The 10 Toughest Tech Companies for Job Interviews

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 09-10-2013 Email Print this article Print

How willing are you to put job candidates through the ringer, with possibly the most challenging interview of their professional lives? Enough to put them through a solid day's worth of one-on-ones? Or a written exam that takes as long to complete as the SAT? Are you willing to put on your bad cop hat in an effort to see how resilient—and resourceful—a potential future employee can be? You may think you pretty much cover all the bases here, but after reading about the following practices of these 10 top tech companies, you may conclude that you're being too lax. They were compiled by Glassdoor, as part of its recently released, third annual Top 25 Most Difficult Companies to Interview report. For CIO Insight, the online career and job-recruitment site has put together the following observations from employees who interviewed at tech companies. The list was compiled based upon input from 170,000 reviews provided from employees who use Glassdoor. Ultimately, it's somewhat refreshing to see that many of those providing input express appreciation—as opposed to resentment—about their experiences. And while it's true these anecdotes are taken from only tech companies, many of the techniques would readily transfer to CIOs running an IT department within any industry category. For more about the list, click here.

  • ThoughtWorks (#2 on Glassdoor's top 25 list)

    A candidate went through seven interviews. The "exhausting" process was "as much about whether you want to work there, as whether they want you."
    1-ThoughtWorks (#2 on Glassdoor's top 25 list)
  • Google (#8)

    Hardest stage was "a sales mock-up pitch via the phone. … You do need to understand the industry and local market, and be up-to-date with related technologies."
    2-Google (#8)
  • Hubspot (#10)

    Candidates are asked to take a lengthy test with six parts to gauge personality, vocabulary, situational analysis, analogies, math ability and word-problem skills.
    3-Hubspot (#10)
  • Avaya (#15)

    One contender participated in an on-site interview day that lasted six hours, with eight different staffers.
    4-Avaya (#15)
  • Microsoft (#16)

    Thorough but professional, with one candidate citing a "good balance of discussion [about] my experience, skills and my current and future interests."
    5-Microsoft (#16)
  • Citrix Systems (#19)

    Interviewees are grilled on not only tech knowledge but business savvy. "I targeted both my tactical and strategic examples to demonstrate my range," one candidate says.
    6-Citrix Systems (#19)
  • NVIDIA (#20)

    Even if you get shortlisted for an on-site interview, don't expect a full-time offer without an internal reference.
    7-NVIDIA (#20)
  • Informatica (#21)

    "Most of the interview questions are related to algorithms, problem solving and critical thinking. Interviewers are very friendly.… They focus less on coding and more on general design."
    8-Informatica (#21)
  • Facebook (#22)

    "I told [the interviewer] about my future plans for Facebook. She said it wasn't much different from what they have now."
    9-Facebook (#22)
  • Guidewire (#23)

    Candidates should be prepared to dive deeply into obscure areas of Java. The experience “definitely developed my tech-interview skills."
    10-Guidewire (#23)
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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