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Excel test for a job interview

Many employers require candidates to be familiar with MS Excel. Depending on the job, more or less advanced knowledge of the programme is necessary. In the application letter, it is not worth lying about your skills, as more and more often one of the elements of recruitment is a test verifying the knowledge of Excel.

The test usually consists of several tasks. The candidate is provided with a spreadsheet with data and has to perform tasks that are similar to their future duties at work.

Usually, the candidates are allowed from 15 to 30 minutes to solve the test.

It is difficult to predict what questions. However, based on conversations with job seekers, there is a standard set of issues that arise during the tests.

Often recruiters ask about:

  • Pivot Tables
  • Logica functions (IF)
  • Ability to use $ sign in addressing cells – often candidates are asked to make multiplication table in Excel.

Less than 20% of people can make a multiplication table in Excel without error in the first attempt.

You should also be aware of traps. The most common include numbers in text format, missing column headings in the PivotTable source data range.

The Best way to prepare for the test is to perform as many exercises as possible. You can find many of them online.

It is a Good idea to sign up for training, e.g., Intermediate level. During the training, you can always ask the trainer questions, ask for additional explanations, exchange your experiences and opinions with other participants, which is a definite advantage. You can also mention in your CV the training you underwent.

Good luck for the job interiview.

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Excel assessment test for a job interview

If you apply for a position at the office, you should bear in mind that most employers require you to have hands-on experience in Excel. The command of Excel that is expected by your future employer depends on the position you are applying for and on tasks you will be performing.

Basic level

At the basic level employers expect you to know how to:

  • Property enter data
  • Perform basic mathematical calculations
  • Filter and sort data
  • Format cells
  • Freeze panes
  • Print documents
  • Insert simple charts
  • Perform operations on spreadsheets, e.g. hide, unhide rows or columns

Intermediate level

Users with intermediate command in Excel should also be able to:

  • Use logical formulas (IF, IFS, IFERROR, OR, AND), lookup formulas (VLOOKUP), mathematical formulas (SUMIF, ROUND), statistical formulas (COUNTIF, COUNTIFS) and text formulas
  • Perform data analysis using Pivot Tables and Subtotals
  • Analyze data with charts
  • Import data from csv or text files

Advanced level

Advances users should be able to:

  • Use most of logical, lookup and information formula
  • Write more complex embedded formulas
  • Perform advanced data analysis using pivot tables
  • Use macros
  • Import and transform data using PowerQuery
  • Create dashboards using PowerPivot tool

Although you can state the level of your command in Excel in your résumé, be prepared for an Excel test for job applicants.

There are different forms of tests that you should be aware of. The most common are:

  • Interview
  • Case study
  • Multiple choice test


During an interview, you might be asked about your experience in working with Excel spreadsheets. You might be asked to describe reports you used to prepare and which Excel functions and tool you used. It is common to ask which Excel function or tool is more suitable to solve a particular task. Occasionally you can be asked about advantages or disadvantages of the most popular formulas or tools.

Case study

A case study is one of the most common ways of checking a candidate’s command in Excel. Usually, you are provided with a spreadsheet and asked to solve tasks similar that you will face during your work routine. Remember that your time to perform all tasks will be limited.

Multiple choice questions

This type of test is usually performed online before you are invited for a job interview. You receive an email with a link to a website with the test. On average such tests consists of 30 questions. Remember to read instructions carefully; the test can be either single or multiple choice. It is important to get to know Excels’s technical language before sitting such a test, check names of formulas, tools, and elements of the program’s window.