I believe it was Benjamin Franklin that said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This assertion holds for every walk of life, including, of course, interviews. The job market is competitive, and organizations are looking for the best to fill critical roles. Interviews are a great way to do that. They allow you to interact with a prospective hire and adequately assess their fit for the advertised role. This includes but is not limited to their technical competence (can they do the job), their willingness to do the job, and their personalities (companies want to know if you’re a good character fit for their organization). As such, having a concrete plan and preparing for an interview is a great way to stand out from the crowd and put your best foot forward, thereby convincing the employer or recruiter that you are the right candidate for the job. In this article, we’ll be looking at probable interview questions for a Data Governance Manager’s role. Extensive research has been carried out to cover as many known and/or major Data Governance Interview Questions and prospective ones. This could include both “technical” and “general” questions.
Data Governance Overview
Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’d surely know by now that the new rave is data. It’s ubiquitous and growing by the day. Companies know this and are looking to take advantage of it. The ability and need to mine and analyze data has never been more essential, especially with its recent eruption in the last few years. Major and even smaller organizations have access to this data, be it data about their business (internal), data about their customers, or data about their business. That’s out there and waiting to be collected and used to make critical business decisions. Data governance refers to the strategies that have been laid out first to define exactly what data is to one’s organization, collect this data, store it, and utilize it to make better-informed decisions. This is important because companies will miss out on important insights that such data about their business processes and customers could bring without the right data strategy.
Data governance also helps ensure that the data collected is of the highest quality. The damage that bad quality data (bad quality data usually refers to data that needs cleaning, or has missing values, or is erroneous and as such misleading) could cause cannot be underestimated. Poor quality data can often lead to lost revenue, poor decision-making, and poorly optimized business processes. A proper data governance strategy will help combat this by ensuring the completeness and accuracy of any piece of information or data received and ensuring security against data breaches by malicious individuals.
Also, the eruption of data has raised the need for stringent regulations to ensure that companies follow best practices in handling important data, especially the private information of their customers. A proper data governance strategy ensures the establishment of policies that will help the organization abide by those regulations.
A good data governance strategy is, without a doubt, essential, and there are a few more that can be said about this, but that isn’t the theme of this article. Basically, the preceding sections were designed as a primer to help you truly understand the magnitude of this role. This way, you can understand and appreciate the importance of proper preparation before an interview because, as you might have guessed, organizations won’t be hiring just anyone for this role or roles in their data governance teams. They want to see that you know your stuff and can deliver results that will give them a competitive advantage in their industry.
Data Governance Interview Questions
There are a variety of questions one could encounter in a data governance interview. These questions serve to assess the different qualities of the interviewee. The interviewer will want to see that you have expert knowledge of your field and excellent communication skills and that you have the right personality for the organization.
1. What is Data Governance?
Such a question could catch you off guard, but your interviewer wants to see that you truly understand the role you’re applying for. How will they know if you only have superficial knowledge? Well, a good way to know this is by examining how you answer the question. Even without being told, during an interview, when asked to define or describe any term or concept, a good rule of thumb is to define it like you’re attempting to teach it to someone who has never heard of said term. You can never go wrong with using foolproof examples or analogies as well as it helps to paint a vivid picture in the head of your interviewer, building intuition and helps show them that you truly know your stuff. Doing this will show that you have a deep understanding and show good communication skills as you’re able to break down even the most difficult and technical terms into a form that is easy to understand.
2. What is the difference between Data Management and Data Governance?
This is an interesting question that builds very nicely from the first one above. When you define data governance, you must be careful to ensure that you describe it as it is: a business strategy that leverages technology for its execution and not an IT or tech stack. Data management is just that, an IT practice. Data governance is different, and they want to see if you know this. Data governance involves all the strategies and processes a company employs, with the aid of technology, to define their data, acquire, store, and utilize this data. It is not some fancy tech tool, and they’ll want to see that you know this. This is an excellent resource for more information on the difference between these two practices.
3. Why is Data Governance important and will this change interfere with company processes?
Now, you might ask why this is even a question, but I think it’s important for you to understand this as well, for yourself. Why? Well, one of your responsibilities in such a role will be to ensure that stakeholders buy into a proposed strategy because Data Governance, when done right, could positively change the way data is handled or utilized, and it’ll be your responsibility to assure top management of the potential improvements that the strategy could bring to the organization. Additionally, there are also ways to handle the issue of interference (with regular data use). These are called non-invasive strategies, they are not within this article’s scope, but I suggest you look them up. An excellent resource for understanding the importance of Data Governance can be found here. In addition to this, they’ll probably also want to know about a time you convinced someone to do something they were initially reluctant to do and how you did it. They want to see if truly, you can be persuasive. Consider this question something of an elevator pitch. They want to know if this strategy can solve their problem and lead/execute it. It is important, in this case, that you carry out your research on the company and think of possible ways that a solid data governance strategy can optimize their processes and give them an advantage over their competitors in the market.
4. Another important question that is almost certain to come up, is What is your 30/60/90 day plan?
Your interviewer is interested in knowing how you plan to establish yourself in the role and lay a foundation upon which a successful Data Governance strategy can be run. So you must have this mapped out before the day of the interview and are prepared to give a brief, high-level overview of your plan, from the discovery phase, where the plan is laid out, and stakeholders are briefed, to establishing the objectives of the projects as well as defining the success metrics, getting stakeholder buy-in, to the implementation phase. Having a brief plan laid out shows that you’re proactive, a self-starter who is a desirable characteristic for anyone in this role.
You could potentially be asked to give something of a model or road map (just a toy one or a sample, of course) for implementing a Data Governance strategy. It would even be better to draw on an experience to show that you have successfully done this before. Again, this is important for the reason I stated above.
5. One important question could be, who would be responsible for this strategy?
This is another opportunity to allay possible reservations about this level of change. You want to assure them that data governance’s job rests on the business as a whole and not just on the IT department, and I feel this goes without saying. Data Governance is a business strategy. It is the responsibility of every department in the organization. As it affects every one of them, they all must be involved in ensuring its success.
The eruption in the amount of data created and the need to make sense of it and manage it has also made it essential that policies are established to ensure best practices are maintained throughout the data lifecycle. As such, data governance is here to stay and is unlikely ever to become outdated.