Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers

Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers

Applying for a job and looking for sample Excel interview questions? Or need to pass a test or exam on Excel features? In this quick tutorial we will focus on the most typical questions you might be asked.

Excel and data analysis skills, including working with large volumes of data, databases and reports, are often assumed upon IT, Administrative, Finance and Accounting professions. In this tutorial we focus on skills required to pass the assessment test and succeed in the job interview.

Typically for the job requiring Excel skills you will be asked technical questions to demonstrate your skills. Below are five most common questions asked during the interview and answers to help you get ready.


SkillCheck Excel Assessment Test Training Videos


What is Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel was first introduce over thirty years ago, but it is still the most widely used business applications. Excel is an electronic spreadsheet program created by Microsoft. An electronic spreadsheet is a computer software program that is used for storing, organizing and manipulating data. Excel is used by a lot of business for financial planning, forecasting, loan calculations and reporting.

Current version of Microsoft Excel allows users to manage multiple spreadsheet pages in a single file. The saved computer file is often referred to as a workbook and each page in the workbook is a separate worksheet.


Top 5 Microsoft Excel Interveiw Questions

Question. What is the difference between Excel for desktop and Excel 365?

Answer: Office 2016 for Desktop is the newest version of the Office productivity suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other application), typically accessed via the desktop. Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription to a suite of programs including Office 2016. Office files can be accessed in the browser and on Mobile devices, which allows you more flexibility.

You can also download and install Office 2016, including Excel 365 on your desktop as part of Office 365 subscription. Full desktop versions of Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel plus OneNote and Publisher) is included with license for up to 5 computers per user.


Question. What are the most useful functions in Microsoft Excel?

Answer: This is an open ended question, which shows personal preferences and might trigger different answers from candidates with different level of experience. One of the most useful Excel functions is SUM, which allows you to quickly to sum a range of cells by using AutoSum button. It automatically enters a SUM function in the selected cell. The SUM function totals one or more numbers in a range of cells.

Other useful Excel functions that are very commonly used are are AVERAGE, MAX and MIN.


Question. What is a function in Microsoft Excel?

Answer: Functions are predefined formulas and are already available in Excel. Formulas in Excel are useful to perform various mathematical, statistical, and logical operations. You can type in a formula (though you have to be sure it's exactly right) or you can use Excel's preset formulas called functions.

If you type in the formula, you must start with an equal sign, so Excel knows that the data in the cell is a formula. After the =, what comes next depends on what you’re trying to do. Excel offers you some suggestions and shows the syntax for the given function. Excel also corrects you and provides suggestions if you have made a mistake, whily typing.


Question. What is the order of operations used when evaluating formulas in Excel?

Answer: Excel uses an order of operations when evaluating different operators within the formula, using below sequence:

  • Parentheses
  • Exponents
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Addition
  • Subtraction

You can easily remember the sequence as PEMDAS, based on the first letters of above listed operations, and this would allow you to quickly bring it up and shine during the interview: when evaluating formulas, Excel always processes operators in this order. If you find yourself receiving an unexpected result from your mathematical formulas, double-check to make sure that parentheses are used properly to achieve the results you want.


Question. What are the most important data types in Excel, and how are they used?

Answer: It is hard to pinpoint most important data types, but most typically used Excel data types are Number, Percentage, Date and Text:

Excel Typical Data Types (Number, Text, Percentage and Date)


Numbers. Numbers are one of the most frequently-seen data types in Excel: it is a generic format to store different type of number and it is used by default. Number data type can be formatted with a customized number of decimal places, and appear with or without commas separating the thousands digits. Numbers can be added, subtracted, divided, multiplied, or included in formulas and functions that accept numerical inputs.

Dates. Excel can display dates in any number of ways, but most of the time Short date format is used. Dates can be sorted, added or subtracted using standard addition and subtraction, and can also be manipulated using a slew of date-based functions.
Percentages. Numbers can also be formatted as percentages, which multiplies the given number by 100 and adds a percentage sign at the end. For example, the number 0.07 is equivalent to the percentage 7%: Excel automatically adjusts the value, once you change the data type
Text. Text is usually consit of words that are used for worksheet headings, names or labels to specify data columns. Text can contain standard characters such as letters, numbers, and punctuation.


Below is the Data Type selection Dropdown from Excel, which lists all possible data type, with most widely used ones highlighted.



Best options to get ready for Excel Test

Whether you need to take an Excel test as part of an interview process, to obtain the Microsoft Office Specialist certification or as part of a degree program, get some tips to prepare for and pass the exam. There are various resources you can use to help you study for and ace your Excel interview test:


Online Practice Excel Tests

You can find a number of free practice tests and assessments online. While not directly sponsored by Microsoft, these resources can help you practice your Excel skills so that you can perform better on the test. Searching for these practice tests can be tricky, and you'll want to make sure you're accessing legitimate sites, so be careful and do your research before jumping in. Practice tests typically offer only that - a test. This can be a great way to get an idea of how much you already know about Excel and what you still need to brush up on to pass an actual exam.


Microsoft Excel Study Guide

A thorough resource for an Excel test is the Excel Study Guide published by Microsoft. This resource provides you with comprehensive information regarding the application that covers all of the tools and skills you need to pass the exam. The book also teaches you Excel skills and includes illustrations to help you learn how to master those skills. Additionally, you will get practice assignments so that you can become more comfortable with the program. The Excel program isn't included with the book and will need to be purchased separately.


Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy is a free resource that provides online video instruction on Microsoft products. You can find a number of lessons related directly to using the latest version of Excel. Using these resources to familiarize yourself with all the components of the Excel program will increase your chances of passing the test. Topics included in the Microsoft Excel Essentials course include creating, customizing, sharing and saving workbooks; working with data and tables; and inserting charts and objects into a workbook.


Microsoft Support

If you have a specific question about an Excel function, the Microsoft support site allows you to search for a topic or browse the categories for the right support document. These documents contain step-by-step instructions and screen shots to help you understand the material. Some of the tutorials you can find include help with themes, funnel charts, cell merging, tables, filtering, formulas and charts.


Microsoft Learning Partner Courses

You can attend a course from an authorized Microsoft Learning Partner by searching on Microsoft's website ( A Learning Partner is a training center that provides in-person training on a variety of Microsoft products, including Excel. Microsoft Learning Partners are available in every state, so you may be able to find a training center in your area that offers training on Excel or preparation for Excel certification exams.


YouTube Video Tutorials

There are a lot of tutorials available on YouTube and some of them are better and more engaging the other. Check out my  YouTube Excel Video Tutorial  Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers. Get yourself ready for Microsoft Excel interview with the top 5 questions asked and review of the quick tutorial covering basic concepts:


Video Tutorial - Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers

In the video:

Part 1. Top 5 questions being asked during Excel Interview

5. What is the difference between Excel for desktop and Excel 365?
4. What are the most useful functions in Microsoft Excel?
3. What is a function in Excel?
2. What is the order of operations used when evaluating formulas in Excel?
1. What are the most important data formats seen in Excel, and how are they used?


Part 2. Excel skills refresher tutorial

1. Basic Excel concepts related to Excel spreadsheets
2. Excel Copy Cut and Paste
3. Basic Excel Data Types
4. Changing formatting of rows (Bold or Italic)
5. Formulas in Excel including, SUM, AVERAGE, MAX, MIN and more.
6. Sort and filter data in Excel.
7. Key elements of navigating in the application
8. How to create charts and graphs in Excel
9. Printing in Excel
10. Protect Microsoft Excel document from editing
11. Learn how to save excel documents as PDF files
12. How to Project Revenue Increase in Excel


Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers Source File Download

Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers Source File Download

Self Paced Excel Online Courses

You can take a course online to prepare you for an Excel test. Online courses are available through colleges, tech and trade schools, independent learning centers and other organizations. In addition to online instruction, courses may also include assessment tests, flashcards and study plans designed for Excel test prep. Taking a course online allows you to study at your own pace and go back and review material that you are not fully comfortable with. Check out this Excel Interview Preparation Online Training Course: Microsoft Excel - Excel from Beginner to Advanced.


Next Steps

  1. Download Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers Source File
  2. Review Other Excel Interview Video Tutorials
  3. Subscribe to my email list to receive more tutorials like this one:

If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Excel you can enroll into below online training courses:

[do_widget id=nav_menu-10]