Data Analyst Job Interview Questions
Data Analyst interviews are notoriously technical. Interviewers are known for putting theoretical knowledge on blast and expertise to the test, and with possible questioning broad, feeling fully prepared can pose a challenge. Below covers just the surface of those frequently asked interview questions, from basic to personal, that Data Analysts can anticipate.
The Technical Questions
"Talk us through how you have solved your most challenging Analytics problem."
The interviewer is looking for practical, tangible examples that show your approach to problem solving. Infuse both the technical skills used and any tangible business outcomes achieved in your response.
"Tell us about the Data Analytics software and tools you are proficient in."
With technical questions, refer your answer to any software or tools referenced in the job advert. Employers are looking for experience and familiarity with the software they currently use. Remember to remain honest, overselling yourself and claiming proficiency in software or tools you do not know how to use will not do you any long-term favours!
Questions along these lines are unsurprising. Intended to establish your technical knowhow, answers to these questions should be concise and accurate. As simple response such as “Clustering is the process of defining and grouping data” will suffice, but be prepared to elaborate on your answer if asked to by the interviewer.
"What differentiates Data Mining from Data Analysis?"
Here, the interviewer is looking to evaluate your understanding of different aspects of the data industry and how they are related. A typical answer would be along the links of the following: Whilst both look to extract and clean raw data, Data Analysis has a greater focus on analysing data and is driven by a hypothesis or intended question. Data Mining on the other hand, does not aim to answer specific questions.
"Are you experienced with SAS and other statistical analysis tools?"
Another chance to display your technical skillset. Remember to provide practical examples of the analysis tools you are proficient in and ideally reference your experience with any of the specific tools highlighted in the job advert.
"Define ‘Data Cleansing’."
More evaluation of your industry knowledge. As a quick starting point: Data Cleansing is the process of cleaning and preparing data for analysis. It involves either removing or modifying incorrect, incomplete, irrelevant or improperly formatted data. Overall, Data Cleansing aims to standardise and uniform data to improve the overall quality.
"When starting a project what are your first steps?"
The interviewer is checking to see how you approach your work. Remember to provide practical, clear steps when answering this question. The generic steps should follow outlining the objective, followed by data exploration, readying the data for modelling, and so on.
Beyond the above questions, be prepared for multiple problem-solving questions. Data Analysis interviews are all about thinking on your feet and showing your ability to work through problems in real-time.
The General Questions
"What would you consider your biggest weakness?"
A cliché interview question which can easily have a pre-prepared answer. Avoid turning a negative into a positive with answers such as “I am too hard working”. Recruiters see right through these types of responses. On the other hand, avoid sharing any red flag weaknesses.
"Would you list communication as one of your strengths?"
Whilst vital for any job, communication for Data Analysts is particularly important. Specific examples of how you would or better, have translated technical findings into non-technical terminology is what interviewers are wanting to hear.
"Have you ever failed to meet a deadline?"
This question examines your ability to manage stressful situations. Interviewers want to hear situations where you have anticipated a deadline being unachievable and found an appropriate and timely solution. Refer to a situation where you were proactive and decisive and remember not to shift the blame on others. The question asks for your failings and interviewers are looking to see if you can admit fault and take ownership.
The Interviewee’s Questions
Finally, the questions you ask matter. In fact, many recruiters and employers perceive these questions to hold more value than those asked by the interviewer. Possible questions that show your interest include asking about the day-to-day responsibilities of the position, potential for growth and inquiring about the company’s culture.
The above questions are just skimming the surface of what may be asked in a Data Analyst job interview. Beyond adequately preparing for the interview, companies want to see candidates dressed appropriately and professionally. This does not necessarily mean 'suited and booted' but rather looking smart and dressing to fit with the company’s dress code. Dressing to fit circles back to show your interview preparation.
Whilst they can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming, entering a job interview prepared is vital. With the above advice and thorough company research, interviewees can be best prepared for any curveball interview questions or a challenging interviewer.