A step-by-step process to help you prepare for and land a bilingual BA job
As we have more opportunities to work globally it really helps if we are bilingual. How much bilingualism would be needed to be a successful BA? Would you have the same responsibilities as a ‘regular’ BA?
If you are a Business Analyst and you can speak Spanish at a conversational level you should definitely apply for a bilingual job.
As a bilingual Business Analyst you have a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge on how other cultures work and to develop your Business Analysis skills. Bilingual jobs pay better, you get to work with people from all over the place and you get to travel.
It is possible to land a bilingual job even if you are not fully bilingual.
A few years ago I had an opportunity to work as a Spanish Business Analyst here in Toronto. I speak Spanish at a conversational level but since I had not spoken in a while, my Spanish was a bit rusty. When I applied for this opportunity, I wanted to see what working as a bilingual Business Analyst would be. I had worked as a bilingual Tester before, but not as a BA.
I tried to find some resources online before my interview preparation but I was not successful; I could not find anything specific to a Business Analyst interview in Spanish. I had nobody to ask around and none of my BA friends were speaking Spanish.
So I just thought about what a regular interview would be and leveraging my experience from applying to testing jobs in French, I put together A PLAN OF ATTACK. Here are the most important steps:
- Apply for the job.
- While you wait to hear back from the recruiter or employer, you can take the time to prepare for the actual interview.
- When you apply for the job, the most important question you can ask yourself is if you’re confident that you can take your Spanish from a conversational to a professional level.
- You may think this step is obvious but if you’re not confident in your ability to do the job, you may spend unnecessary time to first prepare and only after apply. By the time you’re ready to apply, the job would not be available anymore. This is why applying first and preparing while you are in the process is important.
- Translate your resume in Spanish.
- Not all of it, just the last 2 jobs or as many as it takes until you’re comfortable with stating the main responsibilities.
- Use Google translator but pay attention to the word-by-word translation that Google does, which many times does not make sense – you will have to adjust that.
- Practice the translation and make sure that you know how to explain in Spanish your main BA responsibilities.
- Give examples of specific situations you’ve been in to support the main points. If your Spanish is pretty good, you will have no trouble learning the main BA responsibilities and remembering them in Spanish.
SOME POINTS YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO:
Be prepared to have a screening interview in Spanish with the recruiter/employer before advancing in the job submission process. This interview is meant to assess if your Spanish is at a conversational level. It is also a good opportunity for you to see where you have problems with the language.
Be prepared to have at least two persons at the actual interview: one person to conduct the interview in English on a functional level and one person to conduct the interview in Spanish. This interview in Spanish will be more than just a conversation and will cover specific questions on the language and on the resume.
Put emphasis on spoken rather than written language. If you have a background in testing, you’ve did bilingual testing and this is your interview for a bilingual Business Analyst job, know that you must speak Spanish much better than in your testing job.
As a Tester you just test the application, not having to speak with the people using the language whereas as a Business Analyst you speak a lot.
As a BA, you can get away with speaking a 6/7 on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. In QA, you can get away with a 3 or 4 and knowing how to write is more important than knowing how to speak, because you’re testing screens.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Try to emerge yourself in Spanish – listen to the radio, change your browser in Spanish. The more exposed you are to the language, the more you learn and the more comfortable you get understanding and speaking. Remember, it’s not just a conversation; you have to speak the business language.
Eliciting requirements in Spanish is not easy when you don’t master the language. Because of different geographical offices that the project team is located, face-to-face meetings are not possible. You have to be comfortable speaking Spanish and eliciting requirements in Spanish on the phone.
Writing documentation in Spanish may or may not be required. Can you write and read Spanish? Some people learn only the spoken language and that’s OK but in that case you won’t be able to write documents.
QUESTIONS TO ASK IN THE INTERVIEW:
Aside of the regular questions around the BA responsibilities, you should ask specific questions to help you gauge how much or how exactly you will be using Spanish in your work. With everyone being in various locations, it would help to know exactly the details around these items.
Don’t forget that this is mainly a BA interview and the Spanish requirements are just secondary.
First you must prove you can do the job and secondly that you can communicate with the project team in Spanish, not the other way around.
Question: How do you prepare for a Business Analyst interview in Spanish? What lessons learned can you share with your fellow Business Analysts?