Do you know how many piano tuners there are in the world? How about the number of times that a clock’s hands overlap during the day?
Google job candidates have been flummoxed by these very questions and many others like them, until the company banned quirky interview questions.
“We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time,” Laszlo Bock
, Google’s senior vice president of people operations told The New York Times
last year. “How many golf balls can you fit into an aeroplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”
According to Business Insider Australia
, Google now uses behavioural interviews, where candidates are asked about their past work and experience, instead of trying to guess how many golf balls would fit into a school bus.
In 2009, job coach Lewis Lin compiled a list of 140 questions that Google asked his clients. Current Google applicants should thank their lucky stars that they won’t be coming across any of these curly questions in their interviews.
- Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough light left for 17 minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without a flashlight, and it’s only strong enough to support two people at any given time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge in one minute, another in two minutes, the third in five minutes and the slow-poke takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes?
- How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
- How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
- A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
- Explain the significance of “dead beef”.
- Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organise your shirts for easy retrieval?
- Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?
- 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?
- You have two eggs and get access to a 100-story building. Eggs can be very hard or very fragile, which means they may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from 100th floor. Both eggs are identical. You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-story 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.
What’s the strangest interview question you’ve ever been asked?
- You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do?