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Interview Questions for a Trainee as a Business Analyst

by Debra Kraft

Business analysts are typically information technology staff members, but tend to work outside the department as much as within IT. These analysts gather information from, and collaborate with, members of the company's business groups. If you're in a position to hire someone to train for this position, look for candidates with some IT and business knowledge. Since a trainee position is considered entry level, qualified applicants could be recent college graduates with some exposure to both IT and business, but little or no direct experience. Prepare interview questions designed to reveal both a technology mindset and a people-oriented perspective.

Explore Candidates' Interests

Find out why candidates want to become business analysts. What is it about the field that interests them? Analysts must enjoy working with people, yet also have a knack for databases. Another qualifier is an inclination to solve puzzles. Business analysts are challenged to figure out why processes aren't as effective as they should be. The analyst must be willing to ferret out problems and to recommend solutions.

Check the Attitude

A business analyst trainee must have a positive attitude and be open-minded enough to learn the requirements of the job, the culture of the company and the business processes they're tasked with improving. Ask candidates to describe how they would gather information from both peers and superiors across the company. Look for responses that reveal a collaborative approach and a willingness to listen. For a test of open-mindedness, ask candidates to describe situations in which they were able to explore two sides of a complex situation to construct the most viable solution.

Aptitude for Applications

Business analyst trainees work with software applications used for process mapping and data modeling. Ask candidates what experience they've had working with the applications already in use in the company. If a candidate's experience does not include the company's tools, dig deeper to find out if the candidate is both willing to learn and eager to explore new applications. Remember, business analysts should be technically minded and like solving puzzles, so candidates should consider exposure to new applications a positive rather than a negative factor.

Leverage Learning Styles

Company team members who will be involved in the training process should join the interview to assess whether candidates' learning styles and interests match the company's training approach. Training methods can include formal classes, coaching, observing professionals at work and self-study. Ask candidates how they learn best. Look for answers that fit with the company's approach.

About the Author

A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.

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