Want to work at Google or Facebook? Answer these weird interview questions

5 Min Read

Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple are renowned for their interview questions. But now smaller tech companies, hoping to be the next startup-turned-tech giant, have started to follow suit.

Every year research company Glass Door publishes a list of the strangest questions asked in job interviews. That list is increasingly populated with questions from the likes of Airbnb, Facebook and Dropbox.

Here’s a selection of some of the weird  and wonderful questions tech companies asked unsuspecting, nervous interview hopefuls. Answer them correctly and you might just land yourself a job at a world-beating tech company.

1. On your very best day at work – the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world – what did you do that day?

Facebook’s global head of recruiting recently revealed that this is the question the social network likes to test candidates with. Miranda Kalinowski said correct answers reflect Facebook’s mission to “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”.

2. You are shrunk to the height of a 2p coin and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

Asked by Google, the answer to this conundrum is jump. Because your density remains the same, your muscles will have the same power as a normal-sized human. This means that you will still be able to jump high enough to clear the blades, even though you’re the size of a 2p coin. That’s a brain-teaser and a half.

3. A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?

Another one from Google, this one has a much simpler answer: He was playing Monopoly.

5. If you had a choice between two superpowers – being invisible or flying – which would you choose?

Microsoft asked this question in an interview for a high level product lead position. It’s unlikely that it is intended as a trick question, given that a successful interviewee answered, “That’s easy I would choose being invisible since then I could fly.” A skeptical person on Glass Door said, “Invisible = you have a fear of something or you are shy. Flying = you don’t have a fear of being on stage (good leaders).”

6. If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them how would you choose which ones to answer?

In asking this question, recruiters at Dropbox were looking for answers that involved interviewees filtering for emails sent to by their boss.

7. What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?

Airbnb asks this question of people applying to be trust and safety investigators. The most popular answer on Glass Door is “Be glad that I was flying solo that day”. One of the least popular was “I would turn on my cellphone and call you to say that I’ll be late for work”.

8. What’s your favourite 90s jam?

This question from Squarespace judges applicants based on how millennial they are.

9. Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a    million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?

Amazon likes to think big, so this question is probably testing candidates about their ability to come up with creative ideas. That said, a funny answer on given Glass Door could trick them into giving you the job: “I cannot tell you right now, I am in an interview, once I get hired we can talk about it”.

10. You’re in a row boat, which is in a large tank filled with water. You have an anchor on board, which you throw overboard (the chain is long enough so the anchor rests completely on the bottom of the tank). Does the water level in the tank rise or fall?

The answer to this common sense question from Tesla in an interview for a mechanical engineer position is “the water levels fall”.  The anchor is more dense than water, so its displacement as mass, when it is on the boat, is greater than its displacement as volume, when its in the water. So if you throw it overboard the water level will fall.

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