Data analyst job interview questions

While you should always be prepared for common job interview questions, there are analyst-specific questions that you’ll want to make sure you have practiced before hand.

Ashley Robinson |
Categories: Interview

When interviewing for a data analyst position, you really want to do everything you can to let the interviewer see your analytical skills, communication skills and attention to detail. While you should always be prepared for common job interview questions, there are analyst-specific questions that you’ll want to make sure you have practiced before hand.

What is involved in typical data analysis?

The interviewer is making certain that you have a basic understanding of the work you'll be doing. Your answer is extremely important, especially if this will be your first time in a data analyst position.

"Typical data analysis involves the collection and organization of data. Then, finding correlations between that analyzed data and the rest of the company's and industry's data. It also entails the ability to spot problems and initiate preventative measures or problem solve creatively."

What are your communication strengths?

Communication is key in any position. Specifically with a data analyst role, you will be expected to successfully present your findings and collaborate with the team.

"My greatest communication strength would have to be my ability to relay information. I'm good at speaking in a simple, yet effective manner so that even people who aren't familiar with the terms can grasp the overall concepts. I think communication is extremely valuable in a role like this, specifically when presenting my findings. This is even more important when those findings could be beneficial or detrimental to other departments within the company and you need to make sure that everyone understands the overall message."

What has been your most difficult analysis to date?

The interviewer wants to see if you are an effective problem solver. Be sure to include how you overcame the challenge.

"My biggest challenge was making prediction sales during the recession period and estimating financial losses for the upcoming quarter. Interpreting the information was a seamless process. However, it was slightly difficult to forecast future trends when the market fluctuates frequently. Usually I analyze and report on data that has already occurred. In this case, I had to research how receding economic conditions impacted varying income groups and then make an inference on the purchasing capacity of each group."

What kind of data analysis software experience do you possess?

Data analysts are required to use software in their role. Additionally, analysts are sometimes responsible for database design and security. Share your relevant experience with the interviewer.

"I have advanced data analysis software experience. A few examples include creating PivotTables in Excel, producing databases from scratch in Access, and developing data mining algorithms in ELKI. Also in my previous role, I was tasked with upgrading the database to meet the demands of the market and the company to ensure it ran smoothly."

You have just been assigned a new analytics project. Where do you begin and what are the steps that follow?

The interviewer wants to get a look inside your thought process to make sure you are thorough and organized.

"The very first thing I would do is clearly define the problem or objective so I have a solid direction. Second, I would explore the data and become more familiar with it. This is extremely critical especially if I am working with a new set of data. Next, I would prepare the data for modeling. This entails data validation, detecting outliers, treating missing values, etc. With those steps completed, I would begin modeling the data until I discover the most significant or valuable results. Lastly, I would implement the model and track my results. As I'm sure you are aware, this process could vary slightly based upon the type of problem and the data and tools available."