This profession attracts change-makers and out-of-the-box thinkers. So naturally sometimes that change can involve changing jobs or positions, which can lead to a very exciting career trajectory if you’re a quick learner and able to hold your own in a job interview.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret I figured out from my experience being a BA and also interviewing about a dozen BAs for jobs—some of us have a problem talking about what we do in a way that engages others. There, I said it. Enthusiasm is one of the most underrated qualities of an effective BA. So it’s vital in the interviewing process that you come across as energetic and excited about what you do and that you communicate effectively and infectiously. One hint that has worked for me is to be ultra prepared for anything the interviewers with throw your way.
Below are some of the common questions you may encounter in the interview room. Be ready for them and you will shine.
Question: What experience do you have eliciting and gathering business requirements?
If you don’t get this question from your interviewer, they’re just not doing their job. What you can say: You need to demonstrate your work experience conducting business analysis and show the variety of your analysis experience. Don’t be afraid to get into specific examples and narratives relating to how you interview stakeholders and analyze process flows. People are more likely to remember your answer if it’s full of specifics.
Question: Can you describe your experience defining and documenting business processes, business rules, and user requirements for current and new initiatives?
What you can say: You need to use this answer to demonstrate your deeper work experience conducting business analysis and collaborating with stakeholders. Show them an organized, well-planned, and thought-through BA process.
Question: Describe a complex and challenging project/problem/issue that you worked on.
What you can say: You definitely want to have a project in mind where you were working at your best. Prepare to say what made the project so challenging and what techniques you used to manage those complexities. You also want to display a deep level of engagement and trust building with your stakeholders.
Question: Why are you the best candidate for this job?
What you can say: This is your chance to sell yourself. In sales they talk in the language of benefits, and a job interview is a sales pitch of sorts. So remember to translate your work and experience directly into stakeholder/customer/end user benefits.
Question: What excites you about the position and what challenges do you expect?
What you can say: This is another opportunity to portray yourself as the ideal person for the position and to demonstrate desire your and enthusiasm to take on challenges. You can use this question to reinforce some of the strengths you mentioned in other questions.
Question: What questions do you have for us?
This might not come as a shock, but your interviewer(s) are going to ask if you have any questions and you need to be prepared for that too! What you can say: Ask what the expectations will be after six months and after one year. Ask them about work/life balance and employee satisfaction. Ask them what they like most about their position(s). Ask them what the mission of the office is and this position is tied into that.
Some other general tips:
- Be talkative and ready to elaborate on your answers.
- Don’t be afraid to speak slowly and clearly so that your answers come through as deliberate.
- Pick up an interviewing book full of sample questions and answers and read it cover to cover. Personally, I got great results from the “Knock ‘em Dead” series by Martin Yate, which comes out with a new edition periodically to keep up with the times.
- Visualize yourself doing well in the interview. Smile and try to picture yourself confident and at ease.