What Are Some Good Business Intelligence Interview Questions and Answers?

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Business Intelligence Interview QuestionsI’m in HR at a medium-sized company and am tasked with conducting an initial phone screen of applicants, in this case for the position of BI Analyst.

What would be some good business intelligence interview questions to ask? Since it’s not my area, I would like some idea of about what better answers might be as well.

In the past, our organization has struggled with hiring analysts who can both deal with complex data and write reports that are clear, understandable and actionable by decision-makers. Not sure how to screen for this, or if that might be too much for an initial phone interview.

In the past we've asked questions like:

Q. Describe a report you created that led to an important decision by the report recipients?

Q. What BI tools are you proficient with?

Q. Is there anything about dashboards, reporting tools, scorecards, written communication or any other aspect of your work that you are eager to become more proficient with?

Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!

Answers

Proformative Advisor
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Has the hiring manager developed a solid BI job description? If not ask the hiring manager what their needs are, they are the best source of information of how they expect the new employee to blend within their team and what the expectations of the role are including the technology used.

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If you're looking for insight about B.I., take a look at this free whitepaper here at Proformative:

"Transforming Finance: How CFOs Use Business Intelligence to Turn Finance from Record Keepers to Strategic Advisors"
http://www.proformative.com/whitepapers/transforming-finance-how-cfos-use-business-intelligence-turn-finance-record-keepers

Good luck!

Best... Sarah

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Topic Expert
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Hope these help....

What is your QA approach to integrating 3rd party data providers? What are some data visualization techniques that have worked for you? How do you adapt a BI solution to keep current with fluid business requirements? Provide example demonstrating your ability to address a difficult or "unreasonable" customer request.

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Adding on:
-What statistical modelling tools are you familiar with?
-Please give an example of using statistics to determine a data correlation that was useful to you. How did you use it? What was the impact to the business?

Echoing Valerie:
There are probably some good specifics from the *needs* aspect. Data warehousing? Specific tools? Do they need expertise in gathering / normalizing the data? Determining how and what data to use? Both?

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In addition to all of the great feedback already provided, asking about the industry in which your company operates could be a good screening mechanisms. I would ask the candidates to describe the current trends compared with historical trends of your industry and evaluate the comprehensiveness of their answers and their ability to communicate what they know. I have used this approach to become familiar with brokerage analysts who are initiating coverage of my company and have gained great insight into how they think and process data.

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Did your job posting disclose what BI tools your company uses and the names of the related ERP/CRM systems that may feed data? How important is it that the candidates need to be proficient in those tools?
If you have not selected any BI tools, your filter on tool experience likely needs to be broader for now.

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I would also be interested in the organizational benefit derived from the applicants business intelligence efforts.

Ergo, something like, "Please describe a couple of examples where your efforts led to insights and action that benefited your employer."

I believe you can have all of the BI tools available and there are those that pursue their work with great curiosity and those that don't. Maybe some roles don't require much insight, but I haven't seen any yet that weren't benefited by it.

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Piling on yet again;
I would tend to be careful to split the "I know Hyperion" from the "I have innate talent" metrics. Knowing a specific tool is nice, and can save hours or even days of training. However...having aptitude is dramatically more important. So, hire for aptitude. Anon's suggestion, "describe examples of influence", is great for getting the thought process of the interviewee. Similarly flip it around and ask:
-"Sales is 5% below forecast (or some other nonsense), describe how you would:
...investigate the root causes
...what tools would help you with that
...build an explanation to staff, execs, etc
...communicate the information?"

Cheers,

KP

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