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Interview questions about analytical skills

Use these interview questions about analytical skills to find out how candidates approach complex situations and evaluate information in order to make a decision or solve problems.

Why you should ask candidates questions about their analytical skills

Analytical skills mean the ability to collect data, break down problems, weigh up advantages and disadvantages, and reach logical conclusions. Employees with these skills help companies spot difficult situations before they turn into problems.

Every job role requires analytical skills. In some, the key is methodical thinking, while others call for the ability to brainstorm. However candidates tackle problems, they need to be able to demonstrate analytical skills.

The following interview questions test analytical skills and are designed to help you assess whether candidates…

  • can pool information from various sources;
  • can apply critical thinking to evaluate information;
  • can communicate the findings from other team members’ research;
  • can make assessments that help the company.

Combine these questions with those on problem-solving and critical thinking.

Sample interview questions about analytical skills

  • Describe a problem that you had to solve but where you lacked important information. What did you do?
  • How do you weigh up advantages and disadvantages before you make a decision?
  • If you had to choose between two or three options, how would you decide? (e.g. pricing, performance, evaluation systems, training)
  • Describe step by step how you would solve problem XY.
  • What metrics do you track on a regular basis? (e.g. conversion rate, number of new clients, expenditure)
  • What information do you search for and how do you use the data you find?
  • Your manager is keen to buy a new piece of software or hardware that is intended to increase team productivity and asks you for a recommendation. What would your reply be?

How to assess candidates’ analytical skills

  • Invent hypothetical scenarios not necessarily related to the job in order to test how candidates think. It is important to find out if they consider all the important factors.
  • Make sure that you also give candidates enough time to think about their answer. This type of question requires imagining oneself in certain situations and assessing the available facts.
  • Delving too deep into the details often leads to a candidate losing sight of the “bigger picture” in their analysis. Look for applicants who can tell what is relevant from what isn’t.
  • Candidates who are not daunted by challenges are likely to be able to handle complex situations better. Look for candidates who do not give up straight away when confronted with a problem, even if they do not find a solution immediately.

Warning signs

  • Applicants give pre-rehearsed answers. Interview candidates tend to describe themselves as highly analytical, organized and with an eye for detail. If they are unable to take these skills and apply them to your examples, they may well have overestimated themselves.
  • Applicants merely scratch the surface. Candidates who fail to ask for more information often draw over-hasty conclusions or overlook important details when faced with a challenge.
  • Applicants are poor communicators. Analytical skills should be combined with communication skills in order to share ideas with colleagues, managers, and customers. Candidates who struggle to explain technical details (e.g. rates) in simple language will also struggle to work efficiently in their role.
  • Applicants make their own assumptions. Analytical skills go hand in hand with critical thinking. This means that candidates who simply take facts as given without rechecking them often make more superficial decisions.

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