An A to Z Guide to Crack Business Analyst Interviews

Searching for how to become a Business Analyst? Then this guide is for you. Learn about the required skills, responsibilities, & how to prepare for interviews.



I started my journey back in 2016 as a Software Engineer and Business Analyst.

A lot has changed since then.

The role of a business analyst is no longer limited to just checking the boxes but has become a crucial part of the organisation.

From strategising to aligning the company goals, we have come a long way.

I have been on both sides of the interview spectrum. 

I am glad that you want to enter this space as there is a lot of demand for this role. 

The main purpose of this article is to give you an insight into this role and answer your questions on how to become a business analyst.

And the things to be mindful of in your interview preparation journey from my experience as a recruiter and a fellow Senior Business Analyst.

I’ll be covering the following points in this article:

  • Who is a business analyst?
    • What does a business analyst do?
      • Skills required to become a business analyst
        • How to apply for this role and reach out to recruiters via LinkedIn (templates included)
          • The interview process for a business analyst role (list of common business analyst job descriptions included)
            • Business Analyst interview preparation tips
              • Explaining what an interviewer expects during interviews

                Stay tuned till the end because I have also analysed more than 200 job descriptions to find out the key terms and requirements for this role that’ll make the preparation a lot easier for you.

                Let’s get started with the basics of what exactly is a business analyst.

                Who is a Business Analyst? What does a Business Analyst do?

                A business analyst discovers, syntheses & analyses information from multiple sources to recommend solutions or support in developing solutions for a business problem.

                Here multiple sources may mean, 

                • extracting information from numerous systems and 
                  • extracting information from multiple people

                    The 3 keywords are Discover, Analyse and Recommend.

                    All business analyst roles predominantly revolve around requirement gathering. But it doesn’t end there. 

                    As a business analyst, your roles and responsibilities include understanding where the problem is lying and recommending solutions or supporting the development team for answers.

                    Let's understand this with the help of 2 scenarios: 👇

                    🔷 Scenario 1:

                    Here, the business analyst is a mediator between the development team and the client

                    For example, the client's requirement is to develop a payment application with features such as UPI transactions, cashback features, booking movie tickets from the app, etc.

                    These features will be communicated to the business analyst who will understand the requirements, ask necessary questions and communicate the same to the development team. 

                    After the application is created, the business analyst will also give his insights if it meets the criteria or how to make it even more effective.

                    Finally, the solution will be presented by both the business analyst and the development team to the client. ✔️

                    🔷 Scenario 2

                    Here the business analyst is a consultant to the customer and develops the solution as well.

                    For example, the client has an e-commerce website and is looking to improve their order management process. 

                    Their goal is to improve the delivery time.

                    In this case, the client would want the business analyst to analyse the whole process and discover gaps in the process so that a solution can be developed. 

                    The business analyst will use different process analysis platforms such as process mining, task mining etc for execution. 

                    As an individual contributor, you need to learn about the various platforms to deliver solutions.

                    Hence, mainly experienced business analysts enter the second scenario.

                    These are the most common scenarios that you can see in this domain. 

                    What are the skills required to become a business analyst and how to develop them?

                    You need 3 major skills to become a business analyst.

                    Communication, Data Analysis and Data Visualisation.

                    These lay the foundation of all the other skills that a business analyst may require.

                    Let’s talk about them.

                    🟢 Communication:

                    You’ll be communicating with different departments, stakeholders and professionals. You’ll be acting as a bridge between them.

                    Hence, your written and verbal communication game should be strong. 

                    How you can improve it? 

                    By practising business understanding, presentation and structured thinking.

                    You need to focus on questions like; 👇

                    • Why this is happening?
                      • What are we trying to do?
                        • What is the benefit of this?
                          • What are the risks associated?
                            • What are the potential solutions?

                              In my experience, customers and executives are simply looking to hear clear and concise stories.

                              📌 You have to summarise everything in an easy-to-understand lingo.

                              This comes with practice. Refer to news apps like Finshots. 

                              30 minutes daily can work wonders.

                              You will not only improve your communication skills but also improve your business understanding and industry knowledge.

                              Another great practice is to gather the main ideas of articles, films, essays, a series or anything you like and create their summaries. ✔️

                              The goal is to pick up relevant information and create an overview of the main story.

                              🟢 Data Analysis:

                              More than 90% of your data analysis will be done in Excel and SQL.

                              As a Business Analyst, you will be dealing with a lot of data for which Excel will come in handy.

                              But, the advantage of SQL is that it has more functions and can handle a large amount of data comparatively.

                              Python/R is another requirement that some top tech companies look for such as Amazon.

                              Now, you won’t be asked to code but knowing a programming language will help you identify problems and do better analysis.

                              This additional skill can make you an asset to the company.

                              🟢 Data Visualisation:

                              As a business analyst, you need to turn data into visual representations using charts, and diagrams to help clients understand the subject matter.

                              You can do this with Excel chart building, Tableau or Power BI.

                              Now before doing any certification, I’ll recommend testing the water first with free tutorials.

                              Here’s a free excel course for beginners and a free tutorial on SQL.

                              Once you have completed these, then go for certification courses related to SQL, Tableau or Power BI.

                              Apart from these, if you want to learn any software, go for at least one process modelling platform like Microsoft Visio, IBM Blueworks, etc.

                              These platforms come into the picture during gap analysis.

                              For example, there is a process you are working on that has different activities such as A, B, C and D in the flow.

                              You will be expected to draw out the process on a specific platform which can be any of the above-mentioned modelling platforms.

                              A few more skills that are crucial for this role are: 👇

                              • Analytical skills
                                • Project management skills
                                  • Time management
                                    • Documentation
                                      • Problem-solving skills
                                        • Critical thinking
                                          • Data collection
                                            • Interpersonal skills
                                              • Cost-benefit analysis
                                                • Stakeholder analysis
                                                  • Industry knowledge

                                                    What is the interview process for a business analyst?

                                                    Business analysts have different names depending on the company and industry such as, 👇

                                                    • Business system analyst
                                                      • Data analyst
                                                        • Enterprise analyst
                                                          • Management consultant
                                                            • Process analyst
                                                              • Product Manager
                                                                • Product owner
                                                                  • System Analyst

                                                                    However, the interview process for most follows a similar structure.

                                                                    1. Initial screening:

                                                                    During the initial conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager they will ask about your work experience, skills, education and other basic details.

                                                                    Depending on your answers it will be decided whether you will move further or not.

                                                                    2. First interview round:

                                                                    Here, expect detailed questions about your experiences, skills and how you approach problem-solving.

                                                                    You can also be asked to explain a case study or scenario related to a business problem.

                                                                    3. Technical round:

                                                                    Your ability to work with data and analytical tools will be assessed in this round.

                                                                    Expect questions related to SQL, Excel or other data analysis tools. 

                                                                    Also, depending on the company you may be asked about your experience using programming languages such as Python or R.

                                                                    Read the description carefully to understand the set of skills required. 

                                                                    Apart from these, the recruiter may also ask to see your ability to communicate information to non-technical stakeholders.

                                                                    4. Behavioural round:

                                                                    There are a lot of websites containing hundreds of questions and their answers.

                                                                    But going through each of them is a laborious task. 

                                                                    Since these questions are situational, all you have to do is relate them to your past experiences.

                                                                    The best way to answer situational questions is through the STAR framework. 

                                                                    It’s a storytelling technique where you mention your past experiences backed up by concrete achievements (more on this below).

                                                                    5. Final interview round:

                                                                    You will be facing senior members or executives in this round. 

                                                                    Again expect strategic and high-level questions.

                                                                    Here you will also get the chance to ask questions. Consider the questions as important as your answers. 

                                                                    Asking the right questions is a core business analyst skill so prepare a list.

                                                                    The questions can be related to the company culture, growth opportunities and other factors that will affect you.

                                                                    How to apply for the role of a business analyst?

                                                                    There are primarily 3 ways to apply for a business analyst job:

                                                                    👉 Company Website

                                                                    👉 Job Portals

                                                                    👉 Platforms like LinkedIn

                                                                    If you ask me which one to go for, I would say LinkedIn.

                                                                    First of all, stop relying on job portals. They get instantly flooded with applications and the vacancies get posted again and again.

                                                                    Your application may not even reach the recruiter's hands.

                                                                    In this case, directly reaching out to the recruiter can get you on the front lines.

                                                                    This is also the case from the recruiter’s end, almost 87% of recruiters check a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before hiring them.

                                                                    So instead of creating your profile on multiple job portals and company websites, spend your time polishing your LinkedIn profile.

                                                                    Here’s a step-by-step process on how you can make the best use of LinkedIn:‍

                                                                    Let's start by understanding how to search for jobs on LinkedIn.

                                                                    ▶️ Step 1: 

                                                                    Decide on search terms, 

                                                                    • Based on past role name (Business Analyst, Data analyst, IT Asset manager)
                                                                      • Based on skill set (Digital transformation, Python engineer etc.)
                                                                        • Based on Designation (Manager, Sr manager etc.)

                                                                          ▶️ Step 2: 

                                                                          Set alerts for all those search terms with job openings.

                                                                          ▶️ Step 3: 

                                                                          Whenever you see an opening, save the opening and check if you have any connection with anyone from that company.

                                                                          If yes, go and check their profile – engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts. 

                                                                          If not – apply directly. 

                                                                          ▶️ Step 4: 

                                                                          For recruiters who are your connection, message them personally.

                                                                          Here’s a sample template for the same:

                                                                          Hi XYZ,

                                                                          I noticed that we are connected for quite some time. I read some of your posts related to (topic) and really liked your perspective. Feels great to have you in my network.


                                                                          Engage with their posts for one more day.

                                                                          Then reach out to them with the relevant opening which you have saved. 

                                                                          After that, you can use this template –

                                                                          Hi XYZ,

                                                                          I see there’s an opening for a PQR position in [name of the company]. [Describe your profile in 2 sentences which look aligned with the role’s job description by using the same words.]

                                                                          Looking forward to your response 

                                                                          Thanks, [Your name]

                                                                          Keep following the above steps. 

                                                                          How to build connections to remove bottlenecks at step 3?

                                                                          I have seen candidates getting stuck in step 3 so here’s what you can do: 

                                                                          ✅ Shortlist the top 100 companies within your domain – Say IT, Manufacturing etc. in an Excel file.

                                                                          ✅ Shortlist the top 10 companies from them and keep on sending connection requests (focus more on the person’s skill set and job title – it will be great if it matches with your aspiring title)

                                                                          ✅ Keep on engaging with them within the platform by liking and commenting on their posts/feed items and also replying to their comments

                                                                          ✅ Repeat points 2 & 3 for 30 days

                                                                          ✅ Keep marking your progress in Excel 

                                                                          Show genuine interest.

                                                                          Avoid commenting, “nice post” if the post can spark a conversation.

                                                                          Comment with the intent to discuss the information. You can also throw your point of view there.

                                                                          How to find and reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn?

                                                                          Search out ‘Talent acquisition specialist’. 

                                                                          You can filter people by their location.

                                                                          Sample template to send a personalised invite:

                                                                          Hi (Name of the recruiter), 

                                                                          I noticed that you are a recruiter in the ABC sector. I wanted to reach out to you to discuss potentially working together.

                                                                          I am a (role title) with a proven track record of (share experience and value proposition) …and currently seeking new opportunities.

                                                                          Now, if I fill in the information, this is how it would look,

                                                                          Hi Rahul,

                                                                          I noticed that you are a recruiter in the finance sector. I wanted to reach out to you to discuss potentially working together.

                                                                          I am a Sr.Process consultant with a proven track record of 5 years in driving and leading process improvement projects using modern data-driven improvement techniques such as Task mining and Process mining. I also have experience in leading RPA assessment initiatives and managing intelligent automation programs and BPM-centric projects. 

                                                                          I am currently seeking new opportunities and an immediate joiner.

                                                                          Key points to note -

                                                                          • The objective is just not to get the job; it is much more than that. Networking is the goal here. 
                                                                            • You will get to know people from your domain. Job, you will eventually get it.
                                                                              • Do not expect super instant results. They are rare. Just keep on working. This process is much better than applying haphazardly.
                                                                                • Job application is a process game. Play strategically. Build a reliable network.

                                                                                  This technique has worked for me, and my mentees and I am sure it’ll work for you too. 

                                                                                  After doing this, you should hear back from recruiters, if not then I’d recommend revisiting your resume and finding the possible reasons you are not getting interview calls.

                                                                                  How to prepare for the business analyst interviews?

                                                                                  I went through more than 200 job descriptions for Business Analyst roles and these were the key requirements for this role:

                                                                                  Key terms:

                                                                                  • Requirement gathering, Working closely with Product Owner
                                                                                    • Data analysis, SQL, Dashboard building
                                                                                      • Process documentation, As-Is process, To-Be process, Gap analysis, Drive improvement
                                                                                        • Automation - RPA brief overview
                                                                                          • Process assessment, Creative problem solving
                                                                                            • Project management, Stakeholder management, Agile, Waterfall methodology


                                                                                              • Power BI
                                                                                                • Jira, Confluence, MS Visio
                                                                                                  • Primavera

                                                                                                    Certifications (not mandatory)

                                                                                                    • PMP, Prince 2
                                                                                                      • PSP
                                                                                                        • Scrum Master

                                                                                                          The main purpose of the above findings is to show you where you need to focus on.

                                                                                                          In case you already have a list of companies you want to apply to, check their portal and read the requirements such as;

                                                                                                          👉 The certifications and qualifications they are looking for,

                                                                                                          👉 Any tools you should be familiar with,

                                                                                                          👉 The technical and soft skills you should possess.

                                                                                                          Here are some business analyst interview preparation tips:

                                                                                                          🔶 Research the company:

                                                                                                          As you are connecting with recruiters, also research the company you’ve applied to or will be applying for.

                                                                                                          This is the most basic step but I have seen more than half of the candidates skip it.

                                                                                                          As a recruiter, I want to see what kind of value you can add to the company.

                                                                                                          You should be familiar with their goals, vision, competitors, etc.

                                                                                                          🔶 Align your skills and the job description:

                                                                                                          As mentioned earlier, different companies have different definitions or job descriptions for business analyst roles. 

                                                                                                          Hence, do not reject the roles if the names are different, read the job description and then see if it matches your skillsets and experiences.

                                                                                                          For example, Amazon’s job responsibilities for Data & Business Analysts lean more towards the technical side, they demand proficiency in SQL and MS Excel. 

                                                                                                          TCS and McKinsey are more focused on building client relationships.

                                                                                                          Common responsibilities include analysing the data and communicating this to the concerned parties in layman’s terms. 

                                                                                                          For the most part, you’ll have to demonstrate your skills so choose wisely. 

                                                                                                          List of most generic Business Analyst Job Description 👇

                                                                                                          • Evaluate business processes and anticipate requirements for improvement
                                                                                                            • Develop and implement solutions using activity diagrams, use cases, flowcharts, and document analysis
                                                                                                              • Conduct requirements workshops, surveys, site visits, and create business process descriptions
                                                                                                                • Keep up-to-date on the latest IT advancements and automate systems
                                                                                                                  • Present findings and ideas through meetings and presentations
                                                                                                                    • Perform requirements analysis and document results
                                                                                                                      • Gather critical information from stakeholders and produce useful documentation
                                                                                                                        • Allocate resources and maintain cost efficiency
                                                                                                                          • Ensure solutions meet business needs and requirements
                                                                                                                            • Conduct user acceptance testing and update procedures
                                                                                                                              • Manage competing resources and priorities
                                                                                                                                • Keep track of deliverables and ensure timely completion of projects
                                                                                                                                  • Determine priority initiatives based on the specific business needs and requirements at hand
                                                                                                                                    • Establish and maintain effective communication channels as a liaison between stakeholders and users
                                                                                                                                      • Collaborate closely with clients, technicians, and managerial staff to ensure project success
                                                                                                                                        • Provide leadership, training, coaching, and guidance to junior staff to develop their skills and support their growth
                                                                                                                                          • Articulate insights and plans to cross-functional teams and management in a clearly and concisely to ensure buy-in and alignment

                                                                                                                                            A specific job description might need industry expertise and domain Knowledge:

                                                                                                                                            For example, a job description for a Business Analyst at Deloitte requires experience of 6+ years in the Oil and Gas Industry. They look for specific skills such as,

                                                                                                                                            • LNG Trading experience
                                                                                                                                              • 4 years of working experience as an Open link Endur BA (v14+)
                                                                                                                                                • IT Business Analysis Skills
                                                                                                                                                  • End to End Software Development Life Cycle & Agile Delivery
                                                                                                                                                    • Strong communication and collaboration skills
                                                                                                                                                      • Stakeholder Management Skills

                                                                                                                                                        🔶 Build a solid resume:

                                                                                                                                                        Even if you are applying through LinkedIn, you’ll be sharing your resume with the recruiters.

                                                                                                                                                        While mentoring, I have seen that resumes are not given as much importance as skills. 

                                                                                                                                                        You will reach the interview rounds only if your resume gets shortlisted. Hence, spend time reviewing it and following the best resume practices.

                                                                                                                                                        🔶 Practice soft skills:

                                                                                                                                                        Communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills will be tested throughout the interview rounds so practise them regularly in order to become a business analyst. 

                                                                                                                                                        🔶 Brush up on technical skills:

                                                                                                                                                        List down the technical keywords from the business analyst job description.

                                                                                                                                                        If you need to upskill, do it.

                                                                                                                                                        Nowadays, skills are as important as experience.

                                                                                                                                                        Don’t wait for new opportunities, most often you’ll have to create one for yourself. It’s always better to know more than one tool or software.

                                                                                                                                                        🔶 Follow up after the interview:

                                                                                                                                                        The recruitment never stops at the final round.

                                                                                                                                                        Following up is the key.

                                                                                                                                                        Send thank you emails and messages. It's a great way to leave a positive impression. 

                                                                                                                                                        What does an interviewer expect and where do candidates fail?

                                                                                                                                                        You’ll be receiving a lot of questions throughout the interview rounds regarding your projects listed, your experience, achievements, etc.

                                                                                                                                                        Do not mention information in your resume or raise a point that you cannot back up. 

                                                                                                                                                        The recruiter is expecting a story of your work/college project experience in a quantitative manner that has created some kind of impact.

                                                                                                                                                        To become a business analyst, consider storytelling as your ace. The trump card that can make you win.

                                                                                                                                                        But whatever you are saying should be backed up by data.

                                                                                                                                                        There should be no loopholes. All the dots should be connected.

                                                                                                                                                        And this is where the candidate fails.

                                                                                                                                                        Here’s a small exercise to help you understand this.

                                                                                                                                                        Question: Describe your work experience.

                                                                                                                                                        Answer 1: I was working on a project. My main job was to reduce the overall time of the process. There were a lot of challenges. Actually, I used excel to analyse the gaps and gave it to the stakeholders. I faced a lot of challenges like data being inaccurate etc. 

                                                                                                                                                        Answer 2: There were a lot of issues within an order management team and one amongst them was they were not able to create sales orders on time for order IDs due to the high cycle time of the process. I was brought into this project to find gaps within the process and highlight improvement opportunities within it. I used advanced excel techniques to identify the gaps and found a 20% of potential reduction in overall time.

                                                                                                                                                        Which one do you like? 

                                                                                                                                                        I am sure you chose the second one. Now, what’s the reason?

                                                                                                                                                        Let’s break it down,

                                                                                                                                                        • There were a lot of issues within an order management team and one amongst them was they were not able to create sales orders on time for order IDs due to the high cycle time of the process - A situation is created
                                                                                                                                                          • I was brought into this project to find gaps within the process and highlight improvement opportunities within it - You were tasked with finding the solution
                                                                                                                                                            • I used advanced excel techniques to identify the gaps - You undertook certain actions to achieve them
                                                                                                                                                              • Found a 20% potential reduction in overall time. - The result generated from your actions

                                                                                                                                                                Can you see now why did you select the second answer? There’s a pattern here. 

                                                                                                                                                                It’s following the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) framework of answering questions.

                                                                                                                                                                This method is highly preferred by me and recruiters alike, as it creates a story backed up by data and quantitative results.

                                                                                                                                                                STAR Interview Method

                                                                                                                                                                Most of us have heard the name, but candidates still fail to implement it. 

                                                                                                                                                                So even though you like the second answer, you’d end up saying the first one.

                                                                                                                                                                The best way to improve your storytelling skills is to list down the events that you would like to highlight in your resume. And practise creating answers using the STAR method.

                                                                                                                                                                Here’s an interesting STAR Interview Method Guide that explains everything in detail with examples.

                                                                                                                                                                It also lists down the common behavioural questions and how to answer them using the STAR method.

                                                                                                                                                                Wrapping it up

                                                                                                                                                                Finally, we have reached the end of this article.

                                                                                                                                                                I hope it was insightful and that you were able to get a lot of answers on how to become a business analyst. 

                                                                                                                                                                Just like any other role, a business analyst also requires thorough preparation.

                                                                                                                                                                Remember, you don’t have to know everything to start your journey, you have to focus on your fundamentals first. 

                                                                                                                                                                If you still have any questions, how about connecting with me?

                                                                                                                                                                I have helped a lot of candidates prepare and crack their business analyst roles. 

                                                                                                                                                                We can discuss your pain points and their solutions in a free call. 

                                                                                                                                                                Hit me up!

                                                                                                                                                                Also read:

                                                                                                                                                                Top 5 Questions Answered Related to Business Analyst Role

                                                                                                                                                                Meet the Top 3 Business Analyst/Consultant Mentors at Preplaced