Author Topic: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!  (Read 16835 times)

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Offline mc172

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #75 on: April 25, 2017, 12:53:39 pm »
You have a two identical machines and in each of them are 100 replaceable parts
...
He asks you, "If you start working on it now, how much time do you need to definitely have identified the faulty part?

Two weeks.
 

Offline Fgrir

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #76 on: April 25, 2017, 03:31:28 pm »
Your manager has given you the job to find the fault as quickly as possible. He asks you, "If you start working on it now, how much time do you need to definitely have identified the faulty part?

It would take me 5 minutes max to show the two machines to a tech and ask them to find the faulty part.  Maybe another minute to explain the binary search method if they don't already understand it.  Then I'd get back to engineering work, which is what I assume you'd want me to be doing unless I'm sitting in the wrong interview room...


 

Offline Tinkerer

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #77 on: April 25, 2017, 11:12:47 pm »
Seventy minutes is the best answer

The shortest time is 60, and the longest is 70, because one can not replace a fraction of a component. One need to work with integers. Example: 100, 50, 25, 12, 6, 3, 1.
Each comma has a cost of 10 minutes, so 60 minutes for the above example. The probability of finding the defect in 60 minutes is almost fifty-fifty (43.75%).

Why do you consider 70 to be the best answer?
This is in fact called the binary search method(although im sure people call it other things). You take a half each time to narrow things down quickly.


When on interviews, I usually end up asking the question most of my interviewers find very interesting and very direct:
"Is there any reason you would not hire me?"

The most interesting one I got asked:
"Why is a manhole cover round?"
I forget the exact answer, but something along the lines of the shape being the strongest that it cant fall in on itself or something. Pretty sure microsoft or someone also asked this question.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #78 on: April 26, 2017, 12:26:09 am »
Seventy minutes is the best answer

The shortest time is 60, and the longest is 70, because one can not replace a fraction of a component. One need to work with integers. Example: 100, 50, 25, 12, 6, 3, 1.
Each comma has a cost of 10 minutes, so 60 minutes for the above example. The probability of finding the defect in 60 minutes is almost fifty-fifty (43.75%).

Why do you consider 70 to be the best answer?

You don't want the shortest time, you want the shortest guaranteed time.
 

Online RoGeorge

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #79 on: April 26, 2017, 12:36:39 am »
Thanks!

Offline Brumby

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #80 on: April 26, 2017, 01:28:56 am »
Seventy minutes is the best answer

The shortest time is 60, and the longest is 70, because one can not replace a fraction of a component. One need to work with integers. Example: 100, 50, 25, 12, 6, 3, 1.
Each comma has a cost of 10 minutes, so 60 minutes for the above example. The probability of finding the defect in 60 minutes is almost fifty-fifty (43.75%).

Why do you consider 70 to be the best answer?

You don't want the shortest time, you want the shortest guaranteed time.

Indeed ... the answer to that question is given in the original question:

He asks you, "If you start working on it now, how much time do you need to definitely have identified the faulty part?

... and it's missing a detail like that which could impact your prospects.
 

Offline moz

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #81 on: April 26, 2017, 02:52:33 am »
You don't want the shortest time, you want the shortest guaranteed time.
... and it's missing a detail like that which could impact your prospects.

I'm not a big fan of abstract math puzzles in interviews for that reason. It's too easy for a candidate to miss key details or indeed the entire point of the question. It's hard to compare candidates when one does the binary search answer and correctly ignores all the irrelevant engineering/technical aspects in favour of the logic puzzle, another tries to do that but gets one word wrong so their answer is incorrect, while another treats it as a real-world problem like Fgrir did and says "hand it to a technician", and that's before you even get into the engineering answers.

My habit is to test the actual skills that I want, and let the managers do whatever makes them happy. Give me a set of candidates and I will put each through the same set of practical tests, carefully noting both their ability to solve the problems and how they talked me through what they did, as well as what questions they asked. Most of what I do is computerised so that's pretty easy, but I have also seen technicians subjected to "assemble this kit" type tests where they had to make the LED blink and then modify the circuit so it blinked slower. I have a set of programming tests that run inside a virtual machine so that everyone gets the same setup, and each step starts with a fresh project so failure or divergence at one step doesn't break future steps.

In that sense my most bizarre ever interview question happened before the interview technically started. I was given an address and company name, but not the phone number of the person interviewing me. When I got to the address there was a big construction site and no sign of a building that could conceivably provide an office for me to work in. I rang the recruiter and they knew nothing, so I started walking back to the train station. As I got to the station they rang back and said "oh yes, they say everyone does that, their office is around behind the construction you have to go down the side street a few hundred metres down and ...". I got on the train. An employer who will hide information even after being made aware that it's missing is a big red flag. Admittedly in this case the employer was also unsuitable for other reasons and had gone out of their way to hide those. Second red flag. Even if I had been willing to work for them despite my misgivings, those two actions would have ruled them out.
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #82 on: April 26, 2017, 03:46:19 am »
I had a strange and unfortunate interview once with a recruiting firm.
I will name and shame them: Manpower.

I was working for government and our department had been 'corporatised' and was in the process of being privatised. So basically under a high degree of change.
Because of this I threw out my resume to a few recruiters and see what they could come up with.
Manpower responded and asked me to come in for an interview.
Anyway the actual questions weren't strange but their interest in my current job was.
I gave them more detail about my current job than was probably necessary and in the meantime they gave me scant information about any jobs they could offer me.

So a few weeks later a new guy started work with me, and pretty soon I realised he didn't know shit.
I recall being gobsmacked when he didn't know the difference between a PNP and an NPN BJT.
So I put him on the easy stuff and tried to start him slowly.

About 2 weeks later I was called into a meeting.
This resulted in me being made redundant and escorted from the building. (by a friend so it wasn't heavy or anything)(I guess the $10000 pay rise I had just forced out of them had something to do with it)
That was a shock, I wasn't expecting that I could be replaced by this fool, but I was.

I wasn't cross at my the new guy, he just wanted a job.
I was only cross at the behaviour of the recruiter in wasting my time to sneakily work out from me what skill set was required to replace me.
Obviously at the interview I should have further stressed 'a knowledge of electronics is required'.
 

Offline moz

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #83 on: April 26, 2017, 05:18:13 am »
Anyway the actual questions weren't strange but their interest in my current job was. I gave them more detail about my current job than was probably necessary and in the meantime they gave me scant information about any jobs they could offer me.

This is absolutely typical of recruiters. They will also want your referees so they can make sales calls to them. After a while I got used to telling recruiters as little as possible about anyone other than myself. At least in Oz it's quite acceptable to put "referee details will be provided to potential employers only", and to list past employers by company name only. Some of them are used to the game and take it in good humour, others will regard failure to provide those "leads" as a black mark against you. OTOH, your referees,  current and past employers may get very sick of being called by recruiters trying to push candidates to replace you and try to find out what other vacancies they have.
 

Offline RGB255_0_0

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #84 on: April 26, 2017, 11:22:14 am »
.
Your toaster just set fire to an African child over TCP.
 

Offline VEGETA

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #85 on: April 26, 2017, 12:19:00 pm »
Well, it is not a really bad answer.

In the end, I find the interviewers tend to use their power to have fun and treat you like they are light years better and know everything.

Offline james_s

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #86 on: April 26, 2017, 05:06:10 pm »

The most interesting one I got asked:
"Why is a manhole cover round?"
I forget the exact answer, but something along the lines of the shape being the strongest that it cant fall in on itself or something. Pretty sure microsoft or someone also asked this question.

I always liked that one for some reason. It's pretty simple when you think about it, a round cover can be dropped into place and no matter the orientation it will fit perfectly and it can never fall down through the hole. There is no other shape that matches this criteria, anything asymmetrical will only fit in one of several correct orientations and most can fall into the hole. 
 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #87 on: April 26, 2017, 08:12:07 pm »
I always liked that one for some reason. It's pretty simple when you think about it, a round cover can be dropped into place and no matter the orientation it will fit perfectly and it can never fall down through the hole. There is no other shape that matches this criteria, anything asymmetrical will only fit in one of several correct orientations and most can fall into the hole.

There are many shapes, which are convex, and not circles, which will not fall in the hole -- shapes of constant width.  But, as you note, there are many fewer* of these, than of general shapes; and there are vastly fewer shapes that meet the symmetry criteria, namely just the circle. :)

(*Since there are infinite shapes, this isn't a count, but an ordinal.  Yes, you can rank the sizes of infinities!)

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Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #88 on: April 26, 2017, 08:25:55 pm »
Yes I suppose if you decided for some reason that the cover should not be planar that does considerably expand the number of shapes that fit the criteria. I think most would agree though that a circle is the logical solution to the criteria of a real-world manhole cover. It's fully symmetrical, you can drop it in the hole in absolutely any orientation and it fill easily plunk into place.

There are some other advantages that come to mind after additional thought. The fitting it sets into can be cut from a pipe or cast and manufactured with a single simple machining operation. Tolerances need not be particularly precise to ensure a good fit. The lack of sharp corners minimizes the likelihood of stress fractures and means there are no sharp corners to drop on one's foot. It may also come up favorably in terms of raw material required relative to the load bearing ability or useful area of the opening.
 

Online Cerebus

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #89 on: April 26, 2017, 10:28:42 pm »
(*Since there are infinite shapes, this isn't a count, but an ordinal.  Yes, you can rank the sizes of infinities!)

I wouldn't like to guess whether the set of all planar shapes is countably infinite, or uncountably infinite. I would be prepared to guess that if you were limited to combinations of lines that we'd be talking about a countable infinity, but curves would make it uncountable but that is just a guess. Where's a topological number theorist when you need one? Oh, sure, tap a keg of beer and you're covered in them, but if you want to ask a question...
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline KE5FX

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #90 on: April 26, 2017, 10:37:17 pm »
"Your current employer is a fairly small company, isn't it?"

"Yes, that's right, a few dozen employees."

"If we hire you, what will it do to them when you leave?"

"Um... :-X"
 

Online Someone

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #91 on: April 27, 2017, 12:22:28 am »
Yes I suppose if you decided for some reason that the cover should not be planar that does considerably expand the number of shapes that fit the criteria. I think most would agree though that a circle is the logical solution to the criteria of a real-world manhole cover.
The constant width shapes that fulfil the requirement of not falling down the hole are explicitly planar:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curve_of_constant_width
 

Offline moz

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #92 on: April 27, 2017, 12:34:58 am »
"If we hire you, what will it do to them when you leave?"

"They will be able to hire a cheaper worker to replace me, as they have repeatedly said that I am over-qualified and more experienced than they need."

Translation: my boss suffers from the "anything I don't understand is easy" fallacy.
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #93 on: April 27, 2017, 12:36:09 am »
Now that's neat. I especially like the oddly shaped roller, it never occurred to me that you could do that, not that there are many reasons to make a roller that is not round.
 

Online Cerebus

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #94 on: April 27, 2017, 03:40:32 am »
Now that's neat. I especially like the oddly shaped roller, it never occurred to me that you could do that, not that there are many reasons to make a roller that is not round.

The classic example of that is the current UK 20p and 50p coins, polygonal so they are easy to recognise, constant curve so that they will cleanly roll down a chute in the coin mechanism of a vending machine or coin counter. The new £1 coin is 12 sided and is currently making its way into circulation.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #95 on: April 27, 2017, 05:44:53 am »
That's neat, I'll ask my friend to bring me a few of those coins next time he's out this way.
 

Offline Neilm

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #96 on: April 27, 2017, 06:47:39 pm »
The new £1 coin also has what they refer to as a hologram on it. From one angle it looks like "£", from another it looks like "1"
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe. - Albert Einstein
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Offline james_s

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Re: Strangest and most bizzare work interview question and answer!
« Reply #97 on: April 27, 2017, 08:18:56 pm »
US currency is rather boring compared to much of the world but as long as I can trade it for cool stuff I'm not going to complain too much. At least our paper money is starting to get some color.
 


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