A sign outside Amazon’s HQ in Seattle. Photo: Matt Shobe

We’ve heard stories about the grueling interview process at Amazon.com, spread over days and including tough questions from managers. Now, here’s evidence that the Seattle online retailer is one of the toughest places to land a job, asking obscure questions such as “How many trees are there in Washington state?”

Glassdoor.com just released a report indicating that Amazon is one of the most difficult places to interview. And many of those who go through the process don’t really like it that much. The company was at the bottom in terms of interviewee’s experiences, with just 44 percent rating it as a positive experience.

That compares to Rackspace, Sapient, Bain and other companies on the list that had more than 70 percent of respondents rate the experience in a positive light.

Here’s how one vendor management candidate described the process at Amazon, according to the Glassdoor analysis.

“The interview asked very obscure questions and I felt very uncertain about the interview afterwards. I received another email telling me I made it to the next round of interviews and I scheduled another phone interview which was also quite obscure. I then received an email telling me I did not get the position.”

Eighteen percent of those interviewed at Amazon ranked the experience as negative,  tied for last place with Google and just behind Progressive Insurance (24 percent).

Microsoft didn’t make the list. But maybe they didn’t talk to the folks going hrough the tough challengess in the software giant’s new reality TV show: “Be the Next Microsoft Employee.”

Follow upMission impossible? War stories from the Amazon.com interview

Here’s a look at the full list.

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  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    I find it odd that Microsoft isn’t even on the list. The interview style that they’re talking about at Amazon has been used at Microsoft for years and years (may even have started there).

  • Dennis Ferrer

    The reality show contestants had it easy with reference books and PCs. White board grillings are what give people nightmares.

  • TK

    MSFT is no longer the place it once was in terms of the legendary gauntlet of tough interviews (well, at least on the non-technical side.) The quality (or lack thereof) of people they’ve hired aligns with how the company has performed the last 10+ years. I know people who work there that I think to myself, “wow, MSFT is hiring anybody.”

  • Guest

    Amazon is reckless and hopeless when it comes to interviews. They don’t respect candidates times, very inconsiderate during the interviews and overall not very professional. Facebook and Google on the other hand is extremely professional and handle their interviews very well.

    • Guest

      What did Amazon do that was “very inconsiderate” and “not very professional”?

      • Guest

        I have to agree… My first interview went well and I knew it did, but 3 and half weeks go by and not a word. I know Amazon always tells you something one way or the other within a short period. I figured I must have done something really stupid and just did not know it. Apparently the lady in charge of my application process went on vacation. So a second interview is set up. The Interviewer calls me up 25 minutes late for a 1 hour technical coding interview. I feel rushed, he does not apologize and he is testing out some new interactive interface he stated he never even used or seen before on me to analyze my code. I thought that pretty much sucked, but at least I am done dealing with these people. I get another email telling me I have a third interview. The third interview was plagued with easily solved problems if the English language was use correctly. I spent most of my time asking for clarification because lines of specification appeared to be contradictory and it was admittedly so. Anyways it was a horrible experience. I am going to reapply again in a few months because I would really like to work at Amazon, but I am not looking forward to the interview process again.

  • John

    Any good company should challenge a candidate. I’ve been through several tough interviews at companies on this list and if you do your homework and show up prepared you should be fine. For random questions that seem uncertain, just explain your thought process and assumptions and take it step by step.

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