Interviewing for a job is nerve wracking on many different levels. You have to figure out what to wear, what to say and research the company and position. Considering the economy’s dip in the past few years, interviews can be a little harder to come by—putting even more pressure on the situation when you do get one.
Unemployed people as well as soon-to-be-graduates spend a good amount of time brushing-up on their traditional interview skills: be energetic, knowledgeable and have a clean, professional appearance. However, with many tech companies faring very well in the economy, more people are finding themselves looking to these innovative, not-so-traditional, start-ups for employment.
Tech companies often have unique cultures very specific to them, so, naturally, part of their interview process tests if you are a good fit for the company. These companies are creative and inventive, and their hiring processes reflect the way these companies operate. Tech companies have quickly gained a reputation for asking some of the weirdest, unpredictable questions to interview candidates.
Here are some examples of odd questions asked in tech company interviews:
- “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30 p.m. on a Friday?” (Google)
- “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” (Hewlett-Packard)
- “How would you cure world hunger?” (Amazon.com)
- “Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are.” (Google)
- “Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum numbers guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint “higher” or “lower” for each guess you make.” (Facebook)
- “How do you weigh an elephant without using a scale?” (IBM)
In general, these companies are more interested in how an individual answers a question than the actual answer. They want to see the way you work through the problem. So don’t sit there silently until you come-up with your answer. If you are asked an off-the-wall question, verbally communicate the path your brain is taking. You may have a weak answer, but they could still like the way you got to it. The worst answer is always, “I don’t know.” They know you don’t know the answer right off—work through it.
Some companies ask a branded question. Prompting their candidates to name what Google search spec or Windows program they would be. For this, it may be a good idea to match the company’s quirkiness. Don’t spout off a typical answer like, “I would be Microsoft excel.” Or “I’d be Google news.” Give them something more unique, like relating yourself to Microsoft Dynamics CRM or a lesser-known Apple Product. Your goal should be to sound smart and be remembered.
Image credit, Robbie Biller