2011 July 02 Saturday
Companies With Tough Job Interview Questions?

A Wall Street Journal FINS article cites a report by glassdoor.com claiming the top 20 companies for tough job interviews aren't familiar names like Microsoft, Apple, or Google.

At the top of the list were: consultancy McKinsey, proprietary trading firm Jane Street Capital and semiconductor manufacturer Cree Inc. Firms like BP (No. 10), Procter & Gamble (No. 12), investment fund Bridgewater Associates (No. 16) and Amazon (No. 18), followed. Notably absent from the top 20 were tech giants like Google and Apple, both notorious for their high levels of competition and challenging interviews.

This all has to be taken with a grain of salt. Obviously, the applicants for clerical positions aren't being asked to solve tough equations. Which jobs in each firm have especially tough questions? How g-loaded are the questions from each firm? How much are the questions dependent on learning specific areas of mathematics or algorithms or engineering domain knowledge? How g-loaded are the questions?

What would be even more interesting: What's the relationship between salary and difficulty of interview? Do some firms have really high standards for jobs that do not even pay $100k per year? Do some firms have easier questions for their $200k per year jobs than other firms do for their $150k per year jobs?

Since BP is the only oil company on the top 20 list I'm skeptical about the sample pool too. For a petroleum engineer applying at BP, Exxon, Chevron, Total, Schlumberger, Transocean, Halliburton, and Cenovus what's going to be the ranking of difficulty of questions asked? If BP really is asking harder questions than its competitors and had been for a long time they should have a bigger competitive advantage.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 July 02 07:59 AM  Economics Labor

jerry said at July 4, 2011 9:29 PM:

But simple tests for fireman are racist. Where's the Justice Department? Surely the government is interested in whether such lengthy and complex interviews are entirely job related and not just ways to screen out NAMs. Oh, that's right, that stuff is only for the middle class and below. And by that stuff, I mean the entire "affirmative action" and "anti-racism" fraud.

IV said at July 5, 2011 3:29 PM:

I've interviewed at 1. McKinsey & 2. Jane Street. Jane Street definitely asked much harder questions, but 1 interviews far more people, so that may bias these results. I know a guy who interviewed at 11. ZS, and from what he said, their final round sounds tougher than other consulting firms.

solaris said at July 8, 2011 1:59 PM:

>"If BP really is asking harder questions than its competitors and had been for a long time they should have a bigger competitive advantage."

Not necessarily. If their harder questions are harder than is actually needed to identify qualified applicants then they are at a competitive disadvantage. An extreme example of this would be asking calculus questions of prospective janitorial staff. A company would derive no advantage from doing this.

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