Not only do we look for those who possess the necessary soft skills to be a Requirements Analyst and successful consultant (as discussed in Part I), but we also look for candidates that have analytical and creative skills. Analytical skills will let you see through a façade to get to the essence of a problem. Creative skills will let you find a solution to the set of problems you discover. There are times when the business wants to do something, but doesn’t understand prioritization or the costs associated with building a perfect product. We help them get to the core of the want, using our analytical and creative skills to ask the right questions so they discover it for themselves.
These are critical thinking skills that are grown within a person over his or her lifetime. These skills help you get the client to a solution that he may not have been able to come to on his own. For example, if you have a client who is easily distracted and focuses more on a stream-of-consciousness approach, you have to rein him in and have him think about concrete facts and evidence. Someone with great analytical skills would be able to see through the stream-of-consciousness approach and ascertain the building blocks needed to make the project and client successful.
In our interview process, we ask questions to find out if the candidate can get to the root of a problem. We also probe to find out how the candidate defines a solution to the issue he has discovered. From there, we create additional problems to see how the candidate responds to ever-changing situations. It’s hard to prepare for this. How do you prepare yourself for how you react under pressure and under changing conditions? How do you prepare yourself to be analytical? I certainly don’t know, other than having years of practice at it. The best advice I would have is to keep calm and level-headed, and to never let your own logic fail you. This is a part of the interview process where the candidate either gets it or he doesn’t. If you know that you work well under pressure and that you can handle yourself well with probing questions, then you shouldn’t have an issue with this part of the process. If this does not describe you, then you may find completing timed logic puzzles helpful, as the puzzle itself forces you to be analytical and the timed nature forces pressure onto you. Just remember that we are all human, no one is perfect, and all that can be expected from you is to prepare and to try your best.
I hope that these two articles have shed light on the ever frightening and elusive interview process.