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?

Comments (33)


WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

  1. "I'm an Asshole" -- by Dennis Leary
  2. I don't know, let me call the ACLU to get their opinion.
  3. Absolutely not, this would signal to me that there's a problem that you're hiding.
  4. Who's the CEO here? Because he allows stupid people to ask me these stupid questions.
  5. 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.

+1 haha. Love #9.


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...


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..

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

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!

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


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!


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


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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

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

Short duration high yield EM debt


Do I understand the question 5 wrong? You get premiums from 5 homeowners. If one household is damaged, I cover the losses. If two or more are damaged, I still cover only one. Then I should be indifferent, no?

Whoever John is, he must be desperate to post a smart solution on wso.

The answer
The answer with expanation


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


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.


What position and industry were you interviewing for?


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



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



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


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.


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.


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


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 !


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


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


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."


To the starving man, beans are caviar

  1. Cheap hooker in Brazil.

I'm a work of art, describe what I see? What I see?

"Well, it sure isn't much fun being cooped up in this museum all day long. Beats the warehouse where 95% of a museum's holdings are help, I suppose; it's dark in there. OK, now are some patrons going to come see me today? I hope so. Wait, they're all going over to look at the Mona Lisa! Da Vinci, that hack; what do they see in him? Come look at me! Oh, here comes that art history student who has to write a paper about one of us works of art. Pick me! Yeah... this could work. That's it, sit right there in front of me and start taking notes. You've got a nice short skirt on this time; no complaints here. Oh, are you done? Nobody else wants to admire my beauty? Soon it'll be closing time. Who are these people? Some kids who took advantage of the afternoon discount tickets. OK, you like me? I'm a famous work of art, you philistines! Ah well, you'll appreciate me some day. OK, closing time. Turn those lights off; I want to sleep. Thanks, janitor."

What a pointless question.


I second the question about the purpose of these questions. What is the employer actually trying to assess here? How the candidate can think outside the box? What song/movie character/piece of artwork is a BB IBD looking for?
I'm fairly quick on my feet and usually have smartass responses to these questions but obviously I don't want to come off as an arrogant douche (or do I?) or some idealistic jerkoff.

  1. "I want it all" - Queen
  2. Women. Aren't HR departments ran by women so they can comfort the male dominated corporate world?
  3. I had to write this down and calculate it. I should learn some math tricks.
  4. Remember this from econ ( ~4 million) but will provide some outrageous and lengthy answer to show intelligence
  5. Explain this to me, slowly
  6. Condoms, bad idea
  7. A six-figure salary offer that lasted 30 seconds? I'll select it in 2
  8. Paul Allen jk jk Gordon Gekko (after prison of course)
  9. Your competitor, hes just a dick!
  10. Yeah, I charge for portfolio management
  1. Kat Mandu -> The Break.
  2. Is she a cougar? Oh.
  3. I believe this is the Fibonacci Sequence, therefore, it should be 21. (0+1+1+2+3+5+8+13+21) - Had to look it up just to be sure. We covered this in school.
  4. Eh, I originally was going to say 9 million. Based on some statistic about babies being born every 3.2 seconds I heard on NPR. Turns out I am off by at 5 million.
  5. Same state, because they would all try to claim their policy at the same time. It would be a matter of who called my ornery customer service center first. Keep in mind I run them like the DMV/NY post office. We open at 7am EST time and close at 4 EST. You automatically get placed on hold for 10+ minutes with crap holding music and when you finally get someone you may get disconnected. We also never answer emails. Miss your monthly payment and we'll slap you with a fine and higher deductible. It also depends on the insurance. Since all households have the same kind, no one in New York would have earthquake insurance, and no one in Iowa would have hurricane insurance.
  6. I just saved $150 on a Marmot skiing jacket. If you want to go cheaper, when I was in third grade, I paid my friend a quarter for his holographic Charizard so he could by gum from a gumball machine.
  7. If it was emphatic. Meaning, I will pay you X for a start date of next Monday. PTO is Y and benefits are Z.
  8. Blake from Glengarry Glen Ross. "Put that coffee down. Coffee is for closers." Or, if the interview was not going well and I knew it was going to end badly, Travis from Taxi Driver.
  9. Response: Ingrid Newkirk. Action: A white napkin tucked into my shirt collar, a steak from Wolfgang's and pouring myself a Macallan 25.
  10. Real Estate. After all, it is always better to use other people's money and leverage.

"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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