What Are the Top 10 Questions Asked at a Business Analyst Interview?
Updated: Nov 19
The questions you’ll likely be asked at a business systems analyst interview vary widely depending on the company. Tools, processes, and expectations change from business to business. There are, however, some similarities across most organizations that typically hire for the position.
While preparing for your business systems analyst interview, it's important to not get so wrapped up in the technical terms that you lose sight of soft skills. As with most technical positions, soft skills like communication, collaboration, and problem-solving are sought after by every employer. Once you have the soft skills covered, then feel free to move on to the terms and technologies described below.
Here are 10 of the most common business systems analyst interview questions with some suggestions about how to prepare for them.
What are the most important traits of a business systems analyst?
How would you handle working with different levels of employees, especially stakeholders?
How would you prevent a client from making a bad decision?
How would you handle a difficult stakeholder?
What business intelligence tools do you have experience using?
How comfortable are you with using SQL queries?
What is a System Design Document (SDD)?
What is your process for managing requirement changes?
How important is analytical reporting?
Can you describe what types of charts or diagrams you commonly use?
1. What are some of the most important traits of a business systems analyst?
The technical requirements of a business systems analysts will vary from company to company. Be sure to check the job description for these. Most of the necessary soft skills will remain the same including communication, problem-solving, and confident decision-making abilities.
2. How would you handle working with different levels of employees, especially stakeholders?
As a business systems analyst, you’ll be required to communicate well with a wide variety of employees, especially the top-level. Be sure to highlight your ability to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to diffuse stressful situations. Focus on the root cause of a problem and your recommended solutions with facts to back up your claims.
3. How would you prevent a client from making a bad decision?
The business systems analyst role is heavily client-facing. The client may not always want to hear your recommendations and doing so can be a tough conversation. You have to have the problem-solving skills to determine the best course of action, the confidence to stand by your analysis, and the communication skills to lead the client towards making the best decision.
4. How would you handle a difficult stakeholder?
The ability to collaborate and communicate with all levels is a key requirement of any business systems analyst. Be ready to speak confidently about a time when you worked directly with someone in a high-level leadership position who had a very different perspective. Focus on the outcome and how you successfully came to an understanding together.
5. What business intelligence tools do you have experience using?
As a business systems analyst, you’ve likely used a variety of technical tools to do the job. Every company is different, so the tools you’ve used in the past and those currently being sought after may be different. Be ready to discuss the tools you have experience with and be honest about those you don’t. If the employer is using something you’re not familiar with, highlight your eagerness to learn it.
6. How comfortable are you with using SQL queries?
A business systems analyst should have at least some experience with SQL and relational databases. While you’re not expected to be a coder, you are expected to be a bit more technical and advanced than average. Be able to explain the three primary components of SQL: Data Control Language (DCL), Data Manipulation Language (DML), and Data Definition Language (DDL).
7. What is a System Design Document (SDD)
A system design document is a tool that stands between the developers and the users. It "describes the system requirements, operating environment, system and subsystem architecture, files and database design, input formats, output layouts, human-machine interfaces, detailed design, processing logic, and external interfaces” according to the Maryland Department of Information Technology.
8. What is your process for managing requirement changes?
Business systems analysts must be able to logically handle each step of a requirement change. Start by prioritizing the changes, the impact analysis, and the scope. Then, determine costs and timeline based on the impact analysis. Lastly, look for any gaps introduced by the scope of the change.
9. How important is analytical reporting?
Analytical reporting is critical to the success of a business systems analyst. You must be able to demonstrate that you’re a critical thinker, you understand the process of analysis, and that you are making data-driven decisions. Data alone won’t tell a story, though, so you must be able to show the expected outcome that data signifies.
10. Can you describe what kinds of charts or diagrams you commonly use?
As a business systems analyst, you should be very familiar with a variety of charts and diagrams. Be able to not only name them but be able to describe when and why you might use a particular type. For example, if describing a Use Case Diagram, state that the purpose is to visually see who typically interacts with a system and for what reasons.
When preparing for a business systems analyst interview you should be ready for a variety of questions. Because the tools and processes used vary from one organization to another it’s impossible to prepare for them all. Preparing for these 10 most common questions, though, will start you in the right direction.