It’s difficult to find a career that doesn’t require some level of computer skills in this day and age. From writing emails to inputting documentation, everybody has to use a computer at some point. Even jobs that were once considered low-tech, like sales representatives, now have software and technology they need to navigate to do their job as quickly and accurately as possible.
And while everyone may use a computer (just about everyone has one in their pocket in the form of a smartphone these days) not everyone has the same level of skill. Hiring someone who isn’t proficient in the software required for the job will only cause you and your new hire frustration.
Why word processor skills still matter
If you’re hiring for a role that requires the use of a word processor for creating and editing documents, it’s important to find out whether they have the level of skill you need.
While many people can open up a Word document and start typing, critical skills make a difference in how well they can perform their job. The basics are easy enough to understand, but some tasks require a deeper understanding of the software. For example:
- Protecting a document
- Advanced formatting
- Using page layout features.
- Using collaborative and solo editing tools
Speed is critical
In 1946, a woman from Chicago named Stella Pajunas broke the world typing record by clocking in an impressive 216 words per minute. In all this time, that record has never been broken and still stands.
Today, though, it’s not just typing skills that count for speed. Being able to use software quickly is just as critical as typing speed. You don’t want an employee taking most of the day trying to figure out how to create a chart or take too long because they don’t know how to comment on a document.
Getting a new hire up to speed is critical for the return on investment for recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee. Teaching Microsoft Word skills could seriously compromise the profitability of an employee.
Your business documents are too important to take risks
The information that you have as a business is critical. Your employees need to take it as seriously as you do and know how to protect it. Poor data quality, such as inaccurate phone numbers or addresses, could end up costing your business dearly if you cannot reach a customer.
Ensuring that your employee knows how to back up data and can create easy-to-find resources is crucial for maintaining the business even when the employee is gone. If they are sick or out of the office, your other workers need to be able to easily access whatever information they need.
In a recent survey by StorageCraft, IT professionals said that information loss was due to human error in 29% of cases. Testing their skills ensures that your data is safe with them.
Typing isn’t the only skill you need to use a word processor
Microsoft Word has many use cases for businesses and can be a valuable tool. However, if your employees don’t have word processing skills, then you can’t get the most out of it.
For example, using SpellCheck is critical for your reputation as a company. In a survey of over 1000 web users, almost half stated that grammar mistakes affect their view of a brand. If your employee’s written communication is riddled with typos, your customers may view your brand as less than professional. It may even cost you sales.
Whether putting together financial statements or maintaining a database, the ability to use Word quickly and accurately is critical. Hiring employees that can harness that will help improve your business. A Microsoft Word assessment can help you identify which employees know it well.
Word processing skills facilitate clear collaboration and keep organized
When you sit down to an interview, your interviewee might be clear, friendly, and expressive. However, that doesn’t always translate to written communication and even higher education doesn’t mean good writing skills. According to an employer survey from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 26.2% of college students had poor writing skills.
Being able to communicate clearly in writing is critical for most jobs. If employees lack experience with word processors, though, there is a higher potential risk of poor communication or a communication gap.
Strong word processing skills are also vital to keeping everyone organized and on the same page. From editing directly on documents to sharing spreadsheets to creating graphs, Word offers several collaborative and organizational tools. It makes it easier for everyone to keep in contact with each other and enables teams to work as one.
There are many collaborative tools on the market today. However, you can save money by using tools you already have. If your employees know how to use the technology well, your company can get full use of it.
What roles require word processing skills?
While it is true that almost every job will need word processing skills at some point, certain jobs require a specific level of expertise to ensure a good hire. If you are hiring for one of these jobs, you will probably want to consider testing their word processing skills:
- Personal assistants. A personal assistant represents you to others, especially when it comes to your personal life. Their computer skills are critical in making sure you always appear professional and organized. From writing emails to placing orders to creating informative content, their word processing skills are essential to their job.
- Executive assistants. Like a personal assistant, your executive assistant is representing you. However, they are also representing your company and leadership. They need a high level of word processing skills to do that effectively.
- Copywriters. When your job is writing, you need to do it well. Not only do they need to get the words right, but the presentation is critical too. Their word processing skills are monumentally important when it comes to adding pictures, responding to edits, and always ensuring their formatting is correct.
- Editors. Correcting documents, leaving comments, and creating attractive documents are all critical parts of an editor’s role. Editors need to have strong word processing skills to do their job well.
- Content marketers. Like editors and copywriters, content marketers need to be able to write, edit, and add visuals.
- Customer service. Communicating with customers is a fundamental part of your support team. They need to be able to communicate well in writing, such as by email, which will represent your brand to customers.
- Data entry. Data entry can be tedious, but it plays an essential role in many businesses. As such, they need to be able to type and input data extremely accurately. Having someone who can be accurate while maintaining a specific speed is also vital in making sure you hire well. If you are paying by the hour, for example, you want to ensure they can do the job quickly.
This is just a small list of potential candidates that would benefit from word processing skills testing, but there are lots of careers where it is a critical component of a good hire.
To decide whether to test for word processing skills, consider what the position you are hiring for requires. If a job involves typing, editing, presenting, or inputting data, hiring managers should ensure that candidates have the skills to do so quickly and accurately.
How to test word processing skills
Failing to vet candidates properly is a common problem: in a survey of over 2,000 hiring managers, three out of four said they’d hired the wrong person at some point. Of those who said they did, 35% said the candidate did not have the needed skills, while another 33% said the candidate lied about their abilities.
Testing for word processing skills means more than just ensuring they can type quickly. Instead, you need to test them on the software that you currently use to ensure they can use it effectively in a business setting. Any test should be a comprehensive skills test that includes:
- Opening, saving, closing, and printing documents.
- Using collaborative and solo editing tools.
- Formatting and page layout
- Creating and editing tables and graphs
- Inserting images, objects, headers, page numbers, and footers
If your company uses Microsoft, a comprehensive Microsoft Word skills test will ensure a new hire possesses the skills needed to succeed.
Find a hire with the word processing skills you need
While most of us know how to casually use technology, using word processing in a business setting requires more comprehensive testing. It still requires testing to ensure that any new hire possesses the right skills and doesn’t need to be trained. By implementing a skills test at the top of the hiring funnel, you can make sure that your new hires have the necessary word processing skills and avoid mishires.