Updated: Mar 16
As businesses increasingly rely on data-driven decision-making, the demand for skilled analysts has surged. According to a study by LinkedIn, data analysis is one of the most sought-after skills, with over 3.3 million job openings in the field.
However, finding the right analyst can be a daunting task, as the position requires a distinctive combination of technical and analytical expertise, as well as excellent communication and problem-solving abilities.
To help you identify the best candidates for the job, we have compiled a list of top interview questions to ask.
Question #1: Tell me about your experience working with data?
This question is an excellent way to assess the candidate's level of expertise and familiarity with working with data. Look for candidates who can provide specific examples of using data in their previous roles, such as analyzing complex datasets or creating reports to convey insights. You may also want to follow up with questions about the candidate's preferred data analysis tools and techniques.
By 2024, there could be a shortage of up to 190,000 individuals in the United States who possess the analytical skills required for the role
The McKinsey Global Institute recently conducted a study that revealed a 12% annual increase in demand for data analysts. Therefore, hiring the right data analyst is crucial for organizations to remain competitive and make informed decisions.
Question #2: Can you walk me through a complex problem you solved in the past?
As an analyst, solving complex problems is a fundamental part of the job. This question assesses the candidate's problem-solving ability and approach to tackling challenging issues. Look for candidates who can provide a detailed account of how they approached the problem, including the tools and methodologies they used to find a solution. Additionally, pay attention to how they communicate their thought process and any obstacles they overcame.
The demand for analytical skills will increase by 50-60% by 2026, according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute
The study also identified problem-solving and critical thinking as crucial skills for the future workforce, highlighting the importance of hiring analysts with these skills. Therefore, asking questions that assess a candidate's problem-solving ability is crucial in identifying the right candidate for the job.
Question #3 How do you ensure the accuracy and validity of your analysis?
Accuracy and validity are critical components of any analysis. Look for candidates who can provide a detailed account of their process for checking the accuracy of their analysis, such as conducting data checks, using statistical analysis, or cross-referencing their findings with other sources.
Organizations face challenges in ensuring data quality and accuracy when making business decisions, a study by PwC claims
Additionally, ask the candidate about their experience identifying and mitigating potential biases in their data. Prioritizing data quality is crucial for organizations to achieve improved business performance.
Question #4: Provide an example of how you have used data to drive business decisions.
Using data to inform business decisions is a fundamental part of an analyst's role. This question assesses the candidate's ability to translate data insights into actionable business recommendations. Look for candidates who can provide a detailed example of using data to drive decision-making, such as identifying new business opportunities or optimizing business processes.
Companies that use data to guide their decision-making see significant improvements in their business performance, an MIT Sloan Management Review study revealed
The study also found that organizations that use data analytics extensively are more likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance. Additionally, ask the candidate about their experience with A/B testing and their ability to measure the impact of their recommendations.
Question #5: How do you communicate complex data to non-technical stakeholders?
As an analyst, it's important to be able to communicate complex data to non-technical stakeholders effectively. Look for candidates who can describe their process for distilling complex information into clear and concise insights, such as using data visualizations or plain language explanations. Additionally, ask about the candidate's experience presenting data to executives or other decision-makers.
91% of executives believe that data is crucial for making strategic decisions, but only 17% are confident in their organization's ability to communicate the insights gained from data effectively, according to a study by Tableau
Therefore, hiring analysts who can effectively communicate data insights to non-technical stakeholders is crucial for organizations leveraging data to make informed decisions and drive business performance.
To summarize, it is possible to claim that hiring the right analyst requires a careful and comprehensive approach. By asking these interview questions, you can evaluate candidates with the technical, analytical, and communication skills necessary to excel in the role.
It is essential to keep in mind that the best candidates will be able to provide concrete examples of how they have applied their skills in practical situations. Therefore, be sure to ask for specific examples whenever feasible to assess their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities accurately.
“The Most In-Demand Skills for 2023.” LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-strategy/linkedin-most-in-demand-hard-and-soft-skills
“Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.” McKinsey Global Institute, https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/big-data-the-next-frontier-for-innovation
“Communications Review: Building a data quality competency in today’s digitised communications operator: not an option – but a business imperative.” PwC, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/communications/publications/assets/building-data-quality-competency.pdf
“ANALYTICS AS A SOURCE OF BUSINESS INNOVATION.” MIT Sloan, https://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/analytics-as-a-source-of-business-innovation/
“What do data-driven companies have in common? Research reveals five key trend.” Tableau, shttps://www.tableau.com/blog/what-do-data-driven-companies-have-common