9 of the trickiest brainteasers asked during tech job interviews

caption
These kinds of interview questions have become something of a rite of passage in the tech industry.
source
UNclimatechange/flickr

If you want a job in one of the highest-paying industries out there, be prepared to solve some puzzles.

Brainteaser interview questions have become something of a rite of passage in the tech industry – they’ve even been immortalized in film’s like “The Internship.”

And although Google did away with its notoriously difficult brainteasers years ago, plenty of other tech employers continue to carry the torch.

The point, experts agree, is less about the answer itself and more about your process and rationale of getting there.

Technology professionals network Experts Exchange recently pooled its online tech community to find out some of the toughest questions their followers have been asked during a tech interview. Here are some trickiest questions they heard:


‘A Boeing 747 is full of jelly beans. How do you empty it?’ — Computer Science Corporation senior analyst candidate

source
David Paul Morris / Getty Images

‘How many pennies would you have to stack to reach the height of the Empire State Building?’ — EFI chemical technician candidate

source
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

‘Here is a black cube. Prove that it is not a cube.’ — Tech Mahindra network engineer candidate

source
Vincent Desjardins/flickr

‘How would you direct someone to make an omelette?’ — PETCO data analyst candidate

source
Nathan Borror/Flickr

‘You have eight stones and a balance scale. Seven stones weigh the same, and one weighs more than the others. What is the minimum number of weigh-ins necessary to properly identify the one heavier stone?’ — Pet Supplies Plus senior application developer candidate

source
Wikimedia Commons

‘There are two trains stations, each with a train pointing at the other station. A crow sits on top of one of the train engines. As the trains start moving towards each other, the crow flies off. He flies to the second engine, touches it, flies back to first engine, touches it, flies back, and so on, until the engines cross each other. How much distance does the crow fly?’ — Accenture software engineer associate manager candidate

source
Flickr / Peter Cartledge

‘How big is the room we’re sitting in?’ — Esselte Group IT manager candidate

source
gpointstudio/shutterstock

‘Plan the evacuation for two billion inhabitants of nine planets to 14 different planets starting with two shuttlecraft that carry 1,000 passengers each and the capability to build two more shuttlecraft every month. The home star will nova in one year. All the other planets are varying distances from the home world.’ — Robert Half web developer candidate

source
YouTube/Romulan64

‘How do you empty a box of rice with chopsticks?’ — High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia senior system architect candidate

source
Leonid Mamchenkov/Flickr