Excel Test for Hiring

Use this Shift in Google Sheets: Excel Test for Hiring


This test examines the candidate’s ability to use a tool like Excel or Google Sheets to manipulate and prepare data for analysis, while also testing their ability to analyze a data set similar to those they will encounter in practice when working with Amazon clients.

This test is not intended to disqualify other skills and abilities of a candidate, but rather provides the hiring manager with a consistent basis from which they can evaluate analytical skills commonly used by standout Amazon agency employees.

While the test uses specific Amazon data, skilled candidates can successfully complete the test without any prior Amazon management experience.

Skills Assessed:

– Attention to detail, especially with data
– A candidate’s ‘figure it out’ ability when faced with new challenges
– Data preparation using copy and paste or more advanced methods like vlookup
– Basic and intermediate formula and function usage for data analysis
– General data understanding and the use of standard calculations to derive insights from basic Amazon data
– Communication skills via a written explanation of performance using data from the test

Administering the test:

This test is intended as an assessment of a prequalified candidate who has already gone through an initial ‘discovery’ screening process.

It is up to you whether or not the test is ‘open book’. We have found curiousity and self-reliance to be desirable traits in our Amazon agency employees, so we typically encourage candidates to seek solutions for the test in any way they can (manual data entry, googling formulas, etc.). Much of Amazon knowledge and expertise is gained by encountering an unknown problem and searching for solutions by any means necessary. We think that behavior should be encouraged and assessed via this test.

Related to the above, you may consider having the candidate record their screen as they complete the test so you can review how they went about finding answers to the problems throughout the exam.

Time Limit:

There is no standard time limit required, but this assessment should easily be completed within 30 minutes by a candidate with menial Excel skills.

How to share the test with a candidate:

1) Explain the assessment’s purpose to the candidate and ask if they’d like to use the Google SheetS or Excel version.
2) Create a copy of the test with the candidate’s name in the document title
3) Hide the ‘Scoring & Assessment’ sheet so the candidate can’t see it – To do so, right click on the tab name at the bottome of this screen and click ‘Hide Sheet’
4) Send the assessment to the candidate via email with a deadline of when it is due

Grading the assessment:

1) Open the file and unhide the ‘Scoring & Assessment’ sheet by navigating to ‘View’ in the main navigation at the top of the page, clicking ‘Hidden sheets (1)’, and then clicking ‘Show
Scoring & Assessment’
2) Review the candidate’s answers on the assessment tab
3) Note: You will need to manually grade Question #7 based on expectations you have for this level of position
4) Review the scorecard and grading rubric for the candidate’s score
5) Document the score in the candidate’s application file and save the final test for reference.
6) Use the assessment score when reviewing the other application materials and interviews completed by the candidate.



About this Shift:

We designed this Excel test to assess potential new hires at our previous Amazon agencies. Todd Vanderstelt (Co-Founder of MixShift) took what he learned as a bar-raiser at Amazon and applied it to his hiring process at Amazon agencies starting in 2016.

He identified early on that the best employees at his agency were those that could work with data right off the bat. There’s nowhere to hide when on a call with clients so Todd wanted to ensure his employees were able to answer questions using data on their own. Too often, the agency would hire candidates who could talk the talk but weren’t able to self-serve on the data to actually identify issues or opportunities within a client’s account.

As a result, he developed an early version of this test, which assesses a candidate’s ability to use Excel or Google Sheets to analyze and agnostic data set using basic to intermediate skills

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