Aug 5, 2014

Almost everybody’s heard or read about companies with almost legendary recruiting and interviewing processes.

Google, Zappos and Southwest Airlines are very selective in hiring, and, have finely tuned processes designed to reveal the applicants who best match their openings and company cultures.

Google looks for Nooglers who have Googleyness. Zappos offers applicants $2,000 not to take the job. Southwest wants employees who want to join their cause, not just find a career.

Those industry giants aren’t alone in their unique and challenging recruiting processes. Glassdoor, the job and career site where employees and former employees can review and research companies, analyzed its review data from more than 170,000 reviews for its list of Top 25 Most Difficult Companies to Interview 2013.

So, here are the industries have the toughest job interviews:

Consulting firm interviews are toughest

Glassdoor’s analysis showed consulting firm McKinsey & Company came out on top as the toughest interview process with 39 days in the interview process. They were followed closely by Boston Consulting Group and Gartner. McKinsey’s interview process was described as grueling by a Chicago candidate.

Don’t expect to answer run-of-the mill interview questions at McKinsey & Company.

Glassdoor spokesperson Samantha Zupan says management consultant candidates should go to a McKinsey interview prepared to work through and solve a business case. McKinsey wants to see how candidates perform and problem solve. A business analyst candidate reported being asked how to calculate the annual carbon emissions from electric versus gas vehicles in the European Union.

Tech industry interviews are tough, too

Google and Facebook are notorious in their industry for tough and unique interview techniques that challenge candidates.

Google doesn’t just let any old hiring manager hire employees. Their candidates go through a review process with multiple Googlers across various areas of the business, and then that feedback is reviewed by other Googlers on independent committees.

How would you fare facing multiple interviewers and being asked questions about the marginal cost of a gigabyte in Gmail? How would you respond if asked to tell a story titled “Green Hat” in an employment interview? How would you feel after going through seven interviews at one company, the way software design and delivery firm ThoughtWorks candidates do?

Preparing for tough interviews

Boston Consulting candidates advise applicants to review basic math before interviews, and to practice with someone so you’re prepared for the pressure. Math errors during the interview process could cost you the job, so practicing is important.

Candidates should prepare as much as possible before interviewing in these industries.

Try to speak with the recruiter or hiring manager before the actual interview, and ask questions about the interview process such as who you’ll interview with, how long the interview process is, what kind of interview you can expect and anything else you can think to ask about what will happen.

Then, research the company on the Internet for any news articles, press releases, social media and blog posts. Especially check the company’s LinkedIn page, which will tell you how the company views and represents itself.

A willingness to stay current and keep learning

Finally, a great way to prepare for a job and job interview is through school. Candidates need to be sure to fill in any education or career gaps with internships, volunteering or online college classes. These will not only help on a resume, but they will also demonstrate a willingness to stay current and an ability to keep learning.

A current accounting refresher course or a tech class will give an applicant an edge over other candidates with older education experience. Furthermore, school is a great place to learn teamwork, problem solving and creative thinking while also proving that a candidate can learn and adapt quickly to changing environments and that they are willing to put in the work.

This was originally published on the venturocket blog.