Many aspiring Business Analysts think the interview begins when they get all dressed up and walk through the potential employer's door... And they couldn't be more wrong!
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An interview should be viewed as a test. But instead of simply getting all of the answers correct, you need to do better on the test than everyone else that is taking it.
Now that I have your attention, let's talk about what you need to be well prepared for the interview.
Research the Company
One of the biggest and most common mistakes interviewees make is not doing their research. In this day and age, with all of the information online, walking into an interview not knowing what the company does or what sets them apart is interview suicide.
I've conducted interviews where after the second question I asked, I knew I wasn't going to hire them and ended the interview. If you cannot answer, "Tell me a little about what we do here at XYZ Company and why you would be interested in working here?" you might as well not waste your time going.
Research. The. Company. Do a Google search and find their website. Read about their products or services and the industries they target. Understand what new exciting things they have coming out. It is that simple.
You don't need to memorize their Vision Statements or know everything about them, but know enough that you can enthusiastically talk about some of the interesting things you learned. This shows them you care and will go a long way when it comes down to their hiring decision.
Know the Job Posting
Many interviewees overlook the gold mine of information that can be learned from the job posting. The employer is basically giving you a treasure map of what is important to them. Yet so many people don't take advantage!
Prior to your interview, you should be studying the job posting. Know exactly what they are looking for and plan for how you will highlight your knowledge and experiences to meet those identified needs.
Brush Up on Your Knowledge
Regardless if you have been working in the Business Analysis field for a while or this is your first Business Analyst interview, it is important that you brush up on your knowledge. When we don't use certain skills or techniques often, you will forget some of the important aspects of them.
As well, each company handles the roles and responsibilities of the Business Analyst a little differently. After studying the job posting, you will have identified skills or techniques you are not familiar with. Take a bit of time and at least get the fundamentals down. Do some reading, watch some videos, or take an online course.
Shameless plug. If you are an aspiring Business Analyst and you are trying to land your first position or if you have some Business Analysis work experience, but don't feel confident in your knowledge and abilities, check out my Business Analyst Fundamentals course. This course will help you to fill in your knowledge gaps and make you well prepared for any Business Analyst technique or skill that is discussed.
Study Common Interview Questions
There is nothing more calming than hearing a question you were prepared to answer. Once you have been in the workforce long enough, you realize 75% of interviews have the same types of questions that are asked.
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your weaknesses?
- How do you handle conflicting requirements?
- When are requirements complete?
- ...and the list goes on
It is important that you familiarize yourself with the questions and understand what the interviewer is looking for in your answer. Rather than me list all of the potential questions here, check out my blog article, Top 20 Commonly Asked Business Analyst Interview Questions.
As a final comment, do not memorize your answers to those questions, or any other questions. Instead, get comfortable with what they are looking for in an answer, and let it flow naturally in the interview.
Prepare Your Questions
At the end of every interview, the employer will turn the reigns over to you and ask if you have any questions for them. If it hasn't been clear to this point, this is where you show the interviewer you have done your homework.
Prior to the interview, prepare 3-8 questions about the company, the job opening, the position duties, etc. Now when the interviewer turns the control over to you, work through your list of questions, being sure to only ask those that were not already answered throughout the discussion.
Not only will this give you further insight into the company and the position, but it will also leave a lasting impression in the interviewer's mind that you did your research and are extremely interested in being offered the job.
There you have it. Who would have thought there was so much work that goes into an interview before you even walk through those doors?!? Now that you know how to appropriately prepare for your interview, get out there, do your homework, and walk into that interview with confidence!
If you want to learn more about finding the right job posting, creating your resume, acing your interview, and negotiating a competitive salary, check out my 5 Steps to Land that Business Analyst Job course. This self-paced, online course will provide you a step-by-step process that you can follow to jump start your career as a Business Analyst!
Written by Jeremy Aschenbrenner - The BA Guide
Learn about the Author
Hi there! My name is Jeremy Aschenbrenner and I am so glad you are here!
I am a veteran Business Analyst with a plethora of completed projects in various industries including health care, telecommunications, automotive, agriculture, consumer goods, financial services, food and beverage, and beyond..
I created The BA Guide to break down the barriers to becoming a Business Analyst. I do this by providing training and coaching on Business Analysis tools, techniques, and best practices.
To learn more about The BA Guide and to understand how I can specifically serve you, check out The BA Guide website. I am truly honored to help!