“I’m just looking for a good BA” – The Recruitment of Business Analysts

With ever-increasing demands on technology to achieve strategic business goals the role of a Business Analyst is a vital conduit. A conduit that links increasingly demanding users with IT systems.

When a recruiter takes requirements from a hiring manager a complex toolkit of technical and functional skills, in addition to less tangible soft-skills will usually be summed up with the statement “I’m just looking for a good BA”. Unfortunately, it is not that easy.

Requirement Gathering

A Business Analyst must conduct workshops and elicit requirements from stakeholders to create a solution to help a business achieve their strategic goals.

When generating suitable candidates, a Recruiter must understand individual client requirements, broad-stroke project deliverables, industry trends and specialist domain knowledge to screen potential candidates.

A good Recruiter must take somewhat vague statements, clarify and analyse them to understand the need for the hire and the role the candidate will play. A Recruiter must have the experience and confidence to personally interview candidates and match technical and soft skills offered by the prospect to those required by the hiring manager.

Lack of Clear Deliverables

The pitfalls are similar for a Business Analyst and a Recruiter. If specifications are unclear, unrealistic or inconsistent between stakeholders then time will be wasted exploring inappropriate solutions. To avoid frustration in the recruitment of Business Analysts, a hiring manager needs to team-up with an appropriate Recruiter that understands and has a network within your industry.

Intuition, Business Understanding and Methodology

The best Recruiters and the best Business Analysts share a common trait of curiosity. Without natural curiosity, one is unlikely to ask the questions that yield the depth of knowledge to succeed. Natural curiosity also ensures that Business Analysts and Recruiters are solution-oriented.

Intuition plays a part but so does a repeatable format to ensure one measures candidates accurately and without prejudice.

Working in conjunction with Directors from the Business and Technology, BartleyHeath uses a selection of topics to screen candidates:

  • Is the candidate a Business Analyst or Systems Analyst?

  • How does the candidate identify and solve problems? Is the candidate a Subject Matter Expert or does the candidate offer transferrable core analysis skills?

  • Can the candidate document a solution? Does the candidate understand the entire development process rather than solely stakeholder management and requirement gathering?

  • Ask the candidate to create a flowchart or map a process? Can the candidate use structural best practice to extract requirements, communicate understanding to get sign-off, written to track and test delivery?

  • Can the candidate clearly articulate and substantiate what is on their CV?

  • Has the candidate worked with offshore delivery teams and was change driven from within the business or by technology?

  • How does the candidate examine the facts and information, ask the right questions, perform research, and distill this information into a combination of documents, charts, workflows, technical specifications, and presentations?

  • Does the candidate have the soft skills to be successful? Ask for examples of when a candidate worked with stakeholders to understand a complex situation and advised where improvements could be made? Can the candidate motivate others to work with them and build rapport? Does the candidate illustrate curiosity, organisation, an attention to detail, commitment and a genial collaborative work ethic?

In summary, the selection process for finding strong Business Analysts is difficult and so is finding a Recruiter that can fully understand your hiring requirements. Hiring managers can reduce frustration and expedite the process by giving a Recruiter functional detail and identifying character attributes that will ensure potential candidates are attuned with the stakeholders and users they will be working with.

Recruitment is an analytical process where intuition and a predictable set of selection criteria plays an important role. There is more to a Business Analyst than being “just a good BA” and there is more to a Recruiter than someone who matches CVs to Job Descriptions.

 At BartleyHeath, we are committed to ongoing relationships with a unique pool of technology specialists. We partner with a candidate to access the market and find that person a job. That is very different proposition to simply managing applicants and I feel this will insulate us against the disruptive trends affecting the recruitment industry.

I am always interested to hearing your thoughts so please follow us on twitter, contact me on LinkedIn, email me on mathew.bartley@bartleyheath.com or call 020 3137 3075.

Mathew