Name as many uses for a brick as you can in one minute. How would you build an engine from scratch? Can you estimate the revenue from 2012 Olympic ticket sales? These are just a few of the tough questions that made job seekers sweat bullets during an interview in the past year according to glassdoor.com.
The career site has just released its annual list of the Top 25 Most Difficult Companies to Interview, based entirely on candidates’ ratings. The site’s users have rated companies’ interview prowess using metrics such as: difficulty of questions; the positiveness of the experience; and the length of the interview process. The website dug through more than 170,000 interview ratings and reviews shared throughout the past year in order to uncover the list.
Job candidates seeking employment at McKinsey & Company should prepare for the worst, as the consulting firm was rated as the toughest interviewer for the third year in a row. Glassdoor ranked McKinsey at a 3.9 difficulty rating out of 5.0, beating tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook. The rest of the ‘top five’ included software design company ThoughtWorks, management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, technology research company Gartner, and management consulting firm Bain & Company.
Consulting firms seem to be particularly notorious for putting interviewees under pressure, taking up three of the top five spots. For example, a business analyst candidate interviewing at McKinsey was once asked “How would you calculate the annual carbon emissions from electric versus gas vehicles in the EU?”
Of course, many of these tough questions tend to be asked when applying for one of the highly sought after engineer or business analyst jobs, but some candidates said that applying for a job at a toothpaste, paper towels and nappy company wasn’t any easier.
One candidate interviewing at Procter & Gamble said: “Really it’s a company with strong values and they are looking for people with good personalities and character. So their interview process is all about filtering people through to see who can drive results, who can have fun, and who is competent enough to compete within,” the candidate, who was interviewing for a process engineer job, said.
The list is also populated by tech companies such as Google (No. 8), Microsoft (No. 16) and Facebook (No. 22). Also a few unexpected names such as Rolls-Royce (No. 6), business-card maker Vistaprint (No. 12) and educational non-profit Teach for America (No. 13) made it on the list.
However, difficult interviews don’t necessarily mean a negative experience once hired. Of the companies that made the list, Facebook has the highest employee satisfaction rating (4.8), followed by Guidewire (4.6) and McKinsey & Company (4.3).