Top 40 MS Excel Interview Questions and Answers (UK 2023)

Introduction to Basic MS Excel Interview Questions and Answers

In the realm of modern business and data management, Microsoft Excel stands as a fundamental tool that empowers professionals to organize, analyze, and manipulate data with remarkable efficiency. Whether you’re a job seeker looking to secure a position that requires Excel proficiency or an employer seeking the right candidate, understanding the basic MS Excel interview questions and answers is crucial.

Interviewers often use Excel-related questions to gauge a candidate’s ability to work with spreadsheets, handle data, and solve complex problems. Thus, having a solid grasp of these fundamental Excel concepts is indispensable in today’s competitive job market.

This article delves into a selection of basic MS Excel interview questions. It provides clear, up-to-date answers that will help both job seekers and hiring managers navigate the interview process with confidence. Whether you’re new to Excel or looking to refresh your knowledge, the insights within this guide will enable you to approach Excel-related interviews with competence and poise. Let’s embark on this journey to mastering the basic MS Excel interview questions and answers, ensuring that you’re well-prepared to excel in your professional endeavors.

Because of this, it’s not a surprise that companies want people who are good at Excel. If you want to get ahead in the job market, you should be ready for Excel interview questions.

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40 Excel Interview Questions

Here are 40 unique and fresh Excel interview questions to help both candidates and interviewers assess Excel proficiency:

1. What is Microsoft Excel, and why is it essential in the business world?

2. How do you insert a new worksheet in Excel?

3. Explain the difference between a workbook and a worksheet in Excel.

4. What are the basic file formats in which you can save an Excel file?

5. How can you freeze panes in Excel, and why is it useful?

6. Describe the purpose and use of the “AutoSum” function in Excel.

7. What is a cell reference in Excel, and why is it important?

8. How do you use the VLOOKUP function in Excel, and what is its significance?

9. What is the disparity between comparative and total cell references?

10. How can you create a pivot table in Excel, and what are its benefits?

11. Explain the use of the CONCATENATE function in Excel.

12. How can you remove duplicates from a list in Excel?

13. What is conditional formatting, and how is it employed in Excel?

14. Describe the “IF” function in Excel and provide an example of its usage.

15. How do you protect a worksheet in Excel, and why would you do so?

16. What is the purpose of the “Data Validation” feature in Excel?

17. How can you insert a comment in a cell in Excel?

18. Explain the concept of cell styles in Excel and how they can be applied.

19. What is the Quick Analysis tool in Excel, and when would you use it?

20. How do you create a data table in Excel, and what is it used for?

21. Describe the difference between a line chart and a bar chart in Excel.

22. How can you transpose data in Excel, and why might you need to do so?

23. What is the “PMT” function in Excel, and how is it used in financial calculations?

24. How do you protect a workbook in Excel, and what does this entail?

25. Explain the use of the “COUNTIF” function in Excel.

26. How can you add error bars to a chart in Excel, and why is this important?

27. Describe the concept of data validation in Excel and its significance.

28. How do you create a drop-down list in Excel, and when is it useful?

29. What is the purpose of the “Goal Seek” tool in Excel, and how is it used?

30. How can you use the “SUMIF” function in Excel, and provide an example.

31. Explain the purpose of the “What-If Analysis” feature in Excel.

32. How do you merge cells in Excel, and when should you avoid doing so?

33. What is the “COUNTA” function in Excel, and when is it employed?

34. Describe the concept of relative and absolute references in Excel.

35. How can you use the “HYPERLINK” function to create clickable links in Excel?

36. What is the “HLOOKUP” function, and how does it differ from “VLOOKUP”?

37. How do you create a data validation drop-down list with dynamic values in Excel?

38. Explain the importance of cell formatting and styles in Excel documents.

39. How can you protect Excel formulas to prevent unauthorized changes?

40. What are Excel tables, and how do they enhance data management and analysis?

These questions cover a range of Excel topics, ensuring that candidates and interviewers can thoroughly assess Excel skills and knowledge during an interview.

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8 Excel interview questions and answers

In order to stop others from altering a worksheet, how do you lock it?

Excel worksheets can have password protection applied to them. This is helpful for user hierarchy authorizations and other scenarios when you have a data table that changes could affect other dependents. Give a brief description of how to lock a worksheet to show you understand.

What are Excel charts, and how are they utilized?

There are several purposes for which charts in Excel can be helpful. To start with, they understandably present crucial information. They also give vital insights about data and relationships within a subset of data to those who are reading charts. It could be crucial to show that you comprehend the purpose and application of charts because of this.

Which Microsoft Excel common functions are there?

Excel is a versatile tool that has many applications that relate to the position you are interviewing for. Knowing the fundamentals of Excel functions will help you better grasp the ones you know, which can be useful in this position.

Example: “In Excel, common processes contain date and time positions, pivot tables, index matching, analytic processes like TRUE or FALSE, and mathematical roles like SUM and DEGREE.”

What is a spreadsheet? Describe?

This is a simple query that could lead to a series of more difficult Excel inquiries. A question such as this allows you to demonstrate functional technical ability in a brief response since not all roles requiring the use of spreadsheets are technical—some may be financial or administrative, for instance.

An example of a digital ledger is a spreadsheet, which stores values. It has rows and columns that makeup cells that can store data.

Describe VLOOKUP in common usage.

A question that asks you to describe a specific function or formula can help the person asking you learn more about how well you know important details that will likely be important in the job you’re applying for.

As a general rule, VLOOKUP lets users find data in other sheets and combine it into a column or table. Anyone who works with a lot of data and needs to be able to organize it in a way that shows connections and clues could use it.

If someone asks you to explain a mathematical idea in simple terms, you should make it easy for them to understand, even if they have never done it before. In your answer to this question, you can also use a personal experience to show how well you understand the idea.

“VLOOKUP is a famous quality of Excel that lets you integrate data from different sets and sheets into one place that can be used to mark precise conclusions.”

How to perform a pivot table?

An inquiry that asks how you utilize or carry out something is a good chance to give specific examples. This question is about you and how well you know the subject, so it makes sense to use how you have used it before.

The pivot table is a key feature of Excel that comes up in questions from a wide range of workers on the internet. This question lets you show how clever you are with Excel and makes sure you understand this common method.

For example: “A pivot table is a must-have for summarizing, collecting, rearranging, sorting, grouping, counting, averaging, or computing database data.” As a database analyst, I’ve used pivot tables to help my store clients compare how people shop during different times of the year.

What is the right way to do things in an Excel formula?

You should be able to answer this question without any problems if you know the basics of Excel. There is a simple way to answer this question that correctly shows the order of processes. 

Instead of thinking too much about how to use a personal experience, you should be clear and straight here. It’s important to have the critical thinking skills you need to get the answer to these kinds of questions, which only ask for technical information.

What are some popular Excel data formats? What is their purpose?

This fundamentally simple interview question could start a series of more difficult Excel-related interview questions. The purpose of this inquiry is to ascertain your fundamental comprehension and familiarity with the software. 

Additional fundamental Excel queries could be:

Which well-known formulas have you utilized?

In Excel, what does a particular symbol mean? (For instance, “How does Excel use $?”)

“What makes a difference?” queries requesting a comparison of similar attributes

Example: “These are some popular Excel data types and their uses. First, some integers can have round values or decimal points formatted. Subsequently, percentages represent a number as a fraction of a whole, where the whole is equivalent to 100.

7 Excel Job Interview Tips

Here are some excellent suggestions you can utilize to make sure you amaze at your next interview now that you have some example questions to work with.

Join Excel courses: To increase your knowledge and keep current with the newest features, sign up for online or in-person Excel courses. In addition to teaching you new skills and methods, these courses will grant you a certificate that will look good on your CV.

Practice frequently: Excel’s features and functionalities will become more familiar to you as you use it more. Develop the habit of practicing on a regular basis by completing personal projects or locating exemplary datasets to examine.

Study fundamental formulas and functions: Make sure you are well-versed in all of the fundamental Excel formulas and functions, including VLOOKUP, INDEX-MATCH, pivot tables, and conditional formatting. Prepare a brief explanation of their use cases and how they might address particular issues.

Recognize your Excel keyboard shortcuts. Using them will greatly increase your productivity and speed when working with spreadsheets. Learn the most helpful shortcuts by heart, and be ready to share them with the interviewer.

Assemble instances: Consider situations in which you have used Excel to make decisions or solve problems in the real world. Prepare to present these examples, emphasizing the methods and features you employed.

Excel provides a variety of chart and graph choices for data visualization; use them to demonstrate your data visualization talents. Learn how to use these tools, and come prepared to make interesting and educational charts for the interview.

Practice by having a friend or family member interview you in a fake interview setting using questions from Excel that are comparable to the ones above. This will help you discover areas where you might need to improve, and it will also make you feel more at ease talking about your abilities and experience.

Wrapping up

You can use these 40 Excel interview questions to get ready for your next job interview.

Keep practicing because they say that they get better with practice. Learn about the newest features and improvements in Excel as well.

You can do great in any data-driven job and take your work to new heights if you have confidence and prepare well.

Here are the top 5 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Excel interviews:

1. What are the key Excel skills that interviewers typically look for in candidates?

Interviewers generally seek candidates who can demonstrate proficiency in tasks like data entry, formula usage, chart creation, data analysis, pivot tables, and functions like VLOOKUP and SUMIF. They may also look for an understanding of data validation, chart formatting, and the ability to work with large datasets.

2. How can I prepare for an Excel interview to showcase my skills effectively?

To prepare for an Excel interview, review the basics of Excel, practice common functions, and understand key concepts like cell references, data validation, and chart creation. Additionally, consider working on real-life Excel projects or taking online courses to enhance your skills.

3. What are some common Excel mistakes to avoid during an interview?

Common mistakes to avoid include using incorrect cell references, failing to validate data, not labeling charts or graphs properly, and failing to follow best practices for formatting and organizing data. Demonstrating an inability to perform basic tasks like sorting or filtering data can also negatively impact your interview performance.

4. Can you give an example of a challenging Excel problem that candidates may encounter in an interview?

A challenging problem might involve analyzing a complex dataset, using advanced functions like INDEX-MATCH, or creating a dynamic dashboard. Candidates might also be asked to troubleshoot and correct errors in an existing Excel file or optimize a worksheet’s performance.

5. What resources or tools can help me prepare for an Excel interview?

There are numerous resources available to help you prepare for an Excel interview. These include online tutorials, courses, practice exercises, and Excel-related books. Popular tools like Excel templates, add-ins, and reference guides can also aid in your preparation.

These FAQs provide valuable insights for individuals preparing for Excel interviews and highlight the key areas to focus on during your interview preparation.

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