Data analysts— applying for the best roles and preparing for interview

Posted: 2 Jun 2023

Data analysts— applying for the best roles and preparing for interview

Data analysts are in demand as more and more businesses recognise the opportunities and risks of gathering and storing data, says EOLAS RECRUITMENT.

In every sector of the economy, businesses are increasingly relying on data to enhance operations and strengthen decision making. Realtime data from sources like sales, accounts and payroll is being used to reduce costs and enhance profitability while data from broader sources can uncover insights, highlight and manage risks, spot trends, and identify emerging opportunities.

With more data than ever being created and stored, there are excellent career opportunities for data analysts in both permanent and interim roles across every sector of the economy. Demand is particularly strong in sectors like finance, business, healthcare, e-commerce, and marketing. A recent Irish Times article highlighted the current fast-growing demand for data analytics skills while an Ibec report published in July 2022 listed data analytics as one of the main skills gaps in the financial services sector.

What does a data analyst do?

Depending on the industry and role, data analysts can be responsible for a range of different activities and tasks ranging from developing, implementing and monitoring best practice data policies and processes to collecting and cleaning data, data warehousing, data governance, data protection and data reporting.

So, how do you know if you are suited to a career as a data analyst?

Many data analyst roles require experience of statistical programming, machine learning, data management, data visualisation and business intelligence tools. If you are highly analytical, with strong numerical and statistical skills, you are likely to be a good candidate. However, you also need to have good interpersonal skills so that you can communicate effectively with colleagues across the business as well as with senior management and other stakeholders who may not have a technical background.
How do you find the best data analyst roles?
One of the most effective actions you can take when looking to secure any tech role is to develop a good relationship with a specialist IT recruiter like Eolas Recruitment. Our recruiters often know who is planning to hire well before roles are advertised which means we are able to let you know about upcoming opportunities. This gives you a chance to assess your qualifications, skills and experience and decide if there are any steps you need to take to strengthen your ability to compete with other potential candidates for the role—for example, you might consider doing a short course to obtain an additional technical or management accreditation. Our recruiters will also review your CV and flag any potential weaknesses you may need to address.

Assessing your tech CV

The first thing to check is that the basic information in your CV is correct. While you may have applied for other roles in the recent past, it is important to create a new CV for each application. Think about what the employer is looking for — this will help you decide what to highlight when presenting your qualifications and experience. In a previous article on this website, we discussed the essential elements to include in your CV.

When submitting your CV, it is a good idea to include a short cover letter explaining why you are applying for the role and how your skills and experience match the job description. Remember to mention your interpersonal and communication skills. It’s also useful to mention any relevant projects that you have worked on and any relevant industry groups that you are involved in.

How to ace your data analyst interview

If your application is successful, the next step is likely to be an interview. This could be face-to-face or it might be by telephone or virtual. For phone and virtual interviews, it’s essential to find a quiet place with good connectivity. In previous articles, we’ve mentioned how poor connectivity undermines how you come across and may lead an interviewer to question whether you will be able to deliver the work they require without connectivity issues.

Good preparation is the key to acing your data analyst interview. It is important to analyse the job description closely. What is the interviewer looking for and how can you show that your skills and experience are a good fit for the role? The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) can be helpful when analysing your previous experience and preparing examples to use in response to interview questions. Think about projects you have worked on — what was the situation or problem, what was your task in addressing it, what tools did you use and what was the outcome?

When it comes to anticipating questions, there are lots of examples of data analyst interview questions online. Generally, the questions will fall into one of three main categories:

• Technical assessment: Technical typically cover your qualifications, training and experience of tools and technologies such as SQL, Tableau and PowerBI. Depending on the type and seniority of the role, the interview may include tests to assess your numerical ability and problem solving skills. You might be asked to describe the largest data set you have ever worked with, to explain how would you go about choosing a sample size, how would you tell if a data analysis model was performing well or how would you handle missing values in a data set. You could be asked for examples problems that can crop up when cleaning data or to explain why data storage jurisdictions matter.
• Behavioural assessment: These questions are designed to find out how you handled various situations in the past. You might be asked to describe a difficult data problem you encountered and explain how you dealt with it. Try using the STAR method mentioned above when preparing examples to use in response to this type of question.
• Situational assessment: This is similar to a behavioural assessment except that it focuses on how you would handle situations may encounter in the future.

Elsewhere on this website, you’ll find lots more tips on interview preparation including advice on what to expect at a second interview and preparing interview presentations for senior roles. For opportunities sourced on this website, it is also a good idea to ask our recruiters for any advice or tips they may have that are relevant to the specific role.

Data analytics is a fast growing area where there are excellent opportunities to specialise and develop a satisfying and rewarding career. As with other careers in the tech sector, it is important to keep your skills up to date, monitor trends, and consider obtaining relevant post-qualification certifications and accreditations that can help you stand out from other candidates when applying for data analyst roles. If you have relevant qualifications and experience and would like more information about current opportunities please get in touch. Our specialist recruiters will make it their business to help you land your ideal role.

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