Interviewing for a job can be a long and tortuous dance akin to getting an MRI of the brain. It requires a lot of patience in a stressful situation, as manager after manager pounds you with questions like so many banging magnets.
But not always.
Glassdoor.com has released its first “Candidates’ Choice Awards,” where job candidates ranked companies based on their interview experiences. The full results can be seen here.
Perhaps not surprising, Starbucks scored high, with 76 percent of those being interviewed calling it a positive experience. One candidate who interviewed at a Starbucks in Gainesville, Florida, this month wrote the process was quick and easy. “The manager had my resume in front of her and asked questions about it. She was very friendly; it felt extremely colloquial and comfortable.” Another recommended, “Dress your best as you should for any interview. You’re offered any drink. I would accept it. Why, because you’re going to be one of the biggest promoters of this company’s product.” Not taking the free drink, this candidate wrote, “shows lack of passion and excitement.”
The positive rating was even higher at American Eagle Outfitters, where shares are up 13 percent this year, and the teen retailer beat earnings estimates last quarter. Here, 78 percent of those going through the interview process said it was positive. One candidate said that during an interview a manager asked, “Sell me the outfit you have on.” Another candidate was asked, “How would you describe your style?”
Ebay ranked highest among Internet companies, with a 64 percent positive score. What about Google? The tech giant is famous for an interview process which includes tough questions like, “A coin was flipped 1,000 times and there were 560 heads, do you think the coin is biased? What if it was only flipped 10 times and there were 6 heads?” Maybe this is why Google scored 6th in the Candidates’ Choice Awards Internet category, with only a 57 percent positive rating (does that make it “biased”?).
Not every company scoring high is doing well. United Airlines has seen shares fall 15 percent this year, and its CEO just resigned in scandal. The airline ranks near the bottom in customer satisfaction. However, for job candidates, United comes in first among airlines, with a 73 percent positive interview experience rating. One person applying to be a flight attendant wrote the process was “Straight to the point & professional. Starts out with a presentation on the company & more details on the position itself. Then, a recruiter, who is a current flight attendant, will call you back for your 1:1 interview.” This candidate thought it made perfect sense for a flight attendant to be part of the interview process.
Possibly even more surprising, the federal agency scoring highest in the survey was the U.S. Postal Service. Seven out of ten who applied to the post office thought the interview experience was positive. You can apply online, and one applicant described the process as “quick and smooth.” Interview questions include, “Describe a situation where you had to deal with an upset customer,” and, “Are you afraid of dogs?”
The best part about the reviews of the interview process is reading the questions candidates are asked. “Why is the Earth round?” one software candidate at Twitter was asked. “Describe the color yellow to somebody who’s blind,” was a question at Spirit Airlines. While some questions may be weird, questions about weirdness may be spot on. Trader Joe’s scored highest in the Glassdoor survey in the “Food & Beverage Stores” category with a 63 percent positive rating. A Trader Joe’s candidate was once asked, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done?”
That’s an excellent question. You want to know…
—By CNBC’s Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells