27 Bizarre and Terrifying Questions Asked in Actual Job Interviews


Catch any curveball.

Two seated women waiting to be interviewed
No matter how confident and dazzling you are, job interviews spark a torrent of anxiety. Not only do you have to figure out the perfect attire and memorise the relevant skills acquired in your previous role, you must also enter the room with a certain je ne sais quoi to ensure you stand out (in a good way). While these are elements you can prep for, what you can’t anticipate are the questions you’ll be asked.

Since eye contact and perfect posture will only take you so far, you’d best allocate a chunk of time preparing for your stint in the hot seat. In a fascinating look at just how specific, whimsical or weird these interviews can be, career-centric website Glassdoor has compiled a list of the 27 most head-scratching questions ever asked during actual job interviews, collated by the personal experiences of site users.

According to the list, elements such as company type, size, public or private status, education and age were all determinants in the difficulty of the interview. Among the hardest industries? Hospitals and non-profits. Not only will practising sample questions get you ready (think pre-summer bootcamp), but Glassdoor also suggests researching the company and their hiring patterns as another great tool to shake off any nerves. Here are the 27 toughest queries ever uttered and the companies that asked them. Consider any curveballs averted:

“How do you explain a vending machine to someone who hasn’t seen or used one before?” —Global Data Analyst, Bloomberg L.P.

“Name a brand that represents you as a person.”Brand Strategist, Twitter

“How many fire hydrants are there in Los Angeles County?” —Software Engineer, Disney Interactive Studios

“If your current employer had an anniversary party for you, what five words would be written on the cake to describe you?” —District Manager, Express

“Who in history would you want to go to dinner with and why?” —Flight Attendant, PSA Airlines

“If you could take anyone on a road trip with you, who would you take and why?”Educator, lululemon

“Prove that hoop stress is twice the longitudinal stress in a cylindrical pressure vessel.” —Test Operations Engineer, SpaceX

“Sell me on one idea, and then sell me on the opposite of that idea.”Solarwinds Administrator, Blizzard Entertainment

“What’s the capital of Canada?” —Team Leader, OpticsPlanet

“Estimate how many employees are in the next building.” —Data Scientist, Risk Management Solutions

“How many happy birthday posts do you think Facebook gets in one day?” —Sales Operations, Facebook

“What is the first thing you’d print with a 3D printer if you had one?” —Linux Systems Administrator I, Rackspace

“If you had to take only one item to a deserted island, what would that be?” —Customer Service Specialist, Squarespace

“Please describe an instance where you had to make a decision without all of the necessary information.” —Analytics, athenahealth

“How do you reverse a text string on the Unix command line?” —Developer, Capital One

“If you are in a boat with a boulder and you drop that boulder into the lake, how does the water level before and after you drop the boulder in the lake compare?” —Mechanical Design Engineer, Apple

“You have been asked to lead a multi-million dollar, multi-year grant that will be supported across several companies and universities. How do you start?” —Research Scientist, Ford Motor Company

“How would you go about to find the top five Java Developers in a certain area.” —Technical Recruiter, Google

“What is the probability of an integer from 1 to 60,000 not having the digit 6?” —Quantitative Developer, AKUNA CAPITAL

“If you were a Muppet, which character would you be?” —Donor Family Advocate, LifeNet Health

“Give me 48 cents using six coins. Tell me quantity and value of the six coins.” —Human Resource Manager, Wintec

“Write an equation to optimise the marketing spend between Facebook and Twitter campaigns.” —Analyst (Data Science), Uber

“What is the angle at 3:15?” —Implementation Consultant, Fast Enterprises

“What part of the newspaper do you read first? What does this say about you?” —Audit, BDO USA

“If a coworker had an annoying habit, and it hindered your quality of work, how would you resolve it?” —Production Technician, Procter & Gamble

“Throw your resume aside and tell me what makes you you.” —Sales Executive, Zillow

“How would you find the square root of 1.2?” —Hardware Engineer, Jump Trading

Nicole Webb

Staff Writer Collective Hub

Nicole is a Sydney based writer, who’s previously written for Harper’s Bazaar and Elle Australia. She has mused about everything from the world of haute couture, the Sydney music scene and newly founded start-ups.


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