toughest interviews

25 toughest companies for job interviewees

August 15, 2012: 12:19 PM ET

If you're applying for a job at any of these outfits, bring your "A" game. Sounds daunting but, say most candidates and employees in a new survey, tough is good.

FORTUNE -- Brain-teaser questions, timed written tests that rival the GMAT, successive rounds of rapid-fire interview sessions with intensely focused hiring managers -- are you ready for all these, plus the occasional odd moment of catch-you-off-your-guard eccentricity?

Career site Glassdoor.com sifted through more than 80,000 job hunters' interview ratings and reviews over the past 12 months to come up with this list of the 25 companies where getting hired is hardest. The number at the right is each company's difficulty rating on a 5-point scale where 1 is "very easy" and 5 is "extremely difficult."

1. McKinsey & Co. - 3.9
2. BCG (Boston Consulting Group) - 3.8
3. Oliver Wyman - 3.7
4. A.T. Kearney - 3.7
5. ZS Associates - 3.7
6. Thoughtworks - 3.6
7. Bain & Co. - 3.6
8. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) - 3.6
9. Google (GOOG) - 3.5
10. Unisys - 3.5
11. Rackspace Hosting - 3.4
12. Cypress Semiconductor - 3.4
13. Susquehanna International Group - 3.4
14. BazaarVoice - 3.4
15. P&G (PG) - 3.4
16. Teach for America - 3.4
17. L.E.K. Consulting - 3.4
18. Juniper Networks (JNPR) - 3.4
19. Sapient (SAPE) - 3.4
20. Stryker (SYK) - 3.3
21. General Mills (GIS) - 3.3
22. Progressive (PGR) - 3.3
23. Headstrong - 3.3
24. Facebook - 3.3
25. Amazon (AMZN) - 3.3

It's no surprise that so many of the most challenging job interviews take place at consulting firms. After all, these companies' only product is brainpower. So their interviewers are partial to posing knotty questions like "How many people would use a drug that prevents baldness?" (BCG) or "What is the profit potential of offering wireless Internet service on airplanes?" (Oliver Wyman). At McKinsey, candidates must also take a written quiz loaded with charts and figures that has to be "analyzed swiftly with an acute sense of numbers," one aspiring consultant told Glassdoor. More

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