I worked at McMaster-Carr full-time
Strong Employee Work Ethic
Capable and Competent Coworkers
Private company with no Quarterly Mindset
You will be a cog in their well-oiled machine
No room for managing or operating differently than what the status quo dictates
Strong Leadership Oversight prevents innovation
Status Quo Culture
Since you have no room to really differentiate yourself through your work and talents, you end of differentiating yourself through sucking up to management
Advice to Management
The company makes a ton of money and that wealth is certainly generously shared with employees. The positions and roles are designed so you can't truly "succeed" or "fail." You are really just a cog and replaceable. The compensation allows them to retain brilliant employees, but that brilliance is not allowed to shine at work.
I honestly believe McM should not change anything except perhaps be more transparent in the hiring process to indicate that this is a SLOW moving company that has found a winning formula and simply executes on that. I wonder what will happen when Amazon and other disruptors find out the high gross margins that exist in MRO. McMaster-Carr is a great creator of wealth and a generous employer, but be prepared to get satisfaction from your life outside of work.
If you want a job that you can have for the rest of your life as long as your perform well, sign up.
If you want a job where you can bring your whole-self to work, and feel inspired through your work, this is not the place for you. The best employees were those that understood this and kept their nose down on monotonous tasks for 8 hours/day while having an extremely fulfilling life outside of work through church, family, side-projects, or hobbies.
I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at McMaster-Carr (Elmhurst, IL (US)).
A local recruiter emailed me using the resume I posted on a job site. I was skeptical at first, but decided to schedule a phone interview. The phone interview was a basic screening and concluded with an invite to interview in person. The in person interview lasted a total 3 hours. It was very traditional in that I came in suited up and immediately presented with a paper application. After I turned in my application, the recruiter gave me a tour of the facility with stops in between for interview questions.
Following the tour, I was led into a small interview room with a catalog and computer. I was interviewed by the recruiter, HR Manager, then a Regional Manager. Then I was instructed to run through a customer service scenario, verbally discuss my response, and type a mock email to customer. The exercise requires you listen to an audio from a past customer call. If I remember correctly, the customer had purchased an industrial cart but the wheel was damaged. You have to discuss a solution with interviewer and email the customer. I was called 2 days later with an offer to join the company.