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Because I'm nerdy like that, I tend to write down the more bizarre or tougher interview questions I get just to throw them at my friends and see how they'd react. As I'm traveling today and tend to incorporate at least one psychoactive substance into my flight routine, I figured sharing this list would be better than trying to write something that required actual thought.

If you've heard any of these before (or something similar), or have any idea of how you'd want to answer them, feel free to share in the comments.

1. If one song describes your life, what would it be?

2. Who do you think makes a better manager... a man or a woman? [You have to pick one, no "it depends" answer was allowed!]

3. Imagine you're a rabbit at the bottom of a flight of 7 stairs. You can either jump up 1 step or 2 steps at a time. How many different combinations of ways can you get up the stairs? [Example: jump 2, jump 1, jump 1, jump 1, jump 2]

4. How many people are born in the United States every year?

5. You own an insurance company with only one type of policy. The policy is for homeowner's insurance and 5 households own it. They pay you a monthly premium for coverage. The special thing about the policy is that the second one of the policyholders' homes is damaged, the entire policy lapses for everyone and only that person gets paid. Would you prefer the houses be in separate states or all in the same state, and why?

6. Explain a time you bought something cheap. [What the fuck?]

7. If I gave you an offer that lasted for the next 30 seconds, would you take it?

8. What movie character do you think you are? [He interrupted me and said if I answered Patrick Bateman he'd ask me to leave]

9. Who's the shittiest CEO you can think of, and why?

10. Where would you invest your incremental dollar today if you couldn't buy stocks?

3

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Comments (33)

  • SirTradesaLot's picture

    1. "I'm an Asshole" -- by Dennis Leary
    2. I don't know, let me call the ACLU to get their opinion.
    7. Absolutely not, this would signal to me that there's a problem that you're hiding.
    9. Who's the CEO here? Because he allows stupid people to ask me these stupid questions.
    10. Total return swaps on the companies I love. Or gold, if there is a reason that the entire stock market is not functioning and it's not just me who can't buy.

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • BTbanker's picture

    1. Theme from King's Speech
    2. Men. People don't tend to take women in charge too seriously, and productivity decreases.
    9. Mark Zuckerberg. Just look at him.
    10. Twinkies ~THE GOLDEN SPONGE~ http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-NEW-BOX-OF-10-HOSTESS-TW...

  • G Spread's picture

    Interesting. How do you do #3?
    edit: turns out the easiest way to find it is using the Fibonacci sequence, as someone below pointed out..

  • DontMakeMeShortYou's picture

    9. Mark Pincus. His public commentary vs. insider sales border on criminal. Shorting the shit out of ZNGA and GRPN made my year.

  • BatMasterson's picture

    5. It's the age-old diversification theory
    6. I do it every day. Every household item I buy is on sale offer.
    9. Agreed with BTbanker. Zuckerberg is a jardrol. For those of you unfamilar w/ the term that's an Italian slang for "bum".
    10. Sex, drugs and rock'n roll (without the drugs !)

    "I like money (as do most females) but love is...great :)"-student
    "Perhaps you've failed to take into account my hidden assets"-007
    Looming Hurricaine

  • ironlawofoligarchy's picture

    1. Material Girl - Madonna

    2. Whatever the sex of the person asking the question is, let them feel the love.

    3. Some combination of (2,2,2,1). I wouldnt wasn to waste my time, want to just get up there as efficiently as possible. Besides not doing the math.

    4. Would blank at this one. Would just say something along the lines of - most likely less than die due to demographics of population. And that immigration makes up for that and some with regards to the US pop growth rate.

    5. All in the same state. Decreased variability for damages and limiting damages to specific occurences in only one area in which you only have to pay one policy anyways. Limited variety of damages and hence limited chance of occurence would help increase your period of recieving monthly premiums.

    6. Gum, always a reason to take another fresh piece

    7. Yes. Two words, exit package.

    8. Tony Stark

    9. Mark Zuckerberg - What does he actually do besides destroy value?

    10. Twinkies - Props BTbanker, simply a great answer

    Nice guys may not finish last but they sure don't finish first.

  • selleverything's picture

    1) I want to Break Free - Queen
    2) On average woman (better at relating to people, being sympathetic, managing personalities)
    3) 21 ways. I sometimes get confused with combinations, so I simply work backwards and find the pattern (it's 1,2,3,5,8,13,21...)
    4) 300 Million people - 150 women - 33% in "conditions" for child-birth (50M ppl) - 66% of that whill eventually have a baby in lifetime (33M ppl)- 20 year baby-making "window" and let's say they make 2 babies each on average (say they make both in the same year b/c it will average out with the other woman's births), so 33/20=~1.6 *2 babies = 3.2 million babies per year
    5) The same state, so that if there's regional damage, there's only one claim and that's the end of it (this assumes that the state I pick is an average- e.g. some states may be more prone to home casualty- and thus there's an incentive to diversify).
    6) if you take the time/effort to match coupons to in-store sales, it can get very cheap (can't think of anything more interesting)
    7) Unless its a dream job- than No- it's a major life decision that needs at least a few hours.
    8) (lol @ Patrick Bateman.) The old guy in "12 Angry Men" - he's on a jury and he persuades everyone not to convict a guy for murder by showing, through great reasoning, that he's innocent. - character, thoughtful, resourceful, well spoken, communicative, team player but able to hold my ground when it matters
    9) Steve Balmer. Microsoft had a huge head start but under him they literally did near-zero innovation. It's the same company that Gates left.
    10) Without much research, I would say gold is a bubble that may or may not increase in value. Especially when/if the idea of returning to a gold standard is abolished from the public psyche. I would pick copper. One of the most useful metals in the real world. Important for technology. Few reasonable substitutes.

    Good questions!

  • carlfox's picture

    The answer to 3 is 21. How is that considered a 'painful" question?

    "The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets."

    -John D. Rockefeller

  • iwantaboat's picture

    5 is multiple states. It could have been a better question if they had posed it with you as the policy holder. Than it would have been all in the same state. A way more interesting question.

  • Unforseen's picture

    6. Explain a time you bought something cheap. [What the fuck?]

    Last year I went to the Bills Toronto series and only paid 30 bucks to watch the game from decent second level seats (face value $99). How did I get them so cheap, I bought them from the seller 6 minutes after the first quarter started. Missing ~6 minutes of the game saved me $69.

    7. If I gave you an offer that lasted for the next 30 seconds, would you take it?

    No, taking a new opportunity is something that would shape my lifestyle significantly. I would need more than 30 seconds to assess it.

    8. What movie character do you think you are? [He interrupted me and said if I answered Patrick Bateman he'd ask me to leave]

    Nick Naylor from Thank you for Smoking

    10. Where would you invest your incremental dollar today if you couldn't buy stocks?

    Short duration high yield EM debt

  • huanleshalemei's picture

    Hilarious thread
    Re #8, Yukiho Karasawa in 'Into the White Night', someone killed as many people as Patrick Bateman but never got caught, lol~

    The Auto Show

  • slowdive's picture

    To all the people who said Mark Zuckerberg, despite the stock halving since the IPO, you can't deny that he created an amazing platform. He may be a socially awkward nerd who stole the idea, but none of that really matters in the end. Do nothing but destroy value.. are you kidding me? He has created an immense amount of value out of basically nothing.

  • redrut's picture

    Question 3,

    combination of 1's and 2's to make 7

    Either have 1,1,1,1,1,1,1 only one way

    1,1,1,1,1,2 6!/5! ways or 6 ways of arranging this

    1,1,1,2,2 5!/3!*2! ways = 5x4/2 = 10 ways

    1,2,2,2 = 4!/3! ways = 4 ways

    Therefore 21 ways of climbing the stairs

    1percentblog.com

  • redrut's picture

    I usually ask the classic, How many piano tuners are there in the UK? (one of the harder open logic questions)

    1percentblog.com

  • hungaroe's picture

    I got asked once: If you were a work of art, describe what you see.
    What? (it was the first question of the interview) ... HR chick

  • OkComputer's picture

    Is there a real purpose to these questions, or are they just to mess with you? Or is the purpose to see how one reacts to the question?

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln

  • In reply to hungaroe
    SirTradesaLot's picture

    hungaroe:
    I got asked once: If you were a work of art, describe what you see.
    What? (it was the first question of the interview) ... HR chick

    Something the average person doesn't understand and something very expensive.

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • rajpbt's picture

    I had a phone interview with BB yesterday, the interviewer was on a roll. The weirdest one was
    Q: "tell me of an experience where you had to handle several tasks and you had that you were not able to respect the deadline - how did you deal with that "
    A: 3 second pause..."I really cannot recall any of those moments as I have always respected time limits in the assignments I was asked to do"
    the interviewer really did not expect that !

  • WhiteHat's picture

    My favorite question is something that has to do with "tell me about a time you failed to..." and you've never failed to do that thing and have to completely bullshit something stupid from a class or something

  • In reply to DontMakeMeShortYou
    WhiteHat's picture

    DontMakeMeShortYou:
    9. Mark Pincus. His public commentary vs. insider sales border on criminal. Shorting the shit out of ZNGA and GRPN made my year.

    I'm not really sure how he's not in jail, but it won't be long until someone asks for his head. Also made my year!

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    If #6 is the only question they ask, I'm pretty sure I get the job.

  • In reply to SirTradesaLot
    SonnyZH's picture

    SirTradesaLot:
    hungaroe:
    I got asked once: If you were a work of art, describe what you see.
    What? (it was the first question of the interview) ... HR chick

    Something the average person doesn't understand and something very expensive.

    Like, a, menorah?

    The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.
  • philosophizingphilosoraptor's picture

    WhiteHat:

    8. What movie character do you think you are? [He interrupted me and said if I answered Patrick Bateman he'd ask me to leave]

    Winston Wolfe, from Pulp Fiction.

    "I'm Winston Wolfe. I solve problems."
    "Let's not start sucking each others' dicks quite yet!"
    "Just because you are a character doesn't mean you have character."
    etc...

    legendary

    To the starving man, beans are caviar

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    "Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be"

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