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1/17/2014
10:46 AM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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16 Stupid Tech Job Interview Questions: Show Your Snark

Glassdoor characterizes these actual job interview questions as "oddball." We give these questions the answers they deserve.

10) "How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year?" -- Goldman Sachs, Programmer Analyst interview.

The precise number is unknowable, but I can provide an estimate if asked.

Wouldn't it have been easier to ask if I made it through middle school?

var pizzaRadius = 1; // one foot
var pizzaPi = Math.PI; // 3.14...
var pizzaArea = pizzaPi * pizzaRadius * pizzaRadius; // pi * r^2, or 3.14 sq.
var usPopulation = 319000000;
var pizzasPerPersonPerYear = 5.75; // 46 slices average @ 8 slices per pizza
var total = usPopulation * pizzasPerPersonPerYear * pizzaArea;
console.log (total); // +/- 5,762,466,325 sq. feet

11) "Can you instruct someone how to make an origami 'cootie catcher' with just words?" -- LivingSocial, Consumer Advocate interview.

Only if we speak the same language.

Sure. I'd say, "Search for the phrase 'how to make a cootie catcher.'"

12)  "How does the Internet work?" -- Akamai, Director interview.

It's a series of tubes, metaphorically speaking.

13)  "If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?" --  SinglePlatform, Inside Sales Consultant interview.

Jar Jar Binks, because stereotypes just save time.

Godzilla, because my life would have more than two dozen sequels.

14) "It's Thursday; we're staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave?" -- ThoughtWorks, Junior Consultant interview.

Inquire why I have a visa, which is unnecessary for a US citizen visiting Canada, but not a work permit. Then identify the client, the project goals, whether a car will be required, and whether Internet access is available at the hotel and on-site.

15) "Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt." -- Active Network, Client Applications Specialist interview.

When the seat belt sign illuminates, you must fasten your seat belt. To do so, insert the metal tip into the buckle and adjust the strap so it's low and tight across your lap. To release the belt, lift the top of the buckle. Remain seated, with the seat belt fastened, any time the seat belt sign is on.

Active Network's mission is to make the world a more active place. Passive restraints like seatbelts have no place in our new world order.

16) "Have you ever been on a boat?" -- Applied Systems, Graphic Designer interview.

Are we not all sailors on the seas of fate?

Feel better now? These may not be the best answers to these questions from an employment standpoint, but they're probably among the most satisfying. There are other places to work. Go out and find an employer that actually wants to know about you and to evaluate your capabilities as a person.

Thomas Claburn is editor-at-large for InformationWeek. He has been writing about business and technology since 1996 for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and his mobile game Blocfall Free is available for iOSAndroid, and Kindle Fire.

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TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/17/2014 | 12:57:30 PM
Re: Your worst interview questions?
I had the HR person doing initial interview ask: How do you feel about testing?

The job was to lead a 25 person team in using one of those automated testing tools and a corresponding testing methodology, which I did not know going in. Company was one of those health insurance HMO providers. I knew I was in wrong place when she said they had close to 400 IT employees for a company with 2500 employees. I had spent my entire career with no more than 2-3 IT coworkers, I knew right then this was not going to work. I told her I couldn't even imagine what you do with 400 IT people. There was no 2nd interview.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/17/2014 | 12:42:12 PM
Re: Your worst interview questions?
A colleague was asked who the better Enterprise captain was (will be?): Piccard or Kirk? (Kirk, of course.)
dblake950
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dblake950,
User Rank: Strategist
1/17/2014 | 12:20:34 PM
Re: Your worst interview questions?
Someone I know recently interviewed at Facebook for a procurement position and, after a lengthy discussion of the job and his skills and experience, was told by his inquisitor that she was actually looking for a unicorn, which left him speechless. I told him he should have leaned in and whispered to her, "They're not real."
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
1/17/2014 | 11:55:05 AM
"I would be equipped to become a pizza delivery woman."
Ouch
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/17/2014 | 11:26:38 AM
Your worst interview questions?
What's the most ridiculous question you were asked in an interview?
<<   <   Page 5 / 5
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