20 Interview Questions and Answers for Business Analysts (2023)
In this article, we're sharing the 20 most common business analyst interview questions and answers that you could encounter during a job interview. Being ready for these questions can not only help you prepare for and feel more comfortable in an interview for a business analyst role, it can also identify the gaps you may have in your technical skills.
We’ll start by sharing general business analyst interview questions. Then, we’ll focus on data analysis to explore the most common technical questions you will face.
General Business Analyst Interview Questions
1. What are the main responsibilities of a business analyst?
The main goal of a business analyst is to help organizations solve a problem or defining, recommending, and implementing the optimal solution.
While some of the activities of a business analyst may vary depending by the industry or the organization, here are the key common responsibilities all business analysts share:
- Identifying business needs and objectives
- Assessing business problems and market opportunities
- Making data-driven recommendations for the business
- Assisting in making strategic business decisions by analyzing data
- Defining critical and secondary KPIs
- Creating a project plan to improve business situation
- Providing relevant data reports to monitor progress
If you become an IT Business Analyst, your responsibilities will involve the recommendation, the design, the implementation, and the change management for IT projects.
You can read more about a business analyst's primary responsibilities in the following article:
2. What is the difference between a business analyst and a data analyst?
While there are many similarities between these two roles (both work with large amounts of data, make data-driven decisions, need the same soft skills, etc.) there are some important differences:
|Business Analyst||Data Analyst|
|Work focus:||Identify business needs through digital and non-digital data||Identify patterns tin digital data|
|Works with:||marketing, sales, and product teams||data scientists and data engineers|
|Background:||business majors||technical majors|
|Skills:||business intelligence, project management, data warehousing||data cleaning, data wrangling, data analysis, statistics|
You can read more about the differences in the following article:
3. What are a business analyst's essential skills?
- Statistical analysis
- Business intelligence software (Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qlik Sense, etc.)
- Data analysis and visualization
- Database management
- Data modeling in business intelligence software
- Working with databases
- Domain expertise
- Business processes
- Project management
- Documentation and reporting
- Analytical mindset
- Critical thinking
- Communication and negotiation skills
- Time management
- Attention to details
4. What are the major stages of a business project?
Any business project includes the following global stages:
- Monitoring and control
5. What digital tools do business analysts use ?
Here are some of the tools business analysts use:
- Business Intelligence tools: Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qlik Sense, SAP
- Office tools: Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, or Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides
- Project Management tools: Trello, Jira, Confluence, Asana
- Database languages (e.g., SQL)
- Survey: Survey Monkey, Typeform, Google Forms
- UX Wireframes: Balsamiq, UXPressia, Figma, Adobe XD
- Diagram Tools: MS Visio, draw.io
6. What documents do business analysts work with?
There are different types of documents that a business analyst uses depending on the nature of their work (such as IT business analysts, business analysts with domain expertise, etc.).
Some of the most common documents that a business analyst uses while working on a project include the following:
- Business case
- Business analysis document
- Business requirement document (BRB)
- Use cases document
- System requirements specification document (SRS)
- Functional requirements
- Non-functional requirements
- Data mapping requirements
- Risk analysis document
- Request for Proposal (RFP) including evaluation map
- Project plan
- Gap analysis
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT) progress report
- Test cases
- Project progress report
- Handover document
7. What kinds of diagrams does a business analyst work with?
The most popular diagrams used in business analysis include the following:
- Use case diagram — represents all possible interactions of the actors with a system
- Activity diagram — shows the flow of various activities across different business units
- Collaboration diagram — displays the interaction between the objects of a system
- Flowchart — illustrates a workflow of operations to solve a specific task
- Data flow diagram — shows information flow in and out of a system
- Sequence diagram — describes the interaction between the parts of a system framed in a time sequence
- Entity relationship diagram (ERD) — depicts the relationships between the entities within a system
- Class diagram — demonstrates the structure of a system including its classes, methods, attributes, and objects
8. What are project deliverables?
Project deliverables represent a set of tangible or intangible results produced at each stage of the project and delivered either internally or to shareholders and clients. These include various reports, documents, proposals, drawings, strategies, and final products and services.
9. What is a requirement, and how is it different from a need?
A requirement is a targeted statement formulated by shareholders and representing a well-documented indication of what they need in order to satisfy a particular business need and achieve a specific business goal. Requirements represent the core of the project; shareholders set them before the project begins, and then a business analyst defines, analyzes, estimates, and prioritizes them. We can say that while a business need is a high-level specification of a desired final result, a business requirement is an applicable, thoroughly documented representation of that business need.
10. Define requirement elicitation, and list its methods.
Requirement elicitation is the process of collecting requirements related to the project from direct interaction with shareholders, customers, and end users. The methods of requirement elicitation include the following:
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Document analysis
- Focus groups
- Interface analysis
11. How can a business analyst estimate the quality of a requirement?
For this purpose, a business analyst can use the SMART rule. A good requirement should satisfy the following standards:
- Specific: the description of the requirement should be specific, comprehensive, and well-defined.
- Measurable: the criteria of success of the requirement can be measured using provided metrics.
- Achievable: there should be all the necessary resources (time, money, and personnel) to achieve the requirement.
- Realistic: the requirement should be feasible given the available resources.
- Time-bound: the satisfaction of the requirement should be limited by a determined time interval.
12. What is BRD, and what are its major components?
BRD stands for Business Requirement Document. It's an essential formal document that clearly states the project's goals and identifies its key shareholders — including their business needs and requirements, potential risks, and the expected outcomes of the project. A business analyst is responsible for creating this document after communicating with the shareholders.
The key elements of BRD include the following:
- Executive summary
- Project overview, vision, and objectives
- Project scope
- Project roadmap
- Key shareholders
- Business need statement
- Business requirements
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Project risks
- Project constraints
- Infrastructure requirements
Data Analysis Interview Questions
Data Analysis is one of the most important parts of a business analyst's. In order to get your recommendations approved by the key stakeholders and leaders of the Business, you’ll have to convince them that you made the correct diagnosis of the situation. You’ll need to identify the business needs and issues and share meaningful insights effectively. To do that, you will use business intelligence (BI) solutions such as Power BI and Tableau. Here are some of the top questions you will encounter during a business analyst job interview.
13. What are the top business intelligence solutions available to business analysts?
The most used business intelligence solutions for business analysts around the world include the following:
- Microsoft Power BI (the world-leading solution)
- Qlik Sense
- Google Data Studio
You can read more about the top job interview questions about Microsoft Power BI in the following article:
14. What is the difference between Power BI and Tableau?
While both Power BI and Tableau are business intelligence (BI) applications used for business data wrangling, data analysis, and data visualization, there are some significant differences between them:
- Power BI uses DAX (Data Analysis Expression) for calculations, while Tableau uses MDX (Multidimensional Expressions).
- Power BI can work with relatively limited volumes of data, while Tableau easily handles huge volumes.
- Power BI has a relatively easy-to-learn interface that both professionals and beginners can use. The Tableau interface is more challenging; therefore, it's less suitable for beginners.
- Power BI has a smaller range of data sources to connect to, compared to Tableau.
- Power BI is much less expensive than Tableau.
- Power BI is a perfect tool for reporting, while Tableau excels at data visualization.
15. What are the top benefits of a business intelligence solution?
As a business analyst, you will use a business analysis or business intelligence tool such as Microsoft Power BI, Qlik Sense, or Tableau.
Here are the top benefits of using a BI solution:
- Analyzing data without deep technical skills
- Presenting data and insights in a structured and coherent way
- Supporting decision-making with relevant KPIs
- Consolidating data from multiple sources in one place
- Sharing real-time insights with interactive dashboards
- Improving the company’s visibility on meaningful data
- Conducting predictive analysis
- Improving productivity
16. What are the different stages of data analysis with a business intelligence solution?
There are four main stages in a data analysis process with a business intelligence solution:
- Data preparation: this phase involves loading data from multiple data sources and formatting, cleaning, and consolidating data.
- Data model: this phase involves describing the structure of data, how to store it, and the relations and constraints among the various datasets.
- Data Visualization: this phase involves selecting the right visuals and colors to convey your story effectively.
- Data Analysis: this phase involves analyzing the data, grouping data together, binning data, and preparing dashboards that present KPIs
17. What is data cleaning, and why is it important for your analysis?
Data cleaning is the necessary preparatory (and usually rather time-consuming) step in the data analysis process that follows gathering the data and precedes analyzing it. This step includes the following:
- Removing duplicate data
- Handling missing values
- Correcting or removing inaccurate data
To extract meaningful insights from the input data, it should be reliable, complete, consistent, and representative — this is exactly what data cleaning is for.
18. What should you do if you have missing data?
There are various ways to deal with missing data:
- Removing any rows that have missing values
- Removing any columns that have missing values
- Filling the missing values with some other values, such as the mean, median, or mode of that column; values extracted from another column; values obtained from additional research; and so on
- Leaving the missing values as they are
19. What are the key activities involved in data modeling?
- Identifying the use cases and requirements
- Retrieving, cleaning, and transforming the data
- Designing a data model
- Defining relationships and hierarchies between the data from various tables
- Handling data granularity
- Creating measures and augmenting data
- Tuning and optimizing model performance
- Validating the data model
20. What makes a good data visual for your data analysis?
The main principles to follow for good data visuals include the following:
- It should be clean and easy to read. This implies an appropriate choice of type, the absence of any distracting elements (such as unnecessary colors, spines, grids, redundant annotations, etc.), all the essential elements (the plot title, axis names and units, emphases of key features, etc.), and using minimum visual effects to convey maximum information.
- It should be clear and convincing for the target audience, including people without any technical background.
- It should tell a story hidden in the original data and answer the main question stated in the business project goal — or any intermediate question that is important for answering the main one.
Now that you've seen the most common business analyst interview questions and answers, you can prepare for a business analyst technical interview with confidence!
If you want to master or refresh your skills (and get certified!) before applying for business analyst jobs, explore the self-contained Business Analyst Career Path at Dataquest. It will help you learn the necessary technical skills and practice them with real-world projects that you can include in your portfolio.
For more on business analysis, check out these articles: