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Top 10 Weirdest Interview Questions and Answers
You are poised, confident and ready for anything. The interviewer calls your name. You stood up and stepped into the interview room. You nailed the handshake and eye contact. Nothing can stop you. You feel you have secured this job.
The interviewer leans in close and whispers, "Do you believe in UFOs?"
Wait — what?
Yeah. That was my experience.
Creativity, adaptability and the ability to think on your feet are hot topics in the interview circles.
To help job-seekers prepare job interviews, career guidance company Glassdoor every year compiles a list of questions that companies ask. I have picked out the oddest and most unexpected questions from their list and other sources.
I have attempted to answer these questions to the best of my abilities. Hopefully these answers can help you in responding similar questions during any interviews.
1) Do you believe in UFOs?
What has UFOs and aliens have to do with my job interview?
Apparently, this question was asked by during a few job interviews. Interviewers say that such questions offer even more unique glimpses into the job applicant's personality.
I believe in the existence of UFOs. This belief relates well to Business/Marketing/Sales. In business, you have to have the mentality that anything is possible.
You need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable (Quote from Oscar Wilde).
In business, we will inevitably experience instances where we are pursuing a potential client who has rejected us 10 times or chasing after an insurmountable revenue goal. The belief that extraordinary things can happen will definitely drive us to achieve success.
I fundamentally believe that whatever we want to achieve in life is ours for the making. Despite facing overwhelming challenges, we can achieve our goals if we believe in the impossible.
2) Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?
This question was asked during a client manager job interview for Xerox.
To the defence of the job applicants, who would ever research on the great mystery of the fuzziness of tennis balls?
The fuzziness helps to provide the aerodynamic drag to slow the ball down and provide the players a better control.
The fuzziness is the result of the felt that covers the ball. It acts as a dampener to allow for much more control (it works just like the dimples on a golf ball) by stopping the ball from bouncing too high and from flying through the air too quickly.
It also provides more of an effect when the ball is hit with a topspin, backspin or side spin stroke, especially on a clay or wet surface. But while the fuzz slows down the ball, some top players can still serve the ball at 225 to 240 km/h.
A perfectly smooth ball would otherwise travel so fast and bounce so high that the game would be unplayable. Also, a smooth ball will behave radically different on various surfaces, it would be much more difficult for the player to control the direction of the shots.
3) What's the colour of money?
This question was posted by the American Heart Association for a project manager Interview.
Isn't the answer green?
This brainteaser begs for some form of thinking.
The worst answer applicants can give is a one-word response. The answer needs to be more nuanced and must demonstrate some level of analytical thinking.
Money is a medium of exchange and a record of payment. Money is something intangible and it is only a concept for payment, hence it is colourless.
If you are using cash as a form of payment, money will be of different colours based on the country's currency you are using.
Truthfully, there is a saying that money reveals your true colours to others around you; when you don't have money, it shows the true colours of others around you.
4) If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
This question was posted by Dropbox during a sales and marketing analyst interview.
The trick is to always make a connection to your professional contributions.
Whether it’s the ability to fly, see into the future or leap over tall buildings in a single bound, you need to relate back to an organization or how your skills would benefit others.
For example, the ability to read someone’s mind can help you create better solutions for a client. It is certainly better if you can add a dose of humour, as it can loosened up the interview a little bit.
I would want to have the power of multiplicity.
That way I could have five of me all going in different directions and accomplishing five times as much as I normally could.
I could be five times as productive, or see the same event from five different perspectives.
I can even duplicate dozens of me to pursue dozens of clients at the same time! And perhaps, I can do volunteer work with one while working simultaneously.
6) If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Don’t be afraid to be honest, but the answer must be about the principles and values you strongly believe in.
It is certainly better if the belief aligns with the company that you are applying to.
Be persistent and Be true to yourself.
The reason for this is that throughout my life I have encountered numerous hurdles and I found a new path each time while being persistent and staying true to my goals.
5) Why are manholes round?
If you haven't heard of this weird interview question, you are not preparing well for your interview.
This question was first posted during a Microsoft job interview, and has since spawned many more weird interview questions.
The manhole cover in a circular shape will always fit the manhole without the need to align the cover.
What else could potentially happen with a manhole cover when someone is handling it? What if someone accidentally dropped the cover into the manhole?
Well, if it’s a circular shaped manhole cover then it will not fall into the hole because the diameter of the manhole cover is equal to the diameter of the hole.
If the cover and manhole were in the form of other shapes such as a square or rectangle, for instance the square shaped cover could fall into the hole and injured someone if the cover is not properly aligned.
A circular manhole can be transported effortlessly because a circular cover can be rolled along its edge. Covers with any other shapes cannot be rolled and will need to be tediously carried along.
A circular cover dissipates the stress more evenly at all points compared to other shapes like a triangle or square. When stress is exerted at a corner of a triangle or square, the stress would be larger compared to the stress being applied to its centre.
7) If you are shipwrecked on a deserted island, what are the three items would you want to have with you?
I would want to bring a really big notebook, a loud whistle and a fire starter.
I should be able to create some writing mechanism out of what I find on the island.
Writing about the events of my shipwreck in this uninhabited island will gradually ease my emotional trauma.
Writing about my day-to-day happenings in the island will be therapeutic and would increase the odds that I survive my stay.
I think that with potentially nobody with whom I could communicate, the ability to keep an organized log of writing would help me to stay sane.
A fire is immensely crucial for keeping me warm, signalling for help and cooking food and water.
In addition, having a loud whistle will be immensely useful in getting the attention of any ships nearby for help.
8) Which type of fruit are you?
I would be like a banana.
A banana has a thick skin and yet it is soft inside. Similarly, I am compassionate and I firmly believe that the best way to live meaningfully is to lose myself in the service of others.
However, I also have a thick skin and I am persistent in achieving my goals. I believe that the adversities we face are excellent opportunities for us to gain self-awareness and review our flaws.
Bananas are able to grow and develop all year round. I am defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I am keen to seize any learning opportunities (e.g. online courses or self-help books) for self-improvement.
Bananas can be pureed, baked, or eaten on their own or in fruit salad.
Similar to a banana, I am versatile and can perform well in different situations.
Above all, I believe in teamwork and can co-operate well in a team to accomplish tasks efficiently.
9) Which kind of animal best represents you?
I would be like a dolphin.
Dolphins are harmonious mammals. Similar to a dolphin, I am driven to create a harmonious environment. I am unassuming and dedicated to my work.
I am compassionate and I firmly believe that the best way to live meaningfully is to lose myself in the service of others. Being able to witness how people benefit from my work and receiving their appreciation drives me to accomplish more.
Dolphins are highly intelligent and intellectually curious animals.
I am defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I believe that if you stop learning new knowledge and improving yourself, you will stop achieving great things. I am keen to seize any learning opportunities (e.g. online courses or self-help books) for self-improvement.
Dolphins are highly sociable.
Similarly, I work instinctively to create an ambient atmosphere of peace and acceptance amongst my colleagues.
I am versatile and can perform well in different situations. Above all, I believe that teamwork is paramount and I perform well in a team to accomplish tasks efficiently.
10) How many times per day do a clock's hands overlap?
This question was posted by Pocket Gems during an mobile engineer interview.
2. 1 + 1/11 am
3. 2 + 2/11 am
4. 3 + 3/11 am
5. 4 + 4/11 am
6. 5 + 5/11 am
7. 6 + 6/11 am
8. 7 + 7/11 am
9. 8 + 8/11 am
10. 9 + 9/11 am
11. 10 + 10/11 am
13. 1 + 1/11 pm
14. 2 + 2/11 pm
15. 3 + 3/11 pm
16. 4 + 4/11 pm
17. 5 + 5/11 pm
18. 6 + 6/11 pm
19. 7 + 7/11 pm
20. 8 + 8/11 pm
21. 9 + 9/11 pm
22. 10 + 10/11 pm
If midnight is considered part of both days, then the answer is 23 times. Otherwise the answer is 22 times.
The clock hands don’t overlap at 1:05, 2:10, 3:15 etc.
Because, by the time the minutes hand reaches where the hours hand was, the hours hand has moved on, as it doesn’t remain fixed through the entire hour.
In every hour, as the hour hand moves across 5 minute spaces, the minute hand moves across 60. That means the minute hand gains 55 min sp. over hour hand in 60 min. Thus, between the nth and (n+1)st hr, to overlap the minute hand must gain the 5n min sp. that exists between them when the clock strikes n hrs. Apply unitary method and you get the time in which it does so i.e. 60n/11 min. So, the clock hands overlap at n hrs 60n/11 min. Obtain the values by putting m = 0 to 11, and you will find that from 00:00:00 to 23:59:59 (please note that 23:59:60 is equivalent to 24:00:00 or 00:00:00), the hands overlap 22 times.
There isn’t a definite way of answering questions like these--the whole point is to test your confidence levels, how you can think on your feet and come up with creative thoughts.
Don't overthink it. Just think freely and clearly.
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What's your story?
I like to hear stories of the weirdest, toughest, oddball interview questions you have heard. Hopefully, we can discuss the ideal answers together.