Some hiring managers like to ask tough questions to test a candidate’s reasoning skills or ability to think quickly and effectively under pressure. Others aren’t quite sure what to ask, and revert to the trending brainteaser questions.
Regardless of the reasoning, it is important to be prepared for whatever may be thrown your way.
In a recent LinkedIn post, career coach Alice J. Goffredo shared several brainteasers that she has heard employers ask job candidates.
Here are our five favourites:
1. You’re in a room with three light switches, each of which controls one of three light bulbs in the next room. Your task is to determine which switch controls which bulb. All lights are initially off, and you can’t see into one room from the other. You may inspect the room only once. How can you determine which switch is connected to which light bulb?
2. How many trees are there in Central Park?
3. How much does all the ice in a hockey rink weigh?
4. If you were building a new city with a projected population of 100,000, how many gas stations would you need?
5. You are given 12 balls and a scale. Of the 12 balls, 11 are identical and 1 weighs slightly more. How do you find the heavier ball using the scale only three times?
If the idea of having to answer one of those questions fills you with dread, don’t worry. “Often the interviewer does not know the answer, and there may be more than one,” Goffredo explains.
The answer is not what’s important here. Rather, it’s about how you worked through the problem. “It’s how you handled yourself. It’s how you explained your rationale and how you defended it,” she writes.
If you’re thrown a curveball like one of these, Goffredo offers a few tips for handling the situation:
1. Keep your cool. “Try not to get confused or flustered,” she says. “Your reaction to the question and the way you act while attempting to solve it is important.”
2. Use your resources. “Because you brought a portfolio with your résumé, your questions, paper, and a pen, feel free to use your pen and paper to help you solve the question,” Goffredo recommends.
3. Take your time. “Don’t rush — even if you are being timed — take a deep breath, understand what’s being asked of you and begin to work your way through solving it,” she says.
For the full list of questions and tips, read the LinkedIn post here.
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