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Do you want to 4x the Data Analyst job offers you receive?

Learn to answer this question flawlessly

Tell us about a difficult data project you’ve worked on, and how you handled it?

This question may be worded differently, but the essence of it will come up in every Analyst job interview. They want to know how you:

  • Thought through a problem.

  • Collaborate with others.

  • Present your ideas.

  • Handle pressure.

  • Deliver results.

Yes, they’ll ask you technical questions, but by the time you get to your 2nd or 3rd interview they already know you have the technical skills. What they really need to know is….

Do you have the character traits they really want?

There’s no way around it, you need to understand the logic behind behavioral questions and practice your answers.

I’ve seen people go from getting one job offer out of 20 interviews, to 4 or 5 offers.

This is a leverage point. Get very good at this one thing and you’ll 4x your job offer rate.

I don’t have the stats to back that up, but having dealt with over 2000 Analyst job placements, I can see the pattern clearly. Many candidates go off on random tangents, making them look unclear, inarticulate, and basically confused.  

Sadly, most DO know their technical stuff, but just didn’t prepare properly. Think of interview skills as a completely separate skill set, that needs to be honed.

Having the skills AND being able to articulate those skills are KEY in landing jobs.

Let’s drill down on how to answer them

A cheesy but very popular method to answer these questions is the STAR method. You use it as follows:

  • Situation - In a previous ecommerce job, we noticed our conversion rate was decreasing for some products.

  • Task - My goal was to better understand this segment of products and customers. With the aim to provide actionable insights to our sales and marketing team.

  • Action – I added more data sources and further segmented the available customer and product data and found that our Marketing Dept had an overreliance on the average.

  • Result – New insights were found on the buyer’s journey. The social media platforms they used, the specific ads they clicked on and the geographical areas where they lived.

    With these news insights marketing was able to move advertising dollars to those segments. The end result was a 28% increase in sales in these segments.

This is a general outline, but it gives you an idea of how to use the STAR framework to structure your answers.

Many behavioural questions will revolve around past projects, with an emphasis on how you handled difficult situations.

Here are some popular Analyst behavioural questions:

  • Describe a data project you worked on. What were some of the challenges you faced?

  • Tell me about a time when you used data to solve a problem.

  • Describe an analytics experiment that you designed. How were you able to measure success?

  • Describe a time when you were going to miss a deadline. How did you respond?

  • Talk about a time when you had trouble communicating with stakeholders. How were you able to overcome it?

The exact process you should follow to get good at these questions.

  1. Have a document with 5 of these questions.

  2. Spend time crafting your answers.

  3. Practice reading out loud your answers.

  4. Practice answering the questions without notes.

  5. When I say “Practice”, I mean practice it every day for 15 min for several weeks. Practice until it becomes so easy, that it’s boring every time you do it. Congratulations you’ve internalised your answers, you’ll shine in the interview.

For the overachievers reading this, if you want to go super in-depth into storytelling. I recommend the book “Story” by Robert McKee.

Here’s my copy…

Top writers for the last 20 years have read this book; some even say it's their "bible". It shook my world and opened a chasm in my understanding of storytelling.

Ok, my friends. Good luck in the interview and please send me the success stories.

Cheers Shano.

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