How to Answer Tricky Questions in an Interview
Employers use “brain teaser” questions to see how well you can think critically, be creative, or handle a crisis. Often, how you answer these questions is more important than anything else on your resume. In this article, we explain the different types of brainteaser interview questions and give you some sample answers to help you prepare for your next interview. How to Answer Tricky Questions in an Interview
Here are some examples of questions that are hard to answer.
There are many different kinds of brainteasers, which help hiring managers figure out how you might handle hard problems at work. Here are some examples of possible interview questions:
- How many parks are there in the U.S.?
- How many people have a dog in Tampa, Florida?
- How many gumballs can fit inside a helicopter?
- How much milk do you need to fill up Madison Square Garden?
- How likely is it that if I throw two dice, I’ll get an eight?
- How much is 200 plus 300 together?
- How does filling up your gas tank help you get around?
- Why does the diamond shape of a baseball field make sense?
- Explain what a landline phone is to someone who was born in 2005.
- A man has to be in Missouri on Tuesday. He buys two tickets for an airplane and leaves on Monday. From where did he come?
- How would you jump out of an airplane?
Some examples of hard-to-answer interview questions
1.The first one is 3 gallons and the second one is 5 gallons. How can you tell how much water 4 gallons is?
“First of all, you can tell from the question that you can’t measure out four gallons in the three-gallon jug because it would overflow. Then, fill the three-gallon jug and pour its contents into the five-gallon jug. Then fill up the three-gallon jug again. Then pour it slowly into the 5-gallon jug until it’s full. Keep in mind that the five-gallon jug already has three gallons of water in it, so you only need to add two more. Now, there will only be one gallon of water in the three-gallon jug. Pour out the contents of the five-gallon jug right now. Put the gallon of water from the three-gallon jug into the five-gallon jug. There are now four gallons of water in the five-gallon jug.”
2. There are three boxes here. One has apples, the other has oranges, and the third has both apples and oranges. The boxes have the wrong names on them. You can grab a piece of fruit without looking from one of the boxes. Then you have to label all of the boxes with the right names. What could be going on?
“If all the boxes are wrongly labeled, go to the one that says “Apples and oranges.” Because the label is wrong, you know there can only be one kind of fruit in the box before you pick it out. Suppose you pick an orange. Then you can put the oranges label on the box so it has the right name. Next, you know that the label on the apple box is wrong and that it does not only contain oranges. Also, the only other thing that could be in the box marked “apples” is both apples and oranges.
There are three light switches in the room you are in. There are three light bulbs in the room next door. There’s a different switch for each one. You need to figure out which switch controls which bulb. But you can only go into the room once, and you can’t look into it from the other room.
“Write the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the switches.” Turn on switch 2 for 10 minutes. Then, turn it off and immediately turn on switch 3. Next, look at the bulbs in the next-door room. With switch 2, you can turn off the warm bulb. With switch 3, the light that is already on comes back on. Switch 1 is in charge of the other light that turned on.
How to answer the tough questions at an interview
One of the main purposes of a brainteaser is to see how willing you are to learn new things. Here are four good ways to answer brainteaser questions in an interview:
1. Ask questions for clarifications
If the brainteaser is unclear or hard to understand, ask your interviewer for more information. Even if they can’t tell you much, you’ll buy yourself some time to figure out how to respond and explain what you were thinking. Also, asking questions can help you figure out how to solve a problem in your own words and make you feel more comfortable giving a clear answer.
2. Don’t stop believing.
It might not matter as much what skills and qualifications are on your resume as how confident you are during the interview. You have to have faith in yourself to know that you can do your job well and work with people from different backgrounds to help the company reach its goals. Even if you don’t know how to answer a brainteaser question, having confidence can help you come up with a memorable answer that could make or break your chances of getting the job.
If you want to stay confident during a scary interview with hard questions, try:
- Standing up straight and looking people in the eyes
- Talking slowly
- Having a good way of thinking
3. Tell me what was going through your mind.
Again, it’s important to note that the interviewer is more interested in how you came up with your answer than in the answer itself.
Take, for example, the question about how many gumballs can fit in a helicopter. You could start by saying that you’re trying to remember how much space the helicopter has and comparing it to how small a gumball is. Then you could say that if you divided the width of a helicopter by the gumball’s estimated diameter, you could get a certain number. Even if you get the numbers wrong, the way you thought about them shows that you can think in a logical way.
You might be able to answer other kinds of questions by using something from your own life. What if you had to choose an animal that best shows who you are and say why? You might not immediately think of an animal, but you can start by thinking about your skills and strengths. You could be quiet and interested, or you could be loyal and kind. Then, you could look at how different animals act and compare them to these traits. You could say that you think of yourself as a cat because you are interested. People may also say that you are like a dog because you are loyal. The interviewer wants to see that you can think like this.
4. Figure out how to breathe right
Blood can leave your brain when you’re scared. On the other hand, taking slow, deep breaths can help you think more clearly about what you need to do. If you keep doing this, you will find a way to breathe and get oxygen to your brain when you are feeling anxious.