Oddball interview questions of 2010 – and the companies that asked them

The weirdest interview questions of the year were released Thursday by Glassdoor.com, an online career and jobs community that offers insights on companies and workplaces. Questions were shared by job candidates during the past year.

“If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” – Asked for an analyst position at Goldman Sachs.

“Rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are.” – Asked for an operations analyst position at Capital One.

“An apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents, how much is a pear?” – Asked for a project manager position at Epic Systems.

“What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?” – Asked for a business analyst position at Volkswagen.

“How many ridges [are there] around a quarter?” – Asked for a project analyst position at Deloitte.

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Posted by on January 4, 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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5 Responses to Oddball interview questions of 2010 – and the companies that asked them

  1. John Myste

    January 4, 2011 at 2:01 am

    That was so funny. It makes me wish I was in management, so I could enjoy the position at the expense of others.

  2. John Myste

    January 4, 2011 at 2:05 am

    By the way, at an interview, I was once asked why a manhole cover is round. I don’t think there was a correct answer. I said maybe it was so it does not fall in the manhole and kill someone or maybe it was because that was the shape the creator of a manhole thought to make it.

    After the interview, someone said they would have said it is easier to move it is round because you could roll it into position.

    The interviewer also asked me what vegetable I would be, given the choice. I think I said lettuce, but now, I cannot imagine what I was thinking. I would not want to be lettuce. Surely there is something better than lettuce. I had a rationale at the time, but I was young then.

  3. One Fly

    January 4, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Questions like this are used so the people who thought them up in some very small way can justify their positions.

  4. Stella by Starlight

    January 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I just went on an interview yesterday, and the employers asked none of the questions Holte listed. So, thanks, Holte. This is a great post. Now I’m curious about other odd interview queries.

    But, to the question, “How weird are you?” I think I would have replied, “How weird do you want me to be for this position?”

    Some other equally absurd classics:

    * If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be? What if I responded “Judas?”

    * How many squares are in this figure?

    * A plane crashes on the border between USA and Canada. Where did they bury the survivors?

    * If you were an animal/a can of soup/some other random object, which one would you be? If I responded “a sloth,” would that reflect unfavorably on me?

    * “What are your weaknesses?” I’ve developed a good answer for this question. “One weakness is my perfectionism: of course, that is also my biggest strength.”

    • Krell

      January 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      I love questions like these, especially the stranger ones.

      On the one..
      A plane crashes on the border between USA and Canada. Where did they bury the survivors?
      Nowhere, you wouldn’t bury survivors.

      On the manhole cover, it’s round because if it was square or rectangle it would be possible to fall through the hole into the sewer if turned diagonal. The round one never can.

      On some of those questions like how many marbles in a jar or how many basketballs in a room, there is a branch of mathematics devoted entirely to this field. Suffice it to say, when the objects are round the mathematical maximum number is 74 percent of the volume of jar to marbles.

      The Goldman Sachs question is probably designed to test your quickness to think of solutions to a unsolvable problem.

      Perhaps for Goldman they should ask…If you are traveling in your Maybach limo at 60 mph, and you are hedging losses from your clients at 1 million dollars every 10 seconds, how far do do you have to travel to earn a special place in hell?