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Job Seekers Rank Rackspace Among The Toughest Interviewers

At Rackspace, we’re growing and hiring, at our headquarters in San Antonio and in other offices around the world. We try to be very careful to hire not just for aptitude and skills but also for fit — within our culture, and for the particular job. So we ask questions like this: “What sort of things do you find satisfying? In other words, what activities give you a kick, either while doing them or immediately after finishing, and you think ‘Oh, when can I do that again?’” It’s a question that often makes candidates stop and think, and tell us where their strengths and passions lie.

If you interview for a position at Rackspace, you’ll hear this question or one like it. We strive to build a strengths-based culture that identifies what prospective hires were made to do and to put them into positions that let them flex those muscles. This approach helps us create a workforce that is more engaged and productive — a place where magic can happen.

I was pleased to see that our emphasis on strengths, coupled with our intensive interview process, landed Rackspace among Fortunes’ “25 toughest companies for job interviewees.” We ranked No. 11, above tech giants like Juniper Networks, Facebook and Amazon. Glassdoor.com combed through more than 80,000 job seekers’ interview ratings and reviews from the past 12 months to build the list. Each company was rated on a 5-point scale where 1 is “very easy” and 5 is “extremely difficult.” Rackspace clocked in at 3.4 and 72 percent said the interview was a positive experience.

Ranking in the top 11 is big. It shows that despite our rapid growth and hiring – last quarter we welcomed just less than 200 new hires to Rackspace – we still perform our due diligence to ensure our Rackers have the right stuff.

Yes, technological accomplishments, credentials and certifications carry a lot of weight here, but that only tells part of the story. We put a lot of focus on attitude and aptitude. We want Rackers who are quick learners and who can quickly integrate into our unique culture and dynamic business. Simply put, technology and other skills can be taught, but learning ability, passion, drive and personality cannot.

We’ve created an interview process through which candidates engage with multiple Rackers, sometimes more than a dozen, and often in small groups, including not only prospective colleagues from the department in which they’d work, but also from departments with which they would frequently collaborate. From there, a feedback session comprising all who interviewed the candidate convenes. Following the discussion, there is a silent vote in which interviewers rate the candidate based on a positive/negative point system. Only a candidate with a positive score can be hired.

I won’t lie; this system is tough on Rackers as well as candidates. But we think it’s worth the trouble. As we continue to grow and hire in all of our locations —in the U.S. in San Antonio, Austin, San Francisco, Blacksburg, Va., and Atlanta; internationally in London, Hong Kong, Zurich and Sydney; and in our data centers in Dallas-Fort Worth, Northern Virginia, Chicago, London and Hong Kong — you can bet that we’ll continue to carefully screen the talent pool to bring aboard top notch Rackers eager to offer Fanatical Support.

Think you got what it takes? Check us out at this link: We’re hiring.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Lanham Napier.

Lanham Napier was the CEO of Rackspace from 2006 to February 2014, and now serves as a consultant to the company's leaders. As CEO, he avidly promoted the workplace culture that drives the company’s famed Fanatical Support®. This passion for empowering customers has made Rackspace the acknowledged leader of the open cloud.

Napier joined Rackspace in April 2000, a couple of years after its founding. He recognized early on that the company’s employees—dubbed Rackers—and its unique culture of customer service, would be the keys to its success. Napier strove to give Rackers the same exceptional support that they provide to the company’s customers. That approach has won Rackspace recognition by FORTUNE® magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, and by Bloomberg Businessweek as a Top 100 Performing Technology Company.

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