These 27 Jobs Have Insanely Hard Interview Questions

Published On 02/23/2017 Published On 02/23/2017

As if perfecting your resume and cover letter wasn't ridiculously stressful enough when applying for a new job, getting called in for an interview with a potential employer is hands-down the most anxiety-inducing part of all. To make things worse, some companies are notorious for dropping some brutally hard questions during these interactions, and as a new report from Glassdoor reveals, brutal might be an understatement.

On Thursday, the popular careers website released new research, detailing 27 jobs and the insanely difficult, unexpected, and just flat-out weird questions posed to prospective candidates seeking them. The report also found that hospitals and non-profit organizations have the toughest interviews; however, additional research suggests that difficult job interviews are often associated with higher levels of satisfaction among the employees who actually land the positions. 

"During today’s tough interview process, almost anything can be thrown your way, so you need to be prepared for anything," the report states. "... By preparing for and acing that tough interview, you are more likely to love your job in the long run."

Glassdoor said the report is based on data it collected from users on its site, who presumably lived through such traumatic interrogation. The information is meant to help job seekers prepare for, well, anything in a challenging interview process, but it'll probably just scare the hell out of you, if anything. Here are the questions (in no particular order), according to Glassdoor:

1. “How do you explain a vending machine to someone who hasn’t seen or used one before?” - Global Data Analyst, Bloomberg L.P.

2. “How many fire hydrants are there in Los Angeles County?” - Software Engineer, Disney Interactive Studios

3. “If your current employer had an anniversary party for you, what five words would be written on the cake to describe you?” - District Manager, Express

4. “Who in history would you want to go to dinner with and why?” - Flight Attendant, PSA Airlines

5. “Prove that hoop stress is twice the longitudinal stress in a cylindrical pressure vessel.” - Test Operations Engineer, SpaceX

6. “What’s the capital of Canada?” - Team Leader, OpticsPlanet

7. “Name a brand that represents you as a person.” - Brand Strategist, Twitter

8. “Estimate how many employees in the next building” - Data Scientist, Risk Management Solutions

9. “How many happy birthday posts do you think Facebook gets in one day?” - Sales Operations, Facebook

10. “If you could take anyone on a road trip with you, who would you take and why?” - Educator, lululemon

11. “What is the first thing you’d print with a 3D printer if you had one?” - Linux Systems Administrator I, Rackspace

12. “If you had to take only one item to a deserted island, what would that be?” - Customer Service Specialist, Squarespace

13. “Please describe an instance where you had to make a decision without all of the necessary information.” - Analytics, athenahealth

14. “How do you reverse a text string on the Unix command line?” - Developer, Capital One

15. “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?” - Mechanical Design Engineer, Apple

16. “You have been asked to lead a multi-million dollar, multi-year grant that will be supported across several companies and universities. How do you start?” - Research Scientist, Ford Motor Company

17. “Sell me on one idea, and then sell me on the opposite of that idea.” - Solarwinds Administrator, Blizzard Entertainment

18. “How would you go about to find the top five Java Developers in a certain area.” - Technical Recruiter, Google

19. “What is the probability of an integer from 1 to 60,000 not having the digit 6?” - Quantitative Developer, AKUNA CAPITAL

20. “If you were a Muppet, which character would you be?” - Donor Family Advocate, LifeNet Health

21. “Give me 48 cents using six coins. Tell me quantity and value of the six coins.” - Human Resource Manager, Wintec

22. “Write an equation to optimize the marketing spend between Facebook and Twitter campaigns.” - (Data Science), Uber

23. “What is the angle at 3:15?” - Implementation Consultant, Fast Enterprises

24. “What part of the newspaper do you read first? What does this say about you?” - Audit, BDO USA

25. “If a coworker had an annoying habit, and it hindered your quality of work, how would you resolve it?” - Production Technician, Procter & Gamble

26. “Throw your resume aside and tell me what makes you you.” - Sales Executive, Zillow

27. “How would you find the square root of 1.2?” - Hardware Engineer, Jump Trading

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and would fail so hard at many of these. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.



Learn More