Data Governance Job Interview Questions- Challenges in the field

Data Governance Interview Questions

In the last few decades, Data Governance has moved slowly. However, this is not the case anymore, and organizations all across are on a hunt for finding candidates who can be an asset in this field. Apart from all the loaded knowledge you have about this field, the main goal of the interviewers is to figure out whether you are a perfect fit for the organization culturally. In fact, each question they ask is an attempt to understand your mindsets and goals for the organization, if ever you become a part of the board. 

Before you dive into the interview process, you need to be prepared and acquainted with the kinds of questions you may ask. Even though all interviews require candidates to have the skill of on-the-spot thinking, most questions asked in data governance interviews require you to do pre-research and have in mind a basic structure of how you want to answer the questions directed at you. To make it easier, based on experience and in-depth research, we have compiled a set of sample questions/answers that will help you ace the interview. 

What is Data Governance? Explain it to me as if I have never heard it before

The Business Data of every company needs to stay in compliance with regulations and corporate policies. Therefore, there is a need to add new rigor and discipline to managing, using, improving, and protecting organizational information. Here is where the Data Governance job comes to play. It not only finds the most efficient ways to use company data, but it also makes sure that no one in the firm or outside it misuses any information. In other words, Data governance provides the necessary guidance to manage your data as an asset.

Who/Which Department should be responsible for Data Governance? 

Ideally, this varies from firm to firm. However, based on my industry research, this should be the core responsibility of the business side and the management instead of the IT. While most may disagree with my answer, the Data Governance team should only be in close communications with IT for technical work and deliverables. 

Why is Data Governance job increasingly becoming important?

Data Governance has been given low priority in most organizations. Due to the lack of value given to Data Governance systems, even the biggest firms have experienced catastrophic consequences that have had long-term effects on their profitability.

As the times changed, laws have been put in place that makes it mandatory for companies to perform certain functions related to data governance. What makes it even more important are companies that have experiments with data governance and have experienced an exponential increase in the quality and profitability of their organization.

How would you track progress and measure success in data governance? 

I believe that all the hard work and effort put into the company’s data governance will amount to nothing if not tracked and measured. The first and foremost step is to make sure that we introduce monthly/quarterly, or even yearly checks on the work of the data governance department. Even though there are quite a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are exclusively made for tracking data governance, I feel that there are a handful of metrics that can be tracked to yield the best results –

  • Percentage of cost savings. 
  • Improvement in data quality and its other dimensions.
  • Number of policies implemented.
  • Number of published terms in the business glossary.

What do you think is the biggest challenge in Data Governance? 

Based on what I have understood about your company and the service you offer, we lack people who will responsibly handle this department. When it comes to managing data, there is a lack of ownership and accountability. Moreover, data quality can be significantly improved if the systems and processes are backed up with modern technology.  (You can further mention any other major challenges that you came across while researching about the position.)

Can you give me a sample Data Governance road map? 

Even though I do not have all the information I need about the company, I can think of 5 steps like a road map to reach our goals successfully. 

  1. Understand why data governance is needed for the company, identify key goals and come up with a strategy that addresses business needs.
  2. Get the data governance operating model in place and distribute roles and responsibilities amongst the ones in charge. 
  3. Figure out how success will be measured and progress tracked.
  4. Select and purchase suitable tools and software.
  5. Based on feedback and recommendations, continue to improve as well as update the program and policies.

What does a Data Governor do?

The job of a data governor is one of the most vital and informative in any company or organization. Ensuring the company is following guidelines and constantly improving the quality and efficiency of data is one of their top responsibilities. One of their biggest roles is making sure that they constantly monitor the data processes and performances, coming up with recommendations and feedback on refining, changing, and introducing new strategies and initiatives. Business data, data quality, and prioritization of issues are some examples.

What makes data governors and their job exciting is that they make up the Data Governance Board, the highest authority for all the data being used and circulated in an organization. It is their duty to make sure no information is being leaked or misused in any way. Since such a job requires highly qualified and informed individuals, data governance interviews are difficult, detailed, and tricky. 

What are the common challenges faced in the field of Data Governance?

The challenges faced in the data governance department are not the same for every organization. However, since the field requires a high degree of operations and technical work, a few hardships may be common amongst all organizations. They may seem to appear more often than expected. The ones discussed below are the ones that are mostly seen in the beginning, and correcting them will improve the efficiency of your data. 

The Business Value of Data Governance seems to be highly underestimated, especially in big organizations. Even though investing in just technology can benefit your organization, it will not improve the quality of your data; this is where the data governance board comes into play.

While it is true that data governance primarily requires time and effort, the budgeting of this department is another challenge. While some feel it is reasonable to club data governance with IT, others like to give this field its own budget. According to your organization and its need for compiling data, it is best to decide its monthly/quarterly/annual budget at the earliest. 

Metadata is another challenge faced by companies. It refers to the “Data of Data” and is a term that is frequently discussed during interviews. Ordering the Data, Metadata Access, and Metadata Maintenance are some of its primary categories. The board and specifically one individual is responsible for the accountability of metadata.

To sum it up, data governance is without a doubt an important and extremely resourceful job. Accountability, Trust, and Efficiency are some of the key values you need to instill in yourself to be a good candidate. The questions discussed above will give you a gist of the interview process, but they will make sure that you are not taken by surprise in front of the interviewers. Apart from the questions asked, take care of your professional tone, confidence and don’t hesitate to put forth your opinions about the data conditions of the company you are interviewing for. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Is it important to go prepared with a strategy for a 30/60/90 day plan for data governance in the organization?

Yes. You might not be asked this question, but it is good to be prepared. Ensure that you do not plan to rush the process and achieve everything in the first 3 months. Your 3 phases can look like this – 

  • Understand and Access
  • Establish 
  • Improve

Feel free to change and modify according to your own needs and wishes. 

  1. Should we expect to be asked questions that give the interviewers an insight into our previous experience in the field? 

Yes. If you are to become a part of the Data Governance Board, they would want to know the kind of work you have done in the past. Here are few sample questions that may be asked to judge your prior experience – 

  • What was your biggest challenge in data governance? 
  • Tell me about your previous experience with data stakeholders or data owners? 
  • What data governance tools or software have you used to date? 
  • Give us an example of how you may have tried to get an individual on board with data governance?
  1. Do you suggest that the answers be in detail or straight to the point?

Interviewers indeed judge and figure out how knowledgeable and informed you are from the length of your answers. Therefore, answer in detail only if you are well aware of the topic of discussion. You may think you can fool the interviewers with a hint of confidence while speaking, but they are way more experienced than you. They can figure out when you are using details and mentioning well-researched pointers and when you are glossing over and refining the points just for the sake of answering. 

Data Governance Job Interview Questions- Challenges in the field

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