Interview tough love? It’s all in the experience.

“Just because it is a tough interview, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad interview.”

Such was the quote from Scott Dobroski, a Glassdoor spokesman as they published their list of the top 25 toughest companies for job seekers to interview at.

Seeing Informatica’s name in the top 25 gave me pause for thought. Is this something we want as a reputation or is this one of those times where you do not want to see your company name up in lights?

Glassdoor is becoming an increasingly relevant and influential site every time I look at it. I ask our new hires at our quarterly orientation program how many of them checked us out before accepting an offer. With each passing orientation, more and more hands go up when I ask that question.

And it is not just U.S.-based employees, but  people from many parts of the world. In the same way we all turn to TripAdvisor or Yelp before deciding on a hotel or a new spot for dinner, Glassdoor gives the unvarnished truth about what it is like to work at a company. Posted by employees, both current and former, it is intended to help prospective employees get a better insight into what it is really like behind the recruitment pitch and the hiring manager’s description of the career opportunities, rock climbing walls and free lunches. Informatica is fortunate to have many great reviews on Glassdoor and with a high CEO approval rating as well, we have found ourselves listed in a number of articles showcasing the best enterprise software companies and CEOs to work for, including this piece in Forbes.com.

Perhaps it has been out there for a while, or perhaps Informatica hasn’t had many postings to draw my attention there, but it seems to me that the “interview” area of Glassdoor is suddenly growing fast as more and more candidates share their experiences of the hiring process and even outline questions posed in the interviews. http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/index.htm

I have RSS feeds set up to stay abreast of what people are posting about Informatica. It’s a great way to get a real time, honest assessment of what we do well and what we need to work on and keeps our leaders focused on continuous improvements. I have certainly perused the descriptions of other companies’ interview processes to see how we can learn and improve and I’ll admit it, had a little chuckle while reading stories of how candidates have been asked ridiculous questions or how recruiters have mismanaged the challenge of keeping one candidate warm while presenting the offer and trying to close the first choice of candidate.

I also visit Facebook and LinkedIn fairly regularly, but must confess to not having a Twitter account (and still smile a little to myself at the verb that is fast becoming the norm in our language). However, I am certainly not naïve to the influence these sites have on consumer and candidate thinking.

Talent is in high demand in the Silicon Valley and many high tech parts of the world. Building a reputation as a “tough place for jobseekers” is not at first thought, what a company might strive for. However, looking more closely at the report on money.cnn.com , the second factor listed in the report addresses how positive the candidate’s experience was.

With an 83% positive experience rating, I start to think differently about being listed!

At Informatica we are very selective about the talent we hire.  And there is no reason we shouldn’t be proud of that even while hiring managers are hammering on the doors of my recruitment team to move faster in filling their openings. We do not sacrifice quality for speed and we do put our candidates through their paces when it comes to our hiring process. A number of managers within the company who saw this article said they had shared it with their recent hires, to help them feel proud of having successfully passed the high standard. A few others started reminiscing about the time they were “grilled” ten plus years ago when they went through the interview process!

The war for talent is definitely on, but that is no reason to lower the bar in order to meet hiring plans more quickly. Our goal is for people to have long, successful careers with Informatica. We have seen time and time again that skills, experience and especially cultural fit are all critical dimensions in that goal.

Asking tough questions up front is always easier than having tough conversations later on and, with our intense focus on making the experience a pleasurable and positive one means that candidates not only walk away feeling slightly hot under the collar from their “grilling” but also inclined to tell their friends on Glassdoor and other social media sites how excited they would be to secure a job with us.

It helps our reputation, our employment brand and lets our people know they are part of a close knit, dare I say “elite” team that protects our culture and quality with a passion. Being on the list is not a bad thing at all, but something to be proud of. Maybe I should tweet about it?

If you’d like to find out more about careers at Informatica and feel ready to take on the challenge of our interviews – check us out at: http://careers.informatica.com/

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