Many top tech companies, recruiting agencies and staffing agencies have a reputation for asking brainteasing interview questions. Most of them challenge you to think differently. They’re meant to test your problem-solving strategies on the spot. Here’s a list of the 3 hardest interview questions:
Apple: How would you breakdown the cost of this pen?
This question has a hidden side. There are the concrete costs such as the plastic, metal, casing, tubing, ink, grip, etc. But there’s also the hidden costs that include industrial designers to make the pen mold, labor to manufacture the pen, energy output of the machines, warehouse storage costs, shipping and much more. The purpose behind this question is to test your ability to see the entire, big picture. It’s to see if you can see the unseen parts of a problem that other people miss.
Google: If I gave you $10 million right now, what would you do?
They want to see how you would spend your own money because it’s a reflection of how you will spend the company’s money. This is especially important in a management role where you may be responsible for a company budget. Some people may buy private jet charters, vacations and other liabilities. Other people will invest the money to make more money. This way, their money won’t run out like many lottery winners. Even when investing, some will choose appreciation-focused investments with little cash flow such as stocks or buying their own house. Others will choose cash-flow coupled with appreciation such as rental properties. How someone thinks about the company’s money is very important and even if they choose to invest it’s important they’re aware of the cash-flow aspects to ensure the company can cover its overhead costs.
Dropbox: If you have 1,000 emails, how would you decide which order to answer them, so as to give the best service?
This tests how you prioritize your tasks. Will you order them by date received? By date you must respond by? By person? By topic? Would you sort it by using 2 or more methods at the same time? This is important because when you’re given many projects to work on, the company wants to know that you will make good decisions on which to do first. This is especially true for management-type roles where you have to decide how to delegate tasks and to whom.
If you’re not interviewing at these 3 companies, you probably won’t have to answer questions this tough. But understanding the purpose behind these questions will help you prepare for any interviews you may have with staffing agencies, temp agencies, recruiting agencies and their clients.
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