Why you should test candidates’ analytical skills
Analytical skills refer to the ability to gather data, break down a problem, weigh pros and cons and reach logical decisions. Employees who have these skills help companies overcome challenges, or spot issues before they become problems.
Every position requires analytical skills. For some roles (e.g. Investment Banker), methodical thinking is key, while for others (e.g. Marketing Strategist) brainstorming abilities are more relevant. Regardless of how they approach problems, employees with sharp analytical skills are able to confidently connect the dots and come up with solutions.
The following analytical interview questions will help you assess how candidates:
Combine these questions with problem-solving and competency-based interview questions to gauge how candidates address complex situations that are likely to occur on the job.
Examples of analytical skills interview questions
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.
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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.
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“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.