Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts


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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

What soft skills do you think are beneficial for the role of Business Analyst?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 1753 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, General

ANSWER

During an interview, you are very likely to be asked a variation of this question. Most likely the question will be much more direct and personal such as:

  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your worst character trait?
  • How do you deal with difficult situations?
  • How do you resolve a conflict within your team?
  • Can you give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult? How did you handle the situation?

Do any of the above ring any bells? I bet you have heard these at least once. These targeted questions are usually wrapped as behavior questions, where the recruiter or interviewer will describe a situation and ask you for your behavior response. The aim of these questions is to get a glimpse of your character, personality and how skilled you are in emotional intelligence[1].

Now, I am not looking to tell you the perfect answer for the interview question, however, I am wanting to raise the awareness of some typical soft skills that are super useful if you choose the career of a BA.

Key soft skills

This non-exhaustive list of soft skills[2], are in my opinion and experience commonly shared across the BA community. Please remember that if you do not possess these soft skills already, you can always learn.

Self-starter (self-management, motivation, can-do attitude)

In many organizations, as a BA you may be given a framework or procedures, however this may not always be the case. In an analytical position, colleagues may often look up to you to give them a steer, whether this is about a critical decision or an approach to work. To get to the right conclusion or recommendation, you need to be able to do the analysis, however, without a framework in place, you will need to step up and get to work on your own terms. This may be more natural to some than to others, and therefore it is always good to have a practice in place to keep you motivated (even if some work is boring or uneasy) and to get down to work despite the lack of guidance.

One of the best ways to keep motivated and become a self-starter may be continuous development in business analysis practice, but also keeping up to date with development in your industry, which leads me onto the next section.

Willingness to learn (problem solving, wanting to improve)

Working as a BA often means working on projects with new technologies or problems that you may have limited knowledge about. So, learning should be second nature to a BA. If you tend to be a problem solver or enjoy discovering the root issues of problems, your process of investigation will lead you to become a subject matter expert within your team.

If you are discouraged by the thought of learning, you may want to start reading/listening/watching videos on topics that interest you and make you want to know more. This simple activity can become a habit of continuous learning.

Embracing change (flexibility, adaptable)

Projects as we know them are usually initiated with the aim to resolve an issue, take advantage of an opportunity, improve or innovate. With this in mind, think about what each of these activities have in common: they result  in change. As a BA on a project or within your organization (when operating at a strategic level), you should keep your mind open to possibilities and solutions. To ensure that the changes are delivered successfully and benefits are realized, change needs to be embraced, however, we all know people that are somewhat resistant to change. It is therefore important that change is embraced from the top down (from project team and implementation teams to the end users).

If you actively avoid change, start with something small and reflect on how it makes you feel throughout the process of adopting the change.

References

[1] Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. HelpGuide's overview of emotional intelligence

[2] You can google the complete list, or go to https://www.thebalancecareers.com/list-of-soft-skills-2063770 which is a good start.

Additional Reading

Onalee Edward's take on important soft skills for BA to master

Tips on how to answer the ''What is your greatest strength'' question from Adrian M.

--
Kristyna Samcova
Senior Business Analyst IIBA-CCBA, CCA
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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