7 Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers

As a business analyst you have to work with all types of people in different positions throughout a company. How would you deal with a difficult stakeholder?

You have to be able to navigate different personalities and positions as a business analyst. A candidate who knows how to deal with all types of people at all levels of business is the key to success.

  • Problem skills
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to diffuse difficult situations

Example: “First I’d try to determine why they were upset or being difficult; once you know what the problem is you can better tackle the issue. Once I had an understanding of what their concerns were when the opportunity arose, I’d seek to address their issues with a measured, reasoned response backed up with the necessary data to bolster the points I’m addressing.”

A client has a Christmas-themed e-commerce shop that sells five items. What are some potential problems you foresee with their revenue streams?

A business analyst needs to be able to evaluate a situation and diagnose the problem and solution for clients. This question gives insight on how the candidate tackles common business problems a client may have.

  • Showcases business analyst skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Assessment abilities

Example: “The immediate issue with the client’s revenue stream is that it will take a severe hit once the holiday season is over. How to generate revenue outside of the holiday season would be a key point to address with the client. The other concern is with only offering five items. The client is severely limiting their opportunity to generate

Are you are familiar with SQL queries? What are the different parts of an SQL Statement?

It isn’t necessary for a business analyst to have advanced technical skills, but it helps if they have skills in SQL and relational database technology. This question shows their familiarity with and understanding of SQL.

  • Technical skills
  • Understanding SQL documents
  • Advanced analysis skills

Example: “An SQL statement has three parts. There is the Data Definition Language or DDL, the Data Manipulation Language or DML, and the Data Control Language or DCL.”

In your experience as a business analyst, what is the most important aspect of analytical reporting?

Candidate should understand the importance of analytical reporting, its limitations and how it relates to the work they do. This question has them explain why and how they believe analytical reporting is important.

  • Ability to think critically
  • Understanding of business analysis
  • Shows analysis skills

Example: “The ability to solve problems or make decisions based on evidence instead of guesses and assumptions is the most important aspect of analytical reporting. Data alone won’t solve problems, but it gives you the tools to make well-reasoned decisions that you can explain and justify even if the decision itself doesn’t work out the way you expected.”

Can you describe a time when you had to steer a client toward a different course of action than the one they were set on taking?

Being a business analyst isn’t about telling a client what they want – it is about telling a client what is best for their business. This question shows how a candidate handles telling a client something they may not want to hear.

  • Problem-solving ability
  • Ability to handle difficult situations
  • Business analysis ability

Example: “I once had a client who wanted to expand a product line for their store, yet they were struggling to sell many of the products they already carried. Using detailed sales analysis as well as their current profit and loss statement, I explained to them exactly why they should not expand their current line of products, and that they would need to drastically reduce what they were currently selling because only 20 percent of it was profitable for the business.”

Name three types of diagrams or charts that business analysts use, and explain why they are important.

Business analysts use numerous charts, diagrams and other documents. You want to ensure the candidate is familiar with these documents and understands how to apply them to clients’ cases.

  • Visual modeling
  • Understanding basic business analyst charts
  • Understand how to implement those charts

Example: “First there are flowcharts. They are essential because they provide a visual representation of a system, which is easy for clients to understand. There are also Activity Diagrams, and their purpose is to showcase the diverse activities occurring in different departments. And then there are Use Case Diagrams that show who interacts with a system and what primary goals they achieve with it.”

What tools do you think are the most important for business analysts to do their job well?

There are a variety of tools business analysts commonly use. This question lets you see if the candidate is familiar with these tools and if they use applications common to your company.

  • Familiarity with standard business analyst applications
  • Use tools common to your business
  • Basic technical skills

Example: The tools I commonly use are Word, Excel, MS Visio, PowerPoint and Rational tools. I also know how to write SQL queries.


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