Many of the resumes you receive probably list Microsoft Office as a skill. However, just because candidates list it on their resume does not mean they know how to use it well or that they know how to use all the features and functions. Many people know basic usage of Outlook and Word, but that is the extent of their Microsoft Office experience. And simply knowing how to compose and send email messages and use the cut-and-paste features in Word and Excel is not a high enough proficiency level for many jobs.
Since many businesses use these programs, human resources (HR) managers include Microsoft Office Skills Tests, such as Excel and Typing Skills Tests, in their pre-employment testing process so they can determine whether a candidate has the experience and knowledge to be successful in a particular position.
Who Uses Excel and Why?
Excel is a spreadsheet program that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. As with the other programs that are included, it is very flexible and can be used for a variety of business tasks. Excel can be used to track and analyze data, create graphs, generate forecasting models, and more. Below are examples of jobs where Excel is commonly used:
- Accountants: Excel was introduced to provide a better and easier way to create spreadsheets, and it has become the number one program used by accountants worldwide.
- Business analysts: As is true with accountants, business analysts have found that no other program can crunch numbers or handle and manage data better than Excel.
- Sales managers: Sales managers rely heavily on sales reports and forecasts generated with Excel. They also use Excel to track commissions, manage expense reports, and organize and manage their contact and prospect information.
- Administrative assistants: Excel is indispensable to administrative assistants and other office support staff. In addition to record-keeping, Excel can be used for invoicing, managing mailing lists and performing other contact management functions, and keeping track of data.
- Retail managers: Retail managers use Excel to create employee work schedules as well as track performance. Excel can also be used for inventory and supply chain management, and it is a natural choice for monitoring product pricing and discounts. In small stores, it can be used with point-of-sales programs to generate receipts, manage discounts, and calculate and track sales tax.
How Is Excel Used?
Excel, created in the early 1980s, was a competitor to Lotus 1-2-3. After years of development, it has become a very powerful program that is capable of doing much more than its founders ever dreamed of. These are some examples of things Excel can do:
- Store, analyze, and manipulate large amounts of data: Excel is a great application for organizing and using data for forecasting, sales analyses, and other business needs. Pivot tables, one of the most useful functions Excel offers, allows business analysts to quickly manipulate large amounts of data to generate reports while still retaining the ability to drill down into the details of the data.
- Manage inventory and supplies: Supply chain management is an integral part of the business operations and management process. Numerous applications provide comprehensive solutions for large companies, but they are not practical for the small- and medium-sized companies that simply want to manage their inventory. Excel helps them easily track and manage inventory without paying for an intricate solution that includes unnecessary features.
- Visual data presentation: Excel offers functionality that makes it easy to create pie charts, bar and line graphs, scattergrams, organizational charts, and other types of visual presentations that enable business professionals to create presentations and share data so it is easy to understand.
- People management: Excel was not specifically designed to handle HR tasks, but it can greatly assist with basic HR administration tasks such as creating interview and training schedules, time logs, project management charts, and benefits administration.
- Contact management: Excel can be a great tool for simple contact management because you can create calendars, manage sales data, perform mail merges, and even create a simple customer relationship management (CRM) database.
Advantages of Excel Skills Testing
When used correctly, Excel can be a very powerful tool. Since it is so popular, it is a good idea to ensure that the candidates you hire know how to use the Excel features and functions that are needed for the position for which they are being considered. By using an Excel Skills Test and other Microsoft Office Skills Tests such as a Typing Skills Test, you can get a realistic assessment of applicants’ computer proficiency and knowledge so you can be assured that the applicant will be successful in the position.
Learn how Excel Skills Tests and other Microsoft Office Skills Tests such as Typing Skills Tests can help you improve hiring outcomes and increase productivity. Request a demo today.