The World’s Toughest Interviews and How It All Started

Glassdoor logoYou know what they say: The resume may get you the interview, but it’s the interview that will get you the job.

And nowhere is that interview tougher than at McKinsey & Company. The big-time consulting company ranked first on Glassdoor’s annual list of the companies with the toughest interviews. It’s the third consecutive time for the company, which is one of those “distinctions” you aren’t going to see mentioned on the company careers site.

But no reason not to crow a little about that. Even the many who flunked the interview rated it a positive experience, which is a lot more (like more than two times the percentage) of those who thought the Paycom interview not only tough, but a real downer. More than half the candidates — many who didn’t get an offer, but some who did — rated the interview experience at HR tech firm as a negative.

Yeah, yeah. The malcontents who didn’t get a job said it was negative. Big surprise. If that’s always the case, then explain McKinsey and many of the others rated as tough interviews. Most of those at the toughest end of the scale were also rated the most positive.

Ever wonder how the whole idea of job interviews got started? Way back in the olden days, dad  took his 10 year-old in hand and apprenticed him to the local (fill in the blank here). Ben Franklin became an apprentice printer at 12, for instance.

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Actual job interviews probably derived from the medieval guilds, when traveling craftsmen had to prove their skill before they could ply their trade.

This being Friday, and this being Roundup, which has thus far been much too serious, I have found a documentary by the BBC on the forerunner of today’s job interview. Pay special note to the early behavioral questions, which so many hiring managers are posing in exactly the same way today.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.