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How to prepare for a Business Analyst Interview?

This is the question I am asked most frequently by the Business Analyst fraternity. Let me tell you there is no secret way to prepare for a Business Analyst interview. But you can always increase your chances manifold if you take care of the fundamentals like BA skills, Job specific skills and Interpersonal skills with equal focus.

Generally people prepare for an interview as if they are going to write a common exam but actually interview is quite different from writing an exam. Going through the answers of publicly available interview questions will not help rather can be harmful as you will be missing the wood for the trees.

Let’s talk about the Job specific skills first. Every BA opening is different from other, which is the beauty of BA profession, but brings with it a higher level of complexity to you as a job seeker.

Job specific skills have to be handled in a very pragmatic manner. You have to be honest and practical at the same time.

This can be achieved by answering the questions in 3 ways as given below:

1.Skills you have already worked upon so that you are confident of doing the same type of work as many times as they wish.

2.Skills you have not worked on, yet you are confident of doing as you were thoroughly trained (Opt for this option only if you are genuinely trained and exposed to the practical aspects of the skill set).

3.Skills you have not worked on and neither confident of, as you have very little knowledge about the skills desired by the hiring company. Confess with honesty though you can always tell them how much time you will take to learn the desired skill set, if required.

Do not leave any grey areas where you are not able to explain and justify your expertise for any skill required. Be specific on what you can do and what you can’t do. Now coming to fundamental BA skills. If you are a practicing Business Analyst then you should have a grip on the followings:

1.Practical BA knowledge for scenario based questions:

You can go through documents available of projects you have worked on or go through BA case studies if you have access to.

2.BA knowledge areas defined by IIBA:

Thorough understanding of IIBA knowledge areas gives confidence to the interviewer that you are aware of global practices. However the best answer of this question is to be a certified Business Analyst. If you are a certified BA then interviewer will have greater confidence in you for the overall know-how of the BA concepts.

3.BA tasks & techniques in each knowledge area:

To take discussion deeper, the interviewer may ask about the tasks involved in different knowledge areas. So be prepared and understand the conceptual and practical details of each task in all the knowledge areas.

4.Popular tools used by BA:

Regardless of whether you got a chance of using any BA tool in your career, you should know minimum 3 tools related to UML, Process Modelling, UI mockups and Mind mapping.

5.Crucial BA deliverable like Business Case, Business Analysis Plan, Requirement Documents:

Here you have a chance to do icing on the cake as deep understanding of key BA deliverables will make your case really strong and establish you as one of the most preferred options for your future employer.

Lastly the interpersonal skills, Though I am writing about interpersonal skills in the end but many a times these skills become the most important factor in hiring a Business Analyst. Reason being the above two skill sets i.e. BA skills and Job specific skill are easier to impart than the Interpersonal skills.

So keep working on you interpersonal skills as it is an ongoing learning process. Will write a separate article on short term, medium term and long term strategy for building excellent interpersonal skills.

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