Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Hardest Job Interview Questions

We’ve Answered Britain’s Hardest Job Interview Questions So You Don’t Have To

The Debrief: Because getting a job is already hard enough without being asked what cartoon character you'd be

If you’ve ever had to go to the fresh hell that is a job interview you’ll know that they’re among one of the least enjoyable things about being a grown up. Your palms are sweating, your bowels are a-groaning and you’re liable to say all sorts of incredibly stupid things like how you have a blog but you can’t remember the name of it right now (me, two years ago, nice one).

Anyways, some people at a jobs website called Glassdoor have scoured the lands and come up with the hardest questions candidates have been asked in interviews across Britain and, quite frankly, since we’d be stumped at most of them, we decdided to answer them for you so you’re equipped and ready to wow next time you get faced with any seemingly impossible questions during the course of an  interview….

Can you calculate how many tennis balls are used during the course of Wimbledon?
This question’s from Accenture for an analyst candidate. Short answer? 54,250; something to do with working out how many games played, the average number of balls used blah blah blah… all well and good if you’re a tennis fan, which considering tickets to Wimbledon can be up to £160, you’re clearly not, or you wouldn’t need this chuffing job. Instead, turn the question on it’s head and ask if the interviewer would mind rephrasing the question but with a less-exclusive sport, like football and how many balls can be used during a game. It’s no more than seven by the way; which is a much easier number to remember.

How many calories are there in a supermarket?
Good luck answering this one prospective Google product managers. I mean, how big is a fucking supermarket? The one at the end of my road is three aisles long and pretty much stocked solely with Polish foods and chocolate bars whereas the Tesco by my parents’ house is the size of an air hangar and sells obscure things like ‘sea buckthorn’. Instead, use this as an excuse to comment on the difference in food consumption between urban and non-urban areas and also doesn’t the candidate know it’s not just about calories any more? Tell him to check the sugar content of that can of Coke he’s drinking if he wants a real shock.


How would you sell a fridge to an Eskimo?
From the people at Harrods. This question actually displays a lack of knowledge at the current living standards of the indigenous peoples who inhabit the northern circumpolar region. Most ‘eskimos’ (and this term has largely fallen out of favour because it’s offensive) live in modern homes with electricity and therefore make use of appliances like refrigerators. Although, interestingly enough, it tends to be to stop their food from freezing TOO MUCH in the winter. How’s that for a fun fact of the day?


What would you take to a lonely island with you and why?
Apparently asked so the people at Urban Outfitters can get an idea of your priorities in life when applying for a position as sales assistant. Our advice? Tell them you’d take a rail of clothes to spend all day rearranging since that’s what you spend your free time doing anyways.


Is Batman a superhero?
Aren’t we all superheroes in our own special way Mr Interviewer?


You have 17 red and 17 blue balls, and you remove two at a time. If the two are the same colour, add in one extra blue ball. If they are different colours, add in an extra red ball. What colour is the final ball removed?
This one for a software engineer job. And the answer goes like this, ‘Allow me my friend, to introduce a little concept I like to call The Dress. As of the evening of 26 February 2015 due to a popular phenomenon involving a dress, popular icon Kim Kardashian and social media, no one, but no one can claim to know anything about the manner in which different people perceive colours anymore. I mean, my answer would be red, but if yours was blue, I certainly wouldn’t be arrogant enough to assume you were wrong.


What cartoon character would you be and why?
This one from ASDA in Bristol. We’re going to go with Sharky and/or George because they’re the crime busters of the sea and therefore probably have excellent transferable skills to prevent shoplifting in a supermarket. Especially over at the fresh fish counter.

What’s the wildest thing that you have done?
From the Metro Bank for a teller position. Obviously don’t tell them about the time you took a whole bunch of MDMA and got off with your university lecturer in the toilets of the SU but, if there’s anyway you can make that story sound like you tackled a bunch of armed robbers, single-handedly saved a group of hostages and made a whole bunch of money for your previous employer in the process then you’re on to a winner.


What was your opinion of the film Blair Witch Project?
This for a data analyst candidate who, presumably needs to love numbers and rules. The answer to this is to calmly tell the interviewer that in 1999 when the 15 certificate was released you were still young enough to think eating sand was a noble profession and therefore haven’t seen it. This proves two things; one that you aren’t and never have been a rule breaker and two, that you’re a feisty young upstart that can shake this fuddy duddy old company to its very core with your Snapchats and your Myspaces in no time.


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Tags: Work it, Working Girls