Help with Job Interview (Computer) Questions

vyapti

New member
I'm interviewing candidates for a property management position and I need to come up with some questions to gauge someone's basic computer knowledge. Does anyone have some good questions?

Background:
I work in a small non-profit company. I'm the only one that's remotely tech savy. I've got two employees that can hold their own. And the others give me nightmare. One employee had to bring her laptop in to have her clock reset. Another prints pictures by importing them into Word (and distorts them to fit the page). I've got two employees that can't use Outlook. So any and all training falls on me.

For this position I need someone who's got some basic competence and is trainable. They use Word a lot, Excel a little, and a Property Management database that's a little cumbersome. I just need someone who can learn (mostly) on their own and with tech support, can do some troubleshooting and who won't screw things up.

So I'm looking for some good questions I can ask candidates. I'm already skeptical of the current candidates' abilities.

The Questions:

Skills:

  • What software are you comfortable using?
  • What is the purpose of MS Outlook?
  • Tell me the difference between a database and a spreadsheet? When is it appropriate to use each?[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]What specific tasks have you performed in a complex software application?[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]What is your level of experience with software used in your job? What resources do you use when faced with a PC problem?[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Familiarity:[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]

  • In what ways do you use a computer to enhance your personal life?
  • [FONT=&quot]Do you bank on-line? What sorts of things do you purchase on the internet?[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]How do you organize your internet business? [/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]What web sites do you have bookmarked? What would I find if I browsed your internet history?[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Ability to Learn:[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]

  • [FONT=&quot]Give me an example of an assignment, which you have recently worked on, that involved the learning of a new technical development.[/FONT]
  • Over the last week, how often have you used your personal computer? What did you do? What software did you use?
  • [FONT=&quot]How have you learned your computer skills? Give an example. What one area do you wish you knew more about?>[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Give me an example of an assignment that you found difficult to finish? How did you go about it?[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Tell me about a time when you were given an assignment, but you were not clear of how to go about it. How did you tackle this situation?[/FONT]

Any other Ideas?
 

Keltin

New member
Gold Site Supporter
I'd get rid of all of those Familiarity questions. They are too personal and could get you in trouble.

Here are some basic questions that a reasonably competent user should know.

-------------------------------------

What are Hotkeys?

In Word (or windows in general) what are the Hotkeys for Select All, Copy, Paste, and Undo?

Which Function Key triggers Spell-check in Word.

Which Function Key refreshes Internet Explorer?

If you were given a large document to proof-read, and it was desired to change every occurrence of "aren't" to "are not", how would you do it?

If an application is not responding in Windows, how would you go about stopping and restarting that application?

What are cookies, and how do you purge them?

Name some useful Windows key shortcuts.

Name some useful command line commands.

How do you identify basic system information for the PC you are working on?

How do you discover the total time a PC has been on (System Up-Time)?

In a document, how many spaces are supposed to come after a period?
 

vyapti

New member
Thanks, I see a couple in there I can use. I knew I could count on you, Keltin. I have a yes/no questionnaire that we give applicants and I'm stunned at how computer illiterate most applicants are. Most don't even know what RSS Feed or SD cards are I haven't interviewed a single applicant (multiple positions) that could identify the shortcuts for cut/copy/paste/undo. Many don't even know the difference between Google and IE.
 

Keltin

New member
Gold Site Supporter
Here's an advanced Word question that not many will know, but it's a trick that I find useful.

In Word, how do you variably select text in a list or paragraph. For example, how would you select just the numbers and names of the items in this list, all at once, for easy pasting to another document.

1. Banana 0.99
2. Orange 0.75
3. Cherry 1.15
4. Water 0.89
5. Pecan 1.25
6. Walnut 2.50
7. Pine 0.15


Answer, place your cursor at the start of the desired text, now hold down Alt and Shift at the same time. Now drag your mouse through the text, and you can create a "column" highlight to grab only what you want like this:

1. Banana
2. Orange
3. Cherry
4. Water
5. Pecan
6. Walnut
7. Pine

If they know how to do that, go ahead and hire them! :yum:
 
I'm interviewing candidates for a property management position and I need to come up with some questions to gauge someone's basic computer knowledge. Does anyone have some good questions?

Background:
I work in a small non-profit company. I'm the only one that's remotely tech savy. I've got two employees that can hold their own. And the others give me nightmare. One employee had to bring her laptop in to have her clock reset. Another prints pictures by importing them into Word (and distorts them to fit the page). I've got two employees that can't use Outlook. So any and all training falls on me.

For this position I need someone who's got some basic competence and is trainable. They use Word a lot, Excel a little, and a Property Management database that's a little cumbersome. I just need someone who can learn (mostly) on their own and with tech support, can do some troubleshooting and who won't screw things up.

So I'm looking for some good questions I can ask candidates. I'm already skeptical of the current candidates' abilities.... Any other Ideas?

Are you looking for, or are you already in, property management for a condominium, etc? We employ an outside management co. They collect dues, do accounting etc, etc. The Board does more of a hands-on job - court etc (as I understand it.) Would one need to be a licensed realtor?

I'm thinking this is more of a hands-on position. Re computer knowledge, I would try to simplify or improve the existing database. Hope that helps.

Here's a site that might give you some ideas re outside management companies for an HOA:

http://www.hoamanagement.com/
 
K

Kimchee

Guest
You say you want someone who can hold their own and is trainable....
but the questions you are proposing are, to me, way past "hold their own"
and are more like "advanced user".....

I am pretty savvy, but don't use hotkeys at all, for example....


Guess I'm just trying to say don't let YOUR Tech level obscure what you are wanting?
 

vyapti

New member
You say you want someone who can hold their own and is trainable....
but the questions you are proposing are, to me, way past "hold their own"
and are more like "advanced user".....

I am pretty savvy, but don't use hotkeys at all, for example....


Guess I'm just trying to say don't let YOUR Tech level obscure what you are wanting?

When designing our Tech questionnaire, I consulted my son and daughter (13yo & 17yo). Both are intelligent, but neither are particularly interested in computers.

I'd be interested in hearing what others consider a basic understanding. I'd expect someone to be able to navigate Word, construct a simple table in Excel, schedule an appointment in Outlook and be able to save an attachment to somewhere other than a Temp folder or their My Docs.

Are you looking for, or are you already in, property management for a condominium, etc? We employ an outside management co. They collect dues, do accounting etc, etc. The Board does more of a hands-on job - court etc (as I understand it.) Would one need to be a licensed realtor?

I'm thinking this is more of a hands-on position. Re computer knowledge, I would try to simplify or improve the existing database. Hope that helps.

Here's a site that might give you some ideas re outside management companies for an HOA:

http://www.hoamanagement.com/
The database is cumbersome to learn, but it does all the income/rent calculations & compliance reporting. And every few months, it seems, HUD comes up with something else we should be tracking.

I've seriously considered contracting out. We do multi-family affordable housing for people with disabilities and, although it's expensive and often frustrating, I think it really benefits our tenants to keep it 'in house.' We work mostly with tenants who would be evicted from most other housing.
 

Adillo303

*****
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
Just my two cents. In the advert, list the skills you want. Devise a practical exercise that would have the interviewee demonstrate the things you want them to do. Very important. Write up the routine and make sure every candidate gets exactly the same tasks.
 

MexicoKaren

Joyfully Retired
Super Site Supporter
[quote-Adillo303]Devise a practical exercise that would have the interviewee demonstrate the things you want them to do.[/quote]


Great advice from Andy. That's exactly what I did when I hired people who needed to have a certain level of computer skills, e.g., give them a written list of numbers in several columns, have them construct a simple spreadsheet with simple calculations. If they need Access, have them design a simple database - see if they can actually do it. But give them the data that you want them to use. If you need skill in Word, see if they can do a mail merge with a simple letter and several addresses. That gives you objective information from which to draw some conclusions. I remember hiring someone once who claimed expertise in word processing, and it turned out that she was simply shutting her computer off (with the switch) each night when she went home. Eventually, it would no longer boot up because the RAM was so full (this was awhile ago). Fortunately, she was still in her probationary period.
 

UnConundrum

New member
Gold Site Supporter
Just another comment... I know you need an employee competent in Windows, but leave room for an Apple or Linux user, they can be very competent and quick learners ;) I used to write code to modify Outlook, but can't remember a shortcut/hotkey combination for the life of me. Could be an OpenOffice user, and quite proficient, totally comprehending the theory but just lacking in the specifics, which they could pick up on quite quickly.

I know, it's a Windows world, this week. Just don't disregard a Mac user just because they don't know the Outlook key combinations. Of course, not all Mac users are computer mavens, just most of them ;)
 

vyapti

New member
Just another comment... I know you need an employee competent in Windows, but leave room for an Apple or Linux user, they can be very competent and quick learners ;) ...
I once had the interview question "why a penguin?" I still have no idea why, but only two of us even mentioned linux.
 
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