How to Test Basic Computer Skills in a Job Interview

by Michaela Davila - Updated September 26, 2017
Recruiters checking the candidate during job interview

If the job that you are holding interviews for requires that applicants have basic computer skills, it is a good idea to test these skills during the interview. An applicant may have embellished the truth when it comes to computer expertise. The last thing you want to do is waste your time unnecessary interviews or hire a charismatic, but unskilled, individual for your opening.

Make a list of the basic computer skills needed to perform the job you are interviewing people for. Next, brainstorm and come up with a list of tasks for the interviewee to perform for you during the interview.

Set-up an interview room with a computer that has Internet access and is connected to a printer. When the interviewee arrives, inform her that she will be completing a basic computer skills test for you and ask her if she would like to proceed with the interview. This way, if she does not feel competent, she can opt out before the interview and you will not have wasted your time.

Have the applicant perform some simple tasks using a word-processing program. Give him a sheet of paper, or read one to him, with step-by-step instructions on what to do. For instance, you could ask him to open a Word document. Give him a title such as “Computer Test,” and ask him to center and underline the title. Next have him type up a brief paragraph that you hand him. Time him with a stopwatch as he types, so you get an idea of how many words per minute he can type. Next, have him type different words in different fonts. He should be able to italicize and bold words. Also have him create a bulleted list and a numbered list of items. When his work is complete, have him save the document to a specific folder as well as print it.

Ask the applicant to form a simple graph using a spreadsheet. Give her some data and tell her you want a line graph, in black that is titled “Computer Test.” Tell her you want the final graph to have no gridlines and to be saved as a new sheet.

Have the applicant put together a simple presentation with bulleted points on each page, using information that you provide him.

Tell the applicant to run a simple Internet search for you. Have a list of different questions she has to find the answer to by going to various websites. For instance, you could ask her to find you information about Florida tax laws, and see how she goes about acquiring the information.

About the Author

Based in Orlando, Fla., Michaela Davila has been writing poetry, short stories, resumes and advertising materials for years. She has recently been published in the Dollar Stretcher and Devozine. Davila has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Elon University and is a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst.

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