top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Sena

A quick guide to passing Excel Interview test with 7 simple, but not so obvious steps

Excel interview test is awaiting and you are looking for online sample questions and answers as well as practice tests to improve your skills.

Whether you are going to be interviewed for data analyst, financial analyst, accountant or any other role, expecting online, paper or on-site test, simply searching for vlookup syntax night before won't be enough in the competitive job market such as in London or the UK.

There are however things that you can improve even on that last evening.

Excel interview test infographic

Interviewing is not only about testing your skills but also about how you sell them. The interviewer would like you to pass the test, but also to present that you can:

  • Do the entire job, not just convert data inputs to outputs

  • Be effective and quick

  • Relate spreadsheet data to real business scenarios

  • Understand data limitations

  • Communicate issues (also to non-technical stakeholders)

  • Look for or offer help when needed

  • Present data in a concise and simple way

Tip 0: Assess your skills. If your Excel interview test won't be focused on specific functionalities that you've used for last 6 months, you should spend at least several intensive days or couple weekends of intensive studying to not rely on pure luck. The famous Excel Bible has over 1'000 pages, median Excel test is about 1-hour-long and booked just a couple days in advance. Therefore, it's best to get ready beforehand and take a steep slide from the pick of the Dunning-Kruger Effect curve...

The Kruger-Dunning effect for Excel Proficiency

...or take this 3-minute Excel test to diagnose your skills

The following tips will help you to take a test independently, but if you live in London, you can register for my unique, on-site course. You will be able to grasp majority of Excel interview tests in just one Saturday, learning through the practice. You will work on spreadsheet assessments and will be supervised and supported during the class conducted by me. I organise them only several times a year, and they get fully booked fast.

Here are 7 tips that will help you pass an Excel interview test:

1. It is more than just providing the right answers

  • show your problem-solving approach

  • present your tenacity and enthusiasm

  • don't be afraid to ask questions, especially to understand the bigger picture and how the skills tested relate to the future work activities

2. Do your due diligence

  • make sure to learn who is going to interview yourself, what's their background,

  • check the company (their website, LinkedIn, social media profiles),

  • check the specific department or team (What kind of data they work on? What skills they would like you to have?)

3. Learn what type of test it's going to be

  • online or on-site

  • closed book or open book

  • supervised or unsupervised

4. Narrate if you can

  • learn industry essentials

  • relate to them

  • uncover broader context

5. Workarounds are OK if not too frequent

  • very often there are multiple solutions

  • you can be creative, but should remain realistic

  • don't overkill easy tasks

6. Know where to look

  • break the problem down to simpler tasks

  • build up the solution step by step

  • last resort: search the ribbon

7. Master the buzz topics

  • don't memorise, understand the mechanism or syntax

  • repeat: lookups, pivot tables, sumifs, countifs, nested ifs

  • don't forget about data cleansing, dollaring, dragging down, setting right data format


Follow us on LinkedIn to see more articles like this one and if you are struggling to choose the right training for your employees, check how to do it here.


Michael Sena. The founder of Senacea – Business Analytics consultancy provider, based in London, operating in the entire UK. If you are looking for MS Excel Experts or VBA developers to automate and improve your spreadsheet work or help you repair Excel files, contact us now.



1. Lack of awareness
2. Budgeting constraints
3. Status quo
4. Case study
5. Equilibrium
6. The remedy
bottom of page