15 Outrageous Job Interview Questions (and How Not to Answer Them)

Here’s a brain-teaser to chew on: You are driving along on a wild stormy night. You pass by a bus

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Library of Congress

Here’s a brain-teaser to chew on: You are driving along on a wild stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and see three people waiting for the bus: 1. An elderly woman who is about to die. 2. An old friend who once saved your life. 3. The perfect mate you’ve been dreaming about. Which would you choose, knowing there could only be one passenger in your car? Should you save the elderly woman or take the old friend because he once saved your life? You may never find your perfect dream lover again!

This quiz was given to 200 applicants for a single job. The one who was hired responded, “I would give the car keys to my friend and let him take the elderly woman to the hospital. Then I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams.”

Tricky job interview questions like these are all about creative thinking—and many don’t have such neat answers. The following 15 questions from real employers (compiled over two years by the job site glassdoor) may seem to come out of left field, but can actually tell an employer a lot about a candidate’s ability to make inventive decisions under pressure. While you read, note the first response that pops into your mind. We can’t tell you the correct answers—the whole point is to test your improvisation skills—but we can at least tell you what not to say. Good luck!

Q: “How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the US?”

Asked at Factual

Don’t say: “First, I’d research the best Chinese place in the neighborhood. Then, I’d stuff my face with pork dumplings and Google the answer.”

Q: “How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year?”

Asked at Goldman Sachs

Don’t say: “Well, I eat about 30 square feet a week, multiply that by 52…”

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

Asked at Apple

Don’t say: “Removing the edges for all the jerks who order their pizza in ‘square feet.'”

Q: “Do you believe in Big Foot?”

Asked at Norwegian Cruise Line

Don’t say: “No, but I do believe in Big Mouth—in fact, I think I see him right now!”

Q: “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?”

Asked at JetBlue

Don’t say: “If the answer is ‘more than four,’ I think I’d rather reach the casino.”

Q: “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?”

Asked at The Zappos Family

Don’t say: “A funeral.”

Q: “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?””

Asked at Amazon.com

Don’t say: “Jeb who?”

Q: “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now.”

Asked at LivingSocial

Don’t say: “Sure! Just let me run out to the car and get my pole…”

Q: “How would people communicate in a perfect world?”

Asked at Novell

Don’t say: “Without stupid, hypothetical questions.”

Q: “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?”

Asked at Xerox

Don’t say: “I don’t know…Why is your chin fuzzy, ma’am?”

Q: “Have you ever been on a boat?”

Asked at Applied Systems

Don’t say: “No, but I have been sickened by gusts of salty air. Could I interest you in a breath-mint, by the way?”

Q: “What was the last gift you gave someone?”

Asked at Gallup

Don’t say: “My resumé.”

Q: “Pick two celebrities to be your parents.”

Asked at Urban Outfitters

Don’t say: “Mary and Joseph.”

Q: “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?”

Asked at Trader Joe’s

Don’t say: “30 square feet of pizza.”

Q: “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?”

Asked at Clark Construction Group

Don’t say: “Wait—you see Señor Flippers too?! Oh, thank God…”

See here for more example of how to make a jackass of yourself in an interview.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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