Excel Specialist and Linkedin Learning Trainer, Yolanda Cuesta has received the Microsoft Excel Most Valuable Professional Award eight consecutive years (2014-2022). Previously an economist, she now shares her Excel, Power BI, and management teachings in over twenty different courses. We asked her a few questions about Microsoft Excel skills in recruitment.
At what point during the recruitment process would you advise a recruiter to take an Excel skills test? After a first CV screening, after a first interview?
In my opinion, I think it is better to do it after a first selection of resumes because it allows to filter more efficiently and at a glance the candidates who have the required skills.
How to read the results of an Excel skills test?
To read the results of an Excel skills test, it is necessary for recruiters to make a classification by degree of results. On a scale of 0 to 10, in my opinion, the candidate with standard skills should score at least 6. The higher the score, the more expert the candidate becomes on Excel skills. In the detail of the skill level, the scores can be broken down by:
Between 6 and 7: standard userBetween 7 and 8: advancedBetween 9 and 10: expert
For what category of candidate do you recommend to test Excel skills? Junior profiles? Multidisciplinary profiles?
I recommend testing Excel skills for all categories of profiles, each at its own level. In my opinion, it is necessary not only for financial or accounting positions but also for administrative positions or even for people in their first job for example.
What are the mistakes to avoid when sending an Excel skills test?
There are many, but if I had to mention only one, I would say that it is essential to select the right question for the specific job and task in order not to miss the opportunity to test the candidate properly.
What questions might be interesting to ask a candidate in an interview in addition to an Excel skills test? What other methods can be used to test the Excel skills of a candidate?
Regarding other methods to test one's Excel skills, perhaps it could be to solve an exercise or something similar. For interesting questions to ask, I also ask if the candidate shares their knowledge with others, for example through sharing in a blog or social media, and how they learned Excel: on their own, through online courses, through in-person classes,... The answers are always rewarding and good to know.