Skills in Microsoft Excel are often understated in most recruitment drives. The truth is Microsoft Excel skills are essential for any type of role at any level of employment. Whether you are a fresher or a manager or a code developer, or even the IT head of the organization – good excel skills are essential. From creating reports to data analysis to budget planning – for all this, you need to be good at Microsoft Excel. How Do You Evaluate Excel Skills? An Excel assessment test is the simplest, yet most effective way to assess your Excel skills. The Microsoft Excel assessment measures the candidate’s basic Excel skills and ability to perform common calculations and manipulate data. This blog explores the importance of Excel skills, the need for Excel skills tests, and effective ways of Excel skills assessment.
Importance of Microsoft Excel Knowledge
Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool used extensively by most modern businesses. The usage of Excel is ingrained in business processes and operations worldwide. From business analysis to performance monitoring to inventory management to operations management – Microsoft Excel rules the roost all the way! Candidates that are skilled in Microsoft Excel can use it to analyze data, track process performance, and visualize data and information in charts, smart arts, and pivot tables.
Having a good understanding of the functions and features of the application helps candidates develop practices to minimize time, and effort, and execute operations quickly. Hiring candidates who are skilled in Excel and have an application-oriented mindset is beneficial to the organization. Microsoft Excel is here to stay! Businesses will continue to use this application as a primary tool for several business functions and applications ranging from IT projects to Travel logistics planning.
Working knowledge of Excel is a must for office-based professionals, those having deeper Excel knowledge can accelerate their journey toward job promotion and career progression. We have talked so much about the importance of Excel, but what exactly is this application? Microsoft Excel is basically a software program that uses spreadsheets to organize and analyze data. These spreadsheets can be used for data analysis, financial budgeting, market trend analysis, and more. Just as with any technical skill, the skills in Microsoft Excel are also classified as Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. Knowledge of this distinction comes in handy while hiring candidates. For example: While hiring a Java Developer, it is enough if the basic Excel skills test is administered. But, when you are hiring an Accountant, then you need to administer the expert-level Excel knowledge test.
The capabilities that Excel brings to business operations are limitless. You can manipulate stored data, analyze and compute finance data, identify the trends and sort them into meaningful categories, and use Pivot Tables to summarize data in the form of a chart. The following section explores the business applications of Microsoft Excel knowledge.
Applications of Microsoft Excel Knowledge
All the key business functions are entwined with the usage of Excel spreadsheets. Before we get into details on the various business functions that use Microsoft Excel knowledge, let us first understand the capabilities of this application.
Here are some of the capabilities that Excel brings to business functions –
- To create revenue growth models for new products based on new customer forecasts
- Track RSVP list and costs when planning a team outing
- To list out dates and topics in a spreadsheet when planning an editorial calendar for a website
- To list expense categories and update entries on a monthly basis while creating a project. The presentation can be further enhanced by creating charts that show how close the product is to the budget for each category.
- To summarize customer revenue by-products to identify areas that require stronger customer relationship management
- To calculate customer discounts based on monthly purchase volume by product
With seemingly limitless capabilities brought by Microsoft Excel to business operations and functions, it becomes mandatory that new hires are given the Excel assessment test as part of the hiring process. No matter which role the candidate is being hired for, basic knowledge of Excel is a must in today’s business scenario.
Finance and accounting is a business function that has the maximum applications of Excel. In the 1970s and 80s, financial analysts would spend weeks or even months running advanced formulas manually or using programs like Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft Excel has changed all that by introducing complex modeling functions that can perform lengthy, complex calculations within minutes. Excel spreadsheets are used by the Finance function to outline financial results, crunch large finance figures, create budgets, and forecast finance plans for making major business decisions.
The marketing and product management function uses Excel to list customer and sales targets, manage salesforce, and plan future marketing strategies. The human resources planning function also uses Excel extensively to manage payroll and employee information, export data into Excel to discover trends, and summarize expenses and hours by pay period, month, or year.
Need for Excel Skill Assessment
Why do you need to test Excel skills? Given the importance of Microsoft Excel knowledge for performing day-to-day business operations, making the Microsoft Excel Online Test an integral part of the hiring process is important for the comprehensive assessment of candidates.
Candidates with good Excel skills can create spreadsheets and make calculations to arrive at the answers quickly and effectively. Sound Excel knowledge helps structure information in the most appropriate way for specific use cases and create visual representations that aid readers in understanding data and gaining deeper insights more easily.
Key profiles the Online Excel test is useful for:
- Personal and Executive Secretaries
- Executive and Administrative Assistants
- Office Managers or Human Resource Assistants
- Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Operations Executives
Why Should Organizations Use Microsoft Excel Assessment?
Excel assessment tests provide hiring teams with measurable data about the candidate’s abilities. They offer a reliable and simpler way to evaluate and screen candidates instead of just relying on their resumes or past work experience. These tests guide the HR team on how to test the Excel skills of candidates by providing test questions that cover basic to advanced Excel skills.
The Excel spreadsheet test helps hiring teams assess the candidate’s ability to create and use formulas, perform calculations, create reports, and format cells. The expert level or the advanced Excel skills test evaluates the ability to set up macros, automate Excel functions, and use Pivot tables to reorganize data on the spreadsheet to find and extract data.
Organizations have become increasingly dependent on databases, which in turn requires employees to have the skills to manage data efficiently. It is not enough to just know how to store and manage data, employees need to organize data and extract meaningful insights from them. The Excel assessment test is a useful hiring tool for HR leaders to assess the candidate’s knowledge and skills in Microsoft Excel. These tests can be administered online for the convenience of candidates and the HR team. Online Excel testing can be conducted in a proctored environment that prevents any malpractice or cheating during the test.
How to Choose the Right Assessment Tools for Excel Skills?
Pre-employment skill assessment tools are aplenty in the market. How do you choose the one that fits your business requirements?
The main reason why HR leaders opt for pre-employment skills assessments is to simplify and accelerate the hiring process. So, the skill assessment tool you choose must provide powerful features in the recruitment process. Here are a few pointers that help you choose the right skill assessment platform.
A wide array of tests – The most important feature of the skill assessment platform is the availability of tests that cover a wide range of skills and roles. The test library must not be restricted based on any industry or domain. Hard skill and soft skill tests must be included in the test library.
Easy to use Interface – The user interface of the pre-employment assessment software must be simple and easily understandable. A complex interface increases the time taken by the HR to learn its usage, which is not desirable especially when the HR looks at simplifying the hiring process with the tool. Administering the test must be easy and quick, and the option of sharing the test via email must be available.
Remote proctoring – When hiring teams use online pre-employment tests, they are not physically present to monitor the candidate during the assessment. The assessment software must provide a remote proctoring feature which makes it easy to monitor the candidate all through the test, thus, preventing any fraudulent practices.
Reports and analytics – Once the candidate completes the test, the HR team must be provided with a detailed report on the candidate’s performance. The report format must be simple, yet provide complete details on performance.
Back up of test – On some occasions, the test may be interrupted due to an Internet outage or power outage, or any issue with the device on which the test is being taken. The candidate may be midway through the test when such an event occurs. When this happens, the assessment tool must save the progress of the test, and resume from the point when the outage occurred instead of resetting the test.
SkillRobo is a pre-employment skills assessment tool that provides all of these features and much more for a smooth and efficient hiring process. This online pre-employment assessment tool changes the way you choose employees. You can create tests to identify employees’ talent on a particular topic. These tests can be customized according to the skill and the preferred difficulty of questions. The questions are delivered in an engaging and interactive manner. The comprehensive skill library covers 50+ key skills across industries. The current test library comprises 60-70 questions per skill. The Excel knowledge test from SkillRobo evaluates the skills thoroughly.
Areas Covered by the Excel Skill Assessment
What are the areas covered by the Microsoft Excel assessment? Each pre-employment skill assessment platform comes with a unique set of test questions that cover the various skills that candidates need to possess. However, the commonly covered topics in Excel skills assessment are:
- Formulae – From the basic Excel skills test to the advanced or expert-level test, knowledge of formulae is tested. Formulas are built-in functions in Excel for performing calculations and solving problems. In the formulas test section, knowledge of basic built-in functions is evaluated. The candidate is also evaluated on the basic operators used to create formulas. For example, the question may contain a numerical calculation that must be replicated in Excel. Advanced Excel skill tests may contain questions on using constants and references in Excel.
- Formatting and Printing – As mentioned earlier, Excel is used for creating reports of stored data. You need to first format data so that reports can be generated. Formatting texts or numbers in Excel improves readability especially when there is a large amount of data being represented. Some of the formatting and printing skills that are evaluated include changing font color, style, and size, aligning the text in a cell, or applying format effects. Printing in Excel is also a skill that the candidate needs to have. Questions pertaining to these areas are included in the Excel knowledge test.
- Charts – One of the most intriguing capabilities of the Microsoft Excel application is the creation of charts for visually depicting the data. The candidate is expected to know how to create charts using the data by using chart elements, chart styles, and chart filters. The Excel assessment test must evaluate the candidate on various chart tools, design, and format tabs. The questions would cover all the steps in the creation of a chart in Excel, from start to finish.
- Tables – Tables in Excel are useful in managing and analyzing a group of data by turning a range of cells into a Table. The candidate is evaluated on header rows, banded rows, calculated columns, sizing handles, and total rows in Excel. Knowledge of how to format a table using structured references and data validation of cells are part of the advanced Excel skill evaluation.
- Pivot Table – One of the most powerful tools offered by Excel is the Pivot Table. The candidate’s knowledge is evaluated based on the creation of Pivot tables, different methods for creating tables for different platforms and formatting data in the Pivot table. Evaluation related to Pivot tables is usually part of the advanced Excel knowledge test.
The areas evaluated by the Excel assessment test vary based on the pre-employment tool that you are using. Choosing a tool that covers a wide range of skills is ideal to ensure that you hire the best talent.
Millions of businesses are using Microsoft Excel to run their day-to-day operations. Daily office operations are heavily dependent on this Microsoft application. Irrespective of the role you play in your organization or the experience level at which you are working, you are bound to work on Microsoft Excel at some point in your career. Pre-employment skill assessments must include the Excel assessment test to ensure that the candidate is adept at using this application.
If you are looking to hire an expert or a beginner or an intermediary-level candidate in Excel, then the Excel online test from SkillRobo is your go-to assessment. You can save recruitment time and costs significantly with SkillRobo. The Excel skills test can be tried for free by signing up for the free trial.