When applying for an office skills job, you may be required to take a test to demonstrate your knowledge of basic office skills by taking an office skills test. Most organizations today administer office skills tests and the type of tests you receive will depend on the particular skills required for the position you are applying for. Be sure to read the job description carefully to make sure you are qualified for the position and have the skills necessary before applying for the job and taking the tests. Office Skills Tests generally fall into two categories: Techincal (Hard Skills) testing and Soft Skills Testing.
At a minimum, you may be tested on some or all of the technical skills, also called hard skills, which are the MS Office applications including word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications. In most organizations, this includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. Office skills tests usually always include a keyboarding test to verify your speed and accuracy and sometimes even proofreading, data entry, and transcription. Taking professional development courses in beginning online keyboarding and microsoft office online classes such as those offered on officeskills.org is a good way to hone up on the skills necessary to prepare yourself for testing.
Employers are also looking at whether applicants possess the necessary soft skills required to work with other office staff members and operate in a team environment. While these kinds of tests can be hard to prepare for, employers are starting to consider them necessary in determining an applicant's ability to fit in with the company's goals.
Sharon Burton and Nelda Shelton, in their text book, Office Procedures for the 21st Century (8th Edition) Education Reference Books) describe soft skills as personal qualities such as being responsible, dependable, a self-starter, having a positive self-esteem, being sociable, exhibiting self-management, displaying integrity/honesty, projecting a pleasant personality, showing your human side and projecting a professional image. They also state that soft skills also include interpersonal skills such as participating as a team member, teaching others, interacting with customers, demonstrating leadership ability, negotiating agreements and respecting diversity. Taking a course in office procedures is one way you can learn about the soft skills necessary to succeed in today's office.
Most employment or staffing agencies administer tests onsite at their own location. If you've recently taken courses in office skills, your instructor may also know where you can get tested in your area. It's a good idea to check with the agency in advance to find out what tests they will administer so you can prepare.