Strategy

Acing Those Weird Interview Questions

Tech companies in particular are notorious for throwing curveballs when interviewing new job candidates. The questions can be interesting sometimes … or they’re just plain annoying. Here are a few tips on handling tough interview questions when you pursue your next IT opportunity.

Alison DeNisco writes, “The days of tech job interviews consisting of only questions such as ‘Tell us about yourself’ are gone. Several companies have adopted Google’s brain teasing interview model, throwing interviewees questions such as ‘How many happy birthday posts do you think Facebook gets in one day?’ and ‘If you are in a boat with a boulder and you drop that boulder into the lake, how does the water level before and after you drop the boulder in the lake compare?’

“Those are both real questions, by the way, asked recently by Facebook and Apple®, respectively, according to a recent Glassdoor report.

“Google itself abandoned these types of questions several years ago, and executives later admitted that even they could not solve them. However, several tech and other companies continue to use them as part of the interview process.

“‘A lot of these questions are designed to see how somebody thinks and analyzes,’ said Mark Dinan, a tech recruiter based in Silicon Valley. ‘But sometimes, they’re just ego-driven and are attempts by a 24-year-old questioner to demonstrate how smart they are, as opposed to finding out about what a candidate knows.’

“The tech interview process is flawed on both the interviewer and interviewee side, Dinan said. ‘Many people in the tech world do not interview well, and a lot of companies don’t know how to interview,’ he said. ‘They adopted patterns of behavior from Google and Facebook, which doesn’t work for a startup that’s desperate to find people. A lot of times, companies need to redo the interview process because they end up discarding qualified people.’”

Read on for eight tips for answering potentially tough IT interview questions.