After reading this, you will feel more ready than ever to smash an interview for that Business Analyst job you’ve been looking for.
I’ve got extensive experience from both sides of the fence:
- As an interviewee
- As an interviewer
Why can I help you in your BA interview?
Put simply, I know what works.
But even more importantly, I know what doesn’t.
I’m not afraid to tell you that I’ve failed to get some jobs. And each time for a different reason. These are the main reasons:
- I applied for a job that was well out of my league
- I applied for a job because of the money not because my heart was in it
However, this doesn’t mean I was wrong to apply. It just means I needed to prepare to fail then learn from it.
In fact, the failing actually allowed me to get an even better job.
So here are 12 things you MUST do to be successful at an interview
1. Claim that team successes came from your ideas
Absolutely key and you need to do it with confidence. Also, it’s a great opportunity to shine as an individual
Here’s what I mean:
Most interviewers ask you for scenarios about good solutions or ideas.
As part of the scenario you will have come up with a solution
When you explain the solution, the interviewer might ask:
“So who’s idea was it to do it in that way”?
This is your opportunity, here’s what to say:
The solution started off as my own idea and I worked with the team to develop it.
I made sure I had each of the team members on board with my idea by presenting it to them in different ways”
That’s just an example.
But hopefully you get the gist.
Now I’m not telling you to lie or steal the glory for other people’s ideas but DON’T miss out on opportunities if you can back them up with some substance.
And the chances of the interviewer finding out it wasn’t your iea are one in a million!
The golden rule: Make sure you can explain how you came up with an idea and why it was the better than any other.
2. Practice explaining your previous projects
This is GOLDEN.
Why because you need to explain your projects to the interviewer like you owned them. Not just like you were a part of them.
Explain them in a way that if you weren’t there – they would have FAILED.
So how do you do that?
Firstly use this template. It’s a template I’ve taken from a multi-billion pound company and has helped me get 3 promotions within 5 years.
3. Learn answers to the following BA Interview questions
Tip: Click the links in the questions if you want to learn the answers
What are the essential components of a use case?
What is a standard requirements gathering approach? Hint: You would build your knowledge of the project by asking questions in the form of BOSCARD.
- How would you begin the Business Analyst process for a project?
- What are some of the rules when mapping a business process?
- What are the key skills of a Business Analyst?
- What are the benefits of User Observations?
- What is a useful BA Workshop technique (click the video below) to watch?
- What is Six Sigma? (Particularly for Business Process Analyst Jobs)
- What are some examples of requirements gathering techniques?
- How would you map your stakeholders?
4. Apply for a job that’s well out of your league
Okay so we need to make sure we’re not applying for a director level job when we’re just starting out in Business Analysis
But that doesn’t stop you from applying for jobs that you may not have all the experience as listed on the job spec.
Some employers WILL take on people for their enthusiasm and attitude so if you can prove your worth as well as a few of the required role attributes. You most definitely have a good chance of getting the job.
Golden rule: Step out of your comfort zone and aim for new heights.
5. Prepare to fail but don’t let it stop you
Believe me, your very first interview is highly unlikely to be a success i.e. you probably won’t get the job. If you do – BLOODY FANTASTIC!
So don’t be disheartened when you get a call to say you were didn’t get the role. I had 3 gruelling interviews before getting the job really wanted.
Think about the saying
And once you get over that you can reflect on your interview and think about where you can improve the next time you step into the interview room.
Keep going and applying for the jobs you want.
6. Contact a prospective team member through LinkedIn
Doing this will come across as VERY impressive if the interviewer finds out.
Chances are, there’s a team of BA’s that already work at the company you’re applying for.
So here’s what I did:
I noticed one of the guys who works at the company I was applying for had viewed my LinkedIn profile.
Seeing his profile gave me an idea
Why not send him a message to ask a question that gives you a bit of company inside info
Here’s the message I sent
“Hi [name],I’m presenting my requirements approach to [company name] this week.I wondered if any requirements management software is used there and if you could tell me the name of it?I understand if you don’t want to give me an unfair advantage but thought it’s worth a shotMany thanks,Matt
He replied with the name of their requirements tool.
So when I was interview, I told the interviewers Id found this information out and they loved it.
7. Get feedback after any interview
If what I just said does ever happen to you – and it will if you’re trying to reach new heights in your career.
You need to follow this tip every time.
And this is true for any interview – success or hmm hmm failure.
ALWAYS get feedback on your interview process to find out where you can succeed
8. Present to a family member
This can be an amazing life skill and may be key for an interview
Presenting can be horrible
I know someone who had 100% attendance at university, but as soon as it came to presenting her work to the class, she just couldn’t do it – didn’t attend uni and didn’t tell anyone.
I eventually found out and gave her the opportunity to practice a few times in front of me.
I told her to practice in front of a couple of others too.
The main problem was relaxation and breathing.
We all gave her different types of feedback and just a few years later
9. Spend minimum 10 hours on interview prep
This is a minimum and more is great but don’t spend any less time preparing for your interview
10. Say something different to greet your interviewer
Here’s an example:
I had an interview in January
I’d been told by the agency that my interviewer was keen to interview someone with a bit of personality about them.
I thought to myself ‘I can do that!’
So as soon as I greeted her, the first thing I said
“Happy New Year” with a big smile on my self
Immediately it grew rapport with the person that would soon be my boss.
Not only that, it set a perfect scene for a free flowing interview.
11. Don’t go on about your qualifications
So many people think everything is about qualifications.
Let me tell you – It’s not.
Yes qualifications will give you a great kick in achieving an expert BA status.
But they are most definitely not the ultimatum in Business Analysis
You cannot become a great business analyst after 3 days in a classroom
- Only knowing the questions is narrow minded
12. Talk with a passion and enthusiasm
If nothing else gets you the job – this will! Here’s what you need to.
In my view:
Having a passion for the subject and belief in continuous improvement is what the Business Analyst job is all about.
So if you can get this across in your interview or when talking about your experiences to date (including your life experiences), then you’re pretty much getting the job.
It worked for me so it can work for you.