I think the first point that needs to be clarified is the BA level. Regardless of the kind of projects that the company works on the BA role may vary according to the field or area that is going to cover. For instance, there at least four tiers of BAs;
1. Planning Strategically – The analysis of the organization's strategic business needs
2. Operating/Business Model Analysis – The definition and analysis of the organization's policies and market business approaches
3. Process Definition and Design – The business process modeling (often developed through process modeling and design)
4. IT/Technical Business Analysis – The interpretation of business rules and requirements for technical systems (generally IT)
Basically, this range depends on the level of thinking about business analysis and would also on the organization's core business. However, given the scenario, I will assume that this Company is planning to hire an IT/Technical Business Analyst (#4).
The role of the BA is focused, primarily, on capturing business requirements in some form of requirements management tool, whether a simple spreadsheet or a complex application. At an interview level the candidate should highlight the following core competencies;
- Ability to produce concise and objective specifications of business need (both functional and non-functional requirements) and to articulate them in a way which supports Board level decisions across business, technical and financial management interests prior to initiating a project to fully define and implement a solution.
- Strong communication skills, including good verbal, interpersonal, and written communication capabilities at all business levels. I personally consider this particular skill as key for successful liaison among functions.
- Business acumen. The BA must have a fair understanding of the core business (industry, trends, etc) and product/s (target customers, competitors, etc). Although I tent to believe that this is NOT a MUST HAVE (anything can be learnt) it is always preferable.
- Project Management experience/understanding to fully understand and support projects adequately - I would recommend the candidate holds a relevant professional body qualification or accreditation (for example ITIL or Prince2)
Strong candidates should be able to provide the interviewer with examples where the above items are (successfully) covered in detailed to demonstrate their ability as Business Analysts.
Additionally, for IT/Process Design projects, desirable candidates should have certain level of knowledge/experience on Process modelling through the use of including Data Modelling tools and structured analytical techniques, e.g. UML