When you are interviewing for a job, a typical question is, "What computer skills do you have and what programs are you comfortable using?"
Of course, the answer to this question will vary widely depending on the job for which you are applying. If you are applying for a high-tech position that requires lots of information technology skills, for example, you should know your skills and experience like the back of your hand and be able to recount them without issue.
However, if you're applying for a position that requires lighter computer skills, you may need some assistance coming up with a strong answer. Here are some tips, along with some sample interview questions and answers.
How to Answer Questions About Computer Skills
The most common software currently being used for office work is word processing software like Microsoft Word, spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel, and presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint.
It's important to refresh your skills with these basic programs. Some companies may prefer Apple software and Mac computers, though if you're only expected to do basic computer work, you will probably be working with Microsoft programs.
Keep in mind that most job applicants will have experience with these Microsoft programs, and most employers will expect you to as well.
Therefore, state that you are fluent or experienced with these software programs, but don’t spend too much time elaborating on this.
Depending on the company’s industry, they may also have specialized software that you need to master. You should research what they are using ahead of time, if at all possible.
For example, you should look closely at the job description and see if it requires you to have experience with any programs. Be sure to mention your experience or knowledge of this software.
Remember, you should always be honest when answering interview questions. If you say you're an expert at a program, your employer is going to expect you to be able to walk right into the office and get to work. It will reflect very poorly on you if you don't actually have the skills that you claim.
10 Computer Skills Interview Questions and Sample Answers
These computer skills questions are the most likely ones you will field in a personal interview. By practicing your answers ahead of time, you’ll be able to provide confident responses even under pressure.
1. How comfortable are you using the elements of Microsoft Office?
What They Want to Know: In almost any job that requires word processing, job candidates will be expected to be well-versed in using Microsoft Word. Most administrative roles also require proficiency in Microsoft Excel (for creating spreadsheets) and in Microsoft PowerPoint (for developing presentations).
I’m proficient with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. I’m very comfortable using these programs and have a lot of experience doing so.
2. How adept are you in learning rising computer software programs and systems?
What They Want to Know: Business technologies change overnight, so any employee who uses a computer must be able to keep up with system upgrades and / or new software installations.
I’m very comfortable using computers and am confident in my ability to learn any new programs quickly. For example, in my last job as a web editor, I mastered a new content management system very quickly: within two weeks, I was teaching the system to our interns.
3. Which operating software systems are you conversant with?
What They Want to Know: There are different factors that go into which of the computer world’s two primary operating systems companies choose to invest in. While most creative and design professions still prefer Apple’s Mac products, cost-conscious companies in other industries often equip their offices with less expensive Microsoft PCs. Most job listings will mention the computer system utilized at a company, so be prepared to explain your level of expertise in their preferred OS.
I am comfortable using both Windows and Apple operating software. I have used both in my previous job for the past ten years.
4. How comfortable are you using spreadsheet software?
What They Want to Know: Any employee tasked with bookkeeping or accounting functions will probably need to demonstrate that they can use computer technologies to calculate, table, chart, and compare numerical data.
I’m an expert at Microsoft Excel and Mac Numbers. I can create fully functional spreadsheets and am familiar with organizing and analyzing large sets of data. For example, I collected and organized our entire school’s testing outcomes in both math and English for the past two years. I then analyzed and interpreted these findings for our superintendent.
5. How proficient are you in the use of photo and video design software?
What They Want to Know: Although the use of graphics-manipulation software used to be the domain of design and marketing professionals, these sorts of program have become so easy to use that many office professionals now use them as well, especially in small businesses where administrative staff may be asked to update websites or create graphically-enhanced internal or external communications materials.
In addition to basic computer skills and word processing, I’m also familiar with photo and video editing software. I have used both Adobe After Effects and iMovie to edit short promotional videos for my previous company, and have received much praise from my employer for my skill in these programs.
6. Which mobile technologies are you experienced in using?
What They Want to Know: Mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, have become an increasingly important tool for small businesses, particularly in the sales and marketing sectors. This is a trend which that only grow as telecommunications companies roll out new cloud-based apps and services for business users.
As a project lead in my last job, I significantly improved the communications between our team members – spread across five different geographical sales divisions – by implementing our use of the GoToMeeting mobile app. I learn new apps very quickly, and use Salesforce1, Pipedrive, and Nimble on a daily basis.
7. Part of the responsibilities of this position will entail that you help us to build our social media presence. Which social media sites do you commonly use?
What They Want to Know: Social media has become a preferred channel for many businesses to reach out to existing and prospective customers.
I’ve developed personal pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as creating a business profile for my previous employer on Facebook, where I posted at least three times a week, tracked reader engagement, and set up Facebook ads linked to the company’s website.
8. How would you rate your competency in HTML?
I have 8 years’ experience using HTML to create websites, as well as solid experience converting HTML webpages to WordPress. I also have strong CSS programming skills, and thus have been my company’s go-to person when they needed someone to help train others in implementing cascading style sheets.
9. Which Google-based business tools have you used in your previous roles?
What They Want to Know: As telecommunications tools have become increasingly sophisticated, numerous small businesses have begun to control office costs and improve the work/lifestyle balances of their personnel by allowing their staff to work from home or while on the road. Any employer who relies upon a mobile or remote workforce may well have adopted Google-based tools to enhance the speed and efficiency of their business operations.
Because most of our team in the design department at ABC Company worked remotely, we used G Suite for our business email communications, video conferencing, file sharing, and cloud storage.
10. Have you earned any computer certifications?
What They Want to Know: Being able to demonstrate that you have successfully completed IT certification programs in various software programs can be a huge advantage for a job candidate, since this lets prospective employers know that you are professionally trained and will not require additional instruction or mentoring in order to use their computer systems.
In order to fully expand my command of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, I recently earned my certification as a Financials Functional Consultant Associate. The knowledge I gained has enabled me to exponentially streamline our field service operations.
Tips to Answer Computer Skills Interview Questions
Keep these tips in mind as you prepare to respond to interview questions regarding your technical proficiencies.
Bring your laptop or other mobile tools along. If you know that using web, cloud-based, or mobile technologies will be a large part of your work responsibilities, bring your laptop or cellphone along just in case the hiring manager asks for examples of webpages you’ve maintained or social media platforms you’ve managed. This way, you can easily and swiftly show bookmarked examples of your work, much as an artist would show their portfolio.
Don’t fib or exaggerate your level of technical knowledge. If you do not have much experience with a required software program, be honest about this when asked. However, you might add that you are very “digitally fluent,” and that you learn new programs swiftly, if that is the truth. If you can, provide an example of a time you learned a program quickly in the past.
Provide fluency test results. If you have taken fluency tests in programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint and your results were strong, bring a copy of the test results along with a copy of your resume and a list of professional references to present to the hiring committee.
Provide additional information about your technical proficiencies if warranted. If you have specific experience with a specialized program that might be useful in your new job, be sure to mention it. Even if it is not listed in the job description or asked about in the interview, it might be a useful extra skill. At the very least, this will demonstrate your enthusiasm for computer technologies and show that you know how to use different programs to optimize business communications or work processes.
More Frequently Asked Questions
- Help Desk Interview Questions
- Network Administrator Interview Questions
- Software Engineer Interview Questions
- Technical Interview Questions
How to Make the Best Impression
As we’ve discussed, it’s a very good idea to review the job announcement before your interview so that you are prepared to discuss your degree of competency with any program it lists as a “minimum” or “preferred” qualification.
Also, if there is software you need to know for the job, but you are unfamiliar with it, you might sign up for a free online class. That way, during the interview, you can explain that you are currently learning the software. This will give you the added bonus of showing your dedication to the company and the job.