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New Post 12/18/2008 8:09 AM
User is offline kennyken
8 posts
10th Level Poster

2nd interview with exam/test 

Hey guys

Just thought i would aask for some advice on this. i have a 2nd interview coming up for a BA role which includes a fair amount of PM work, the 1st interview went really well and reading between the lines, the guy said that as long as i dont screw up the test, they will be offering me the job. I have got some brief instructions from the recruitment company on the test and they are as follows:

Details on the 3 stage written exercise  
The exercise will be to test some key ability areas:
a. Business Analysis /Visio Skills (1 ¼ hours)
You will be  provided with a client tender document with a view to you producing a document showing a “high level proposed solution diagram”, list of requirements and any questions that need clarifying. There won’t be any right/wrong answer to this; it’ll be a case of me seeing how you go about analyzing and laying it out.
b. Project Planning (MS project) (1/2 hour)
Produce a high level project plan for the above tender
c. SQL Queries

You will be given access (through MS Query Analyser) to a simple relational database from which there will be some simple SQL select queries to write. Nothing more complex than selecting and displaying data by joining tables.

Part C seems pretty easy as ive a fair amount of SQL work in my time,

Part B maybe a little tougher as i know how to use MS project due to running a rollout of it at a previous company but not actually built a proper project plan in it. is there a basic structure that needs to be adhered to or any dvice you can off on this part?

Part A seems like the most involved part of the test, and i should be ok with that because ive written a few requirements documents and diagrmas in my time, however what would you classify a high level proposed solution diagram as?  is there any particular format this should be in or should i just go with what seems best to me after reading the actual tender.

Thanks in advance


New Post 12/18/2008 8:22 AM
User is offline Guy Beauchamp
257 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: 2nd interview with exam/test 

Hi Ken,

My guess from the job outline and exam/text is that these people are not  looking for a BA - what they are looking for a solutions designer: someone who designs solutions.

I am not a solutions designer so can't really advise you but would agree that your strategy of just go with what seems best seems best.

Re the "list of requirements" - my understanding is that a requirement is something that needs to change to allow the project to deliver the project benefits. Hopefully the benefits will be in the tender document.

I don't know if it would be feasible to ask them before you start the excersise to define what they mean by the key terms "requirements" and "high level solution"...?

Good luck!


New Post 12/22/2008 10:16 PM
User is offline Kimbo
454 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: 2nd interview with exam/test 

Hi Ken,

I hope you asked the right questions in your first interview to properly qualify if the job is a fit to what you are seeking and your skill set. Can't blame them for setting the test but 2 hours of hard work is a lot to ask of an interviewee.

Good luck. Please let us know how you got on. I'm intrigued.


New Post 12/24/2008 2:36 AM
User is offline kennyken
8 posts
10th Level Poster

Re: 2nd interview with exam/test 

Well i went for the 2nd interview yesterday.

The test was broken down into 3 steps: 20 mins on SQL, 20 mins on using MS Project and 1hour 20 on BA tasks

The SQL stuff was very simple, they provided a database with 5 tables and basically provided 8 questions asking me to interigate the database to get out information. i had to know: aliasing tables, grouping, counting, joining tables, etc etc nothing to bad.

The MS project tasks were also pretty straightforwrd: create a new project, add all of the stages that should be involved in a software development project lifecycle, add resources, add the tasks that should be done inside each stage, add milestones.

The BA test was very difficult. i was given a real tender (12pages i think) and had to provide a full list of operational and system requirements that i could extract from the document, build a visio diagram of a basic over for the potential system, build a list of questions i would ask the client and a list of assumptions i have made if any. I struggled with this due to the time factor. the doc was very long and it took time to go through it, i ended up with a requirements list and half a visio and then ran out of time.

i heard back from the recruitment company yesterday afternoon and they said they still really like me for the job but the director is concerned about my lack of project managment experience. they want to speak to the guy who would be my boss (he interviewed me 1st of all) to see if he is happy and will let me know in January.

Im not sure how they can be concerned with my PM experience because the role is for a BA. but from talking to people yesterday i think its a BA/PM role in the data warehousing team. I would need to ask a few more questions before i accepted the role (if they even offer to me lol) like what would be the day to day tasks etc as i would like some clarification on what this role is really doing even though they call it a BA.

So its just a waiting game now i guess.




New Post 12/24/2008 5:14 AM
User is offline vinny
66 posts
8th Level Poster

Re: 2nd interview with exam/test 

Just wanted to thank you, Ken, for sharing your experience with us.

I'm a Developer (includes 80% BA (requirements, design, construction specs, testing) and 20% Programming) which requires an estimated 25% of my time devising design solutions, but I, too, can detect hints that PM could be a part of my job pretty soon. Guess it's the bad economy or perhaps that's just how the role is evolving... Anyway, your experience gives me a bit of a gauge as to what to expect should they expand my role.



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