Room of basketballs to pizza scissors - weird interview questions and how to ... (2024)

Interview questions can sometimes be downright bizarre, but there's often a method to the madness. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple use these unconventional questions to delve deeper into a candidate's thought processes, creativity, and personality.

James Dooley from Searcharoo has explained 15 of the strangest interview questions companies have actually asked, along with the rationale behind them. James also provides tips on how to approach them effectively.

The Strangest Questions

Cisco: “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?”

Choose a tree that represents your qualities and values, as the question aims to assess your personality and self-perception.

Explain your choice with attributes that align with the role you're applying for.

Facebook: “25 racehorses, no stopwatch. 5 tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.”

The question evaluates your mathematical ability. To answer this question, break down the problem into smaller, manageable parts. Consider grouping the horses and conducting elimination races to find the top contenders efficiently.

Google: “How many basketballs would fit in this room?”

As this evaluates your estimation skills and logical reasoning, you should think about the volume of the room and the size of a basketball. Provide a structured estimation process rather than a random guess.

Blizzard Entertainment: “If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive), who would they be?”

The question reveals your personal interests and values. Choose then individuals who have inspired you or whose work aligns with your career and personal values. Explain the significance of each choice.

Bed Bath & Beyond: “If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?”

This question gauges your creativity and personality fit. You should therefore pick a cereal that resonates with your personality and strengths. Be creative in linking your choice to your professional traits.

Goldman Sachs: “How would you explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew?”

This tests your ability to simplify complex concepts. Therefore, you should use simple language and relatable analogies. Focus on clarity and comprehension.

American Heart Association: “What's the color of money?”

How you pay attention to detail and cultural knowledge is central to this question. But this answer may vary by country. In the U.S., for example, money is predominantly green.

Microsoft: “If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose?”

This reveals one’s personality traits and decision-making process. Reflect on the implications of each superpower and choose one that aligns with your values and professional strengths.

Intel: “How would you design a spice rack for the blind?”

This sounds like a trick question, but fear not. Think of the question as nothing but something that will evaluate your problem-solving and empathy skills.

Consider the needs and challenges faced by visually impaired individuals. Focus on practical and inclusive design solutions.

Apple: “If you were a pizza deliveryman, how would you benefit from scissors?”

This evaluates creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Think creatively about practical uses for scissors in the context of pizza delivery, such as cutting pizza boxes or coupons.

Microsoft: “How would you test an elevator?”

This question evaluates your analytical and problem-solving skills. Discuss different testing methods, including safety, functionality, and user experience. Think about various scenarios and edge cases.

Dell: “Describe the internet to someone who just woke up from a 30-year coma.”

This question sounds daunting, but it basically tests your communication skills and ability to explain complex concepts.

The key here is to use simple, everyday language. Draw comparisons to concepts that existed 30 years ago to create understanding.

Zappos: “If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?”

Select an animal that reflects your personality and strengths, as this assesses your cultural fit and creativity. Relate your choice to qualities relevant to the job.

Bank of America: “What's the angle between the hour and minute hand at 3:15?”

The question merely tests your logical and mathematical reasoning. Break down the problem into steps, considering the positions of the clock hands. Calculate the angle with precision.

Google: “How many cows are in Canada?”

Don’t panic with this question. It just assesses your estimation skills and logical reasoning. Use logical steps to estimate, such as considering the number of farms and average herd sizes. Show your reasoning process clearly.

Tips for Answering Unconventional Questions

James offers tips when you encounter unconventional, if not bizarre, questions in a job interview.

  • Stay calm: Don't panic when faced with an unusual question. It's often more about your thought process than the exact answer.

  • Think aloud: Verbalize your thought process to show how you approach problems.

  • Be creative: Use your imagination and don't be afraid to think outside the box.

  • Relate to the job: Wherever possible, connect your answer to qualities and skills relevant to the position you're applying for.

  • Be honest: Give genuine answers that reflect your true personality and values.

James explains, “These unconventional questions actually help the interviewers understand how the candidates think on their feet and look at unexpected challenges. It's really less about getting the 'right' answer and more about revealing the candidate's analytical and creative process.”

Room of basketballs to pizza scissors - weird interview questions and how to ... (2024)


How to answer weird interview questions? ›

Answer Enthusiastically

Since these questions almost never have a “right” answer, the key to responding well is mostly about answering enthusiastically and coherently—not what the content of your answer is. If being funny comes naturally to you, this is a great outlet to use some SFW humor.

What interview questions would a pizza place ask? ›

In-depth questions
  • How do you ensure you and your kitchen staff complete all orders on time?
  • What might you do if you accidentally sustained an injury while cooking?
  • How do you handle a challenging customer?
  • Do you have any food sanitation and safety certifications?

How would you handle tricky interview questions? ›

Here's how to handle this first tricky question:
  1. Avoid starting with personal information.
  2. Highlight why your skills make you the right person for the job.
  3. Talk about your interests related to the role.
  4. Think of your answer as a story.
  5. Keep it short and sweet.
  6. Confirm if you've answered the question.
Dec 15, 2022

How many basketballs can fit into a room? ›

The average mens basketball has a diameter of 25cm. There is approximately 30cm in a foot. Therefor you could fit one inflated basketball in a 1 foot cubed space. Therefor you could fit 1000 inflated basketballs inside a room with a volume of 1000 ft cubed.

Can one bad answer ruin an interview? ›

In a job interview, every word counts. Even one bad answer could kill your chances at getting hired, Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Ericho Communications, tells CNBC Make It. Yaverbaum has interviewed thousands of candidates throughout his 40-plus year career as a public relations expert.

Why should we hire you? ›

A: When answering, focus on your relevant skills, experience, and achievements that make you the best fit for the role.You should hire me because I am a hard worker who wants to help your company succeed. I have the skills and experience needed for the job, and I am eager to learn and grow with your team .

How to answer tell me about yourself? ›

The best way to answer "Tell me about yourself" is with a brief highlight-summary of your experience, your education, the value you bring to an employer, and the reason you're looking forward to learning more about this next job and the opportunity to work with them.

What is a good answer for what is your weakness? ›

So as a recap, the four answers that you can give when being asked, what are your greatest weaknesses, are, I focus too much on the details, I've got a hard time saying no sometimes, I've had trouble asking for help in the past, and I have a hard time letting go of a project.

What is the hardest interview question to answer? ›

The seven most difficult interview questions
  1. Where do you see yourself in five years? ...
  2. What are your weaknesses? ...
  3. Tell me about yourself. ...
  4. Why are you the best person for the job? ...
  5. Why do you want the job? ...
  6. Why are you looking for a new job? ...
  7. What is your salary expectation?

How many basketballs can fit through a hoop at one time? ›

In most professional and serious amateur play, the hoop is 18 inches in diameter and the ball is either 9.39 (men's) or 9.07 (women's) inches in diameter (the rules actually specify the circumference of the balls at 29.5 or 28.5 inches). So two balls can bounce through the hoop overlapping each other.

How many basketballs can fit on a bus interview question? ›

Basketball enthusiasts often wonder how many basketballs can do on a bus. While the exact number can vary depending on factors such as the bus size and the basketballs' arrangement, a general estimate suggests that a bus can hold approximately 500 to 550 regulation-size basketballs.

How many basketballs can fit in the sun? ›

An NBA official standard basketball is 0.0071 cubic metres in volume. That means you can fit 200 billion billion billion – 2 with 29 zeroes after it – basketballs inside the Sun.

How do you respond to an inappropriate interview question? ›

You could respond by saying something like “My personal life will not interfere with my professional responsibilities.” Leave the Interview. If you feel the interviewer is asking an inappropriate or discriminatory question, you can refuse to answer the question and excuse yourself from the interview.

How do you answer an awkward question? ›

Several answers:
  1. "What an interesting question. ...
  2. "That's private." (Then change the subject.)
  3. Stare at them expressionlessly and don't move or look away. ...
  4. Say, "Excuse me, I have to be going." and walk away.
  5. Say, "What did you say?" ...
  6. Try "Did I ever . . ." ...
  7. Pretend your phone is ringing and excuse yourself to answer it.
Jun 28, 2023

How do you answer an uncomfortable interview question? ›

How to answer the "What makes you uncomfortable?" interview question
  1. Reflect on your professional career. When developing your response, consider reflecting on your professional career. ...
  2. Focus on one thing that makes you uncomfortable. ...
  3. Give a specific example. ...
  4. Maintain a positive attitude.
Oct 26, 2022

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