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Mr. Business Analyst, You’re Not a Good Fit!

Last week I read an eNewsletter from author Frances Cole Jones and she shared some ways to find great employees.  There was one tip that stood out to me that I wanted to share with you.  Whether you are looking for a new business analyst for your team, in transition and in the midst of job interviews or looking for another way to differentiate yourself from the pack, this is a must read post.

The tip was a simple statement to determine the level of passion of a candidate interviewing for a job.  At some point in an interview you should look at the interviewee and say, “I just don’t think you’ll be a good fit for the role.”  Based on their body language and response you’ll know if they are a good fit or not.   End the interview if the candidate slumps down, looks uneasy, or even says something like, “you’re probably right.  I knew I was not qualified, but I thought I would give it a shot.” If the candidate looks at you like you are crazy, sits up straight, and responds by saying you have it all wrong and explains at length why they are qualified, you may just have your new team member. I know this works because my colleague Angie Perris did get a job earlier in her career by responding this way when she was initially declined for a position.

This statement will reveal the level of passion each candidate has for business analysis and their career.  It is not a secret that there are more people looking for BA roles than there are open positions.  I recently looked over 10 resumes a client had for one open position.  On the surface, each resume looked great.  On paper everyone was qualified (had relevant experience), and I could not help narrow down the list based on the resumes. I told him to find the one in this list that has the drive and passion for business analysis.

The passionate ones come to the table with a three-point attack. The combination of this three-point attack is how I rate business analysts.  The ones you want on your team come to the table with these three qualities; the ability to do the job, the desire to mentor, and the flair to be a cheerleader.

Ability to Do the Job

The first cut needs to be the candidate’s ability to do the job. You have to keep the lights on and meet an immediate need. You want someone with the foundational business analysis skills necessary for the job. You can see this in a resume than validate in an interview.

This is only a piece of the puzzle. The most experienced one should not always get the job. Many people were moved into business analysis positions from other positions in their company.  Examples include developers whose jobs were outsourced and became BAs over night. Subject matter experts on the business side became BAs as IT functions were centralized. These candidates will have experience, but do they really want to be a BA?  You need to know if they are applying for a BA role because that is what they have been doing for years or if they have been doing it for years because they love it! Dig deeper to see if they have the passion.

Desire to Mentor

The successes of organizations rely on the success of everyone, not just a few individuals.  Make sure the candidate wants to be a mentor and will seek out mentors.  Everyone can be a mentor and needs a mentor. Ask candidates about their working relationship with other BAs.  Did they provide guidance to BAs their junior?  Do they seek the advice of others? This is a big indicator of the candidate’s want and need to continually improve themselves and the collective group.

Flair to Be a Cheerleader

It should be no shock to you that the role of business analysis is not widely accepted in all companies.  There are still many organizations of all sizes that are not “bought-in” to giving business analysis the necessary attention during a project.  Everyone that gets hired as a BA in your organization needs to be promoting the role and the value of business analysis.  People with this cheerleading skill will not come into the interview with pom-poms, but they will be able to tell stories and be comfortable speaking about business analysis to everyone they meet. In an interview ask them to tell you a story about something they are proud of.  Get a sense for their excitement.  If they can get excited about something they are proud of, they will be able to draw people in at the water cooler and get excited about business analysis.

So, Mr. BA, are you a good fit? If you are looking for a job use the interview to show you have the right three-point attack.

Passionately yours,


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Jonathan “Kupe” Kupersmith is Director of Client Solutions, B2T Training and has over 12 years of business analysis experience. He has served as the lead Business Analyst and Project Manager on projects in various industries. He serves as a mentor for business analysis professionals and is a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) through the IIBA and is BA Certified through B2T Training. Kupe is a connector and has a goal in life to meet everyone! Contact Kupe at [email protected]