With technology having made a seemingly sudden appearance in the workplace, it is only reasonable that employers expect prospective employees to have a basic foundational understanding of how it works. Perhaps, most importantly, it is key that employees know how to use Microsoft Office. While many of us now take applications like Word, Excel, and (the always exciting) PowerPoint for granted, it is important to remember that not everyone has had these experiences. So, ensuring that employees can effectively utilize this technology can be beneficial for business. Here, you will find three steps that can be taken to verify an employee’s proficiency in Microsoft Office.
Verify Past Employment
One of the biggest mistakes made by hiring employers is that they seem to rarely contact the references listed in an employee’s application or resume. While the task is certainly time-consuming, it is one that can not only give an employer insight on a prospective employee’s character and work ethic, but it can also be a way to verify their experience with Office.
Some questions you can ask a past employer are:
- Does your company use Microsoft products?
- Did this past employee use them?
- Did they demonstrate proficiency in using them?
- When using these products, did the employee create documents that were well-structured and grammatically sound?
- Would you rehire this employee and have them utilize these technologies?
Test Their Computer Skills
If a prospective employee does not have job experiences in which they used Word or other Microsoft products, an employer can always ask them to demonstrate their skill in person. Professionals advise using a test to assess computer literacy. Start the employee off by having them start with a cleared desktop on the screen. This way, they can start by demonstrating the very basics of navigating with the mouse and opening applications. Next, after having them open Word, (or any other application Microsoft Office application), give them a pre-written document to copy both grammatically, and in format. Make sure the document has different font sizes, a centered title, a bullet-pointed list, and anything else you deem necessary for an employee to know. The same idea goes for Excel or PowerPoint.
Ask for a Portfolio
Depending on the tasks you are requiring, it may be helpful to ask for a portfolio of projects the potential employee has worked on. Anyone who is claiming competency in an area should have hard evidence to show you. Combined with tests, this can give you a good view of what an employee can actually do with Microsoft Office. Online portfolios are fairly simple for someone to put together, and this will allow you to review them at your leisure. Make sure you frame your request for a portfolio reasonably and that you don’t expect them to provide too many examples. One or two samples in each area should be sufficient.
Technology ultimately makes work easier and more efficient. But if employees are unable to use the technology effectively, it can create complications. That is why it is important to verify past employment and test your employees, either in person or online.
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