, it also comes from home. The person who balance the both will be successful in handling Stress. At the same time we need to keep our Health in good condition.
Sri Hari Kolusu
joeblack posted on Thursday, October 14, 2010 4:34 PM
ah so, Grasshopper...
ladjob posted on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 5:18 PM
wonderful addition from srihari.kolusu
Only registered users may post comments.

Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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