Interview PreparationMicrosoft Excel

Prepare and Pass Excel Test for Job Interview: Top Interview Questions and Answers

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Excel Assessment Test Overview

In this post we will learn how to get prepared for Microsoft Excel Pre Employment Test by looking at Top 5 Excel Test for Job Interview Questions and Answers. We are also going to look at how companies conduct excel skills test, how employers test for Excel skills, review sample questions asked as part of Excel Portion of Job Interview and look at the resources to get prepared for each test the fastest way possible.

 

What is Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is an electronic spreadsheet program, created by Microsoft Corporation. It enables users to organize, format, and calculate data with formulas using a spreadsheet system broken up by rows and column. Microsoft Excel is also used for storing, organizing and manipulating the data. Excel also offers programming that supports VBA, and we can use external database to make dynamic reports, analysis etc. Smart use of this program saves a lot of time and helps in creating our own applications too.

 

Why Employers Test Job Candidates?

Assessing a job candidate’s Microsoft Excel proficiency is an important step in making the right hire. The intermediate Microsoft Excel skills test is helpful in learning if a job candidate understands how to manipulate the many functions, tools, and formulas of Excel to present extensive information, identify key trends, or calculate financial and numerical data.

Microsoft Excel is a complex business application which allows companies to record, track, and analyze data and perform very complex modelling and calculations, essential for measuring company performance, maximizing return on investment, and defining goals. Since Microsoft Excel is used in a lot of organizations, employers would like to make sure that candidates has solid Excel skills and experience using the tool. A new employee who can comfortably navigate is prepared to immediately contribute by producing meaningful, data-driven spreadsheets, reports, and graphs to best serve company needs.

 

How Employers Test for Excel Skills?

There are multiple providers that conduct the tests and each one of the tests is a little different. Most of the time employers use below providers to conduct the tests

  • Indeed.com
  • IKM
  • SkillCheck
  • TotalTesting

Because Microsoft Excel is so popular and useful, companies are trying to evaluate candidates by conducting pre-employment assessment test. An Excel Interview Test is a screening process employers use as part of the candidate employment interview to test a potential candidate on their knowledge and proficiency of Microsoft Excel.

Each employer might use a slightly different variation of the Excel test. The Excel Assessment Test typically broken down into a multiple-choice section and an interactive portion. Some tests are timed but some of them do not have a limit on how long applicant can take to answer the questions, but there might be exceptions.

 

Excel Skill Question Types

There are different types of questions typically being presented during Excel Test :

  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Multiple Answer Questions
  • True/False QuestionsWatch below video to learn more about types of questions asked during excel test for job interview:https://youtu.be/0S2HpE8zC_E

     

Interactive Test Simulators

It is rare that only one type of question is used during the test – most of the time questions are part of the large pool and testing software randomly selects certain number of questions from the pool and presents them to the candidate.

 

Hands-On Excel Skill Assessment

Sometimes companies also conduct hands on Excel Job Interview Test when they provide candidates with sample data file as ask them to perform certain tasks with the data, based on instructions provided.

 

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Excel Assessment Test Overview

Complexity Levels of Excel Test for Employment

An Interview Excel Test is a screening process employers use as part of the candidate employment interview to test a potential candidates’ Microsoft Excel skills. Depending on the position candidate is  applying for you are likely to face a pre-employment Excel test with varying level of difficulty. Microsoft Excel Employment Assessment tests can be categorized into at least three levels of testing:

  • Microsoft Excel Basics Testthis test is used for those applying for administrative or clerical positions. The basic test will evaluate your skills performing basic Excel functions. This can include anything from printing, formatting cells, inserting tables, and so on. If you have used Excel in the past or familiar with other similar applications you should be able to refresh your skills with the quick tutorial, practice sample excel interview questions to pass assessment test.
  • Intermediate Microsoft Excel test:requires more than basic knowledge but is not as complex as the advanced level test. For this level you will need to study in advance. A basic understanding of Excel will not suffice. This test is typically offered to evaluate skills of Business Analyst, Project Managers, Architects and other people that may be responsible for complex decision making but may not need to access advanced features of Excel
  • The advanced Excel test is for those that will need to use Excel in a more complex manner at their jobs. The test will evaluate your skills with pivot tables, creating macros, filtering, and functions such as IF, IFS, VLOOKUP, SUMIFS, VBA and other advanced concepts used in Microsoft Excel. Typically this test is offered to Senior Professionals, Executives, Financial Analysts, Scientists and other professionals that may need to use advanced features of Microsoft Excel

Top 5 Microsoft Excel Interview 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, while 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.

 

 

Take a free Excel Assessment Test for Employment Application

Question. Which of the following functions are you likely to find under the Insert tab on the Ribbon?
a) Insert a page break.
b) Insert a formula.
c) Insert a table.
d) Insert track changes.

Answer: The correct answer is c. Although the other functions (i.e. Insert a page break, insert a formula or insert track changes) are also elements you might be inserting into a spreadsheet, they are not under the Insert Tab.

 

Question. The Recent Workbooks list located in the Backstage View shows all workbooks recently opened. What action can I take to ensure a workbook remains on this list regardless of how many workbooks I opened subsequent to opening this workbook?
a) I can save the Workbook to the Recent Workbooks folder.
b) By adding the Workbook to My Favorites on the Quick Access Toolbar.
c) The Recent Workbooks list automatically keeps all workbooks that have been opened and I do not need to do anything.
d) By 'pinning' the workbook to the Recent Workbooks list by clicking the pin icon located next to it.

Answer: The correct answer is d. After pinning a workbook to the list the only way to remove it is to click the pin again.

 

Question. What is the keyboard shortcut to select a row of active cells?

a) Ctrl + Spacebar
b) Shift + Spacebar
c) Shift + End
d) Ctrl + End?

Answer: The correct answer is b. Holding down the Shift key while pressing Spacebar will select the entire row in which the cursor is currently positioned in Microsoft Excel.

 

Question. Most workbooks in Excel contain multiple worksheets (noted on the tabs at the bottom right-hand side of the Excel screen). Which of the following is the keyboard shortcut to for switching between worksheets in Microsoft Excel?
a) Alt+Tab
b) Alt+PgDn/PgDn
c) Ctrl+PgDn/PgUp
d) Ctrl+UpArrow/DownArrow

Answer: The correct answer is c. You can use either Ctrl+PgDn or Ctrl+PgUp to switch between the available worksheets in a workbook. Press this shortcut repeatedly to navigate through the available worksheets.

 

Question. Selecting multiple columns, especially if they run into the hundreds, can take a long time if you do this the manual way by using your mouse. What is a shortcut for quickly selecting a range of contiguous columns?
a) Select the first column. Hold down Ctrl and press the right arrow on the keyboard.
b) Select the first column. Hold down Ctrl and drag the mouse cursor towards the right.
c) Select the first column. Hold down Shift and press the right arrow on the keyboard.
d) All of the above options are correct.

Answer: The correct answer is c. Selecting the first column, holding down Shift and pressing the right arrow key will allow you to quickly select columns that are directly adjacent to each other. You can select all the columns up to the end of the worksheet by holding down the Ctrl key and then pressing Shift and the right arrow (Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow). This is the ideal solution for hiding columns you do not use to make your worksheet appear tidier.

 

Question. Select which of the following lists most accurately represent functions found in the Backstage View in Excel:
a) Save, Page Layout, Document Preview, Print, Recent Workbooks and Review.
b) Save, Save As, Open, Close, Info, Recent Workbooks, Recent Places, New, Print and Options.
c) Save, Save As, Open, Recent Print, Print Preview, Page Layout, Options and Access.
d) None of the above lists are entirely correct.

Answer: The correct answer is b. All the other options above contain items that are not located in the Backstage View.

 

Question. Most workbooks in Excel contain multiple worksheets (noted on the tabs at the bottom right-hand side of the Excel screen). Which of the following is the keyboard shortcut to for switching between worksheets in Microsoft Excel?
a) Alt+Tab
b) Alt+PgDn/PgDn
c) Ctrl+PgDn/PgUp
d) Ctrl+UpArrow/DownArrow

Answer: The correct answer is c. You can use either Ctrl+PgDn or Ctrl+PgUp to switch between the available worksheets in a workbook. Press this shortcut repeatedly to navigate through the available worksheets.

 

Question. Jason has a workbook open that his colleague created. The workbook is titled: "Management Budget". John wants to use this workbook as a base for creating a workbook called "Project Management". Which of the following is the correct sequence of actions for him to take?
a) File Tab – Save – File Name – "Project Management" – Save.
b) File Tab – Save As – File Name – "Project Management" – Save.
c) File Tab – Open – File Name – "Project Management" – Open.
d) File Tab – Save As – File Name – "Management Budget" – Save as Type – "Project Management".

Answer: The correct answer is b. This will save a duplicate of the workbook with the name "Project Management".

 

Question. What happens when you select cells and press Ctrl+2?
a) Text in the selected cells are underlined.
b) Italic formatting is applied to the text in the selected cells.

c) Bold formatting is applied to the text in the selected cells.
d) A duplicate of the selected cells will be inserted directly below the selection.

Answer: The correct answer is c. Using Ctrl+2 you can quickly apply bold formatting to a selected cell, row or column. Another alternative to make selection bold is to use the more traditional Office shortcut of Ctrl+B to achieve the same result.

 

Question. The following shortcut key combinations will allow you to Open, Close and create a New workbook, respectively:
a) Pressing Alt + O to Open, Alt + C to Close, Alt + N for New.
b) Pressing Control + O for Open, Control + C for Close, Control + N for New.
c) Pressing Control + O for Open, Control + W for Close, Control + N for New.
d) None of the above options are correct.

Answer: The correct answer is c. Holding down the control key on your keyboard whilst pressing O, W or N respectively will allow you to quickly access the Open dialogue box, close an open workbook and create a New blank workbook.

 

Question. What is the keyboard shortcut for reversing (undoing) your last action?
a) Ctrl+U
b) Ctrl+Z
c) Ctrl+X
d) Ctrl+Y

Answer: The correct answer is b. Holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and pressing the Z key at the same time will undo the last action you performed in the selected workbook. Holding down Ctrl and pressing Z repeatedly will undo multiple actions that have been performed.

 

Question. Mikhala made some changes to a workbook called "Sept 2014". She then clicked Save As, typed "Sept_2014_New" in the File Name box and clicked Save. Which of the following statements are true?
a) The changes Lucy made to "Sept 2014" will be reflected in the new workbook, "Sept_2019_New" only.
b) The changes Lucy made will be reflected in both versions, "Sept 2014" and "Sept_2019_New".
c) By using the Save As function Lucy replaced the file "Sept 2014" with "Sept_2019_New". The original file no longer exists.
d) The changes Lucy made will stay in "Sept 2014" and will not be reflected in "Sept_2019_New".

Answer: The correct answer is a. When you click Save As, Excel assumes you want to save all the changes you made to a new workbook. Unless you clicked save in the existing workbook, none of the changes you made will be saved in the original.

 

 

Question. Which of the following functions is NOT associated with the Review Tab on the Ribbon?
a) The spelling checker.
b) The sort data function.
c) The comment function.
d) The track changes function.

Answer: The correct answer is b. The sort function is associated with the Data tab on the Ribbon and not with the Review Tab.

 

Question. Allen is using a colleague's PC. He is curious as to how much his colleague earns and when he sees a folder with the title "Budget", he decides to snoop. He opens the folder and views a few of the workbooks in this folder. Will his colleague be able to know he snooped, and if yes, how?
a) No, Ben is safe. Unless his colleague is an IT specialist, he will never find out.
b) Yes, if his colleague presses the Data tab on the Ribbon, this will reveal a list of recently displayed documents.
c) No, Excel automatically deletes recently access workbook and file history if you close and shutdown the PC.
d) Yes, if his colleague opens the Backstage View and go to the Recent Workbooks and Recent Places area.

Answer: The correct answer is d. Unless his colleague first opens and works on a number of other workbooks / folders that will push the files Ben viewed out of the list, his colleague could easily see which workbooks and even which files Ben had viewed.

 

Question. Which shortcut key combination can be used to insert the current date into a cell?
a) Ctrl+D
b) Ctrl+Shift+; (Control+Shift+semicolon)
c) Ctrl+; (Control+semicolon)

d) Ctrl+Shift+D

Answer: The correct answer is c. Holding Ctrl key and pressing ; (semicolon) key at the same time inserts current date into the spreadsheet. This is a great shortcut for timesheets that require a user to insert the date into a sheet on a continual basis. The formatting of the date, for example 01/01/2015 or 1 January 2015, will depend on the formatting applied to the cell in which the date is inserted.

 

Question. What happens when you press the shortcut combination Ctrl+i while you have cells, containing content such as text or numbers, selected?
a) This italicizes the selected content.
b) This launches the Excel Information and Help dialogue box.
c) This inserts a new row or column depending on the selection.
d) This hides the selected cell range.

Answer: The correct answer is a. Pressing Ctrl+i makes selection italic. You can also use the shortcut Ctrl+3 to achieve the same result.

 

Question. A client emails you and informs you that they were unable to open a workbook you sent them as they still use MS Excel 2010. Which of the following options will quickly resolve this issue and allow the client to open the workbook?
a) They will need to install MS Excel 2010 or use someone else's software in order to open the workbook.
b) You can use the Save As function to select a Save As Type: Excel 2010 Workbook.
c) If you open the workbook, you can go to the client and copy and paste all the content into their version of Excel.
d) If you rename your workbook: "Excel 2003", this will allow the client to open the file.

Answer: The correct answer is b.

 

Question. What is the shortcut key to save a workbook?
a) Ctrl+Enter
b) Ctrl+Shift+S
c) Alt+S
d) Ctrl+S

Answer: The correct answer is d. Clicking Ctrl+S saves active document in Microsoft Excel. You can quickly and continually save a worksheet whilst working, without lifting your fingers from the keys on your keyboard, by using this shortcut to save.

 

Question. Which of the following statements about the Print Preview is true?
a) It allows you to view what your document will look like before you physically print the pages.
b) You access the Print Preview area of the by pressing: Control + P.
c) You access the Print Preview area by clicking on the File button to go to the and then on the Print button.
d) All of the above statements are correct.

Answer: The correct answer is d.

 

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 typically used 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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Tutorial - Top 5 Excel Interview Questions for Job Seekers

[Watch Video] Top Excel Questions Asked in Job Interview

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?

 

 

 

About the Author

Vadim Mikhailenko, MBA

Vadim lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and works as an Information Technology Consultant, Coach and Educator. Vadim is very passionate about Milwaukee community and teaches classes to underprivileged students at local community college to help them get employed. Throughout his consulting career Vadim studied a lot of tools and technologies and learned hiring process by helping organizations to hire candidates and also supported students to get prepared and to pass interview and assessment tests.

Vadim loves to share his knowledge with and enjoys teaching  new skills to help you get hired for your dream job.

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