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Jamie Lawrence


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UK’s toughest interview questions 2014

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Employer review site Glassdoor recently posted their list of the toughest interview questions of 2014. A cursory glance reveals that the 'brainteaser' question is still being used across the UK. Google, who gained a reputation for its use, said in July last year that they were a "waste of time" and pointed to behavioural questions as delivering true insight. Still, take a look at the list below and see what you think.

1. “How would you describe an atom to a child?” 

Company: Gartner
Role: Client Executive
Location: Egham

2. “How would you react if shot in the head with a Nerf gun?”

Company: Rackspace
Role: MBU Administrative
Location: London

3. “Who could win in a fight, Chuck Norris or Godzilla?”

Company: Schlumberger
Role: Field Specialist Trainee
Location: Aberdeen

4. “You play a game of russian roulette with another person, is it better to go first or second?”

Company: Codemasters
Role: Game Developer
Location: Royal Leamington Spa

5. “What is the number of people travelling on a tube per day?”

Company: Barclays Wealth
Role: Business Analyst
Location: London

6. “Is a Jaffa cake a cake or biscuit?”

Company: Kerry Group
Role: Engineer
Location: N/A

7. “How many planes are there currently in the air?”

Company: Investment Technology Group
Role: Software Developer
Location: London

8. “Who was the greatest band of all time 'Rolling Stones' or the 'Beatles?'”

Company: National Milk Records
Role: Programmer
Location: Chippenham

9. “Would you support HS2 or Boris Airport?”

Company: McLagen
Role: Asset Management Analyst
Location: London

10.“How would you sell a fridge to an Eskimo?”

Company: Harrods
Role: Summer Sales Associate
Location: London

11.“If you were given a million pounds, what kind of business would you start?”

Company: Schuh
Role: Sales Advisor
Location: N/A

12.“How many ping pong balls fit in a 747?”

Company: Goldman Sachs
Role: Operations Specialist
Location: London

13.“If I write down all of the numbers from 1 to 1,000,000 on a page, how many times do I write down the digit 2?”

Company: Jane Street
Role: Trader
Location: London

14.“If you were a Disney cartoon character, which one would you be?”

Company: Trend Micro
Role: Account Manager
Location: Marlow

15.“What makes you angry?”

Company: Newton Europe
Role: Management Consultant
Location: N/A

16.“Count to 11 in 3.5 intervals.”

Company: Hailo
Role: Full Stack Engineer
Location: N/A

17.“How many cranes are in London?”

Company: Capco
Role: Associate Talent Programmer
Location: London

18.“What do you consider to be the 'greater good?'”

Company: ThoughtWorks
Role: Business Analyst
Location: London

19.“Tell me about the last time you had a 'Eureka' moment?”

Company: Xceed Group
Role: Marketing Assistant
Location: London

20.“Calculate the size of the disposable nappy market in the UK.”

Company: Bain & Company
Role: Associate Consultant
Location: London

21.“How much water flows under London Bridge in 24 hours?”

Company: Palantir Technologies
Role: Forward Deployed Engineer
Location: London

22.“What was the craziest thing you ever did?”

Company: Red Commerce
Role: Operations
Location: London

23.“Everyone at Datasift is brilliant, why are you brilliant?”

Company: DataSift
Role: Developer Support Engineer
Location: Reading

24.“What would you buy to personalise your desk?”

Company: Red Gate Software
Role: Scrum Master
Location: Cambridge

25.“How many golf balls would fit in this cubicle?”

Company: Morgan Stanley
Role: Prime Brokerage
Location: London

7 Responses

  1. If the numbers were written

    If the numbers were written without omitting the leading zeros, and we write 000,000,000 instead of 1,000,000,000 then we have 1,000,000,000 different numbers, each with nine digits. One in ten will be a 2. Therefore 2 is written down 900,000,000 times?

  2. Q13 guess

    Obviously this is a nonsense since you won't fit a million handwritten numbers on the page. But at a guess, it's 1/10th (ie probability of a 2) of 5.89 (the average number of digits per number) million ?

    Is the correct answer the right one though …. perhaps bluster and bluff in confidently selling whatever answer I choose to provide is the attribute sought in a trader! Regardless of the truth.

  3. Very interesting article

    Lot of it made sense. Point 1 I think is especially endemic:

    1. Many smart people don't have profiles that "look like they are looking" (for a job).

  4. Insight into HR

    Thanx, I thought only a read of comic books would improve my chances at interview. For a reciprocal perspective from the deeper end of the gene pool,

  5. A lot of balls in this

    what IS this things about golf balls, ping pong balls??

    And the Rolling Stones – no question.


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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

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