Sometimes the hiring practices of even the most successful companies can feel outright wonky.
There can be strange interview questions that seem to have no answers, and standards that will knock candidates out of the race right off the starting line.
Google used to be a big example of this, with a reputation for head-scratching questions.
In fact, some of Google’s questions were so bizarre, they were eventually banned from being asked altogether.
In 2009, Lewis Lin, a job coach in Seattle, put together a list of 140 questions his clients were asked by Google. We’ve picked 16 of the wildest.
Future Google employees should be grateful these questions are no longer on the table.
Sean Wolfe, Nathan McAlone, and Caroline Moss contributed reporting on earlier versions of this article.
How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
Why are manhole covers round?
You need to check that your friend Bob has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly …
You must write the question on a card and give it to Eve, who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure that Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?
How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife …
Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?
A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
How many times a day do a clock’s hands overlap?
How many vacuums are made per year in the US?
Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.
Explain the significance of ‘dead beef.’
If a person dials a sequence of numbers on the telephone, what possible words/strings can be formed from the letters associated with those numbers?
You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
You have two eggs and access to a 100-story building …
Eggs can be very hard or very fragile, which means they may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from 100th floor. Both eggs are identical. You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-story building an egg can be dropped without breaking. The question is how many drops you need to make. You are allowed to break two eggs in the process.
You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do?
Explain a database in three sentences to your 8-year-old nephew.
Now check out some of the answers to these questions: