Excel Job Interview Tips

The following excel job interview tips we have put together particularly for those who seek jobs. In the past 15 years we have written a few of them ourselves, there were more simple ones and complex ones also, we would like to share with you in this article the experiences about these interviews.

We should never say that we know Excel, unless we do know quite a few functions. Where they particularly require the Excel knowledge (controller of sales analyst positions), there they know Excel so well that by asking the name of a simple formula they can already find out what is the relationship between Excel and the prospective employee. A lot of times there are examples of answering a question without showing the result it in practice. We have encountered this numerous times.

Also makes a good impression on the interview if for one task we can give several solutions. When they ask the general question, how we get one kind of data out of a bigger dataset, then we can immediately answer that by using a filter, or by the help of VLOOKUP formula or PIVOT TABLE.

After this if we can explain all three functions, I think we have landed this part of the interview. We say this out of experience; this can be a success factor!

Excel job interview tips – Practice!


It is worth the effort to take up Excel out of the workplace, even at home. When they ask, have you used Excel, than you can answer with a clean heart that yes, at work and at home too. For example I keep track of family expenditure in Excel where I can easily follow exactly how much was the income and expenses.

This is good for not only that they see our knowledge of Excel, but it means extra points in exactitude. Who would not value that preciseness is important for us in the home?

Learn a few simple cell coordinating method, and keyboard shortcuts. If we have to demonstrate our knowledge in action we can pleasantly surprise our prospective boss!

Time management on the interview

The key to the successful written interview is the proper time schedule. During the time of the interview we should pay attention to divide the given time evenly between the tasks. For example if we get 10 tasks and the first one already looks hard, don’t stop there, go to the next task and solve the remaining nine! This way we can even accomplish 90%. If we still have time, we can start on the difficult first one. This solution can be very effective. Just don’t panic!

Excel job interview tips – “Dirty tricks”


The following is a “favorite” task. It is possible that they ask something in Excel that is not solvable. We know this sounds strange, but we have encountered this. Just one example: how do you copy a 120 thousand line chart into the 2007 Excel worksheet? The proper answer is that you cannot, because this version only able to manage 65 536 lines.

Do not worry, trust in yourself, and get ready at home by exercising the tasks that are fitting for that position!

Here are a few formulas that you have to know: VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, COUNTIF(S), SUMIF(S), IF, AND, OR.

General rules and advices on the interview

Data analysis and data cleansing: Use effective data cleansing technics and sorting tricks to speed up your work! String manipulation functions are great too!

Charting and Data visualization skills: When they ask the general chart question, which chart types are the best for data visualization and BI, just list the following: Bullet chart is a widely accepted tool the best possible choice for displaying the differences between plan / actual values. Gauge chart is one of the best data visualization tool.

Key Performance Indicators: It’s not an easy task to create a dashboard in Excel. But if you practice enough, you will able to display the core information behind the big data.

VBA skills: VBA is perfect for us to create dynamic dashboards and smart macros.

Last but not least: read articles about the subject and continually train yourself in it. We are doing the same; we are learning new things every day! Not so difficult, is it?