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The 10 hardest interview questions in Britain

Posted on 23/03/2015 by Ashley Ball



If you’ve got an interview on the cards, it’s time to think firmly outside the box, as today’s breed of interviewer increasingly pushes the envelope with mind-boggling questions that can feel impossible to prepare for.

A recent candidate for a Support Engineer vacancy at AlphaSights faced this cartoon conundrum about everyone’s favourite Caped Crusader: ‘Is Batman a superhero?’ His experience was far from isolated – as shown by a list of 10 brain-bafflers compiled by Mirror Money.

From ‘How many calories are there in a supermarket?’ to ‘How would you sell a fridge to an Eskimo?’ the cash columnists have come up with the perfect responses, which demonstrate problem-solving and prioritisation capabilities – and much more.

  1. Can you calculate how many tennis balls are used during the course of Wimbledon? – Asked at Accenture, Analyst candidate (London, England). The interviewer here is looking for how you approach a problem from first principals here.
  2. Estimate the total number of cars in the UK. – Asked at Barclays Capital, Trading Analyst candidate. Again, this is looking for critical thinking.
  3. How many calories are in a supermarket? – Asked at Google, Product Manager candidate (London, England). For once there isn’t an answer on the internet.
  4. How would you sell a fridge to an Eskimo? – Asked at Harrods, Temporary Sales Associate candidate (London, England). Short answer, find something they need it for.
  5. What would you take to a lonely island with you and why? – Asked at Urban Outfitters, Sales Assistant candidate (London, England). This is aimed at assessing you in terms of what matters most to you, how you prioritise and how you’re balanced between practicalities and comfort.
  6. Is Batman a superhero? – Asked at AlphaSights, Support Engineer candidate. To answer this you need to define what a superhero is.
  7. You have 17 red and 17 blue balls, and you remove 2 at a time. If the two are the same colour, add in one extra blue ball. If they are different colours, add in an extra red ball. What colour is the final ball removed? – Asked at Geonomics, Software Engineer candidate. Seeing if you can do maths on the spot.
  8. What cartoon character would you be and why? – Asked at ASDA, Administrative Assistant candidate (Bristol, England). This shows the interviewer what you value most, and what you would most like to be in terms of lifestyle as well as character traits and abilities.
  9. What is the wildest thing that you have done? – Asked at Metro Bank, Teller candidate (London, England). No one wants to hire robots (well, most people don’t) as new staff have to fit into a team.
  10. What was your opinion of the film Blair Witch Project? – Asked at Jefferies & Company, Data Analyst candidate (London, England). This one is about you.


So, in addition to buffing your shoes and compiling your portfolio, make sure you check out these top tips before you arrive for your interview (hopefully, on time).



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