Top Oddball Interview Questions Of 2009

Just when you think that the job market could not get any more…

Top Oddball Interview Questions Of 2009

Posted by Glassdoor Team • December 30th, 2009


For anyone who has gone through a job interview lately – or perhaps in the past 40 years – you can expect certain questions like: ‘What are your greatest strengths?… and weaknesses?’ or ‘What are your career goals in the next five years?’. While any interviewee should be prepared to answer staple interview questions, in this market you had better be prepared to stand out and tackle the more thoughtful – and sometimes odd – questions. career expert and HR veteran Rusty Rueff reminds us that interviews can be unpredictable and it’s important to be quick on your feet, express what’s important for the employer to know and beyond everything else, stay on your message.(Rusty provides some tips on Glassdoor blog on how to control the interview whether you receive a direct or curveball question.

As we wrap up 2009 and its job-related ups and downs that look like a Richter scale report, we have identified our Top 25  oddball interview questions from the more than  14,000 interview questions submitted by job candidates through Interview Reviews:

  1. What was your best McGuyver moment? – Schlumberger Junior Field Engineer
  2. How many tennis balls are in this room and why? – Yahoo Customer Service Rep
  3. If you were a brick in a wall which brick would you be and why? – Nestle USA Procurement Intern
  4. How would you move Mount Fuji? – Microsoft Software Development Engineer in Test
  5. If two cars are traveling in a two lap race on a track of any length, one going 60 mph and the other going 30mph, how fast will the slower car have to go to finish at the same car to finish at the same time? – Morgan Stanley Trader
  6. Are your parents disappointed with your career aspirations? – Fisher Investments Client Service Associate
  7. Tell me how you would determine how many house painters there are in the United States? –Acquity Group Business Analyst
  8. What should it cost to rent Central Park for commercial purposes? – Bain & Co Business Analyst
  9. If I put you in a sealed room with a phone that had no dial tone, how would you fix it? – Apple Software Engineer
  10. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? – Pacific Sunwear Sales Associate
  11. How many hair salons are there in Japan? – Boston Consulting Associate
  12. If both a taxi and a limo were priced the exact same, which one would you choose? – Best Buy Customer Service
  13. How to measure 9 minutes using only a 4 minute and 7 minute hourglass? – Bank of America Quantitative Developer
  14. What are 5 uncommon uses of a brick, not including building, layering, or a paper-weight? – Kaplan Higher Education Data Analyst
  15. What is the probability of throwing 11 and over with 2 dices – American Airlines Financial Analyst
  16. What is your favorite food? – Apple Store Manager
  17. Say you are dead- what do you think your eulogy would say about you. – Nationwide Product Manager
  18. Given a dictionary of words, how do you calculate the anagrams for a new word? – Amazon Software Development Engineer
  19. How many lightbulbs are in this building? – Monitor Group Entry Interview
  20. Given a square grid of numbers, considering all the numbers at the boundary as one layer and numbers just inside as another layer and so on how would you rotate each of the layers of the numbers by a given amount. – Microsoft Engineer
  21. How would you sell me eggnog in Florida in the summer? – Expedia Market Manager
  22. Develop an algorithm for finding the shortest distance between two words in a document.  After the phone interview is over, take a few hours to develop a working example in C++ and send it to the manager. – Google Software Engineer
  23. Given a fleet of 50 trucks, each with a full fuel tank and a range of 100 miles, how far can you deliver a payload?  You can transfer the payload from truck to truck, and you can transfer fuel from truck to truck.  Extend your answer for n trucks. – Palantir Technologies Business Development Engineer
  24. You are in a room with 3 switches which correspond to 3 bulbs in another room and you don’t know which switch corresponds to which bulb. You can only enter the room with the bulbs once. You can NOT use any external equipment (power supplies, resistors, etc.). How do you find out which bulb corresponds to which switch? – Goldman Sachs X-Div/Back Office
  25. If you saw someone steal a quarter. Would you report it? – Amazon Shipping Manifest Clerk

Would  you be prepared or ready to answer some of these questions?

You can see how others answer these and other interview questions on job interview reviews, because keep in mind that according to Glassdoor users, 45% of those who made it to the interview process did not receive an offer. In addition you may need to speak with a number of different interviewers before you reach the person who has the authority to decide who gets hired. In fact we found that in order to get an interview, 42% had to detail their past job experience through online applications, 14% discussed their background with a recruiter and 3% percent went over past professional highlights with a staffing agency.



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