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Many hiring managers will tell you that interviewing is an art. You’re trying to determine someone’s character, skill set and career goals based on the often limited information they’re willing to give you. To guide the candidate away from well-rehearsed answers, many managers choose to throw them some curveballs.
Admittedly, it might be fun to watch someone struggle to calculate how many bottles of water it would take to fill up every bath tub in Macau. But is it really going to help you determine how well the candidate fits the role? Or are you just trying to amuse yourself and making your candidate miserable in the process. When it comes to interview questions, is there such a thing as “too hard”?
According to Google, the answer is yes. Reportedly, the company used to get very creative with regards to interview questions before someone decided enough was enough and banned interviewers from using ridiculously difficult brain teasers to assess candidates.
Before that happened, Lewis Lin, a job coach in Seattle, compiled and published a list of 140 questions candidates had been asked during Google job interviews. We’ve listed 10 of the weirdest ones below:
- What is the probability of breaking a stick into three pieces and forming a triangle?
- You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
- Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.
- In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?
- How long would it take to sort one trillion numbers? Come up with a good estimate.
- You are given two eggs. You have access to a 100-storey building. Eggs can be very hard or very fragile meaning they may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from the 100th floor. Both eggs are identical. You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-storey building an egg can be dropped without breaking. The question is how many drops you need to make. You are allowed to break two eggs in the process.
- How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
- How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
- If a person dials a sequence of numbers on the telephone, what possible words or strings can be formed from the letters associated with those numbers?
- What method would you use to look up a word in a dictionary?
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