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If you want to work at Google…

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…you’ll have to get through these interview questions first. These have been doing the rounds over the last couple of weeks, but I thought I would share a few of my favourites in case you had missed them, or wanted to take another look. Some questions are designed to test creativity, others are intended to test your ability to calculate. A handful are simply brainteasers that Google want to hear your responses to. Here are some of the more bizarre and thought provoking questions:

  • How many piano tuners are there in the world?
  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • 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 you fit in a school bus?
  • Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco
  • You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his share but live to enjoy it?

My brain is hurting just thinking about the answers to some of these – and there are plenty more. Have a read of this blog entry about a real life nightmare interview with Google. And click here if you want to read some answers as suggested by Business Insider and its readers.

There are various different interview techniques and debates about the merits of competency based interviewing. What do you think about Google’s ideas? They must work pretty well given Google’s global dominance, but is throwing brainteasers at a candidate really a good indication of how well they can do the job? Or is it just another tool for employers to use to narrow down a shortlist of skilled candidates? What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever asked / been asked?

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