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How to Become a Data Analyst

Data Analyst Interview Questions

Ready to start your career in Data? Find out more about BrainStation's Data Analytics Course

Once you have secured an interview for a Data Analyst position, there are few things you can do to prepare. You will want to research the company, review your data knowledge, skills, and projects, and practice some common Data Analyst interview questions.

Interview questions for Data Analyst positions will focus on both your technical skills and soft skills. The questions may range from testing your knowledge to learning about your past work and assessing how you would fit in with the company.

Because Data Analyst jobs can greatly vary from company to company, you should revisit the job description to understand the specific requirements and responsibilities. This will help you focus your interview preparation. For instance, if the role involves data cleaning, think about specific examples of how you have cleaned data in the past, and practice explaining your process.

To help you prepare for your interview, we have put together a list of commonly asked Data Analyst interview questions.

To see whether you have the necessary knowledge to excel at a Data Analyst job, employers may ask questions that test your understanding of processes and tools like SQL, Excel, statistical programming, and data visualization.

Hiring managers use these data analysis interview questions to mainly gauge your knowledge level, while also getting a better sense of your data analysis process and overall perspective on your job responsibilities.

Data Analyst interview questions may include:

What do Data Analysts do?

This question is specifically geared toward getting a better sense of your own opinion on the expectations of the role, so your answer should not only be derived from your own job experience in your Data Analyst career, but also on the specific expectations that were listed in the job description. Although the specifics of your answer will obviously differ, Data Analysts mainly analyze and interpret data, then use those insights to make actionable recommendations and reports to build revenue and improve processes.

What are the important steps in the data validation process?

The first section of Data Analyst interviews might feel a bit like a pop quiz, but even if you're a relatively experienced Data Analyst, it's important to be able to answer knowledge questions like this one in a clear and easy-to-understand way. So you could first explain that to validate data – or, in other words, to review the quality of source data – you first perform data screening by using different algorithms to scan a data set for issues. Then, you evaluate any data values that you suspect might be inaccurate before coming to a decision on whether or not to use them.

  • What is the process of data analysis?
  • What does “data cleansing” mean? What are the best ways to practice this?
  • What is the difference between data profiling and data mining?
  • What is KNN imputation method?
  • What should a Data Analyst do with missing or suspected data?
  • Name the different data validation methods used by Data Analysts.
  • Define outlier.
  • What is clustering? Name the properties of clustering algorithms.
  • What is K-mean algorithm?
  • What is an n-gram?
  • What is a hash table collision? How can it be prevented?
  • How should you tackle multi-source problems?
  • What are the problems that a Data Analyst can encounter while performing data analysis?
  • What are the characteristics of a good data model?
  • Differentiate between variance and covariance.
  • Explain normal distribution.
  • Explain univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis.
  • What are the advantages of version control?
  • What is a pivot table, and what are the different sections of a pivot table?
  • What is A/B testing?

List of Data Analyst Interview Questions: Technical Skills Questions

Employers will likely ask questions that put your technical Data Analyst skills to the test.

They may want to know about your past experience with certain programs or tools, or they may ask you to solve a problem on the spot. For these types of questions, you will want to clearly show your thought process and how you arrived at your solution.

For this type of Data Analyst interview question, it also doesn't hurt to talk a bit about how you acquired these technical skills. This provides another opportunity to talk about past work experience or your educational background, while also pointing out some examples of you applying these skills to real world projects.

Some examples of technical Data Analyst skills questions that an interviewer may ask:

What tools do you use as a Data Analyst?

This is another interview question where it will work in your favor to review the job description and look at the specific technical competencies that are demanded. But most Data Analysts use a variety of different tools and software programs to accomplish their day-to-day job responsibilities. To create eye-catching visualizations, most Data Analysts are experienced with Tableau, PowerBI, Plotly, Bokeh, and Matplotlib. Most Data Analysts are also familiar with programming languages and frameworks including Python, R, and Hadoop, and they know their way around data analysis platforms including Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. It will likely also be worth mentioning spreadsheets and querying languages commonly used by Data Analysts, such as XML and SQL.

  • Please share some past data analysis work you have done. Tell me about your most recent data analysis project.
  • Which data analysis software are you trained in?
  • What do you think are the criteria to say whether a developed data model is good or not?
  • How have you dealt with messy data in the past?
  • Can you share details about the largest data set you’ve worked with? How many entries and * variables did the data set comprise? What kind of data was included?
  • Have you ever used both quantitative and qualitative data within the same project?
  • Have you ever created or worked with statistical models? If so, please describe how you’ve used it to solve a business task.
  • What’s your knowledge of statistics and how have you used it in your work as a Data Analyst?
  • What scripting languages have you used in your projects as a Data Analyst? Which one do you like best?
  • How would you respond in a situation where you received a data set with suspicious or missing data?
  • How many years of SQL programming experience do you have? In your latest job, how many of your analytical projects involve using SQL?
  • Which Excel functions have you used on a regular basis so far? Can you describe in detail how you’ve used Excel as an analytical tool in your projects?
  • What’s your experience in creating dashboards? Can you share what data analytics tools you have used for the purpose?
  • What are some of your best practices to ensure that you perform good, accurate, and informative data analysis?
  • Explain how you would estimate how many shoes could potentially be sold in New York City each June.
  • A car travels a distance of 60 miles at an average speed of 30 miles per hour. How fast does the car need to travel on the way back (taking the same road) in order to average 40 miles per hour over the course of the entire trip?
  • How would you go about measuring the business performance of our company? What information do you think would be the most important to consider?

List of Data Analyst Interview Questions: Personal Questions

Personal questions are a way for employers to get to know your personality, work habits, and goals. Personal interview questions can help the interviewer assess how you may fit into their company’s work culture.

A few examples of personal interview questions for Data Analysts include:

Why do you want to be a Data Analyst?

Put your storytelling hat on and take the interviewer through your career and how you wound up working in data analytics. It's a personal question so you will also have a personal answer, but as you discuss your journey, try to weave in specific projects you worked on that confirmed your interest in data analytics (along with outcomes of those projects). Other reasons you might be interested in data analytics could include your love of crunching numbers, problem solving, or creating compelling and stimulating visualizations to communicate complex ideas.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Which area of data analytics would you prefer to work in and why?
  • What was your most difficult data analytics project?
  • How do you handle pressure and stress?
  • What are your long-term data analysis goals?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • How do you evaluate success?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What type of work environment do you prefer?
  • Which step of a data analysis project do you enjoy the most?
  • Have you earned any data analytics certifications to boost your career opportunities as a Data Analyst?

List of Data Analyst Interview Questions: Leadership and Communication

Successful Data Analysts have the necessary leadership and communication skills to make decisions, solve problems, and share insights and findings.

A few leadership and communication Data Analyst interview questions that you may encounter include:

In your role as a Data Analyst, have you ever recommended a switch to different processes or tools? What was the result of your recommendation?

If it's the job of a Data Analyst to unearth hidden trends and insights, then make smart recommendations based on those insights, then it's also important for a Data Analyst to be able to speak up and initiate change in an organization. With this question, a hiring manager will be looking to see whether you're the type of difference-maker who can innovate a company's processes without worrying too much about rocking the boat. Try to provide a specific example of when you identified an opportunity to improve the way an organization was operating, along with the outcome. If you don't have an example where your idea was implemented, feel free to supply a situation where you still identified an area for improvement and voiced it to your stakeholders or superiors.

  • What are your communication strengths?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership capabilities on the job?
  • Describe a time when you had to persuade others. How did you get buy-in?
  • How would you assess your writing skills? When do you use written form of communication in your role as a Data Analyst?
  • What is your experience presenting findings from data analysis to various audiences?
  • Tell me about a time that you had to explain the results of your data analysis to stakeholders.
  • How would you explain your findings and processes to an audience who might not know what a Data Analyst does?

List of Data Analyst Interview Questions: Behavioral

A candidate's past job experiences can reveal a lot about their skills, knowledge, and abilities. For behavioral interview questions, you will want to provide specific examples of situations, as well as lessons you learned or skills you gained.

Examples of behavioral interview questions for Data Analysts include:

Describe your experience sharing your insights in presentations?

It's not just enough for a Data Analyst to be adept at creating brilliant visualizations – they also must have the communication skills and confidence to present that information in front of diverse, sometimes intimidating audiences. If you have experience presenting to big audiences or audiences with executives present, be sure to mention that in your answer.

Increasingly, employers will also want to know that you're comfortable presenting both in-person and virtually. Though it's hard to quantify success or outcomes in your presentations, you could talk about how much you enjoy getting the chance to go into detail on your work. Another way to score points with interviewers: mention how you pride yourself on creating presentations that can be understood and appreciated by all audiences, regardless of their technical background. After all, it's generally much more likely that you will be presenting to audiences of laypeople than other data science or data analytics professionals.

  • Please talk about a time when you could not meet a deadline.
  • Tell me about a time when you think you demonstrated good data sense.
  • At times, you may work with stakeholders who lack a technical background and a deeper understanding of data and databases. Have you ever been in a situation like this and how did you handle this challenge?
  • Tell me about a time you and your team were surprised by the results of a project.
  • Why do you think creativity is important for Data Analysts? How have you used creative thinking in your work so far?
  • Tell me about a time when you ran an analysis on the wrong set of data. How did you discover your mistake?
  • Describe your most complex data analysis project from start to finish. What were the most difficult challenges, and how did you handle them?
  • Tell me about a time when you designed an experiment. How did you measure success?

List of Data Analyst Interview Questions From Top Companies (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft)

Data analysis is a rapidly growing field, and companies are increasingly looking to hire the best talent to handle big data. Here are a few examples of interview questions for Data Analysts from some of the top tech companies:

  • What are clustered and non-clustered indexes in SQL? Explain the difference between the two.
  • You have 10 bags of marbles with 10 marbles in each bag. All but one bag has marbles that weigh 10g each. The exception has marbles that weigh 11g each. How would you determine which bag has 11g marbles using a scale only once?
  • Describe data cleansing techniques you have used.
  • How do you manage your time with solo projects?
  • Which functions in SQL do you like the most?
  • What is data normalization and non-normalization?
  • What do you understand by cascading referential integrity?
  • Tell me about a time you automated an otherwise manual process.
  • Tell me about a time you started an analysis with certain expectations, but then got unexpected results
  • If you were to pick a sample for an experiment, how would you choose the size of the sample?
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