Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Critical MS Excel Areas to Test – Prior to Hiring

I recently came across a great article by Kat Boogaard from GoSkills which goes through six critical things any Microsoft Excel user should know how to do.

1. Sorting Data
2. Removing Duplicate Data
3. Basic Math Functions
4. Freezing Panes
5. Date Functionality
6. Making the same change across worksheets

According to a course curriculum structured by the Macquarie University taught by Dr. Yvonne Breyer, Director, Learning and Teaching the following skills would be essential to master their beginners Excel Skills for Business Specialization:

1. Crucial navigational controls in Excel
2. Performing Calculations - formulas and functions
3. Excel Formatting Tools
4. Working with data - managing your spreadsheets
5. Optimising your spreadsheet for printing
6. Creating and modifying charts in Excel.

I am sure we can all agree that Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used business tools today and with it becoming increasingly important to isolate the data needed as fast as possible.

During a typical interview, the panel might prompt the candidate to elaborate on their current Excel skills and possibly examples of projects they have worked on. The response from the candidate is entirely subjective and based on self-perception.

Imagine you could include a well-designed skills assessment as part of the evidence you gather to evaluate for feasibility, acceptability, and desirability. A skills assessment based on these 6 critical areas highlighted by Kat Boogard and Macquarie University?


KnowledgeSmart skills assessments are valid: they measure what they are supposed to measure. Our Microsoft Excel (amongst other) assessments offer two levels, i.e., fundamentals and advanced. From the results of these assessments, an employer or potential employer would easily be able to ascertain who has a good understanding of the program and who doesn't. Two elements are reported namely score (accuracy) and elapsed time (the time the candidate took to complete the assessment, module or specific question). 


Authored by industry experts, our assessments are reliable and consistent which means any candidate can easily be benchmarked against current employees or candidates. 


The one area that I particularly like is that independent skills assessments do not discriminate between people based on anything other than their ability to demonstrate and apply their skills.

The next time you are facing a possible new hire consider including an independent skills assessment as part of your decision matrix analysis. KnowledgeSmart skills assessments are entirely customisable which means the assessment can be adapted to your exact requirements. There are also some unique datafields that allows administrators to personalise the background data captured.

So much more than a test score

You will not only gather great insight into the candidate's skills as far as accuracy and speed of working is concerned, but you will also be able to capture a valuable background data.

Below is an example of how your KnowledgeSmart Results and Background Data can then be visualised to be placed onto a Microsoft PowerBI Dashboard if needs be. Group the background data most critical for your company,

Comparing Candidates

With all this information readily available you would also be able to plan inductions plan a lot more effectively once you have made your selection.

Microsoft PowerBI KnowledgeSmart Visualisations - Example Dashboard

Don't just take our word for it. Have a look below at what JohnsonBIM have to say.

We use KnowledgeSmart to enable our clients to recruit smarter candidates and to prove their ability; we find that it ensures better outcomes. By replacing guesswork with the KnowledgeSmart skills assessment, our clients know precisely how and where their candidates will add value to their organisation before they hire them.

Mike Johnson - Managing Director, 

JohnsonBIM, London, UK