Interview Questions I Have Known

These are some of the most ridiculous, irrelevant questions recruiters can ask. I have answered them to best of my ability, some may be wrong, but they are my answers, and I’m sticking to them. Hopefully, I can remember the calculations for the mathematics and probability related questions when faced with them in the future. Though I enjoy trivia and puzzles, hopefully, I never will be faced with these questions more than one here for practice.

If for some reason you came in late to work (weather, woke up late, etc), how would you compensate our company for the time?  As I don’t punch a clock and usually stay late working unpaid overtime, I would bring this undocumented overtime to the attention of my supervisor, and continue working those hours.

There are 25 horses and 5 racetracks. How many races need to be run to select the top 5 horses?  One race at one track.

Having an infinite supply of water and two containers, one for 3-liters and one for 5-liters, how would you measure 4-liters?  Fill the 5-liter with water. Pour into the 3-liter and discard. Pour remaining 2-liter into the 3-liter container, mark the water level and pour back into 5-liter container. Fill a 3-liter container to 2-liter water level and pour into the 5-liter container.

You are on a game show. There are three doors. Behind one of them is a prize; the other two have coal. The host knows which door holds the prize. You choose door #1. Before it is opened, the host opens door #3 and reveals a lump of coal. You have the choice to stick with the door you chose originally or switch to door #2. What do you do?  Stick with my first choice. The host is trying to make me flinch.

Three friends with different salaries need to find out their average salary without revealing individual salaries to each other. How?  Linear algebra: (x + y + z)/3 = AVERAGE SALARY    I would ask them to enter their salary in a tapeless adding machine, then hit plus thereby clearing the digital display. After the third person entered the data, I would retrieve the total by selecting “=”, and divide that number by 3. They are not revealing their salary to any one person nor each other.

How many scale measurements does it take to know which of eight balls weighs the most?   Six
How many would 28 balls take?   Fourteen (just guessing, don’t ask for my mathematical analysis on this one)

How would you or have you ensured that you have kept Walmart’s image in the community?  I’d sponsor billboards with their logo and wear a Wal-Mart logo’d shirt 24-7.

Tell me a joke.  Clean or dirty? Punch line or one-liner? OK:
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

What would you do if you caught another employee stealing?  It would depend on my position with the company, and who the other employee was. As an outsider in a family business, it is difficuliter to tell the office manager (owner’s wife) that the procurement manager (her son) is stealing.

Estimate the revenue of M&M’s in the US.  Are we talking overall? By men/women/households with or without children/ seasonally… I would call find the annual report for Mars Candy. However, as I am not in Finance, how is this relevant to the position I am applying for?

On a scale of 1-10, how confrontational are you?  I pick and choose where and how I am confrontational. If it has to do with getting between me and my cubs, don’t mess with this momma bear.

If I were to tell you that you aren’t ambitious, how would you refute me? With an above average IQ, I would just say I have a laid back style, and it is a matter of interpretaion as I have been successful in life.

If you had to eliminate one of the 50 states, which one would it be?  I would merge Missouri and Arkansas and color it blue: Missarkansas.

You are a new manager at Burger King. On your first day, your senior manager tells you that sales have dropped 50% from the previous quarter. What are the 3 questions you would ask?  Has the demographics of the area changed in the last quarter? What marketing or advertising have you or the competition done? Have you checked out your social media presence?

Estimate the number of cell phones sold every year in the US.  To confirm–we are talking about new sales, not total users? And the physical phones, not just changing service plans? Do you mean all types of mobile phones?

How many people can you fit into Texas?  At least double the current population: 25,674,681

Do you mind not seeing your family, wife, or children for weeks at a time?  I’d call it a vacation. By the way, I have a wife? Why is it always my turn to do household chores?

What was your best McGuyver moment?  Tigerpatch, aluminum soda cans and pipe clamps to fix the exhaust pipe on a 1974 Mercury Capri.

How many tennis balls are in this room and why?  Look around, can you tell me?

If you were a brick in a wall which brick would you be and why?  The cornerstone. Contains the most important information about the structure, carries it’s weight [and is the first to get layed ;-)]

How would you move Mount Fuji?  Earthquake!

If two cars are traveling in a two lap race on a track of any length, one going 60 mph and the other going 30mph, how fast will the slower car have to go to finish at the same time?  One lap at 30mpg/60mpg; one lap at 90 mpg/60 mpg

Are your parents disappointed with your career aspirations?  It is difficult to say, both are deceased.

Tell me how you would determine how many house painters there are in the United States?  Call Benjamin Moore?

What should it cost to rent Central Park for commercial purposes?  All out-of-pocket expenses the City of NY would incur: security, sanitation, maintenance, utilities, loss of revenue (ie: paid admission to the skating rink or zoo), 5% for incidentals, plus overtime.

If I put you in a sealed room with a phone that had no dial tone, how would you fix it?  Fix the seal on the room, or the phone? I would turn the phone on to start…

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?  A Mongoose: it is cute but the only animal that can kill a king cobra.

How many hair salons are there in Japan?  Having curly hair, it is irrelevant to me.

If both a taxi and a limo were priced the exact same, which one would you choose?  To do what and with? Whichever came along first.

How to measure 9 minutes using only a 4 minute and 7 minute hourglass?  Start both at the same time, when the 4-min runs out, reverse both, when the 7-min empties, there will be 1-min left in the 4-min hourglass.

What are 5 uncommon uses of a brick, not including building, layering, or a paper-weight?  Adjust toilet tank water level, projectile weapon, meat tenderizer, packing material for airmail consignments if you hate the company you work for, and as a loofah for masochists.

What is the probability of throwing 11 and over with 2 dice?  3/36

Say you are dead- what do you think your eulogy would say about you?  She was a caring woman, a devoted wife and mother, of high intellect and intelligence, and a person who knew the meaning and value of friendship. Mid-life threw her a plethora of curve balls, but she never lost her wry sense of humor, persevered, continuing to grow, learn, share and support others.

Given a dictionary of words, how do you calculate the anagrams for a new word?  With a Scrabble board. I am very visual.

How many light bulbs are in this building?   Really?

Given a square grid of numbers, considering all the numbers at the boundary as one layer and numbers just inside as another layer and so on how would you rotate each of the layers of the numbers by a given amount.  Four.

How would you sell me eggnog in Florida in the summer?  I would mix the samples with an addicting substance like heroin and then offer it for sale. Alternatively, I could manufacture eggnog gelato. As you see I don’t really care for eggnog.

Develop an algorithm for finding the shortest distance between two words in a document. After the phone interview is over, take a few hours to develop a working example in C++ and send it to the manager.  Sorry, I don’t work on spec.

Given a fleet of 50 trucks, each with a full fuel tank and a range of 100 miles, how far can you deliver a payload? You can transfer the payload from truck to truck, and you can transfer fuel from truck to truck. Extend your answer for n trucks.  100 miles.

You are in a room with 3 switches which correspond to 3 bulbs in another room and you don’t know which switch corresponds to which bulb. You can only enter the room with the bulbs once. You can NOT use any external equipment (power supplies, resistors, etc.). How do you find out which bulb corresponds to which switch?  Turn on two switches. Go into the room with the bulbs and the one not lit matches the switch not turned on. Unscrew one of the lit bulbs. Return to the room with the switches, and turn one off the lit switches. If there is no light emanating from the room (you don’t have to enter to see that!) you turned off the switch of the unscrewed bulb.

If you saw someone steal a quarter. Would you report it?  In context, who what where why? I’d probably give them a second quarter and suggest they return the first one.

The list for these irrelevant questions goes on and on. If you’ve found it difficult to answer for these questions, rest easy. With a list of more than 1,500 questions, Google allegedly encourages its interviewers to use a different type of question, more open ended, with no definitive correct answer. Google’s philosophy is that good interview questions are like take-home tests. The challenge is to come up with an answer the interviewer has never heard before and better than any answer previously heard. After trying your hand at these questions, for some fun or more practice at interviewing with some of the more philosophical recruiters, check out these questions. One of my favorite answers is, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

Let me know how well you do. Keep in mind in a real-life situation when confronted with an intimidating recruiter, should they reduce you to tears, ask yourself if you really want to work for that company. Chances are your culture is not a fit for them, nor vice versa. Though only the recruiter and not the hiring manager, I would still send an email thanking them for their time. Don’t be rude, but you may want to politely state the reason you started crying. Close the email with, “Contemplate the probability of our paths crossing in the future.”

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About cre8dsgn

An independent graphic designer, who loves to solve problems.
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2 Responses to Interview Questions I Have Known

  1. taz says:

    I love all of your answers. Its very interesting to read what someone else would say, especially of a differdnt age and so on. A few I agreed with, a lot I would say different things. With the one about the 3 doors I would always switch my decision (although I agree that you can’t ignore contextual clues that the presenter could give off) because if you really think about it (and I really did..) the likelihood of your original choice being the coal is 2/3, a higher chance than originally choosing the prize door. So when the presenter opens a door showing coal, your original choice was still a 2/3 chance yo be coal. So switching would not guarantee the prize but would be more likely yo get it. Being left with 2 doors gives you the illudion of a 1/2 split chance but it actually isnt because you made your choice on a 1/3 chance. Does that make sense…?

  2. Sri Keerthi says:

    Having an infinite supply of water and two containers, one for 3-liters and one for 5-liters, how would you measure 4-liters?
    Here, I have another way to solve this without marking the level of water…
    First fill the 3 litre container and transfer it to 5 litre container, again fill the 3 litre container and transfer it to 5 litre container till its full then 1 litre of water remains in the 3 litre container. Now, empty the 5 litre container and transfer that 1 litre of water(from 3 litre container) to 5 litre container. Now fill the 3 litre container with water and then add it to 5 litre container..
    At last the amount of water remained in 5 litre container is 4 litres..

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