Best Jobs

The harder the interview, the happier you’ll be in the job

A new survey finds that employees are more satisfied at companies with strenuous—but not tortuous—interview processes

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Man in an office being interrogated under a bunch of desk lamps

(Henrik Sorensen/Getty)

The more difficult a job interview is, the more likely you’ll be happy in that role. The finding is according to a recent report from job review site Glassdoor that looks at user data from six different countries.

In Canada, the relationship between those two factors is especially strong. Here, when interviews are 10% harder, employees report a 3% uptick in job satisfaction. In the U.S., the correlation only results in 2.5% increase in happiness and in France it’s only 1.5%.

GD_ImpactInterviewDifficulty_Fig2In order to quantify an abstract concept like interview difficulty and job satisfaction, Glassdoor’s researchers examined data from 154,000 people who contributed both interview reviews and subsequent company reviews. It’s also important to note that the site allows users to rate the different facets of the company on a scale of 5.

Based on the ratings system, the companies where employees are the happiest usually did an interview that rated 4 out of 5 on the toughness scale—one that’s difficult but doesn’t cause the candidate to walk away feeling defeated.

For managers, the benefit of knowing how tough to be and knowing where they rate on the spectrum could potentially be useful in terms of adjusting their approach to the interview process. Moderately tough interviewers are better at screening of candidates for ability and cultural fit, among other skills.

Being too tough, or being too casual, raises other challenges. A company that scored 1 out of 5, or even 5 out 5, could be indicative of a poor company culture, lower productivity and more dissatisfied employees.