I'm definitely not a fan of testing a candidate as part of the interview process, and have pushed back when possible. Providing samples of work, however, demonstrates a lot more.
And talking about the functions does help provide more about what they actually do and don't know.
While I was interviewing for my current position, I was asked about expertise in MS Office. I spoke about excel (my favorite program) and mentioned my favorite function. The Annual Giving manager and I bonded immediately through our shared love of 'concatenate.' J Data heads? Oh, yes.
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I'm not sure why no one seems to be a fan of these tests. I've found that many people will say they have skills and many can even describe fake projects they've done with their skills (or maybe they describe projects others have done, I don't know). But if you give them a quick test with just a few rows of fake data that requires only basic skills like sorting and an easy formula or two, it is so much easier to weed out the pretenders, and you won't weed out those who at least have those basic skills and (hopefully) the ability to learn more advanced skills. But I always make up my own tests rather than using something online.
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