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17 Former Google Interview Questions So Ridiculous The Company Banned Them

17 Former Google Interview Questions So Ridiculous The Company Banned Them

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Sometimes the hiring practices of even the biggest and most successful companies can be outright ridiculous.

There can be bizarre interview questions that seemingly have no answers. There can be standards — like not hiring anyone who attended a college outside of the Ivy League — that will knock candidates out of the race before they even approach the starting line.

Google used to be the shining example of these practices. It had high standards and asked silly questions.

The questions were so nuts that they were eventually banned from being asked. That’s right, banned.

In 2009, Seattle job coach Lewis Lin put together a list of 140 questions his clients were asked by Google. We’ve picked out some of the wildest and added a link to the whole list at the end.

Future Google employees should be grateful these questions are no longer on the table.

How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

Flickr/Bala Sivakumar

Why are manhole covers round?

Why are manhole covers round?

You need to check that your friend Bob has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly …

You need to check that your friend Bob has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly ...

Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo

You must write the question on a card and give it to Eve who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure that Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?

How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife …

Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife ...

Amazon

Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?

A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?

How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?

How many times a day does a clock's hands overlap?

Reuters/Djordje Kojadinovic

How many vacuums are made per year in USA?

Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.

Explain the significance of “dead beef.”

If a person dials a sequence of numbers on the telephone, what possible words/strings can be formed from the letters associated with those numbers?

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

Shutterstock

 

How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

You have two eggs and get access to a 100-story building …

You have two eggs and get access to a 100-story building ...

YouTube/McDonald’s Australia

Eggs can be very hard or very fragile, which means they may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from 100th floor. Both eggs are identical. You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-story building an egg can be dropped without breaking. The question is how many drops you need to make. You are allowed to break two eggs in the process.

You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do?

You are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present (including you and the friend) …

Your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find who has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds who does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. Would you accept the wager?

Explain a database in three sentences to your 8-year-old nephew.

Explain a database in three sentences to your 8-year-old nephew.

 

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17 Former Google Interview Questions So Ridiculous The Company Banned Them

 

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19 replies on “17 Former Google Interview Questions So Ridiculous The Company Banned Them”

Wow. These questions are lame. But I guess they work since alot of them are pretty much common sense problem solving which are good at weeding out those with degrees but no skills.

Seattle has a population of 650,000. Assuming 10 windows per person and $5 per pane gives $32,500,000. Of course, I’d spend some time researching and checking these figures. Let’s assume I could outsource such a large contract, I’d assume a 30% economy of scale, for $22,750,000. If I planned establish a monopoly and use that as a launching platform for a nationwide business, I’d raise a few billion in tranches and bid a dollar per pane which I’d recoup through cross-product sales, considering that I now had every person and corporation in Seattle as a customer. – NOW THAT’S how you answer this question.

Manhole covers are round so that:

(1) They do not warm when cooling from casting
(2) They are easy for one person to move (roll)
(3) They do not require rotationally orienting when replacing
(4) They are more likely to be universally compatible

But with respect Sir, I’d prefer to discuss how we can use manhole covers to as tracking markers for Android devices and their integration into google maps, street view and our new self-driving cars.

Phone number? I’d explain how peer-peer encryption works and why public key cryptography is superior.

Cheating husbands? The collectively optimal solution is for everyone to do nothing, but there will be at least one anarchist who wants to kill her husband and start a chain reaction to watch the whole village burn. The solution is to kill the Queen and change the law.

Manholes are round so they can’t fall in the fucking hole.

A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. His wife kicked him out and took his keys, then divorced him. Why does the car not have our new voice-print security feature installed? Let’s set up a call with Tesla and see if we can trial the system for general release within the year.

How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap? “This implies that the first overlap happens after T = 12/11 hours (~1:05 am). Similarly, the second time they overlap, the minute hand would have completed two more laps than the hour hand. So for N overlaps, we have T = T/12 + N. Thus, the hands of a clock overlap 22 times a day.”

How do I know? I googled it.

This question is outside my expertise, but I know how to go about answering it. I know that euromonitoreuromonitor.com has stats on the vacuum cleaner market and market share and from that the domestic production can be calculated.

“You are shrunk to the height of a nickel” I imagine I’d be able to jump out or outclimb the blades in 60s, as biophysics does not scale accordingly. Fleas can easily jump out and ants can outclimb the blade height in 60s.

How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

A bus is 8’x40′ and ca 80% internal volume, for 256 cuft. Regulation ball size 1.68in so volume is 2.48 cuin. Wikipedia says irregular packing has about 68% efficiency, so the answer is approximately 168,680 give or take about 20% because I used some rough guesses.

No experiment is needed; your question already implies that they cannot reliably be dropped from the first floor without breaking.

“You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do?”

(1) Notify supervisor/ person effected that there is risk I won’t make it.
(2) Get help to ensure that it does.
(3) Notify affected party that I’ve solved the problem.

No, at first glance, it’s obviously not going to work.

Indeed calculating the wager: the probability someone has the same birthday as me is only 17% so randomly, I stand to gain $1.53 and he stands to gain $14.90.

Not unless I can choose who goes to the birthday…

A database is an organized collection of information. We can cut up and recombine the data to answer specific questions. Databases are the spawn of Satan.

Checking the answers, I didn’t get them all completely right, but I reckon I’d get hired.

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