A computer basic skills test is usually a prerequisite for a job or placement companies. The tests usually include fundamental computer skills like word processing, using email, web browsers and simple databases. In some cases, however, it can be more complex, with a set pass level, and deal with programs you may not be familiar with.
At job interviews, the test is usually a simple set of tests of basic job functions, and a few straightforward questions. Don’t underestimate the importance of this test. The interviewers are obliged to test and report results in a formal process of recommendation. We’ve got some pointers here for dealing with the test and questions to help you prepare:
Computer test components
The test will have several designated skills, normally described in the job ad. These are usually:
- Word processing: Using Word or Word perfect, sometimes notepad text.
- Email: Use of a basic email setup like Outlook, and in some cases working with distribution functions.
- Internet skills: Using a web browser, creating web pages, working with web content.
- Spreadsheets: Usually Excel, Lotus, MYOB, etc.
- Databases: Operation of an in house database.
Preparation for the computer test
If you are uneasy or unsure about your computer skills, retrain before doing these tests. Computer skills are core job skills in any industry. Identify your weak spots in computer skills, and dedicate some time to practicing and becoming competent in those areas.
A lot of people don’t practice, and that’s why they don’t get the jobs. The computer test results are the make or break of the job application, because computer skills are essential requirements in any job. Put as much effort into the test as you would into an interview.
Getting help with computer skills
If you see a job application, and you’re unfamiliar with any of the computer skills required, you should get training. For those re-entering the workforce, or whose skills in things like spreadsheets, databases or other office basics are out of date, all community colleges give courses in computer basics.
The computer interview questions will be simple but relevant. They all relate to job functions. Your answers should detail your experience clearly, and stick to basics:
Q: Are you familiar with Windows based systems?
A: Yes, my home computer is a Windows system (name which system).
Q: Do you have experience editing web page text and graphics content?
A: Yes. (Describe your experience, what you did, like posting family photos, etc, and the software used.)
Q: What experience do you have with spreadsheets?
A: I’ve worked with Excel doing simple function spreadsheets like invoices.
Q: What kinds of database have you worked with?
A: I’ve worked on document tracking systems, call center systems, and document lodgement databases.
Q: How do you copy text from a computer application and paste it onto a web page?
A: Highlight the text, right click the area, and transfer to the web page as a paste.