How would you cure world hunger? If you want to work at Amazon, you’d better come up with a creative answer. This curveball was just one of the 25 strangest interview questions asked by big employers in 2011, according to Glassdoor.com. The career website compiles a list at the end of each year, in an attempt to expose companies that ask oddball questions and prepare candidates for what they may be up against.
Some other examples include Deloitte’s “Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?” and from Hewlett-Packard: “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” Google is one of the most frequent offenders, appearing on the list since the site launched in 2008.
Glassdoor spokesman Scott Dobroski says employers want to analyze how a potential employee thinks critically. Take, for example, Best Buy’s “How many planes are flying over Kansas right now?” “You have to sound out the process by saying, ‘Well, it would depend on the time. I know that Chicago is a hub airport in the United States and that’s not too far. Dallas isn’t too far off, either. What time of year is it?’ ” says Dobroski. You might not get the right answer, but you could still land the job.