Thursday, 16 January 2020

Business Analysis Jobs - Interview Questions - Part Three - The Organisation

Business Analysis Jobs - Interview Questions
Business Analysis Jobs - Interview Questions

One of the most common questions I've seen on social media, from aspiring Business Analysts, is - "Can anybody provide me with a list of BA job interview questions?".

For any job interview, preparation is one key to success.

The problem is that it is difficult to predict exactly what questions you may be asked in a given job interview. This uncertainty is one of the reasons why most people feel somewhat nervous in this situation.

Lists of generic questions are of limited use.
Much depends on the specific job that you are applying for.

So - how to prepare as best you can? This blog aims to help you.

A possible answer is - a Business Analysis approach!

Interviewers, if are doing their job properly, will not ask you questions at random. They will prepare for the interview, set some objectives and formulate some questions to ask. Three of the possible factors that they will consider are:
  • Your Resume.
  • The Organisation.
  • The Job.

Applying a Business Analysis approach would give you these steps:
  • Fact finding - your resume.
  • Fact finding – the organisation.
  • Fact finding – the job.
  • Analysis – of requirements.
  • Identification – of potential questions.
This post focuses on the second of these - the organisation.

You will find it helpful to do some research and analysis to learn more about the organisation that you are applying to join.

Questions about this are likely in an interview - one of the most likely being:
"Why do you want to join our organisation?".

If you can't answer this reasonably convincingly this is bound to raise doubts about your suitability.

Organisations generally prefer to employ people who positively want to work with them and share at least some of their vision.

Other possible questions (there are many others) include:
"How do you think you could contribute to what our organisation does?"
"Could you give is an overview, based on what you know,  what our organisation does?"
"One of the business problems that we are facing is ...... how could you use your BA skills and experience to help us with this?"

Business Analysis is, in part, about finding things out - fact finding. So - if you do some research you will be better placed to answer the questions above.

If you haven't made any effort to find out more about the organisation offering the job, it will not reflect well on your BA skills. If you have made an effort, the interview panel will see you in a more positive light.

An example - a few years ago I was invited to interview for a training / consultancy assignment with a major UK retailer. A company with a well know brand and shops in town centres all around the country. Their core product range is books, but they also sell newspapers, home office supplies, toys and games.

These are some of the Business Analysis fact finding and modelling techniques that I used, to prepare myself as well as possible before meeting them.

Background Research.
I had a good look through the company website to get an idea of the products that they were offering. As well as the customer facing "front end", I read through the more "corporate" information in the About and What We Do sections, to get an idea of the company's scope, history, aims and values. For example - I discovered that they had a large product distribution (B2B) business as well as their better known retail (B2C) operation.

Background Research.
I did a Google search to look for press articles, blogs and other information about the company. This gave me a more independent view based on the opinions of third parties - and some valuable additional background. For example - I discovered that most thought that the company was doing well in terms of market share , but they were under some pressure from smaller more focussed "niche market" competitors, particularly specialist booksellers.

I'd visited their high street stores many time before - as a customer. Now I took the time and trouble to a visit one locally. This time with a new perspective - with my "Business Analyst" head on. I took some time just to observe the operation - how things were organised, what the business processes were and who was involved (staff and customers). For example - I observed that the front end of the shop, the retail space nearest the doors, seemed to be deliberately organised to appeal to "grab and go" customers. People who might have limited time, maybe on a work break, who wanted to get what they wanted quickly. Products there included newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, chocolates, snacks and drinks.

Mind Mapping.

For me, one benefit of Mind Maps is that they are a quick way of pulling together, organising and making sense of information discovered during fact finding. Put another way - a good way to do some initial high level analysis. For example - here is one showing my initial understanding of the Stakeholders involved in the business.
Mind Map - Stakeholders

These are just some examples - obviously you need to apply this to the specific BA job that you are applying for.

But having done that you will have a start point for considering possible questions for your own job interview and can formulate some convincing answers.

I'll be covering more about BA jobs and job interviews in future posts.

For now - to sum up - if you are looking for a Business Analysis job - why not apply your skills as a Business Analyst to help you to prepare and increase your chances of success!

You can learn more about BA Interviews in this video on my Business Analysis YouTube channel:
Business Analysis Jobs - The Interview - Part 1 - Introduction

This is a useful book - written by experienced Business Analyst Adrian Reed. Published by The British Computer Society:
Careers In Business Analysis

My online course on Udemy covers the fundamentals of Business Analysis - including a session on Business Analysis Jobs. Learn more here -
Course - Getting Started In Business Analysis

Photo Credits:
Title Photograph - Laptop

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