Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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What “soft skills” are most important for a BA to master?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 5465 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, General


I like to think business analysts have a magical power that involves helping to guide a conversation about a solution without being the one to do all of the talking. We are the connectors, the teachers, the influencers. But in a way, we operate under the radar. Business analysts work with many different people throughout a company and need to be “fluent” in many different communication styles and techniques in order to understand where stakeholders are coming from, move discussions from problem to solution, and make sure there is cohesion along the way.

Active listening is, to me, the number one soft skill a business analyst should perfect. It is critical when eliciting requirements or navigating an intense discussion about requirements prioritization; it can even be useful when deciphering the feedback from testers.

What’s the difference between listening and active listening? Well, listening is only half of what occurs in active listening. During active listening you are engaged with the listener, using tools like paraphrasing to ensure you are understanding what the other person is saying. You may also observe body language or patterns of speech. Through this you are able to pick up on the emotions they are bringing to the conversation - and which may influence what and how they are communicating to you. Additionally, active listening means asking open-ended questions or asking for clarification - types of questions which often come naturally to us in our BA roles. And most importantly, don’t interrupt, talk over, or even talk more than the person you are listening to. Don’t let your attention wander to problem solving right away. Be fully present in the conversation.

Beyond active listening, I also feel being able to navigate different personalities, different communication styles and even competing priorities is an important skill for business analysts. For me that means, knowing your audience, not shying away from being the mediator or person to help resolve conflict, and making your stakeholders and colleagues feel “heard” and “valued”. Through these soft skills and active listening you build trust with those around you and quickly become seen as someone critical to a conversation - even if you are mainly letting others do the talking.

Onalee Edwards
Business Analyst
LinkedIn Profile



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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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