There’s a scene in the 2013 move “The Internship” where the two laid-off sales guys (played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) are asked one of those legendary Google brain teaser interview questions.
The question was: 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?
Answer: Lots of variants but one is that you jump out. According to the square-cube law your strength-to-mass ratio should have changed, allowing you to be much stronger for your size and jump really high, like an insect.
That’s a real question that Google once asked people. Google has reportedly banned the brain teaser portion of its interview process now but that doesn’t mean that interviews with today’s biggest tech companies have gotten easy.
We’ve scoured job-hunting site Glassdoor.com and interview training site Impact Interview and found a number of difficult questions that other tech companies have actually asked.
Salesforce.com Customer Service Analyst interview question:
'How would you direct traffic in the result of a catastrophic earthquake?'
Possible answer: This clearly falls into the 'brain teaser category' looking for problem-solving skills, as we can't think of a case where a customer service analyst will be asked to become a traffic cop after an catastrophic earthquake.
Have fun with the answer, while explaining how you help people avoid torn up streets and drive to safety.
Microsoft management position interview question:
'What is a product you love but is marketed very badly? How would you market it differently?'
Possible answer: Probably NOT wise to choose: 'Windows Phone' or 'Microsoft Surface.' Just sayin.
'Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?'
Possible answer: Well Bezos likes newspapers (he bought the Washington Post and he's an investor in Business Insider) and he likes clocks (he's spending $US42 million on one that's supposed to last for 10,000 years), so if you were trying to impress Bezos, those two areas could be good.
'Does your current employer know you are looking for work?'
Possible answer: My current employer knows that I work hard, that I'm ambitious, and am looking to advance my career.
'Name three characteristics you would want in a team.'
Possible answer: Hard-working, cheerful, lovers of status updates.
LinkedIn Senior Data Scientist interview question:
'Which part of our product you dislike most? Then can you think of the reasons why we decided to make it that way? And how would you quantify its badness (goodness)? How would you fix it? And why it will fix it?'
Possible answer: Well, Buzzfeed once did one of those Worst Things About LinkedIn lists, maybe we should rethink some of those.
'How do you define abusive use and violation of privacy? What do you do if you find one?'
Possible answer: Being harassed on Twitter (or anywhere) isn't fun. I'd like to see us come up with stringent guidelines for users who grievously violate Twitter's terms of service policies.