3 Strategies to Help You Nail Your Data Science Interview

Career coach Elizabeth Illig shares three strategies that will set you apart as an applicant in the interview process and help you get that job.


  • Preparation

You might be thinking this is an obvious strategy, however, we at “How to Get an Analytics Job” advise that you take this preparation step beyond the usual prepping for common questions. You should of course always prep for common questions such as “what is your biggest weakness and strength? ”, and “what does it mean to be a team player?” but what will really set you apart as an applicant will be having a portfolio to share. Having this portfolio prepared will show interviewers what type of work you really do produce. This is taking your words a step further and showing them actions that can validate what you are claiming about yourself as a professional.

In addition to preparing a portfolio that shows off your strengths you should also enter every interview with knowledge about the company and industry. For this you will need to take some time to do research on the company or place you are applying to. This could be reading through their website or looking for any relevant news about the company on google. Having this background knowledge demonstrates that you are interested in the role. Interviewers will sometimes ask what you know about the company and they will be able to tell if you have or have not done the research and it can make all the difference. 


  • Personal Branding Story

Having a solid personal branding story that highlights all your best aspects as a professional is another great strategy for interviewing. You want to be able to share with the interviewer what makes you great and unique for the role you are applying to. In other words it should tell them why they should pick you over other applicants. This is where all of your professional experiences that are unique to you should stand out. 

To prepare this personal branding story it often helps to ask yourself “if I were to ask a colleague or mentor what my best attributes are as an employee or professional what would those be?”. It’s easy to simply state that you are a “hard worker” or a “problem-solver”, you need to have a solid story that shares how you have demonstrated those attributes in the past. You want this personal branding story to be compelling and showcase your strengths.


  • Talk about your Impact

A common mistake data analytics professionals make when interviewing is focusing too heavily on only their technical skills without talking about the impact those technical skills have achieved. A business or company is interested in knowing what value your skills will bring to them. A majority of the time other applicants will have similar technical proficiencies to yours, it’s what you have done with the skills that will make you stand out in an interview. You want to link those business and technical skills to actionable results that you have achieved. More so talk about how your specific skills relate to their business goals and objectives. When speaking about projects or jobs you have had in the past, don’t just talk about what you did but also talk about what happened because you did those things. For example, if you created a visualization using Tableau or PowerBI, think about what were the results of that visualization. What did it help achieve? Did it help increase sales on a particular product? If you want to take this a step further try to pull specific numbers and percentages. What percentage increase in sales? You need to always show those results.


In summary, if you are currently preparing for a data science interview don’t forget to 

  • Prepare a portfolio
  • Do your research
  • Prepare a personal branding story to tell
  • Talk about your impact