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by
Helen Smith

Bio

January 13, 2013 - 5:12 am

So there are many reasons that I would never work for Google, but one of them, I discovered, is that there is no way I could answer the questions at the job interview. I read this article about the most outrageous job interview questions, became intrigued and picked up a copy of a book we received in the mail called Guesstimation 2.0: Solving Today’s Problems on the Back of a Napkin. The book gives simple and effective techniques needed to estimate virtually anything quickly.  Some of the questions that Google asks at job interviews are  “How many gold balls can fit in a school bus?” or “How many piano tuners are there in the whole world?”

According to the book, if you can answer questions like these you will be more attractive to companies like Google because it shows that “you are a flexible thinker, are willing to attack imprecise questions, and can apply your knowledge to real-world questions.” What the author calls “simple” estimates looked to me to be simple only to someone well-versed in physics for the most part but as I read through his examples of how to compute estimates, some of it made sense, some of it didn’t.  Good thing I’m self-employed.

What is the strangest question you have been asked at a job interview? How did you answer it?

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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