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The Most Divisive Topic on the Internet This Week Is a Pre-Employment Excel Assessment

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It’s nice to see the internet getting heated about something other than politics for once. Enjoy it while you can, it’s an election year.

So some guy tweeted the following on April 23:

As of today, it stands at 7.9 million views, nearly 12k likes, 1.6k replies, and 1.2k quotes. This is the top response:


If you expected this guy to get ratioed hard, I’ll remind you this is Twitter not r/antiwork. Actually, I bet he’s been posted there already. Yep.

In one reply, the guy says the candidate knew there would be an assessment:

And added this:

Easy for him to say after the fact when he’s getting pounded in the quote tweets. But good to note for anyone who’s been tempted to draw up an invoice for a potential employer requesting hours-long assessments.

To get the opinion of a recruiter in the accounting space we tracked one down to ask. “Some employers have abused the privilege of assessments, using hours and hours of someone’s time. In some cases (creative fields or marketing, for example), the candidate was not hired but their ideas were used by the hiring employer. Not cool,” she said. “In accounting or analytical positions, I don’t think it’s bad to ask someone to complete an assessment within reason. An assessment shouldn’t take longer than 15 or 20 minutes. Between that and good interviewing techniques, an employer should be able to get an understanding of a candidate’s technical skills. If a candidate is qualified then a quick assessment shouldn’t be a problem for them.”

Before you’re allowed to comment on this post with your own opinion, we’re going to need you to first complete the 16Personalities MBTI assessment, the HEXACO Personality Inventory, and the Official Hogwarts House Sorting Quiz. When you’ve finished with that, please submit a Google Doc of five sample comments with a short PPT explaining how you arrived at those comments. Thanks and maybe we’ll call you.

10 thoughts on “The Most Divisive Topic on the Internet This Week Is a Pre-Employment Excel Assessment

  1. I didn’t submit the requested assessments, instead I submit this comment:

    “Wtflol if you want me to do the work hire me”

  2. I had to do 4 interviews and a technical test for a good sized accounting management software only for them to turn me down (before the potential 5th and final interview no less). I really do think I should have emailed them an invoice for my trouble. (Might have also dodged a bullet if I took them 4-5 interviews to determine if I was a good fit or not…)

    1. My last position, I had nine interviews between Sept 2011 and March 2012. I was hired. They were scared because they had hired many before me where the job did not work out for them. I am persistent

      It worked for me because I am persistent in getting the job done no matter what obstacles I face.. They had been trying to get a credit line since 1973. I got them their credit line within 4 months of my hire date. It took persistence in digging through messy books and financials and fixing them first so that the info given to the bank VP was accurate in every direction. I did acquire them a $26M line of credit with a major Pacific Northwest Banking Institution. I was there for three years and left in very good standing.

      You have to want to do it and you must have the skill set to get the job done. Especially in difficult industries. Thanks for listening.

  3. I made the mistake of assuming anyone just coming out of college is miles better than me at excel. We had an intern and I gave them an excel based work assignment. His classic response was “Do I need to use formulas or can I just type the numbers in?” I swear that is a true story.

  4. At a company I used to work for we gave candidates an attention to detail test when trying to fill a staff accountant position. It was literally two lists of words side by side and the candidate had to circle the lines where the two words did not exactly match. When I first saw the test, I thought it would be stupid because it was so easy, especially for college graduates. Needless to say, I was shocked and depressed when so many of our candidates had multiple misses (errors) on the test. My faith in humanity has not been the same since.

    Anway, I don’t have a problem giving candidates a basic, short test to help determine if they can do the job. 1.5 hours is a bit excessive though.

  5. Market forces > personal opinions. If the labor supply/interest in the role is deep, the employer can ask whatever they want. Someone will be willing to jump through the hoops. opposite also true is labor supply is tight.

  6. I had a long virtual interview for a bkpr position at an accounting firm. Although I never had to take an assessment from previous employers, I agreed.
    “This is an invitation to take our brief assessment.
    Please visit the following links:
    1) eSkill Standard Accounting and Bookkeeping Principles (US)
    2) eSkill Standard MS Office 2013 – Word®”
    Microsoft Word for bookkeepers – really?
    Took the tests, then they ghosted me.

  7. I did a 15 minute assessment of Excel skills at a previous public company that involved knowing how to put together a pivot table and do a vlookup. 15 minutes is what gave me confidence they knew Excel – not 1.5 hours.

  8. We used to give an Excel assessment at my former public company on vlookups and pivot table creation – 15 minutes tops and same test to everyone. Then the rest of our 30 minute interview was about culture and any other knowledge we wanted to ask about. We were able to identify several candidates who SAID they knew Excel but hadn’t mastered the skills we needed. (15 minutes vs. 1.5 hours).

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