Wacky interview questions with a purpose

Finding employment these days can be hard enough, but imagine getting asked a bizarre question during the interview process that's impossible to answer. According to Glassdoor.com — an online jobs and career community — strange interview questions are more common than ever.

"This is the third year that we have done what we call our oddball interview questions list," said Samantha Zupan, Glassdoor's corporate communications director.

The list was compiled from more than 150,000 interview questions shared by job candidates on Glassdoor.com in 2011.

Zupan said such questions are often used as conversation starters during the interview process.

"I think employers want to see how their candidates think," she said. "The question, 'What do you think about garden gnomes?' is an opinion question. There is no right or wrong answer. They want to see how you handle the unexpected things that come your way. They may also want to see if you will be a good cultural fit for their team, because there is no way to prepare for this. But there are ways to show you are a thoughtful thinker."

Here are some of the oddball interview questions from the Glassdoor list, followed by the company that posed the question. (The garden gnome question above is also on the list, from Trader Joe's.)

• "How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30 p.m. on a Friday?" —Google

•"Just entertain me for five minutes, I'm not going to talk." —Acosta

•"If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?" —Hewlett-Packard

•"Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?" —Deloitte

•"How would you cure world hunger?" —Amazon.com

•"Room, desk and car — which do you clean first?" —Pinkberry

•"Does life fascinate you?" —Ernst& Young

•"Please spell diverticulitis." —EMSI Engineering

•"Name five uses of a stapler without staple pins." —EvaluServe

•"How much money did residents of Dallas/Ft. Worth spend on gasoline in 2008?" —American Airlines

•"How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?" —Horizon Group Properties

•"How many planes are currently flying over Kansas?" —Best Buy

•"How many different ways can you get water from a lake at the foot of a mountain, up to the top of the mountain?" —Disney Parks & Resorts

•"What is 37 times 37?" —Jane Street Capital

•"If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?" —Rain and Hail Insurance

•"Pepsi or Coke?" —United Health Group

•"Are you exhaling warm air?" —Walker Marketing

•"How do you feel about those jokers at Congress?" —Consolidated Electrical

What are some of the oddest interview questions you've ever been asked?

jweigel@tribune.com

Twitter: @jenweigel

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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