What is your greatest strength? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why should we hire you? If you have ever interviewed or been interviewed you have probably encountered these common questions. While it may be necessary to ask some of these questions, sticking to general, expected questions will increase the odds of receiving rehearsed, contrived answers. It is quite easy to run a quick Google search to find hundreds of blogs, and web-pages revealing these popular questions and teaching candidates how to answer them. Candidates will likely be answering these questions before you’re even done asking them, and will probably know exactly what you want to hear.
For this reason, as an interviewer it is helpful to include a variety of different questions to get people out of their comfort zone and inspire candid, gut reaction answers. Before you ask a question, ask yourself what you hope to learn about the candidate by asking it. As an interviewee it is important to be prepared to think on your feet and not allow unexpected questions to throw you off track.
A recent blog posted on Glassdoor, shared some of the top unconventional and difficult interview questions of 2011. Here they are:
1) “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30pm on a Friday?” – view answers Asked at Google.
2) “Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk.” – view answers Asked at Acosta.
3) “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” – view answers Asked at Hewlett-Packard.
4) “What do you think of garden gnomes?” – view answers Asked at Trader Joe’s.
5) “Is your college GPA reflective of your potential?” – view answers Asked at the Advisory Board.
6) “Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?” –view answers Asked at Deloitte.
7) “If you could be the #1 employee but have all your coworkers dislike you or you could be the #15 employee and have all your coworkers like you, which would you choose?” – view answers Asked at ADP.
8) “How would you cure world hunger?” – view answers Asked at Amazon.com.
9) “Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?” – view answers Asked at Pinkberry.
10) “Does life fascinate you?” – view answers Asked at Ernst & Young.
11) “Given 20 ‘destructible’ light bulbs (which breaks at certain height), and a building with 100 floors, how do you determine the height that the light bulb breaks?” – view answers Asked at QUALCOMM.
12) “Please spell ‘diverticulitis.” – view answers Asked at EMSI Engineering.
13) “Name 5 uses of a stapler without staple pins.” – view answers Asked at EvaluServe.
14) “How much money did residents of Dallas/Ft. Worth spend on gasoline in 2008?” – view answers Asked at American Airlines.
15) “How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?” – view answers Asked at Horizon Group Properties.
16) “You have a bouquet of flowers. All but two are roses, all but two are daisies, and all but two are tulips. How many flowers do you have?” – view answers Asked at Epic Systems.
17) “How many planes are currently flying over Kansas?” – view answers Asked at Best Buy.
18) “How many different ways can you get water from a lake at the foot of a mountain, up to the top of the mountain?” – view answers Asked at Disney Parks & Resorts.
19) “What is 37 times 37?” –view answers Asked at Jane Street Capital.
20) “If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?” – view answers Asked at Rain and Hail Insurance.
21) “If you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?” –view answers Asked at Summit Racing Equipment.
22) “Pepsi or Coke?” – view answers Asked at United Health Group.
23) “Are you exhaling warm air?” – view answers Asked at Walker Marketing.
24) “You’re in a row boat, which is in a large tank filled with water. You have an anchor on board, which you throw overboard (the chain is long enough so the anchor rests completely on the bottom of the tank). Does the water level in the tank rise or fall?” – view answers Asked at Tesla Motors.
25) “How do you feel about those jokers at Congress?” – view answers Asked at Consolidated Electrical.
Interviewers, have you ever asked any wacky interview questions? If so, what was the result?
Interviewees, what were some of the most challenging questions you’ve been asked in an interview? How did you react?
We would love to hear from you!