The 17 Most Bizarre Tech Company Interviews Ever

By now we’ve all heard of the crazy, intimidating questions techies often face when interviewing at companies like Apple and Google.

But one thread on Quora shows that sometimes interviews take on a whole new level of bizarreness. These guys faced oddities, rudeness, and just pure insanity.

We put together some of the craziest experiences Quora users had in tech interviews.

Lee Ballentine endured an earthquake during his job interview.

'I was interviewing for a job as an applications engineering manager in a two-year-old Silicon Valley company of about 300 employees in the 1980s. My last stop was an interview with the CEO, an impressive ex-military Israeli entrepreneur. We were in a makeshift lab/office, sitting at a small table with a consultant in Japan on a speakerphone.

'An earthquake started, and kept going, fairly seriously, and from my chair I could see people running down the corridor toward the exit. The CEO reacted to this not at all. I kept the conversation going. The quake got more intense, stuff falling off of bookshelves, etc., and more and more people fleeing the building. I decided that if the CEO could take it, so could I. We kept right on talking until we were the only two people left in the building.

'A half-hour later, people were straggling back into the building, and we were still talking. Eventually, everyone had returned to work, and we finished our conversation. He shook hands with me, thanked me, said they would 'be in touch.' A few days later, they offered me the job and I accepted. I kind of knew it would play out that way, after facing down an earthquake.'

In order to get the job, Kee Nethery had to prove he could hold his alcohol.

'This was a job interview for when I graduated college. I flew to Iowa and was met at the airport by two of the guys I would be working with. We went to a great restaurant, ordered lots of alcohol, went clubbing and they got me to my hotel around 1 am.

'Next morning at 6 am I meet up with two more guys I'd be working with and we go out for a big breakfast. Then to the office for a bunch of quick 30 minute interviews. Lunch is two more guys I'd be working with. We go to another really nice restaurant for a long leisurely lunch and they are ordering mixed drinks, lots of alcohol. Then back to the office for a bunch of quick 30 minute interviews.

'Two more guys take me out for drinks and then we do dinner and go clubbing and they get me back to my hotel by around 1 am. Rinse and repeat for the next day.

'I had never had so much great food, great drinks, lack of sleep and being 'on' within one 48 hour period. It took days to recover.

'The job itself was exactly what I wanted to do so I accepted their offer. Then I became one of the 'two guys' crew.

'The goal of the interview process was two fold. Although it was a technical engineering job, there was some degree of entertaining customers and the expense account was kind of unlimited. They needed to know that you could handle having access to unlimited amounts of alcohol in a peer pressure situation.

'Secondly, for the job we flew to and solved the urgent and vexing customer problems that local employees had been unable to solve. Lots of pressure and very challenging. They needed to know if you were a reasonable and coherent person when you had no sleep and were under maximum stress for days at a time.'

Amit Bhati impressed his interviewer so much that he quit and gave Bhati his job.

'Many years ago I went to be interviewed for a senior programmer position, where the team lead interviewing me began to ask a number of very interesting and increasingly complex questions, after having worked through my resume quite thoroughly.

'I assumed this was all just part of the interview; trying to assess how well I might be prepared for problems I may have to handle in the future. Issues such as how I would handle a dysfunctional team, architectural complexity, design v/s build fast etc. All great topics of debate. But the manner in which the questions were being asked, and how laudable he considered my replies. left me feeling a bit out of place, because these would not necessarily have been my problems had I gotten that job.

'At some point the interviewer remarked that I was so well-qualified that I should be applying for his job. I laughed etc., but he got up and left the room, returned a few minutes later and said, you know what I've just resigned, and I've told the boss that he ought to hire you to fill my position right now.

'He left - as in actually left the office right then and there, leaving me feeling utterly speechless. The receptionist and the big boss emerged on his tails, and the boss proceeded to hastily recruit me on the spot for the position that had just opened up!'

Nathan Stephens was not a match for Zynga.

'On a phone interview with Zynga, the interviewer asked me what my favourite game was. I am an analyst, not a gamer.

'When I said that I don't play Facebook games, the interview said their best employees are their best gamers. He refused to continue the interview and hung up.'

Kristaps Horns experienced a classic case of tech ageism.

'I was hiring a web designer. One of the applicants was 47 and tried to convince me how extremely skilled web designer he is while showing designs clearly made in MS Paint.

'When I asked him why he doesn't use Photoshop, he asked me what Photoshop is... That ended the interview.'

Steve Everhard's interviewee may have had a case of cold feet.

'I was interviewing potential electronics design engineers. We had one guy with a very engaging personality that kept us entertained through most of the interview.

'He had an impressive CV with first class qualifications, but his answers to some of the technical questions were bordering on the bizarre. Wondering whether he was just a little nervous I asked him if he had proof of his degree with him and he said he had and it was in the car.

'Off he goes to retrieve said document but after 10 minutes he doesn't return, but we hear a squeal of tires and watch his car career out of the car park.'

Katherine Mancuso was shocked by the questions she was asked at an interview.

'The one (just to be clear this was for a technical marketing job at a startup) where the person picked up from my Twitter account that I was probably gay and proceeded to engage me in an hour and a half conversation about gay marriage.

'Because at first his questions were strictly political or sociological in nature, I answered them. I pointed out at one point that his name and accent was obviously from another country, and would he like people asking about that rather than his professional background in interviews, hoping to gently teach him through empathy that this whole line of questioning wasn't professional.

'When he finally asked me if I was ever attracted to men I told him that this interview was over.'

Dan Morrill was pretty turned off by his interviewer.

'The most bizarre interview I have ever had was for a software company as part of the security team.

'The second interviewer was telling me how they literally turn over staff every six months by firing everyone and hiring new people, that few if any last longer than two years, that I should plan on being fired within six months, so don't get too comfy here.'

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