Graduates who demonstrate their analytical thinking during a job interview or assessment centre will stand out from other candidates.
Hereâs a simple definition for analytical skills: they are the ability to work with data â that is, to see patterns, trends and things of note and to draw meaningful conclusions from them. (Note: contrary to popular opinion, data includes information and facts of all types, not just statistics.) This analysis is then used to solve problems, to make business decisions or to provide recommendations to colleagues, clients and bosses.
The competency is essential to business success. Itâs not surprising, then, that âstrong analytical skillsâ is frequently listed as an essential requirement on graduate job descriptions, person specifications and job adverts. The good news is that if you have completed a degree you will have honed your analytical skills. All degrees are designed to develop critical thinking, which is, for all intents and purposes, analytical skills by another name.
Job positions to use analytical skills questions forAlmost every position requires analytical skills to some extent, but in certain positions such as
Describe a project or situation where you successfully demonstrated your analytical abilities.
When you are faced with a problem, what do you do? Describe the steps in your problem-solving approach.
Give me an example of a situation when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome?
In your experience, would you say that developing and using a detailed procedure was always necessary for your job?
Imagine a situation in which your one of your colleagues wants to solve a problem in a certain way, but the other colleague has a totally different approach in mind. They come to you asking for a help in deciding on the right approach. What do you do?
How do you compare and weigh pros and cons before making a decision?
14 examples of common analytical interview questions
Combining analytical interview questions with problem-solving and competency-based questions will effectively assist hiring managers to assess how candidates deal with complex situations that are likely to occur on the job. These questions include:
If you had to choose between two or three options, how would you decide?
What metrics do you track regularly? What information do you research and how do you use this information?
Your manager wants to buy new software or hardware that will increase the organization’s productivity and asks for your recommendation. How would you reply?
Explain how you would troubleshoot problem [X] or When you are faced with a problem, what do you do? Describe the steps you would use in your problem-solving approach.
Describe a project or situation where you successfully demonstrated your analytical skills
Describe a situation whereby you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome?
Based on your experience, would you say that developing and using a detailed procedure was always necessary to get the job done?
Imagine a situation where one of your team members wishes to tackle a problem in a certain way, but other team members have a completely different approach. They ask you for help to decide on the right strategy. How would you handle such a situation?
How do you compare and weigh the pros and cons before you make a decision?
Describe a situation where you had to put in your research skills to gather information that was necessary to solve a problem. How did you go about this?
Describe an instance where you had to analyze a situation before making a decision quickly.
Describe the most stressful work situation you’ve had to deal with and how you handled it.
Can you describe a time when you discovered a more efficient way to do a task?
Can you tell me about a situation where your analysis of a problem was deemed to be incorrect? What would you have done differently?
Are you analytical in the right way for the job?
Different degree subjects give experience of different types of information. English literature students, for example, read texts critically to form a qualitative argument or analyse the reliability of sources, while engineering students often use the quantitative results from models to further their experiments or research projects.
Different sectors and professions, too, will use information differently. A candidate well versed in qualitative research may be short on examples that will convince recruiters that they are sufficiently numerate to work confidently with lots of quantitative data. However, many of the analytical skills tests interviewers use arenât based on your previous experiences but on how you perform then and there, and there are ways to develop your analytical skills further (see below).
How do you demonstrate critical thinking and analytical abilities during an interview?