Share the Strangest Interview Questions You've Received

As we go through recruiting season, people are bound to get hit with some of the strangest and most absurd interview questions that they never would have thought to prepare for. For the sake of comedy, please share questions here that you've either given or received.

Here's mine:

Interviewing at a super day in the bank's office. An associate asks me, "Why is Mars the 4th planet from the Sun?"

These are questions that just make you think, "WTF"?

Comments (124)

Aug 18, 2017

Wow.. What did you answer?

I had one that frustrates me to this date. It's not the question itself, but rather the timing of it: "If you could reverse the clock and do this interview again, what would you do differently?" This was the 2nd question...

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Aug 18, 2017

Maybe you had screwed something up and he was checking to see if you were aware of it?

Aug 18, 2017

My thoughts exactly. And I was not aware of what it was - which made the situation even more sucky.

Aug 18, 2017

This is some interstellar shit

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Aug 18, 2017

"So why is your GPA so shitty?" -- first question I was asked at a superday verbatim.

"If you were a vegetable, what kind of vegetable would you be?" -- I always thought this question was a stereotypical joke, but it actually happened.

"I see you went to (ultra non-target). What do most finance majors from there end up doing, sales or something?" -- He wasn't far off, had to give him that.

"[after he had asked what other firms I was interviewing with, and I had responded] So why would you want to work here, when those places are way better?"

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Aug 18, 2017

Just out of curiosity, how'd you answer these? Like not even necessarily what you said itself, but were you acting cool about it and what not cause it seemed like he just wanted to see how you react under high pressure situations

Aug 18, 2017

1) I laughed -- he was joking around (4.0), and we spent the resume of the interview talking about non-finance stuff.
2) I wanted to dryly say that his question really put me in a pickle, but I fumbled my delivery and just said that I was a pickle, and after a second to realize what I said, made up some weak reason to follow up.
3) Shrugged and said that was true to an extent, and that others would go into corporate finance, etc. and then pivoted to why I was interested in IB coming from there.
4) Gave the usual answers recommended around here, but I think he had it out for me from the start.

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Aug 19, 2017

Aren't you supposed to avoid answering where else you're interviewing?

Aug 18, 2017

"What kind of tree describes your personality?"
"Is a hotdog a sandwich?"
"Do you still have any loans and have you paid your taxes yet?"
"So you're a Canadian. Would you say the border is porous?"

Aug 18, 2017

lmao "what kind of tree describes your personality"

I would've been like Pejibaye cause I wanna shove my thorns in your face right now.

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Aug 18, 2017

Being a Canadian I had to google Pejibaye right now... Being a try hard I answered with "Pine tree. They're strong and resilient and can grow anywhere".

Maybe it's true - but I don't know shit about pine trees and I was banking he didn't either. He paused and I thought I was busted for a second, but then he laughed and complimented my answer.

Aug 19, 2017

Pine tree - because if you screw me on my bonus I will literally be a pinecone in your ass afterwards.
only if you eat it sideways
no, yeah
idk the usa makes a pretty nice border between Canada and Mexico. You ever seen a Mexican in Canada? You haven't, you're welcome.

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Aug 24, 2017

I would ironically say an Oak tree.... (so he would understand where I wand to end up)

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Aug 18, 2017

Was asked to tell a funny story. Kind of caught me off guard, especially cause the only ones I could think of were definitely illegal nor interview appropriate haha

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Aug 18, 2017

Why is a manhole round?

Aug 19, 2017

Feel like this one is pretty common, my dad told me it when I was 7/8. It's so it can't fall through. Other shapes you could turn it on its side and angle it so it could fit. With circles, there is no way a larger circle can fit in a smaller circle.

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Aug 19, 2017

Got the same one once. Apparently it's not that uncommon of a question, but I had no idea when I was asked and wasn't even prepared for any kind of brainteaser.

Aug 18, 2017

Here is the funny thing -- well, you guys wouldn't find it funny. When my group used to interview candidates, each of us had our set of default questions. Some people liked to ask brainteasers. Others had their go-to accounting or finance questions. But the truth is that none of us would be able to answer our own or each others' questions if we had heard it for the first time. In fact, some of our own analysts did not even get them right when we asked them. I think that all of these questions have absolutely no relevancy on the job and whether someone will make a good or bad analyst or associate.

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Aug 19, 2017

Never asked to me, but this question is fucking hilarious and the answer given is even better.

"You are shrunken down to the size of nickels and dropped to the bottom of a blender. What do you do?"

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 18, 2017

Do you know the answer though? I have a fun book called "Are you smart enough to work at Google?". It has some insanely tricky questions including this one. Anyway for those who aren't aware, the answer to this question is that mass is reduced in the shrinkage but your density is remains in tact, so you retain significant muscle power and are able to jump out of it.

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Aug 20, 2017

I've interviewed at Google, they actually stopped asking stupid questions like this. Instead they've replaced them with FOB interviewers 2 months fresh off the boat from top universities overseas who pronounce "content provider" as cotton picker and do their damndest to come up with CPA level 69 accounting questions to fok you up if you show up with a vineyard vines tie. I shall be returning for a round 2 after my banking stint.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Aug 28, 2017

this movie was terrible except for will ferrell and his sanskrit neck tattoo and this scene with "HI MY NAME IS BILLY!"

Aug 20, 2017

stupid shit:

  1. how many tennis balls in a Boeing 747
  2. how much would you pay to roll dice and get $1 per amount rolled
  3. how many degrees between hour and minute hand @ 3:20
  4. how to hedge $100m worth of commodities x y z

this is for banking people fuck me dead im not Yang the chinese quant from the Big Short

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Aug 22, 2017

"Actually, my name is Jiang."

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Aug 22, 2017

JIAN YANG!!!!!!!!!!

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Aug 23, 2017

2 and 3 are actually total gimmes dude, I'd love to get an EZ math/stats question like that.

2 - Expected value calculation, duh...equal to or less than (1/6)*(1+2+3+4+5+6)

3 - 360 degrees in a circle. 360/60 degrees in a minute. (20-15)*(360/60) degrees between 3:00 and 3:20.

I have always thought questions like 1 and 4 are ridiculous. Sure, I could answer them, but only in terms so vague as to be pretty ridiculous....

"I'd take the volume of a cylinder that is the length of the plane up to the rear engines minus the volume of a cone the length of the cockpit, then subtract the volume of a seat times the number of seats in an average 747, then subtract space equal to the volume of the overhead bins, the undercarriage, the lavatories, and other misc. peripherals like the food prep area, and divide that number by the volume of a wilson tennis ball".

I don't even know how to hedge the fucking commodities. "I'd take long positions in a weighted basket of commodities (abc) with -1 price correlation to the weighted basket of (xyz) and architect a portfolio which optimizes the position in (abc) such that its expected payout in a scenario of decline in (xyz) is equal to the expected decline in (xyz).

Aug 23, 2017

I don't think your answer to question 3 is quite right.

At 3:20, the minute hand is pointed to the "4" on the clock. The hour hand is pointed at the 3 (for 3 o'clock) PLUS the tiny bit extra it has moved towards the 4.

There are 12 hours on a clock, so in each hour, the hour hand moves 360/12, or 30 degrees. At 20 past 3, the hour hand will have moved 20/60 of the way between 3 and 4, or 1/3 of those 30 degrees. So it would have moved 10 degrees towards the 4. The minute hand is at the 4, and the hour hand has 20 degrees more to move before they touch.

The answer is 20 degrees apart.

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Aug 19, 2017

No the answer to #2 is $1, because I bet on a possible loser. While yes you could theoretically use an expected value equation to find the absolute threshold to where you in theory would break even, I will stick to the question given with the assumption that you have to pay at least $1 to roll and go with $1. There was never a stipulation that this was a bid to roll the dice. Any slightly above average person would give the answer you gave. It takes an actual intelligent person to analyze the actual question.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 30, 2017

So what's the answer to #2?

"how much would you pay to roll dice and get $1 per amount rolled"

Can someone explain their thought process?

Aug 23, 2017

While @heister disagrees with me vehemently, I'll explain what I think is the more straightforward (and correct) answer to the problem, and let him explain his position. You be the judge.

In this situation, you're basically buying the right to an asset whose value is probabilistic. In this case, you're buying the proceeds of the dice roll, where those proceeds are $1 if a 1 is rolled, $2 dollars if a 2 is rolled, and so on.

The question is, how does one value the dice before knowing what the outcome of the roll is?

The die can be one of six outcomes ($1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $6), each of which has a probability of (1/6). My opinion is that the correct value of the dice is the expected value of the dice payout.

Expected value is the probability-weighted value of the dice. So, you want to take the probability of each outcome, multiply it by the corresponding payout of that outcome, and sum those terms:

EV = (1/6)$1 + (1/6)$2 + (1/6)$3 + (1/6)$4 + (1/6)$5 + (1/6)$6

In this formulation of the problem, the above term is equal to the average value of the dice, or, 3.5

What this means is that if you roll the dice an infinite number of times, and pay $3.50 for each roll, your ultimate winnings from the game should be zero. In other words, this is the "fair" price. If you were to pay less than $3.50, there would be no incentive for the person offering to let you roll the die. If you were to pay more than $3.50, you would be going against your own interests.

A few real world comparisons:

  1. Casinos are viable business models because most of the games they offer have skewed risk-reward profiles - i.e., you are paying more than $3.50 for each roll of the proverbial dice. While the casino loses money to some winning gamblers, the odds dictate that over the course of millions of games they are going to come out ahead.
  2. Insurance contracts are, theoretically, priced based upon similar logic to the above. The insurer calculates the following:

Price = [insurance premium]x[probability that you never collect on your insurance] - [coverage amount]*[probability that you collect insurance]

Note, in the above, that the term [coverage amount][probability that you collect insurance] is negative because the coverage amount is a loss to the insurance company - *they are paying you if the insurance contract comes into play. But the theoretical precept is the same, and is that of expected value - you take the probability of each event and multiply it by the payout of each event, and sum these terms for all possible events. In the dice example, all events entail a payout to you, and are therefore positive. In the insurance example, some events benefit the insurer (collecting premiums) and some events do not (paying out the value of the insurance contract), and so not all terms will be positive.

  1. Financial options - the Black Scholes model for options pricing is ultimately an exercise in expected values - however I am glossing over mostly all of the math here. Essentially, it is saying:

Price of a European Call = EV(Stock price | Stock price>strike)pr(Stock price>strike)) - (strike price)pr(stock price>strike)

The term EV(Stock price | Stock price>strike)pr(Stock price>strike)) is itself an expected value (the expected price of the stock if it's above strike times the probability that it's above strike - in other words, the expected value of the stock if the option is not worthless). Similarly, (strike price)pr(stock price>strike) is an expected value - it is the expected cost of exercising the option. Note that the other "outcome" is where the stock price at expiry does not exceed the strike price - in which case the value of the option is zero - and this is why the price of the option ultimately decomposes to only the above two terms.

Aug 20, 2017

"Do you like scissoring?"
-Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Aug 23, 2017

Not a single word in this post is capitalized. What happened to you man?

Aug 20, 2017

America is the greatest country in the world.

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Aug 31, 2017

"Do you like cuban cigars?"
-Bill Clinton

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Aug 22, 2017

"Would you buy expensive bags for the hookers you hang out with if you're profitable?"

Aug 22, 2017

"Have you ever lied?"

Aug 23, 2017

I would reply by saying "I'm lying right now."

Blows their mind and deflects the question from me having to make up some bullshit about a time I lied for ethical reasons.

Aug 24, 2017

I would reply with "of course not."

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7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Aug 22, 2017

One time this fucking Citi nerd asked me what my major was. I was like bro....do you know who my fucking dad is??? Do you know WHAT FUCKING FRAT I WAS IN?!?!?! And you have the audacity to sit here and ask me about schoolwork????? I was like Allen Iverson in his practice bit. I said "Major???" "I come from the top frat in the nation and you ask me my MAJOR?!?!?! Really????"

Still got the job because my dad's a minority stakeholder on the board. Declined it anyway to focus on my side-hustle of trust fund receival. Took my offer letter and used it to roll up a fat one with the boys, got back on the boat and cracked open a few cold ones.

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Aug 22, 2017

I would've gave the guy a death stare. Paused for 2-3 seconds. And then said "because earth is #3 and Jupiter is #5. and Mars is in between Earth and Jupiter. are you slow?"

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Aug 22, 2017

Interviewer A is asking standard behavioural questions regarding teamwork history etc, Interviewer B raises his voice, tells A to stop and asks me Question: "Why are man-hole covers round?"

Certainly obscure, but I gave a reasonable answer regarding the geometry of certain things being able to down the hole.

Answer: So the cover cannot fall down the hole, no matter which way it is rotated.

Pretty smart question & timing+presentation was clearly designed to throw me off.

Aug 22, 2017

had my interviewer take his shoe off and give it to me. he said "there"

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Aug 30, 2017

Should've put his shoe on and said "Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I'm going to flip the script and ask you some questions"

Aug 23, 2017

For me this would be an easy answer: "That's just the way they 'plan-it'". But then again, I've never heard of someone getting an offer from a terrible pun.

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Aug 23, 2017

big sean fan?

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Aug 23, 2017

Tell me about a time you did something wrong but for the right reason

Aug 23, 2017

Q: "Can you tell me ten different ways to use a brick?"

A: "Go fuck yourself."

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Aug 23, 2017
harvey.miller:

Q: "Can you tell me ten different ways to use a brick?"

A: "Go fuck yourself."

I read this as ways to use bricks:

(Read in the voice of Big Gay Al)
1. as an accent wall
2. Something to weigh down a planter
3. A bookend!
4. A paperweight
5. A building block
6. Real life LEGOs!
7. Something to weigh down sandwiches while warming them up (Cuban style)
8. Tie it to your junk to use it as a penis extender!
9. A parade float wheel stopper
10. An asshole stretcher

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Aug 23, 2017

"How many piano tuners are there in Seattle?"

//Signed//
MLang

Aug 24, 2017
MLang:

"How many piano tuners are there in Seattle?"

What did you answer? I know the point is to test your logical reasoning and all, but how the hell are you supposed to answer that.

Aug 23, 2017

I said something along the lines of "The ratio of pianos to amount of pianos that can be tuned in 252, 8 hour periods"

I know people don't get their pianos tuned every year, or that piano tuners work 252, 8 hour shifts a year, but eh I think it panned out alright.

Didn't accept the internship, was at a really small logistics company; just trying to get my foot in the door somewhere at the time.

//Signed//
MLang

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Aug 24, 2017

I was once asked what other firms I'm seeing - to which I replied, "What, do I look like some sort of slut?"

Aug 24, 2017

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Aug 24, 2017

I was asked for a Karaoke song.

Aug 20, 2017

Ive been asked this twice

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Aug 24, 2017

..........

Aug 24, 2017

"tell me about a time you betrayed your friend's trust and what you did to regain it."

I still don't have a good answer to this fucking question.

Aug 26, 2017

"What for should I regain trust?"

Aug 19, 2017

Dude that's an easy one, you just lie or maybe tell the truth. Prime example would be "I fucked his college girl friend" and to regain his trust I said "she cheated on you before that, I was just doing this to get proof to let you know". Works 100% of the time every time.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 24, 2017

"If you could go back in time, would you kill baby Hitler?"

Aug 26, 2017

No, but I'd make damn sure he got into art school.

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Aug 25, 2017

tell me about yourself

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Aug 26, 2017

A place I was interviewing with once brought all the candidates into the same room, and then asked each of us: "If we were to hire all but one of you, who should we not give an offer to?"

Aug 18, 2017

How'd you answer? I think refusing to answer is the only answer in this situation

Aug 24, 2017

"You should not give an offer to me. I will have other options available and will be alright. This right here is the best thing these boys have going for them. Look at their eyes. Give the offer to them. I'll be alright, mate."

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Aug 26, 2017

The first guy tried to answer with that but they wouldn't take it, so we turned against each other ala Hunger Games pretty quickly.

Aug 26, 2017

i/ fyi, if you mess up I will shout at you (senior associate, at least he is honest)
ii/ why are your finance marks so shitty?
iii/ could you handle 4-5 hours of sleep?

Aug 29, 2017

one of my favorites is Microsoft's: why are manholes round?

Aug 30, 2017

Not trying to show off, but if it's a Math-related brain teaser or something like that, it's pretty easy for Math majors e.g. what's 5^5, 7^4, or a math person should have a clear sense of how to solve the question

Aug 30, 2017

Interviewer walks in the room, sits down. 'Tell me a Joke'

Sep 5, 2017

In a PE interview, I was asked to tell the most offensive joke I knew. I followed with:
"Not sure if it's a joke, but a guy in my last internship got sent to jail for four years after the police found videos of a girl being raped on his phone. I thought it was an appropriate sentence... for a phone thief." The interviewer looked stunned. Did not get second round. Dunno why.

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Sep 5, 2017

"If IB was the NBA, what NBA would you be?"

Sep 6, 2017

"Exactly how many people on this planet know who Derek Jeter is?" I literally went continent by continent using percentage of populations and added each one up for a total then provided a margin for error haha

Sep 12, 2017

At a recent superday, an interviewer asked me to answer one of the following questions:

  1. What is the weight of this building?
  2. What is the total number of people who have lived on earth?

I chose the building

Sep 17, 2017

"Explain the concept and every component of WACC to me as if I was five years old."

*Continues to spend the next hour walking explaining WACC to a 'five year old'.

Follow-up questions by the 'five year old' include within said hour included:
- What if beta is negative; do you include negative betas? (wtf kind of five year old asks that)
- Run through the equation used to unlever/lever beta and answer why we use that particular equation (wtf kind of five year old asks that)
- Net Debt vs. Total Debt for D/E? (wtf kind of five year old asks that)

FYI for IBD a while back

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Sep 17, 2017

LOL was this for FT or SA?

Sep 18, 2017

not OP but i got very similar questions for an off cycle internship so its not uncommon (and fairly easy to answer once you got the concept)

Sep 18, 2017

There has to be someone on here who farted, or shit themselves during an interview. Come on WSO! Don't leave me hangin

I think- therefore I fuck

Sep 18, 2017

...

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Sep 18, 2017

I didnt mean interview questions, I meant worst interview experience in general. I already read the weird interview question thread.

Sep 18, 2017

How about attention to detail, centralpark?

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Sep 18, 2017

Might be looking for a reaction from you, I've had some pretty odd questions and situations in interviews, including the interviewer saying he was stuck in life, too old to find a new career but couldnt leave etc. etc. 10 minutes later I had the offer for the next round but pretty uncomfortable time.

Sep 18, 2017

The thing I always tell people going into interviews is that most of the people doing the interviewing, unless they are in HR, feel just about as awkward about the whole process as the interviewee. I could definitely see this nervousness manifest itself in a lot of weird ways for my co-workers. I wouldn't put too much weight on this one experience unless this guys is going to be your boss.

Sep 18, 2017

Could this person have been involved in some dispute literally while on the way in to interview you?
It can be hard to check that at the door.

Sep 18, 2017

How do you react to something like this though? A cheeky smile, nod and carry on as if nothing weird happened?

Sep 18, 2017

Just pretend to relate. If they're bitching about some coworker make a comment like "oh wow that must suck" or something like that depending on the situation. If you nod and ignore their bitching then you seem like someone they can't talk to. Interviwers are human too. I'd say that if he feels comfortable complaining around you that's probably a good sign, although i agree it is kind of odd. Just learn how to adapt yourself to situations, and the best way to do that if imitate his/her behavior.

Sep 18, 2017
arguewithatree:

I'd say that if he feels comfortable complaining around you that's probably a good sign, although i agree it is kind of odd.

Great advice, I've been in an interview where the bitching was in a joking manner but I was thrown off my game in this one. I should have used it as a point to connect.

"Ambition and education is first and talent is second"- T.I.

Sep 18, 2017

And do not no matter what happens make them feel awkward, make them feel like they're doing something abnormal or wrong. Even if it is.

Sep 18, 2017
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Sep 18, 2017
Sep 18, 2017