10 Tips to face and ace an Analytics Interview

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The way businesses work is fast changing. We now have telephone interviews, skype sessions and of course, the conventional face-to-face. The entire process of getting interviewed starts with a telephone call or email from your institute or company. So at the very outset, what you need to do is gather information about the interview – the venue, time, whether you are expected to give tests or a presentation, any specific expectations, and so on.

With the above, you take the first step towards preparing yourself for the interview!

General, Behavioural (Soft skills) – How well you communicate, interact and present yourself

  1. First impressions do matter. So arrive before time. Dress appropriately. No strong perfumes. Walk in with a confident gait. And please, turn off your cell phone!
  2. Greet the members of the interview panel (“Good morning, Sirs and Madam”, Good afternoon, Sirs”). Make eye contact with each member. A firm handshake and a smile on your face. Wait to be asked to sit.
  3. Talk positive. Avoid any negative phrases (“I am not sure”, “I don’t think so”, “I will not be able to”). Talk slowly and clearly, but confidently. Clear communication is very important.
  4. Understand the question before you answer. If you are not sure, you can ask politely for the question to be repeated (“I am sorry I could not get the question. Could you please repeat it?”), rather than making a wild guess.

Technical Assessment – How sound is your knowledge

  1. Be prepared for questions that test your basic statistical concepts, and how well you can apply to different algorithms.
  2. Be prepared for questions that are solved using analytical tools like R and SAS, or whatever you have mentioned in your CV.
  3. Review the projects you have worked on – as a student or analyst. Be prepared to outline the analytical process, algorithm used, model validation / testing done, challenges faced and how they were resolved.

Skill Assessment / Situational Questions – How well you demonstrate your logical reasoning and business thinking skills

  1. Puzzle questions – Adopt a confident approach. Tackle the questions in a structured top-down manner, covering maximum aspects and situations. Ask questions. Call out assumptions if you are making them. Put it down on a paper for a methodical answer in the shortest time.
  2. Case Studies (Real World situations) – Address the problem clearly. Describe your solution and the action you would take. Make sure to include appropriate analysis and technical skill application.

Talk aloud as you work through your answer. An ideal situation would be an                           interactive session. Explain your suppositions and the factors that you think may                  have an effect on your estimate.

  1. Presentation – The key here is to think on your feet, as you will most likely get a time limit. Outline the problem in paper immediately. Use figures to illustrate. Circle solutions. If asked to use the computer or whiteboard, transfer your ideas to the screen / board.

Focus on logic. Present a structured thought process. Cut out the fancy.

Bottomline: Interviewing methods and questions depend upon whether you are applying for an entry level / mid level position. The interviewing panel may also adopt new approaches that test you for your logical reasoning and out-of-the-box thinking. The technique here is to think fast (ace/play that winning swerve), present what you know (all the aces up your sleeve), as best you can.


Useful resources from IVY PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL:

How to land a great job in Analytics

Top 30 Common Interview Questions

Latest Trends in Analytics Hiring

‘Net’ that job

How good is your personal AQ (Analytics Quotient)

5 Skills you need to become an Analytic Professional

Use Social Networking Sites to get a job

Be Prepared

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