Weirdest interview question?

  • I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who's been on an interview and been asked a question that seemed really strange.  So I figured I'd put this out there to see what other odd questions have been asked at interviews.

    When I graduated from college back in 2002, I had an interview with an Internet Service Provider for a level 2 tech support position.  The last question the interviewer asked me was "Which Muppet do you identify with the most?" 

    At the time, I found it very absurd.    Don't get me wrong - I love the Muppets.  But what did they have to do with tech support?  A few weeks later, I asked my boss (the interviewer) why she asked the Muppet question.  She explained that she used it as a gauge of a person's personality.  She wanted her "cast" to work well together.  And, as she found out, most of us were fairly accurate in picking our Muppets.  I truly was like Waldorf and Statler (the hecklers).

    So.... what crazy questions have you been asked on an interview?

  • Interesting! Brain dead accountants that have zero imagination have always interviewed me. Who go out on the internet and request interview questions for DBAs. Why would anyone ask a question they really don't understand the answer to????? Now that’s funny right there.


    Kindest Regards,

    The art of doing mathematics consists in finding that special case which contains all the germs of generality.

  • What if you didn't know anything about Muppets?  I guess you wouldn't get the job.

    If someone asked me that question, I would take it as a sign that they were a wacko that I didn't want to work for.

     

     

  • That is strange. I've never really been asked any strange ones. Mostly it's about me or technical ones.

    I think I'd wonder about someone that asked me that question seriously. I'd at least ask them to explain.

  • No one ever asked me weird question but I thought that your manager was very smart.  She was not only hiring someone with the right skill but also looking for someone that could fit into the group, this was very important.   I wish my current manager (and my previous managers) can do something liked that.  

    One time things got so bad that we had to take a psychological test and had a consultant coming in to explain to us how to work with people of opposite characters.  Was it too late?   After that session, nothing changed.

  • If you didn't know anything about the Muppets, she had other questions just as oustside of the box that could help her gauge whether you were right for the team or not.  What I liked was that the question was at the end of the interview, so it definitely helped break the tension from being asked all the technical questions.  The fact that it was outside of the box and not your traditional question really had me intrigued - I hadn't known much about the place other than answering their ad in the paper.  And it definitely showed how laid back that environment was - which is something I prefer in a workplace.

    It's all a matter of perspective.

  • Once I had to answer a personality test that was around 120 yes/no questions. I started to answer quickly because previously I answered a SQL test, so I felt tired.

    One question was "Me considero una persona rara" that in english is something like "I consider myself freak/geek/weird". By that time I was in my quick-answer phase so my answer was Yes.

    A couple of days later I recieved a phone call and I got hired =D

  • Mine was along the same lines of the muppet question.  I was in high school applying for a help desk position at a theme park and they asked - If I was any animal, which one would I be and why.  I forget what I said, but I don't think that determined if I got the job or not, which I did.

  • I was once offered a glass of wine on a SR. DBA position at a mortgage company that seemed otherwise quite straight-laced.

    Not really a question I know, but still my oddest interview moment....

  • Not necessarily a question I was asked but:

    - How do you test if a salt shaker works?

    - Why are man hole tops round?

  • I've never been asked anything too odd. However, back in the good ole days of the DOT COM boom, I was interviewed in a backyard sitting on a swing set. That, at the time, was their meeting room, when the weather allowed it. I'm not sure what they did when the weather was foul.

    ----------------------------------------------------
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    The Scary DBA
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  • We asked a guy once how the GRATER function works in SQL Server during an interview over the phone. He asked us what we meant and we said the cheese GRATER function and quickly muted the phone so as not the be heard laughing to tears. We could here the guy typing and I suggested we ask something nuts to see what he answer, and he did as thou it really did exist. We asked him if he was sure and he was adament he was correct. So needless to say I didn't need any salesmen on my team and we choose another.

    But me I can't recall anything odd in my interviews.

  • A lot of times, weird questions are just asked to see how you think and if you can defend your answer. Then there are the 'trick' questions to see if you think logically.

    You are shown a bathtub full of water and given a spoon, a glass, and a bucket. How would you empty the bathtub of all the water?

    -SQLBill

    Ans: pull the plug.

  • The weirdest question that I had was "What one word makes you stop and think?".  Since there was Trekkie stuff in the office, I said "Spock!".  I was hired.  Months later, I asked him why he asked that question.  He said that he wanted to have a word for each person that would grab our attention.

    I also have been part of interviews where a totally unrelated type of questioing goes on.  Questions like "What is your favorite cartoon character?" or "Have you ever gone to a restaurant for the eralybird special?" plus many more are often asked until the interviewee finally stops and says "What does this have to do with the job?".  This is to find out how far a person may tolerate pursuing a ridiculous course of action.

    When I interview someone for a tech position, I always ask them "If computers had not yet been invented, what line of work would you be in?".  I refer to this question as my "Pirate Looks at 40 Question (Jimmy Buffett)".  I have received responses such as used car salesman, florist, concert pianist and paramedic.  This JB reference is because in that song, JB says that he is a Pirate, but the position is not available anywhere.  So, I wonder what the person is interested in besides computers.  BTW, my response is Financial Analyst.

     

  • I think the Muppet question is a good one.  Not so weird to me.  I would imagine that the average interviewee might be a little surprised, but a little surprise can be effective when conducting interviews.

     

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