Analytical skills are one of the top soft skills employers are looking for, and they’ll want to ask you about them in an interview. So, what are some examples of analytical skills interview questions, and how do you answer them to best demonstrate these skills? This guide will cover:
- Why Do Employers Ask About Analytical Skills in an Interview?
- Interview Questions for Analytical Skills (and Answers)
- Other Tips for Answering Analytical Skills Interview Questions
Why Do Employers Ask About Analytical Skills in an Interview?
Employers are looking to hire people to help them solve their problems, and analytical skills are an essential part of how you problem-solve at work. In fact, analytical skills prove you have what it takes to help a company find solutions, whether that’s bringing attention and building traffic to the website or delighting customers and helping lower churn rates.
In today’s job market, analytical skills are all about the data — specifically, how you use data to make decisions and track and measure success.
“Using data is becoming more and more commonplace,” Kristen Fowler SHRM-SCP, practice director at Clarke Caniff Strategic Search, says. “There is an infinite number of software packages that can be used to track KPIs. The growth in this space over the last 10 years has been staggering. More employers outside of manufacturing are implementing concepts like lean and Six Sigma into their practices to ensure they are staying competitive.”
These concepts help identify and reduce errors to make work processes more efficient and better.
“We’re seeing a democratization of data as access increases through tools like Power BI,” Jen Emmons, senior talent strategist at Carex Consulting Group, says. “The speed at which we work, the size and complexity of organizations, the variety, and capabilities of the technology we utilize continues to increase exponentially and strong analytical skills are essential.”
Employers are looking for people who use their analytical skills with a data mindset, focusing on metrics to drive decisions and track results.
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Interview Questions for Analytical Skills (and Answers)
To understand your analytical skills, interviewers will often ask questions about potential work scenarios, your past experience, and behavioral questions. These questions are designed to understand your thought process and how you solve problems.
What goes into your decision-making process at work?
To answer this question, be specific and walk through your decision-making skills. For example, what’s your first step when you’re required to take action? What information do you gather, or who do you consult? How do you devise a plan of action, and how do you decide to execute it?
“Employers will expect students to use critical thinking to solve problems,” Mark Anthony Dyson, founder of The Voice of Job Seekers, says. “They may not expect the exact answer, but the thought process will matter more. The interviewer wants to hear you ‘think aloud’ on how to solve it.”
How do you track progress/success?
This is where the data comes in. Don’t be afraid to name specific metrics you’re familiar with and have used to measure progress on your work.
“Your data must be contextually relevant to the company if you want to stand out,” Dyson says. “It helps to know how you can solve their problem. Knowing what they need now will make them envision you as a coworker.”
For example, if you know the company is hiring you to help increase their website traffic, focus on numbers like website sessions, clicks, or conversion rate. On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for a sales position, focus on quotas, meetings held, and win rate.
You don’t have all of the information to solve a problem. So how do you go about finding it?
The interviewer will ask this question to understand your problem-solving process and how you collaborate. Don’t be afraid to be specific with your answers here. For example, what resources would you use to solve this particular problem? Are there certain databases, websites, or contacts you have? How would you communicate with your internal team to find information they may know?
You disagree with your coworkers about a solution. How do you go about coming to an agreement?
Be careful with answering this one. This question is about collaboration and persuasiveness. You want to avoid coming off as a combative coworker. Instead, discuss how you’d present your opinions to your coworkers and questions you might ask them about their potential solutions. Finally, explain how you’d decide the best course of action.
Describe a time when you were wrong about a decision you made on a project. How did you go about remedying the decision? What would you do differently?
This question is about your reactive analytical skills. What do you do when something doesn’t go to plan? First, discuss how you identified the problem. Then, describe what actions you took to fix the problem. It’s essential to include any communication you might have had with team members about the situation and what you did afterward to ensure no one made a similar mistake.
Give me an example of when you faced an obstacle at work and overcame it.
Employers want to know that you’re more than willing and able to take on a challenge, whether that’s a challenging client or experimenting with new ways to market a product. Your obstacle can be something external you had to overcome, like a technical malfunction, or something internal, like lack of infrastructure or poor communication. Like the question above, you’ll want to explain first how you identified the obstacle and then the actions you took to overcome it. Did you do outside research? Try a new method? Brainstorm with the team? Come up with a new process? What steps did you take, and what was the outcome?
How do you weigh risks when making a decision?
Analytical skills help you make better, more informed decisions, but that doesn’t mean every solution doesn’t come without risks. In the workplace, choosing one decision might mean risking more time or resources. When answering this question, discuss how you weigh advantages and disadvantages when problem-solving and how you might justify taking certain risks over others. For example, are you more inclined to spend extra time on a project compared with spending money for a new program on another? Why or why not?
Other Tips for Answering Analytical Skills Interview Questions
- Take your time. Hiring managers ask analytical skills interview questions to uncover your thought process, so it’s okay to take time to think!
- Don’t be afraid of specifics. It’s easy to say, “I researched, then thought of a solution.” It’s more important to get specific with how you researched and came up with the solution. Don’t spare details about resources you use or processes you have. These details can help the interviewer visualize how you solve problems.
- Know you have these skills within you. “Think about how you’re utilizing analytical skills every day and aren’t cognizant of it,” Emmons says. “The spring break trip, the party you’re planning, or the hackathon you’re participating in requires analytical skills. Think about how those skills translate to your work and provide actual examples that demonstrate how you identified the challenge, analyzed the situation, broke it down into manageable parts, the approach you used (tools, methods, and data), proposed a solution and the results. Don’t overthink it but do include specifics that provide an actual example.”
- Remember that no one works alone. These interview questions are designed to help hiring managers learn how you work, but also how you might collaborate with others to solve problems. No one works in a silo. Discuss how you might lean on your team members to get the job done.
Learn how to answer more common interview questions:
- 15 Entry-Level Interview Questions
- 10 Common Leadership Interview Questions and Answers
- How to Answer: ‘Why Do You Think You Are Qualified for This Position?’
- How to Answer: ‘What Motivates You?’ in a Job Interview
- Interview Questions, Answered: ‘What Is Your Greatest Strength?’
- How to Answer: ‘Why Are You Applying for This Position?’
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