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Data analyst interview questions

Annie Zhou, Content Marketing Intern at RocketBlocks, ex-Amazon intern
Published: October 11, 2022

Role context | Behavioral interview questions | Sample answer | Technical interview questions | Sample answer

If you’re looking to break into the data analytics field, you’re in luck—data analysts are in high demand and paid well. The job interview can be intimidating, especially with the high competition for these roles. But we’re here to help!

List of sample data analyst interview questions

In this deep dive we’ll go over how you can prepare for a data analyst job interview and common questions to expect.

What is a data analyst? (Top)

It’s important to understand your role and responsibilities before going into the interview. A data analyst collects, cleans, and interprets datasets to answer a question. As technology becomes core to any business, data analyst roles are opening in any industry—from public sectors to business to criminal justice. The most popular industries include business intelligence, finance, and healthcare.

There are tons of openings for new grad and entry level data analyst roles. We’ve compiled a few:

How to prep for data analyst roles

There’s no one path to a data analyst career. We can break preparation down into three main parts:

  • Suggested Education: Many entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Not all colleges will have dedicated data science degrees, but a major in computer science, statistics, or math can give you the foundational skills you need to succeed. A master’s degree can also help you stand out from the crowd. But even without a specific college degree, you can still learn the basics with data science bootcamps.
  • Technical Skills: The most popular programming languages to know are Python and R. Other top skills include SQL, data visualization, and machine learning.
  • Side Projects: Showcasing past datasets you’ve worked with are a great way to show your problem-solving skills. Presenting your information clearly is an important skill for data analysts.

Data analyst behavioral interview questions (Top)

These questions show up earlier in an interview and ask about you and your data analyst background.

Example interview question #1: Why do you want to be a data analyst?

Example interview question #2: Tell me about a time you failed.

Example interview question #3: Tell me about a time where you had to ask for help on the job.

Example interview question #4: Tell me about a time where you had to design a new process.

Example interview question #5: Tell me about a time when you made an unpopular decision. What happened?

Example interview question #6: How would you explain technical concepts to a non-technical audience?

Data analyst behavioral interview answer (Top)

Below, is an answer to one of the behavioral interview questions that we highlighted above.

Example interview question #1: Why do you want to be a data analyst?

“Growing up, I’ve always liked working with numbers and finding patterns in the world around me. I realized I also like to tell stories with data, to fit together puzzle pieces and answer a question. In my undergrad, I worked with the local government to examine census data and see the impact of different socioeconomic factors on voting outcomes. By identifying which factors had the biggest impact on how people voted, my work shaped future policies and impacted the community for the better. Seeing the live impact of my data analysis inspired me to continue down this career path, in order to answer key questions and extract meaning that can help others. As a data analyst I hope to expand my technical skills in Python and R, and practice applying the interpretations of my results.”

Data analyst technical interview questions (Top)

These questions test for skills you may use on the job and evaluate your technical competency. They could also test your understanding of statistics or programming skills listed on your resume.

Example interview question #1: What software have you worked with before for data analysis?

Example interview question #2: What statistical methods have you used before in data analysis?

Example interview question #3:How does an SQL query work?

Example interview question #4: Give me an example of when you worked with a large database and were able to get insights from it?

Example interview question #5: Can you explain the difference between variance and covariance?

Example interview question #6: Does creating a view require storage in a database?

Example interview question #7: How would you describe a database to someone who is completely unfamiliar with the concept?

Example interview question #8: What does the truncate command do? How does this differ from delete?

Example interview question #9: What problems could you encounter when performing data analysis?

Example interview question #10: Explain data cleaning.

Example interview question #11: Explain the difference between data mining and data profiling.

Example interview question #12: How do you tackle missing data in a dataset?

Example interview question #13: For SQL, Would you use UNION or UNION ALL if there were no duplicates?

Example interview question #14: What is a subquery in SQL?

Example interview question #15: How could you add a column to a pandas data frame in Python?

💡 Shameless plug: Our Analytics interview drills can help

Data analyst technical interview answer (Top)

Below, is an answer to one of the technical interview questions that we highlighted above.

Example interview question #1: What software have you worked with before for data analysis?

“Through classes and side projects, I’ve worked with different programming languages. I’ve used Python and R to analyze datasets and graph visualizations. And I’ve used SQL before when working with databases.

For example, when I was working with population data with my local government, I used Python and libraries like Pandas and Numpy to clean my datasets. I used matplotlib to visualize relationships between different inputs and outputs. And finally, I used packages like scikit learn to perform linear and logistic regressions on my data and predict outcomes based on different socioeconomic factors.”

Data analyst preparation plan

Now that you have an idea what an interview will look like, it’s time to start practicing. To check out more interview questions, brush up on core concepts, and practice your SQL skills with real datasets, check out RocketBlocks' Analytics Interview Prep.

P.S. Are you preparing for Analytics interviews?

Real interview questions. For product analyst, data analyst and data science roles at top tech companies. Practice cases using real data sets.