If you DARE – the chart test of death

Former logo of American Idol from 2002 to 2008.

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After asking someone what a t-test is and whether they watch American Idol, I have another question I like to ask interviewees to see if they know their stuff. I ask them to create a chart that they would present to a client. Ahhh, the variety of answers this reveals.

1) Some folks tell me that this version of Excel doesn’t do charts but they can do it on their version. (Honestly. This one astounds me.)
2) Others create a chart. That’s it. Nothing else. When I re-prompt that it’s to give to a client, I still get a default chart in default colors with a default no title and default lack of zero on the axis.
3) A few create a chart and try to pick the right chart, try to put a title, and try to fix the axis.

Right away, I can see that Person #1 has weak problem solving skills and great excuse skills. There are multiple ways to chart in excel and if you can’t get one of them to work, I can’t help you. Thanks for coming out.

Person #2 pays no attention to detail and barely wants to get the job done. Thanks for coming out.

Person #3 is my person. Whether they choose the right options, I know they are curious and want to do the right thing. If they don’t know what the right thing is, I can teach them and they can learn.

If I ever get to ask you this question, please make sure your chart has a non-misleading scale, a good title, non-florescent colours, and isn’t 3D. My sincere thanks.

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    2 responses

    1. Good test. I’d give AnnMaria bonus points.

    2. I wouldn’t make a chart. First, I would ask you, “What is it that the client wants to know?” and second,

      “Why do they want to know that?”

      because sometimes the chart they think they want won’t answer the real question that matters to them.

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