Tech industry asks some really odd interview questions

By on January 3, 2011
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‘How do you weigh an elephant without a weight machine?’

We have all been through some pretty weird interview questions at some point in our lives, but questions asked by tech giants to potential candidates had literally left them scratching their heads.

Have a go at this: given the numbers 1 to 1,000, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint “higher” or “lower” for each guess you make? If you are able to answer that question, you may have a fighting chance to become a software engineer at Facebook., a job community website, has published 25 of the most oddest  interview questions of 2010, based on more than 80,000 questions shared by candidates on its web site. I wonder how many of them got hired.

Anyway, here are some questions asked by tech companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, etc (thanks PCMag!).

“How many basketball[s] can you fit in this room?” – asked at Google, People Analyst position

“If you could be any superhero, who would it be?” - asked at AT&T, Customer Sales Representative position

“If you had 5,623 participants in a tournament, how many games would need to be played to determine the winner?” - asked at Amazon, Manager position

“There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?” – asked at Apple, Software QA Engineer position

How do you weigh an elephant without using a weigh machine?” - asked at IBM, Software Engineer position

You have 8 pennies, 7 weigh the same, one weighs less. You also have a judges scale. Find the one that weighs less in less than 3 steps.” - asked at Intel, Systems Validation Engineer position

A train leaves San Antonio for Huston at 60mph. Another train leaves Huston for San Antonio at 80mph. Huston and San Antonio are 300 miles apart. If a bird leaves San Antonio at 100mph, and turns around and flies back once it reaches the Huston train, and continues to fly between the two, how far will it have flown when they collide.” - asked at USAA, Software Engineer position

Full list of mind baffling questions here.


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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