8 tough brainteasers you may be asked to solve in a job interview

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 trendy brainteaser questions.

Regardless of the reasoning, it is important to be prepared for whatever may be thrown your way.

If the idea of having to answer a riddle fills you with dread, don’t fret. “Often the interviewer does not know the answer, and there may be more than one,” career coach Alice J. Goffredo explains in a LinkedIn post.

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, 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.

Now that you know how to handle tough questions with confidence and ease, keep scrolling to see if you can answer these eight brainteasers Goffredo shared in her post.

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?

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

4. 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?

5. How would you weigh a Boeing 747 without using scales?

6. If you were building a new city with a projected population of 100,000, how many gas stations would you need?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

7. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

8. If you could remove any one of the 50 states, which would it be and why?

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