A business analyst must obviously possess experience, knowledge and professional certifications, but that’s not all they need in order to add real value to the organization. BAs must also exhibit critical soft skills that reflect their ability to thrive in a rapidly-evolving business climate.
An Ability To Roll With The Proverbial Punches
Business analysts cannot control their environment, but are still held responsible for circumstances and outcomes beyond their control. Successful BAs must be able to balance the divergent needs, expectations and priorities of stakeholders against the daily grind of overseeing projects, facing unexpected shifts in scope and tight timelines. Hiring teams can identify a candidate with thick skin by asking about the approach they take when navigating politically-charged situations and workplace conflict. Look for signs of diplomacy and the ability to keep their own expectations and actions realistic no matter the external forces bearing down on them.
There has been a shift in focus in many aspects of hiring towards BAs with experience in a single industry. But professionals with multidisciplinary experience bring unique benefits to the table. They can draw on the experience they have gained in other industries to approach problem-solving with a creativity that single discipline candidates may lack. Ask questions that can reveal outside-the-box thinking under heavy pressure or when faced with limited resources.
Business Analysts should not be seen as order-takers by members of leadership. Instead, you want to identify BAs who think independently and aren’t afraid to ask questions. Seek out candidates that think about the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of a situation before making a decision or taking action. Ask them how they go about eliciting the requirements and methodology they will follow in a particular scenario. Look for signals that they conduct analysis around costs, benefits, and impacts on other business issues.
Strong BAs must not only be able to evaluate their own work, but they must also be able to articulate it to stakeholders. An effective candidate is someone who demonstrates the ability to understand organizational goals and innovate ways to help achieve them. They must also know how to communicate the value in the recommendations they send up the ladder. Ask candidates how they have helped previous employers achieve short-term and long-term goals. Look for signs that the individual can help you solve your problems.
Attention to detail is critical for success in a business analyst candidate. You must identify individuals who have a grasp of just how important clear and precise documentation is; as well the ability to balance and manage large amounts of information. Candidates can tell you they have attention to detail, but ask for samples of work that demonstrate their ability to take large amounts of information and document it concisely. As you conduct reference checks, be sure to ask specific questions about detail orientation, as well.
If your company is seeking top accounting and finance talent, or you want to improve your accounting and finance hiring processes, contact the expert A&F recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today.