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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.

Employment site Glassdoor on Friday plans to publish a list of the Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions for 2014, compiled from tens of thousands of interview questions shared by job seekers last year. Of these, 16 come from tech companies.

Job interviews are nerve-wracking enough, but when combined with ill-conceived questions, they can be downright harrowing.

It doesn't have to be that way. Job interviews can be conducted diligently and respectfully. But both parties have to do their homework. Sadly, that isn't always the case and job interviews, at least during the first round, often include one-size-fits-all questions that amount to being poked with a pole, so a reaction can be recorded and some poorly reasoned conclusion can be drawn.

Now it's probably never advisable to be a snarky job seeker. But if you find yourself confronted by such eye-rolling questions as these and you abandon, then and there, any continued desire to work with a company that doesn't take hiring seriously, here's some fuel to burn bridges.

1) "If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?" -- The Zappos Family, Customer Loyalty Team Member interview.

Since Parade is the most widely read magazine in America, I feel that any issue would be of suitable quality to throw through the office. But I would be reluctant to do so for fear of injuring a coworker. Paper cuts can be painful.

I would return the money for the parade to shareholders.

2) "How lucky are you and why?" -- Airbnb, Content Manager interview.

Luckier than EJ, that woman in San Francisco who rented her apartment out through Airbnb and was subsequently robbed.

Luck can't accurately be measured.

3) "If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?" -- Apple, Specialist interview.

I would be equipped to become a pizza delivery woman.

I would also be able to deliver cold cuts.

I'm sorry. I didn't realize auditions for MacGyver were ongoing.

4) "Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?" -- Dell, Account Manager interview.

They're the same thing once the prey stops moving.

At times like this, I'm convinced I'm a martyr.

5) "If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?" -- Yahoo, Search Quality Analyst interview.

Larry Page's yacht, fueled and provisioned, a qualified crew, and a copy of Yahoo For Dummies, to read on the journey home.

Really, such questions only reveal the questioner's laziness. Not enough information is provided to make an informed answer. Maui qualifies as an island. In such a case, a credit card and driver's license would suffice. Were this hypothetical island near the North or South Pole, I might opt for warm clothing to accompany the satellite phone topping my list.

6) "Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?" -- Xerox, Client Manager interview.

Because they're too ornery to shear.

Because you're relying on a cue ball for the relative definition of "fuzzy" rather than a hairball.

To judge whether job applicants know enough about aerodynamics to sail through what has become a standard interview question.

7) "What is your least favorite thing about humanity?" -- ZocDoc, Operations Associate interview.

Being judged by others.

Moments like this that I will never get back.

Inadequately framed questions. There are so many potential answers here, the question is meaningless. Mortality. Disease. Cruelty. Reality television. Does that really tell you anything?

8) "How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the U.S.?" -- Factual, Software Engineer interview.

I'd google it.

Then I'd use the Yelp API to fetch the JSON-formatted business phone number.

9) "How honest are you?" -- Allied Telesis, Executive Assistant interview.

I plead the Fifth.

Honest enough to refuse to answer a question that could only be answered inaccurately.

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RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/22/2014 | 1:32:44 PM
Re: Just a bad article
yinzara, you found one question you find plausible out of this batch of inane questions and you think the whole tone of this article is off base? Have a little fun with it. And the author makes a good case for why the other questions are misguided, useless, or just plain odd. 
yinzara
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yinzara,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2014 | 3:27:00 PM
Just a bad article
I disagree greatly with the entire tone of this article. Many of the questions stated actually have valid reasons for asking them.  For instance, if I want to know how the new employee works through problems, the question about the number of sq ft pizza in the US is actually completely viable.  You need to ask a question that you know the person would have no idea on the answer to see how they break the problem down into parts.
lairy
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lairy,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2014 | 12:55:28 PM
#2 How lucky are you and why - actually there is a good answer to this one!
Great article. Thought of a good answer though to number 2 (how lucky are you and why?): "Luck occurs when preparation meets opportunity. I'm prepared and looking for opportunity
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
1/21/2014 | 8:43:57 AM
Re: Your worst interview questions?
LOL! @asksqn! The second most stupid interview question (from the same interview) was "Where do you exect to be in five years?" Now that's a common question. But in this case the position was a contract job and the interviewer worked for the company that was outsourcing my work from  another company. So what happened was: I got the job but at the end of one year, the company didn't renew the outsourcing contract with my employer. 

What I wanted to respond during the interview was: "Where will you be when the contract expires at the end of the year!"
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/21/2014 | 8:29:52 AM
Re: Those logic puzzles, ugh
^^Great point. If a company asks a question with only one right answer, how does that similar scenario play out in the boardroom when there's a critical decision to make?
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
1/20/2014 | 4:13:53 PM
Re: Zappo's at number 1!
When every company on the planet is trying to use technology and save some cash by phone interviews and video interviews etc, putting in such a curve ball would just undermine the whole process.
TullotoeU883
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TullotoeU883,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/20/2014 | 2:29:03 PM
Re: Your worst interview questions?
I think every employer is looking for a mythical employee, just like every employee is working for a mythical situation.

 
TullotoeU883
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TullotoeU883,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/20/2014 | 2:24:41 PM
Re: Those logic puzzles, ugh
Yes, the proposed solution still has everyone divulging their salary.  I am sure we don't all appeciate the math involved, and will believe you when you say that even that was flawed, but even if the math wasn't, you still each shared your salary.
TullotoeU883
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TullotoeU883,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/20/2014 | 2:15:49 PM
Re: Stupid Interview Question
The weight of a plane is important to determine the amount of fuel.  If you are forced to land in the middle of timbuk 2, and can simply truck in jet fuel, but need to know how much, you don't need to know all of those questions, the original question most certainly is not moot, and you are too much of a closed minded rube for use to even offer minimum wage.
anon5781225738
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0%
anon5781225738,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/20/2014 | 10:19:02 AM
Re: Stupid Interview Question
Not stuff your friend in the trunk?
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