Ms office test for mgmt

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Phdtobe, May 30, 2019.

  1. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    I floated my resume recently to test the market to gauge my competitiveness. I was surprised that two of four responders wanted me to do an excel and word test to move to the next stage of the process. I said no because I can, but I don’t see the upside in doing the ms office test.

    I have done these test decades ago for entry level positions , but it seems like a waste of time to ask for ten years managerial experience, professional accounting designation, mba, and then have to do a ms test to get to the next stage. What do you think ?
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    If you're not serious about the job then I don't know why you'd take the test.
  3. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    I did not take the test, but it seems like a time waster, and a terrible method of screening in/out candidates . My opinion passing or failing an ms office test proves nothing.
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    You're probably right but that really doesn't matter. If you refuse the test you'll never get the job. If you want the job then you have to take the test regardless of whether it indicates anything of importance. Sometimes we get asked to do things for our jobs that seem silly. Generally we do them, not because we think they're important but because they're required.
    Phdtobe likes this.
  5. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    It's just a guess, but FWIW, here's my thought on their rationale . . .

    I haven't been in the corporate world since the late 1980's, when I was a vice-president of a financial corporation. (I don't know if I ever mentioned that before, but probably not, since I don't give a flying fart about the corporate world.) One thing I had then that I would think is not as common today is a secretary. But even then, I did my own documents, and one of my biggest challenges was to find way to keep my secretary constructively occupied.

    Today, everyone is expected to be literate in Excel and some of the MS Office programs. And if they are, they hve about as much use for a secretary as I did back then. Which is not much. Granted, the are valuable in the more mundane tasks - copying, collating, stapling, ad infininum, but even in the old days I found it easier to take my thoughts and put them directly to the computer keyboard than to dictate them for someone else to type.

    So, even going into a management position, I find the notion of validating your skills in Excel and Office to be perfectly legitimate, especially if you would not have a secretary in the position you assume.

    FWIW, if I had to take those tests, I'd probably botch them up big time. While most managers do the majority of their work in Excel, I did the bulk of my work in MS Word. That's because I'm a writer, while other managers were geared more toward numbers than I had to be. And virtually every time someone e-mailed me a document in Excel, I would convert it to Word because it was easier for me to work with.

    So, I agree that it is absurd to ask a senior management candidate to take an Excel or Office test. THat would be like asking them to take a typing test. Which, come to think of it, might not be a bad idea either. Or, for that matter, a spelling and grammar test, which would be an outstanding idea when you consider that many managers are slop-ass writers. It's an illiterate world out there, even amongst people with advanced degrees, and especially when English is not their first language.

    Having said all that, would I have taken those tests? Nope. But I wouldn't have applied for a corporate position in the first place. :D
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  6. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    I guess there may be a marginal benefit in having mgmt employees do an excel/word test.

    In my current position I had to do a test. I was given two scenarios (1) to prepare a budget with information provided, then suggests to Mayor and Council a mill rate for residential properties. (2) was provided with a dispute between the city and a taxpayer, and I was to recommend to the City Manager how to solve the issue. After Joining the organization, scenario 2 was a real issue and scenario number 1 is a three-month project every year.

    For the test I used ms office, excel and word.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    That's nothing. If they really wanted to scare people, they'd hand out IQ tests!
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    For my first engineering job I had to solve some math problems. It made me unhappy because they gave me too much time and it caused me to think I had done it wrong.
  9. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    I think skill testing is an important part of the screening process. However, Is there a level in the hierarchy where skill testing is not ideal? For example, a good CFO in an MNC does not need to be an accountant. However, an accounting skill test may screened out excellent CFOs.
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member


    Examiner: "How much is 2+2?"

    Applicant 1: "Four."
    Applicant 2: "Four"
    Applicant 3: (Thinks for a few seconds.) "How much do you want it to be?"

    You can guess who got hired.
  11. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    They do teach this in business school . It is call synergy. The Whole is more than the sum of its parts!
  12. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Back in the day (or several days as it were) I had a secretary. Then, I got a computer. I taught myself Word Perfect ;) Fast forward 30 years - if not for the fact that I actively USE the MS suite on a daily basis, no way I would have the intuition to just "jump in" and learn as I go. My kids are all very tech savvy but learned how to use MS products in their classes. Honestly, I find it exceptionally frustrating to look over my son's shoulders at their teacher's pitiful excuse for a PowerPoint presentation or inability to read an excel spreadsheet. I feel like it's a literacy that is expected, but a lot of people are sneaking by - a test isn't the worst idea.

    And to Steve's point- I type 70 words per minute, and my kids can kick my butt.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Maybe - but in accounting, it sometimes leads to other things, e.g. jail. As in Enron Corp. - Worldcom, AIG etc.

    If your debits don't equal your credits, your assets in jail. (Old accounting mantra.)
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  14. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    New World University should offer a LibreOffice test (and credit-bearing courses).
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    That's an interesting suggestion. I suppose people do get 100-level credit for courses on Microsoft Office. ‍

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