Last updated on 25 Jan 2023
In this guide, we'll determine the skills business analyst should possess, and what assessments can help recruiters make informed decisions.
Table of Contents
To say that it’s been a turbulent time for businesses around the world would be a gross understatement.
Companies are still reeling from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis whilst grappling with global financial turbulence described in a recent TechCrunch article as “teetering on the verge of a recession.”
New forms of financial and operational risk have left companies on unsure footing. Against this backdrop, the role of the business analyst has taken on renewed importance.
In the job market, demand for business analysts - who are responsible for collecting and analyzing data sets to identify and recommend ways to excel organizational efficiency and effectiveness - is only expected to increase. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the business analyst role is on track for growth of up to 25% by 2030.
But while you’re rushing to fill this all-important role, companies need to remember to hire for fit and not just hire to fill. After all, recruiting less qualified talent can have a disastrous effect on an organization’s bottom line.
In this guide, we’ll point out what skills and competencies a qualified business analyst should possess, and what assessments can help recruiters make informed hiring decisions for their business needs.
Sourcing the right business analyst candidates for your company may seem challenging, but with the following recruiting strategies below, you can find the right talent for your company.
Pro-tip: Crucial to getting the best candidates to apply to your organization is ensuring that your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is unique, relevant, and inspiring. To this end, try these options on for size:
Once the applications come rolling in, it’s important to be able to quickly screen for skills and capabilities great candidates should have.
In terms of previous experience, look for candidates who show that they have at least a basic knowledge of end-to-end systems/processes.
Descriptive analysis: What's happening to the business right now?
Analysts should be able to collect data used in the day-to-day operations of a company such as annual revenue reports to be able to measure the performance of the business, and be able to observe if company goals and targets are being met.
Diagnostic analysis: Why is it happening?
Using statistical software, analysts would be able to detect what causes and events influenced the outcome – a drill down into consumer behavior for instance, or examining market demand would be a part of this.
Predictive analysis: What’s likely to happen in the future?
By using a combination of historical data, statistical modeling, data mining techniques and machine learning, business analysts should be able to spot patterns, and use this insight to make informed predictions regarding future risks and opportunities for the business, such as marketing campaigns or inventory management.
Prescriptive analysis: What do I need to do to succeed?
By considering all relevant factors, analysts need to be able to then recommend the best course of action for the business to achieve objectives like profits, cost savings, or customer satisfaction. And they need to be able to effectively communicate these changes to partners, stakeholders, and top management.
It goes without saying that business analyst candidates should have an analytical background, and certain technical skills in order to identify patterns and create and present solutions.
Must have skills in
Statistical analysis software
SAS | SPSS | STATA| Hadoop | Hive
SQL databases + querying language
Oracle | Microsoft SQL |MySQL
Information technology (programming)
Python | R
TOGAF, Zachman, FEAF, and Gartner
Rapid Miner | Oracle| Konstanz Information Miner
Business intelligence and reporting
Jira reports, Qlik, Domo
PowerBI | Tableau
It’s important to evaluate for the following universal skill sets as well.
It’s no surprise that 94% of business analysts recognize communication as being essential to their role. Candidates must have had plenty of work experience in effectively soliciting feedback, pain points and business expectations from project stakeholders, as well as clearly explaining complicated facts and opinions.
Candidates need to be able to act as an effective intermediary between management, the development team, and other team members in the company and keep everyone in sync.
This goes hand-in-hand with problem-solving. Candidates should be investigative and data-inclined in their approach as well as open to new ideas and perspectives instead of just reacting instinctively.
Keeping all these parameters in mind while evaluating talent will help hiring managers more efficiently assess for aptitude, personality and culture fit.
An ideal candidate would have:
Keep an eye out for these criteria while screening resumes and you should be left with some great candidates for the next stage in the process.
For more information about the business analyst role’s job description, see our Business Analyst Job Description template.
Recruiters can use the following assessments to determine whether a candidate has the key competencies necessary for the job like the ability to solve business problems and optimize business processes. Both enable recruiters to filter out unqualified candidates, and make better-informed and more defensible hiring decisions.
Here are two assessment types that can be conducted:
(1) Product launch: Ask candidates to create a sample product launch for a top-five beverage company launching a new product aimed at teenagers in the market. The company owns its own supply chain; it has bottling plants and distribution agreements with major retailers in the country. All other products by the company are targeted at adults.
The plan must include realistic inputs on:
This assessment simulates the activities that the candidate would have to undertake if they were successfully hired.
Through this task, candidates will be able to demonstrate proficiency in research and analysis, market evaluation, experience in forecasting sales, and product lifespan, creating product marketing strategy, as well knowing how to act as project manager (which includes knowledge of how to work with multiple stakeholders and communicate effectively).
(2) Aptitude test: Give candidates a test that evaluates candidates on their critical-thinking, strategy, data analytics, analytical reasoning skills, and even communication skills.
In a world of growing uncertainty, business analysts can deliver significant value to companies, but only if they have the requisite skills, years of experience, and competence.
With the criterion around education, technical skills/licenses and accomplishments listed in this guide, recruiters can be confident in their ability to screen the qualified from the incompetent, and the great from the merely good.
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Business Analyst Job Description
A Business Analyst works with product teams to provide technical specifications, product documentation and project guidance for software products.