Technology is supposed to serve us, but it often feels the other way around. People are glued to their smartphones non-stop, while not working. And while working, they often spend the entire day in front of a computer screen. Everything in the name of progress, and ever increasing efficiency and GDP. Just so we can get more new cars and houses, or get into even a bigger debt.
Whether it is a road to heaven or hell I do not dare to say, even though I may know the answer better than most people do… Anyway, in 90% of all jobs nowadays, you will work with some computer programs. MS Office still leads the way, and likely will for the next decade. However, in many corporations you will work with information systems like SAP, or with all kinds of specialized computer programs and utilities related to your field work.
It is just logical that the hiring managers wonder what computer programs you can work with. In this article we will look at 7 sample answers to this common interview question, answers for both experienced managers and for people searching their very first job. Answers for geeks, but also answers for people who hate computers, or simply cannot work with them. I hope at least one of the answers will resonate with you, and with the message you try to convey in the interviews. Do not forger to check also my notes below the answers, for additional hints on how to make the right impression on the hiring managers. Enjoy!
7 sample answers to “What computer programs are you familiar with?” interview question
- I am familiar with the basics—Ms Word, MS Excel, PowerPoint, common email clients, Skype, MS Teams, basically everything you need for a basic communication and functioning in a modern corporation. I have worked with these programs on a daily basis in my last job, especially with MS Excel, for a purpose of statistical analysis. We also had access to specific utilities online, but I haven’t used it often. However, I believe that with my experience with different programs and interfaces, I would not find it hard to learn to work with any any computer program, if I need it to be efficient in my new job.
- I have been a MAC user for years, and hence have worked mostly with their software, for writing, making presentations, editing videos, and also for basic programming. However, I understand the importance of working efficiently with any computer programs you use in your organization, and am willing to learn to work with them, even in my free time, following the online tutorials or hiring a private tutor to help me out.
- This is my first job application, but I consider myself proficient with Adobe and CAT, since I’ve been doing some freelancing as a designer while studying. I can make nice logos, design simple websites, promotion materials, and similar things. If you want, I can show you my portfolio online (have your laptop ready for this, if they give you a green light it should not take you five minutes just to get to the portfolio). I believe my familiarity with these programs will help me in this job, and I also cannot wait to learn new skills while working for you.
- I am not familiar with any to be honest. I have never been in favor of digitization and artificial intelligence, and actually find its level of penetration into our everyday life rather scary. Yet I came to a point when I realistically struggle to get any jobs with my attitude, and hence I decided to give it a go, and learn at least the bear minimum. I am willing to make this sacrifice, and believe me for me it isn’t a small sacrifice to make… I still do not plan to get a smartphone, Netflix, Instagram account, and other things people waste their lives on. But I am willing to learn to work with the programs I need in my work, because now I understand it is simply necessary, unless I want to stay unemployed.
- I am familiar with with accounting software XYZ, and also with ABC, since I have worked with them in my two previous jobs. I know that you use ABC in your company, so the transition should be really easy to me. I have recorded hundreds of transactions monthly, made reports, illustrated charts, and so on for my last employer. I believe it is a great software, but I also believe we should never stop learning, and plan to work on my skills with other computer programs.
- I am familiar with everything you use here. Read the job description carefully, checked your website, talked to people who have the same position with you. I know exactly how a typical day here looks like, and what computer programs one has to use on a daily basis, in order to take care of their tasks, and reporting. I feel ready to deliver from day one, and believe you will give me a chance to prove my words in the job.
- I am familiar with MS Office, and also with different content management systems, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, since designing websites and e-shops for my friends is a great hobby of mine. With websites you have to learn a lot of things—how domain registration works, hosting, firewall, email clients. I believe this experience helped me a lot with my computer intelligence, and it should help me to quickly learn any new computer program, even one I am not familiar with at all. Anyway, I can assure you that I am a quick learner and enjoy learning new things, and if I face a roadblock in this job in terms of some software I have to use, but cannot, I will commit myself 100% to learning it as quickly as possible.
If you cannot work with the computer program they use, show your willingness to learn
It may easily happen that you are not familiar with the software they inquire about, or with one of the programs they commonly use in the company. In such a case it is important to show your willingness to learn to work with the program, even in your free time (for example before the day you start in your new job). At the end of the day, one can find great tutorials online for any computer programs, often in form of video tutorials which are easy to follow.
The key is to demonstrate that you are willing to sacrifice something for your new job. It is a question of attitude more than anything else, because if they like you, they will not mind sending you to a paid training program, or simply having a patience with you while you get your head around this or that compute program. In order to like you, however, they have to like your attitude first :). That’s why it is a key to show the right one in the interviews, and this question is definitely a good opportunity to do so.
Try to include details in your answer
Everyone can say that they are familiar with this or that software. But are they really? How can the hiring managers tell? Well, they can let you complete an online test, or simply let you work with the program in the interview (I enjoyed doing this tremendously while leading interviews). In other instances, they try judge the authenticity of your answer according to the details you provide. That means how long have you been working with this or that computer program, where did you learn to work with it, how did it help you in your last job, or at school, and also perhaps which version of the software you are familiar with. It sounds much more credible than just saying that you are familiar with this or that computer program.
Make sure that you sound authentic. Provide details. And if you aren’t familiar with some software they mention, be honest and admit it. As long as you are willing to learn to work with it, and show confidence in your computer intelligence, they will be satisfied with your answer…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited time or resources.
- Describe your experience working with Microsoft Word.
- Describe your experience working with MS Excel.