Interview Questions About Computer Skills

How to Prepare the Best Answers About Technical Proficiency

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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 for 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. Read below for some helpful tips and sample answers.

How to Answer Interview 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 field the office is in, 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.

If you have specific experience with a specialized program, be sure to mention it. Even if it is not listed in the job description, it might be a useful extra skill.

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.

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 quickly, if that is the truth. If you can, provide an example of a time you learned a program quickly in the past.

Also, if there is a software you need to know for the job, but you are unfamiliar with it, you might sign up for a free online class to learn the software. 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.

Examples of the Best Answers

Here are some sample answers to give you an idea of how to respond during your interview. Be sure to tailor your own answer to fit the job you are applying for, and your own technological abilities.

  • I'm proficient with Microsoft Office suite including Word, Excel, and Power Point. I'm very comfortable using these programs and have a lot of experience doing so.
  • 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.
  • I am familiar with using both Windows and Apple operating software. I have used both in my previous job for the past ten years.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • While I did not work with Java at my previous job, I am currently taking an online course in which I am learning Java. I am already halfway through the course, and am quickly gaining confidence in this program. I have taken other online courses to strengthen my IT skills, and have had much success.