Interviewers at Google asked that question to prospective hires this year, according to Glassdoor.com’s Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions for 2013.
Google wasn’t the only company asking for outlandish estimates. Bain & Company wanted to know, “How many windows are in New York?”
JetBlue was curious about a well-known New York landmark. They asked how many quarters the interviewee would need to reach the height of the Empire State building.
One Glassdoor user took a minimalist approach: “How much does it cost to take the elevator up? Take that dollar amount, divide by 4 – that’s how many quarters it takes to reach the height of the Empire State Building.”
Other firms sought to determine how much trigonometry their interviewees remembered from high school. “Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when the time is 11:50,” Bank of America asked.
Those who are not mathematically inclined but good at karaoke night might want to consider interviewing with LivingSocial. “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now,” they asked interviewees.
Clark Construction Group also wanted to see interviewees’ creative sides and asked them to construct a story: “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say, and why is he here?”
That question stymied one Clark interviewee.
“I was obviously thrown off by the question and felt it was irrelevant,” he said on Glassdoor’s fourm. “I answered, ‘Where's the sunscreen?’ ”
One firm sought to test prospective hires’ entrepreneurial spirit. Amazon.com asked, “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?”
In contrast to the eccentric questions, Glassdoor.com’s interview advice for jobseekers boils down to the plain and simple. “Not sure what to expect in an interview? Be prepared... for anything.”