Business Analysts, YOU more than most other roles have job interviewing in the bag. Why? Because you plan and facilitate interviews as part of your work! Regardless, I still speak with business analysts who are nervous about job interviews. In this post, I’ll give you some “gentle reminders” from our own bag of tricks to get you through those interview jitters and help you feel right at home.
1. Do your homework
BAs wouldn’t meet with a customer without understanding background information and neither should a job candidate. Do your due diligence on the company or hiring manager before you arrive (stakeholder analysis!). What you are able to find online (document reviews!)? Can you get some additional information about the organization from the Human Resources contact you’re working with (organizational analysis!). Collect and document your information to prepare for your interview.
2. Prepare your job interview questions in advance
Imagine for a moment that this job is a new project to which you’ve been assigned. You’ve been given a little information about objectives and expectations but you don’t know the whole picture. Yet. Put on your BA hat. Analyze the gaps between what you know so far from the job description and company research and what you envision the job to be (future state). What information do you need to know to close that gap? Document your questions just as you would for a client interview and have them ready to ask your interviewer.
3. Show the interviewer you can analyze in real-time
The sign of a good Business Analyst is being able to think on her feet. That means using active listening skills to comprehend what’s being said and to connect the information with what you have already learned. Where there are gaps in your understanding is an opportunity to ask another question. This not only demonstrates your attentiveness to the conversation but also that you can synthesize information and identify gaps in your understanding quickly.
4. Demonstrate your emotional intelligence skills
Creating rapport builds trust which can enhance your conversation. Give the interviewer a demo of how you use your emotional intelligence skills to build rapport. For example:
- Share something (appropriate) about yourself. Let your guard down and just talk. Remember, to keep it appropriate for your audience however. BTW this is not the time to share dark secrets.
- ask questions about the company’s mission, values and culture . . . you know, questions about people stuff. In my post Why a Future Employer’s Values Should Matter to Your Job Search I write about why your future employer’s culture is an important part of your job search. The interview is the place to ask questions about it.
- And talk about your values too. Companies are hiring humans, not robots. Your skills and experience matter but so do you. Take an opportunity to tell the interviewer what matters to you.
The outcome of this is that you and the interviewer will (hopefully) make a memorable connection. One that should keep you at the front of their mind when making the hiring decision.
5. Show off YOUR interviewing skills
Good interviewing isn’t just about asking questions. It’s about learning and connecting information and then asking more questions. “Zig when they zag,” as I always say. Incorporate some of these techniques to show off how well you can interview:
- Paraphrase a question or answer to ensure that you understood what you heard
- Think out loud. Sometimes it helps to talk things out to make sense of them.
- Listen actively. Show your interviewer you are listening by being silent and patient as she speaks, asking additional questions based on what was said, and summarizing what you’ve heard.
- Use body language that indicates you are engaged and interested in what the interviewer is saying
- Connect the interview questions or answers with something you’ve learned from your employer research or during the interview
They say interviews are really just practice runs for the job you want. So show off how you handle interviewing by flexing your skills!