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2/4/2016
07:06 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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10 Quirky Tech Job Interview Questions That May Stump You

Apple, Google, and other tech giants are notorious for grilling candidates with tough questions. How would you fare in one of their job interviews? Here are 10 quirky questions tech companies asked applicants in the hot seat.
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(Image: James Brey/iStockPhoto)

(Image: James Brey/iStockPhoto)

Technology pros on the job hunt are already at an advantage -- they're in the hottest sector for landing top jobs, as Glassdoor recently reported. The employment website highlights the positions Software Architect and Data Scientist among its top tech roles for the year.

Tech workers benefit from technology's rampant growth across industries. In order to remain competitive among a digitally savvy consumer base, all businesses need employees who can boost their online and mobile presence.

Despite the broader demand for IT expertise, thousands of tech workers continue to submit applications in the hopes of landing a coveted spot at tech's biggest companies: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, the list goes on.

[Working at a startup sounds cool, but are you cut out for it?]

Some applicants hear nothing. Some receive form-letter rejections. A select bunch, however, receive the invitation to visit campus for an interview.

In many cases, the interview prep process is straightforward. Most companies will want to know why you want to work for them and why they should hire you. Some applicants can expect tests to demonstrate their abilities, depending on their area of expertise.

However, based on the stories to come from candidates at major tech companies, interviewees know a curveball could come their way. A candidate at Bose, for example, was asked how they might go about unloading a 747 full of jelly beans.

Here, we take a look at some questions asked by different tech companies in job interviews for a variety of positions. Each of these questions were submitted to Glassdoor from users who survived the interview process. Could you answer these? What would you say?

What have you done to advance the cause of Women in IT? Submit your entry now for InformationWeek's Women in IT Award. Full details and a submission form can be found here.

Kelly is an associate editor for InformationWeek. She most recently reported on financial tech for Insurance & Technology, before which she was a staff writer for InformationWeek and InformationWeek Education. When she's not catching up on the latest in tech, Kelly enjoys ... View Full Bio

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OscarA222
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OscarA222,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/1/2016 | 11:03:05 AM
Re: dumb luck
It's a conditional probability problem, also known as the Monty Hall problem.  The correct answer is to switch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2016 | 12:30:48 PM
Re: dumb luck
I certainly look for indications of creative problem solving during interviews. I also look for a candidate to be honest when he or she doesn't know the answer to a complex problem. We ask them to work through their reasoning aloud so we can see how they think. That's been part of our success in hiring.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2016 | 12:15:02 PM
Re: irrelevance animal
@jagibbons that's a great way to look at it. I would probably pick baby sloths. :) 
Not2Clueless
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Not2Clueless,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/18/2016 | 11:11:42 AM
Re: dumb luck
@vnewman2 is precisely right.

You should try it yourself. Do a simple simulation in your favorite programminmg language. Do a 100 iteration loop and look at the results,

Or just use 3 cards. Throw out any hands where you disclose the "money" card when you open one of the closed doors (since according to the rules, that won't happen). 1/3 of the time you will win by not switching. 2/3 of the time you will lose (after you throw out the case where you disclose the money card). It won't take too many hands to find this to be true. Try it.

 

 

 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 4:26:03 PM
Re: dumb luck
The question was SO Microsoft. Kinda dumb, and of little use (sorry, fans)

 

I thought the Dropbox question was offensive -- if there was a bomb on your desk? REALLY? I live to close to Ground Zero to find that a good scenario for what is essentially a math problem.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 1:27:31 PM
Re: irrelevance animal
Love the sloth. Always smiling. Sometimes a positive attitude is the most important factor in a hiring decision.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 1:23:57 PM
Re: Hotel Industry
Given the Airbnb business model and goal, that's a very relevant question for candidates. If you can't answer that one, you aren't likely to emotionally invest in a job there.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 1:20:13 PM
Re: Pending Review
I think that's the point with most of these questions. They are about quick creative thinking. The answers are more descriptive about how the candidate thinks than prescriptive in identifying a better candidate out of the pool.
SkeMaster
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SkeMaster,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2016 | 11:31:29 AM
Re: Manhole covers
No manhole cover are round because a circle is the only thing that can't fall into itself.
Azathoth
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Azathoth,
User Rank: Strategist
2/11/2016 | 11:03:03 AM
Re: Manhole covers
Manhole covers are round so no squares can get in, man.
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