‘Have you ever been on a boat?’ and 15 other weird interview questions from tech firms

January 18

Looking for a new job? Employment review site Glassdoor reported Friday that one in five employees are looking to switch companies this year. If you’re one of those looking for greener pastures, remember that updating your resume isn’t the only thing you have to do. You should also take some time to think outside of the box when prepping for your interview – particularly if you want to work in tech.

In its annual list of oddball interview questions, the Web site shared the 16 top curveballs companies posed to prospective tech employees in 2013 to get those creative juices flowing.

No. 16: “Have you ever been on a boat?”


(FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

This question was asked during an interview for a graphics designer position at Applied Systems. The interviewee who ended up receiving an offer from the company said that they told a personal, funny story about their experience.

No. 15: “Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt.”


(Jeff Roberson/AP)

Apparently you needed to know the answer to this question if you wanted to be a client applications specialist at management software firm Active Network.

No. 14: “It’s Thursday; we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What top are the top five things you do before you leave?”


(J. David Ake/AP)

It’s nice to know that you might get to travel as a junior consultant for ThoughtWorks. One possible answer posted on Glassdoor is: “(1) Determine scope of my assignment and major stakeholders, (2) Find out if there are specific issues I need to address/personalities to mitigate, (3) Determine our expected outcomes beyond getting the job done, (4) Pack my luggage, and (5) Get to the airport (print passes, etc.).”

No. 13: “If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?”


(Todd Williamson/Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)

This question was asked during an interview for an inside sales consultant position with listings firm SinglePlatform.

No. 12: “How does the internet work?”


(Ben Torres/Bloomberg)

You better know how to answer this if you’re applying for a director position at cloud company Akamai. Here are possible answers according to: Stanford University, this YouTube video , and howstuffworks.com.

No. 11: “Can you instruct someone how to make an origami ‘cootie catcher’ with just words?”

Remember these from elementary school? Someone applying for a consumer advocate position at LivingSocial was asked to explain how to make one during an interview. If you were like us and forgot how to make one, check out the video above.

No. 10: “How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year?”


(MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

This question was asked during an interview for a programmer analyst position at banking giant Goldman Sachs. This apparently is a classic question as the answer can be found using a formula developed by Columbia University.

No. 9: “How honest are you?”


(Mary Altaffer/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

This was asked during an interview for an executive assistant position at telecommunications company Allied Telesis.

No. 8: “How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the U.S.?”


(Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

Someone applying for a software engineer position at location data provider Factual was asked this during an interview.

No. 7: “What is your least favorite thing about humanity?”


(Francisco Seco/AP)

This question was asked during an interview for an operations associate position with doctor reviews site ZocDoc.

No. 6: “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?”


(MAST IRHAM/EPA)

This question was asked during an interview for a client manager position at Xerox. One possible answer is that the fuzz slows down the ball as it flies through the air. This is the smartest answer we could find.

No. 5: “If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?”


(Paul Chesley/Paul Chesley)

Yahoo asked an interview candidate this question when the person was applying for a search quality analyst position at the tech company. One Glassdoor user responded that they would bring a blanket, Bible and bottle of water.

No. 4: “Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?”


(Nabil K. Mark/AP)

This question came up during an interview for an account manager position at Dell. Glassdoor gives a suggestion on how to answer this question.

No. 3: “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?”


(Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

A person applying for a specialist position at Apple was asked this during an interview. One Glassdoor user said that he would “offer to make the pieces smaller for the kids.”

No. 2: “How lucky are you and why?”


(BERND WUESTNECK/AFP/Getty Images)

This question came up during an interview for a content manager position at vacation accommodation company Airbnb. Glassdoor recommends answering the question by keeping in mind that you create your luck.

No. 1: “If you throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?”


(Tina Fineberg/AP)

This question was asked during an interview for a customer loyalty team member position at the online shoe retailer.

Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

SECTION: {section=business, subsection=technology}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=business, subsection=technology}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Most Read Business