For most major companies, context is the key to everything. Administrators must have knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of their competition as well as their own company's assets and liabilities and must be able to make data-driven changes to the company in order to make everything flow more smoothly. This is where research analysts come in. Analysts are motivated and independent thinkers who specialize in certain areas, lending their expertise in analysis and modeling in order to help their company prosper. Preparing for an interview for a research analyst job involves studying the company, practicing for the job and selling your skills and experience as uniquely valuable.
Be prepared to demonstrate how your skills were useful during your previous jobs. Oftentimes, your initial cover letter to a potential employer will be a laundry list of skills and experience, as you are busy listing every single thing you think they may like to hear. At the interview, however, questions are likely to be more pointed, asking how you used specific skills, such as data analysis, on previous jobs.
Be prepared to demonstrate how and why you are uniquely suited to the job. Just as your potential employer may want to know how you have been useful to other companies in the past, they will want to know how your skills and experience make you, specifically, useful for their company. For instance, you will likely need to use numerical and analytical skills to work at an equity firm. Briefly walk the interviewers through your understanding of the job based on your research and how your education and experience make you the ideal candidate. Doing this also demonstrates your knowledge of the company, which highlight your ability to research information and, if necessary, present it in dynamic ways.
Prepare to role-play. Many employers will want to know what you would do on the first day of the job or will want to know how you would react to certain theoretical events occurring. The best way to prepare for this is to work with a friend or colleague. Pick someone, ideally someone who is familiar with research and analysis, and ask them to come up with various scenarios in which they play various parts, such as angry coworker or confused client. In short: become accustomed to dealing with these scenarios before you walk into the interview. This will be your chance to show your potential employer that you are familiar with the key responsibilities of your job and have already developed ideas to make the company run more smoothly.
Dr. Chris Snellgrove is a writing specialist, and a veteran of everything from a book-length dissertation to a newspaper editor's desk. He has produced work for academic, business, creative, and non-profit endeavors.