What cereal are you? Job interview queries on Web

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When is it OK to lie? What would you do with 100 Christmas trees in July? If you were a cereal, what kind would you be?

Boxes of Kellogg's cereal are displayed on a store shelf in Westminster, Colorado April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Knowing that those and other questions await in an employment interview could have a huge impact on a candidate’s chances of landing a new job and, beginning on Tuesday, a Web site called aims to provide that insight.

The online jobs site, which already lists salaries and reviews of companies around the world, is adding interview listings. Using a “give and get” system, users submit their experience anonymously for access to other people’s stories.

“We view our mission as helping people make better career decisions,” said Robert Hohman, chief executive of the Sausalito, California-based company.

“Interviewing is scary, and the one thing that can help reduce the anxiety of interviewing is information,” he said. “It makes you feel more confident.”

Reviews of nearly 2,000 job interviews have been collected from more than 1,000 companies, Hohman said.

The information includes descriptions of the process, such as whether it was a panel or one-on-one. It lists unexpected or tough questions, rates the difficulty, whether it was positive or negative and whether the interviewee got an offer.

For instance, a review by a candidate for a maintenance director post at a senior center run by Brookdale Senior Living in Tucson, Arizona, warned against the job.

The company lost his application, and an executive who scheduled an interview with him took that day off, he said.

“There is no leadership skills in this corp,” he wrote, adding that he was asked: “What would the inside of my car look like if we were to go look inside of it right now?”

A Brookdale spokeswoman told Reuters the company was “disappointed” the applicant had an unpleasant experience and would use the review as feedback.

Launched 10 months ago, Glassdoor has about 200,000 salary listings and reviews of jobs at some 23,000 companies, and many companies use the information for feedback, Hohman said.

The interview information seemed like a good addition at a time when many people are battling for so few jobs, he said.

Some questions could be applied to almost any interview, such as the question about lying that was asked of a project manager applicant at Integer Group, a marketing agency.

The question about cereal was posed in an interview for a financial analyst at Cisco Systems, and the query about Christmas trees arose in a marketing interview at Visa Inc.

The companies with the most interview reviews are Microsoft, Apple and Google. The company with the easiest rating was Bank of America, Amazon scored the most difficult rating, PricewaterhouseCoopers got the highest positive rating and Google was rated the most negative interview experience, Glassdoor said.

Editing by Michelle Nichols and Cynthia Osterman