The oddest tech job interview questions explained

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on January 17, 2014

From The News Desk

Back in college, one of my favorite on-campus jobs was student interviewer. This gave me all the power and responsibility for which a 20-year-old liberal arts degree seeker could ever wish. I could ask prospective students any questions that popped into my head, and somehow that was an acceptable metric as to whether these students got accepted or denied at my school. It was truly a dream job. From what I can recall the two weirdest questions I asked were, "What kind of light fixture would you be?" and "Why hasn't the Rapture happened yet?"

Companies, it seems, are taking a cue from me.

Today, the career information job platform Glassdoor, has released a list of the "most oddball" job interview questions asked over the last year. The site sees it as a way to show its users that interviewees have to be prepared for anything that gets thrown at them. It also shows that tech companies in general have some of the strangest ideas for what constitutes a good interview question.

Here are some examples, along with potentially why they are asking this question and what a good answer would be:

Airbnb asks, "How lucky are you and why?"

Airbnb is asking this because it must be looking for someone endowed with enough luck to stave off any more legal action that gets thrown its way. If you answered, "I am so lucky that I once robbed a bank and got acquitted," your new job will probably be just to sit with the company's legal team during any hearings and pray all the while. I'm sure the benefits will be sweet, though.

Yahoo begs the question: "If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?"

This is obviously because Yahoo is in the process of acquiring a desert island. Most of its resources, however, are currently entangled in the Web giant's other acquisitions as well as, you know, its actual business. Thus, Yahoo truly only has the capacity to bring three things to this island, and must be very judicious as to make sure this latest acquisition is a success. (It didn't have enough money to acqui-hire the island's residents, so they've subsequently been booted.) I would be very honest about this question, because if hired you're probably going to be thrown into some Swiss Family Robinson shit.

ZocDoc queries, "What's your least favorite thing about humanity?"

This question is probably due to the fact that the company sold its soul to the devil to get the $95 million is has raised to date. It probably genuinely wants to know what is good and what is bad, because these days it has no way to filter through its own ideas and gauge whether they are maniacal or not. This could prove to be a difficult question, because if you offend the beast, a satanic monster may emerge from the interviewers chest and attempt strangle you. Either way, I hear office culture at the startup is great. So just go for it.

Here's Apple's contribution: "If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors?"

Apple, always looking for new innovative products, seems to be testing out ideas on its potential employees. Maybe they have an idea for a new type of hardware, dare I call it the iScissor? I'm not entirely sure what it does, therefore, for anyone asked this question, you're on your own.

In the end, this (of course) shows that job applicants must always be prepared for the inane. Statistics have shown that the tech unemployment rate has remained consistently lower than the general unemployment rate. This, in some ways, gives employers carte blanche to ask whatever the hell they like. Mix that in with quirky "startup culture," and you can get questions like "Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?"

Is this helpful? Maybe, but really it's just another way to show that both the company and its employees are creative and ready for whatever gets thrown their way.

Which begs the question: Seriously, why is a tennis ball fuzzy?