Testing a Potential Employee’s Excel Skills

Many people complain of not being able to properly measure a candidate’s MS Excel skills. It becomes a difficult task because Excel is a vast field, and there lacks the right testing method to know a person’s abilities.

This is one of the most common needs for managers so that they can decide who they should or should not hire. Quite often, they end up saying ‘no’ to the right person and hiring the wrong one, mainly due to the lack of a proper testing method.

To solve this problem, given below are a few things every manager should remember when testing a potential employee’s Excel skills.

Prepare in Advance

Firstly, it is important for the interviewer to be prepared in advance. Some experts believe that the failure to conduct a test or an interview properly often has a lot to do with the interviewer’s failure to prepare.

The interviewer must have all doubts cleared and know what the main purpose of the interview is. The interviewer must be well-prepared. He/she should go through the candidate’s resume and know exactly what kind of questions to ask. If the interview is of a specific kind, this must also be made clear to the interviewer before the actual interview begins.

If it is a panel interview, everyone should be clear of his or her role so that there is no disruption.

Additionally, you may also give the candidate a chance to prepare for the test. It is also okay to ask the candidate to bring their work in a USB or CD so that you can have a look at it.

Have the Right Person by Your Side

Not everyone is suitable to conduct an interview to determine a candidate’s Excel skills. If you think you are not well versed with Excel, it is better that you have an Excel guru by your side to handle that part. An Excel expert can perform this job in a better fashion.

Only Ask Relevant Questions

There are several types of interviews i.e. skill testing, personal etc. You must be sure what kind of interview you are conducting so that the questions you ask do not leave the candidate dumbfounded.

Additionally, all the questions should be relevant to the position applied for. The questions must be of several varieties, such as skill testing and situational.

Some good technical questions are:

–        When should one use VLOOKUP, and what are its benefits?

–        How would you pull data from a Pivot table?

If it is a test, it is better to divide it in sections. There should be a different section for every type of question (IQ testing etc). Plus, do not make the mistake of having similar questions.

Additionally, it is better to have a generic question paper and interview pattern that must be followed, so that all the candidates can be gauged on the same scale.

View the Documents

Do not just pay a glance over the documents/certificates, but go through them thoroughly. See what degrees or certificates the candidate holds in the field he/she is applying for. It is important for the candidate to be educated in Excel; however, other certificates are also of much value. If the candidate has degrees in other computer disciplines, then it is an added bonus; however, the decision cannot solely be based on it.

If you ask for all the documents to be provided a few days before the interview/test, you will have time to prepare questions in the light of the degrees the candidate holds. Generally, people mention all the degrees/professional experiences they have on their resume; however, some tend to remove those degrees/professional experiences that are not related to the job applied for. If needed, you may ask the candidate to mention all the degrees and experience they may hold.

Also, make sure all the documents are properly tested and verified.

Have an Actual Test

Have an Excel guru prepare, monitor and provide feedback on an actual test to determine a candidate’s capabilities. However, make sure the questions are related to the job applied for.

Remember that this portion should be solely handled by an Excel expert. Having an amateur prepare or pass comments regarding the test is not preferable.

For more information, here are some Excel interview questions.  Source: proformative.com

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