Weirdest Job Interview Questions

Large companies sometimes throw oddball queries at applicants, according to a survey by Glassdoor.com. How would you answer these inquiries?

A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?

What kitchen utensil would you be?

That's a sampling of Glassdoor.com's Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions for 2013, a list gleaned from job candidates at Google, Kraft Foods, JetBlue and other companies over the past year.

Other offbeat questions on the list include "How many cows are in Canada?" (asked at Google) and "Pick two celebrities to be your parents" (asked at Urban Outfitters).

In some cases, the website also published readers' suggested replies, such as these possible retorts to the penguin-in-sombrero question:

  • The penguin says, "Stop asking stupid interview questions."
  • So, you don't do drug testing here, huh?

To read the full list of weird questions, click here. And, in the comments section below, tell us the strangest thing a job interviewer ever asked you. Can you top Glassdoor's list?

JustUs January 25, 2013 at 06:45 PM
My answer would be: The penguin in the sombrero would speak in very poor broken english, tell us that he was lost and ask us for directions to the local social service agency. And to show that I am very objective and fair, I would want to get rid of California since it is a huge financial drain on the rest of the union and promotes dangerous social mores. I probably wouldn't get the job - but the laughs would be very rewarding. The important thing in any job interview is to tell them what they want to hear, even if it goes against your grain or is even untrue. For that's the American way!
Purvis Granger January 26, 2013 at 05:49 AM
That's why you are unemployed, have never been employed in any meaningful capacity ( Fake CIA clearance and all) and are receiving the help you so dearly need. JustUs, do the readership a a or nd settle for the board Ames. Of course you'll lose, but it keeps you off of the community computators.
JustUs January 26, 2013 at 06:16 AM
If I knew of such a job interview even though I don't need the job I would apply for it anyway just for the amusement of watching the reactions on the interviewer(s) faces when I gave my answers to the referenced questions. The interview wouldn't last long but it would be worth a thousand laughs. Real freedom is going to an employment interview with no intention of landing the job. heh. You've never been in that position, Purv. You always walked out the interview door disappointed, as the chief interviewer said "Don't call us. If we're interested we'll call you" (with a smirk on his face) heh. Some guys have all the luck. Some guys have all the pain, Purv. You know what group you belong in. heh. :^)
Paige Austin January 26, 2013 at 08:24 AM
Actually, California is among the minority of states that gives more in federal taxes than it receives in federal spending. Here is a good report on fiscal transfers by the Economist: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/08/americas-fiscal-union
met00 January 26, 2013 at 08:46 AM
"And to show that I am very objective and fair, I would want to get rid of California since it is a huge financial drain on the rest of the union and promotes dangerous social mores." Darn facts getting in the way again JustUs.... The last data is from 2005 (taxfoundation.org), but for every dollar the state of California sends to the Federal Government, it gets back $0.78. What state is the biggest "drain"? #1 is New Mexico @ $2.03 , #2 is Mississippi @ $2.02, #3 is Alaska @ $1.84 and #4 is Louisiana @ $1.78. (Virginia, North Virginia, Alabama are also way up there as debtor states that take much more than they pay in), So, that "huge financial drain" you talk about is "California giving the Federal government more than we take". Yep, liberal bias in the numbers. Just because creditor states are "blue" in an electoral map and debtor states are "red" doesn't mean much either. So, I agree, you wouldn't get the job. But the reason is because what you said was 100% untrue.
Purvis Granger January 26, 2013 at 05:20 PM
JustUs, you can't need a job if you're not free to take one. And with your language skills, you wouldn't qualify for an entry-level job at any real company. As an unemployable, unbalanced person lacking any of the skills of a knowledge worker, the fantasy job interview scenario that you project on others is simply pitiful. You do realize that the "real freedom" scenario you articulate is extraordinarily revealing, don't you? That's not real freedom, JustUs, that par for the course for most employed Americans, of which you are not one. And when it comes to your "lack of needing a job, " I think many readers, regardless of party affiliation, would agree that entitlement reform is a great idea when it comes to you. What's the schedule today? Uh oh, today you're taking the MMPI...
JustUs January 26, 2013 at 05:53 PM
With 12% of the nation's population and 33% of the nation's welfare recipients it is highly unlikely that California provides the Fed government with surplus revenue via taxes. Something does not smell right here and I simply refuse to believe such nonsense until I see an actual BREAKDOWN and ITEMIZED accounting of the numbers. Anyone can slap a number up on screen. That's meaningless. Show me the money, honey. Where all the dollars and cents come and go. Otherwise it's more gimmick accounting, IMO. Not worth the paper it's written on.
JustUs January 26, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Purv, I heard that after 2008 the government restarted the "CCC work program" for the unemployable. You know, they give you a ride up into the mountains, put a shovel in your hand and tell you to start digging. A guy of your caliber should be able to handle a job like that. Plus, you be able to breath in nice fresh air and it might help your mental capacity. Forming 2 coherent back-to-back sentences would really provide you with some freedom and dignity. Consider it. Call EDD Monday and ask them about it. Good luck.
Purvis Granger January 26, 2013 at 06:12 PM
JustUs, your knowledge of state programs is predictable. Anyone who reads your comment can see the world you live in (does anyone really talk that way anymore?) It's sad that you seem to have struggled with many of the things most people take for granted. It must have been a sight when you wheeled the really big calculator for really big calculations into those interviews for jobs you did't need, using the very acumen that impressed the CIA before they gave you secret clearance.
Shripathi Kamath January 26, 2013 at 07:38 PM
A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words: http://bit.ly/Vez4I7
met00 January 26, 2013 at 08:34 PM
So Paige finds a recent article from the economist. I find a non-partisan study. And JustUs won't accept the facts. Why is this NOT a surprise? "I simply refuse to believe such nonsense" does not stop the facts from being facts. If you want to believe something that is clearly not true, then you have every right to do so. What you don't have the right to do is promote your belief as factual when the actual data doesn't support your fantasy. Now, if you want, feel free to go out and do an independent analysis of the data. Then present your research to the world and take you lumps in public just like taxfoundation and the Economist have done. But putting your fingers in your ears and screaming "nya-nya-nya I can't hear you" at the top of your lungs doesn't mean that you get to create your own set of facts. Sorry.
Pautna January 27, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Interesting how this post turned into a off topic political hackfest. Back on topic, I ask an offbeat question myself when interviewing prospective employees. It helps me understand how they think on their feet, their creative thinking skills (or not) and how well they can articulate said creativity (or not). It's a good tool to utilize and usually leads to a more informal chat that helps me see more of their 'non-nervous' personality.
JustUs January 27, 2013 at 10:14 PM
"What you don't have the right to do is promote your belief as factual when the actual data doesn't support your fantasy." Data? I saw 5 numbers assigned to each state with absolutely zero data to substantiate those numbers. Is 'The Economist' the holy grail of financial information we must accept when they put a number to paper? Sorry. I don't operate that way. I am not from Missouri but "show me" anyway. If one is going to slap a number on a screen then show me how you arrived at that number. Is that asking too much? Only in a totalitarian society.
met00 January 28, 2013 at 12:28 AM
google "taxfoundation.org Federal Taxes Paid Federal Spending Received" Thousands of dollars for a non-partisan study, lot's of details. Widely used because of it's accuracy... but you don't believe it. Why? Because it conflicts with your fantasy. Next you'll moan about how high illegal immigration is, even though all the numbers point to more leaving than coming in. If it conflict with your blind faith, it must be wrong.
met00 January 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM
There are three switches on a wall that go to three incandescent bulbs in a closed room. Which switch goes with which bulb? You are allowed to do whatever you want to the switches, but you may open and enter the room only twice.
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 01:45 AM
met00 January 29, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Didn't think you could solve it JustUs.


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