# The best job interview questions from Microsoft, Google… and IKEA

Tricky, funny and interesting, these are some questions people claim to have been asked at job interviews with Microsoft and Google. And IKEA, sort of…

We came across these because we are currently looking for a developer and a support technician to join the Pingdom team, and were searching around the Web for some inspiration regarding interview questions. The mission was to find some really good questions for our future developer colleagues.

There are some serious brain twisters in there, so enjoy! (Or be baffled… 🙂 )

How smart are our readers? The person with the best answer(s) in the comments will win a free one-year Pingdom Business account (worth \$479). The winner will be picked by us here at Pingdom.

1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
2. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
3. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
4. In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?
5. Describe a chicken using a programming language.

#### Questions by Microsoft

1. You have a bucket of jelly beans. Some are red, some are blue, and some green. With your eyes closed, pick out 2 of a like color. How many do you have to grab to be sure you have 2 of the same?
2. Pairs of primes separated by a single number are called prime pairs. Examples are 17 and 19. Prove that the number between a prime pair is always divisible by 6 (assuming both numbers in the pair are greater than 6). Now prove that there are no ‘prime triples.’
3. Imagine an analog clock set to 12 o’clock. Note that the hour and minute hands overlap. How many times each day do both the hour and minute hands overlap? How would you determine the exact times of the day that this occurs?
4. How much does a 747 weigh?
5. Imagine a disk spinning like a record player turn table. Half of the disk is black and the other is white. Assume you have an unlimited number of color sensors. How many sensors would you have to place around the disk to determine the direction the disk is spinning? Where would they be placed?

#### And this is how IKEA does it…

Since we are based in Sweden, we thought that some local inspiration would be in place and had a look at IKEA job interview questions. This must clearly be how they handle their interviews… 🙂

1. 3 numbers a, b, c; a and b are prime; b=a+1, c=a+2, and c=b+1
For any two sequential integers,one of the 2 is always divisible by 2 (eg 1, 2, or 3,4 or 6,7) so if a is not divisible by 2 because it is prime then b has to be divisible by 2. For any 3 sequential integers, one of the three is divisible by 3 and the other two are not. (eg: 5,6,7, or 7,8,9, or 9, 10, 11) so if a and c are prime and not divisible by 3 then b has to be the number divisible by 3 in the triplet.
There can not be a, b, c, d, e, with a, c, and e prime because given above b is divisible by 3 (because a and c are prime), d cannot by divisible by 3 because b is divisible by 3 and d is = b+2. if b is divisible by 3 then e is divisible by 3 (it is b+3) and cannot be prime.

2. For Google # 2 (shrunk in size and density to nickel and put in blender with 60 seconds) – You climb up the glass as quickly as possible. You should be light enough and your hands “sticky” enough to grab the now proportionally “rougher” glass surface to climb the glass

3. the answer to all of the above questions is:

“you know what, i’ve decided to start my own company. see ya later”

then you get to go make up your own questions.

4. I agree with Dave LOL

do people actually answer those? haha lol ok

5. Scott says:

Why not, I don’t have much else to do today, I’ll pick the few that I want to answer. (Thanks Dylan for pointing this out.)

#2 (blender): spend the first 20 seconds seeing if you can get into a position below the blades (blender blades are raised from the bottom). If you can’t, do what Keith says and try climbing.

Microsoft:

#1: 4. Three isn’t enough: you could have picked a red, a blue, and a green, in the worst case. Once you pick one more, you will have picked either another red, another blue, or another green. Voila.

#2:
p and p+2 are your two primes.

Divisible by 6:
p + p+2 = 2(p+1). So we know p+(p+2) is divisible by 2; all we need is that p+1 is divisible by 3. But in the set {p,p+1,p+2}, one must be divisible by 3, and since p & p+2 are prime, they cannot be. QED

No triples: (assume there is a triple p,p+2,p+4)
As above, we know that p+1 is divisible by 3. So then (p+1)+3=p+4 is divisible by 3. Thus p+4 can’t be prime. QED (I like saying QED)

#5: two sensors, as close as possible to the dividing line between black and white. See the order that they come in once you start the spin and it will tell you which way it’s spinning. (i.e. imagine a circle, bisected with a vertical line, black on left; put the sensors next to each other at the top and spin. B-W: counterclockwise. W-B: clockwise.) (of course this assumes that the disk doesn’t spin infinitely quickly.)

These are the most interesting ones to write up, at least.

6. Scott L says:

“Imagine an analog clock set to 12 o’clock. Note that the hour and minute hands overlap. How many times each day do both the hour and minute hands overlap? How would you determine the exact times of the day that this occurs?”

It happens every 65.45 (repeating) minutes. The minute hand will only lap the hour hand once an hour, since a full 360-degree minute-hand revolution is what makes an hour on an analog clock. So, they will overlap at 12, ~1:05.45, ~2:10.9, etc The reason for the fractions is that the hour hand moves throughout the entire hour, but slow enough so that after 60 minutes it is only to the next hour. Thus when the minute hand is at 12 for 3:00 for instance, the hour hand is at 3 or the 15 minute mark. By the time the minute hand has caught up to the hour hand, the hour hand will have traveled another ~16.35 minutes.

7. I’d probably start by seeing if my library has, “How Would You Move Mount Fuji?”. I think the Microsoft questions and answers were in that book.

8. jaydub says:

Regarding how many golf balls fit in a bus: One fewer than won’t.

Regarding how heavy a 747 is: Six times as heavy as it is on the Moon.

Silly questions, with silly answers, and only too-serious, self-deified HR interviewers “think” they know the “correct” answers for their companies.

9. Ken says:

Microsoft#5:
3 color sensors placed in a row to detect the color change line would determine the direction. If connected to a light array, each light would trigger in sequence as the color shifted and the path that the lighting took would tell you the direction of the spin.

10. Ken says:

IKEA interview:
My response would be to step back out, grab a chair and sit in front of the “display unit” on the floor and perhaps make it known that at my last job I always finished the projects that I started, instead of leaving them in pieces on the floor. 🙂

11. Manu says:

“In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?”

Assume there are 100 families and probability of a baby being boy or a girl is 50%.
Round 1:
50 families have boys and stop having more babies
50 have girls and go to round 2

Round 2:
25 boys and stop
25 girls and Round 3

Round 3:
12.5 boys and stop
12.5 girls and continue…

Total
# of boys: 50+25+12.5+… infinite series
# of girls: 50+25+12.5+… same infinite series as the one for boys
Since total numbers of boys and girls will be same, the ratio will be 1:1.

12. With all respect for the companies in question, the questions are pretty lame, except for the IKEA one. Do they really use those for interviews? I much prefer to interview computer scientists using questions that are hard but not quite so cheesy.

For example: modify the merge sort (or, if you prefer, Quicksort) algorithm so that it works with partially ordered sets. Assume that you have access to a function that, in constant time, can tell you which of two distinct elements is greater, or whether they are incomparable. Describe the running time of your algorithm prove that it is optimal.

Feel free to send your answers to me. Finding my email address online is a bit easier than answering the question! The person with the best answer(s) in the comments will win a free life-time subscription to The Noisy Channel.

13. @Daniel: Google, Microsoft, etc, also have other types of questions that are more programming-oriented. Our guess is that these ones are ways to test creative problem solving skills and simply see HOW you go about solving problems. The “right” answer may not be the main point.

But yeah, we love the IKEA one too… 🙂

14. And Manu is right.

Every family has exactly 1 boy.

The probability that a family has exactly i girls is 1/2 * (1/2)^i.

The expected value is equal to the sum, from i = 0 to infinity, of 1/2 * i * (1/2)^i, which is equal to (1/2) * ((1/2) / (1 – 1/2)^2) = 1.

Hence, the expected ratio is 1.

15. @Pingdom: I assure you that my question requires a lot more creativity than you’d expect at first glance. But it’s also well grounded in computer science. I love problems that mix it up that way–they’re not completely open-ended, but they really make you bend your mind.

16. arik czerniak says:

for the blender question – i would climb on top of the blade rotor and hold on as close as possible to the shaft – the centrifugal forces should be weak enough to let me hang on without getting hurt.

17. Regarding the Microsoft “Prove there are no Prime Triples”: I can’t prove it because there is one 3, 5 and 7. After that it all goes a bit tricky as even numbers are immediately ruled out, as is anything with a 5, so the enxt prime triple can only end with 7,9,1 or 9,1,3. It would appear to me that one of these is always divisible by 3, but I’ve not got a clue how to prove it mathmatically.

18. A chicken uses the hunt and peck approach with the programming language. What else could it do?

19. StaceyC says:

The MS ones are easy:

1) a handful
2) 18/3=6, even a Google employee knows that…
3) what’s an analog clock?
4) depends on who’s on it
5) if it is “like” a turntable, then it spins clockwise, so zero sensors are needed…

NEXT!!

20. Regarding Microsoft Colour Sensors: 2 sensors are required, placed slightly apart following the edge of the disk. The colour change will happen for one sensor and then the other, so you find out which order they change colour in and that gives you your answer.

It’d be easier to describe in pictures, but imagining the disk was vertical, then having one sensor (S1) on the left of the disk, the other sensor (S2) on the bottom right, then if the color change goes S1->S2 (ie, S1 changes to white, followed by S2 changing to white) then the disk is spinning counter-clockwise. S2->S1 indicated clockwise rotation.

21. qwesal says:

One case of a prime triple might be 3,5,7

Didn’t say anything about the numbers in the triple being greater than 6….

Of course I don’t really want to work for Microsoft anyway 😉

22. Ted Nugent says:

I got asked some lame puzzle questions at Microsoft back in 95. I responded by asking the interviewers that if I answered them, would they answer a couple of puzzle questions from me — seemed only fair. If they are going to judge you based on your response, you should be able to also judge them. The funny thing was they agreed, and honestly, they did an absolutely horrific job of dealing with the questions I posed to them. I’d recommend to anyone to have a couple of these in your pocket ito throw back at the monkey that thinks your ability to navigate a puzzle question reflects your ability to perform at work.

23. Jackson says:

Google 1. A lot. If you want more precision, I’d have to see specs on the bus.
2. Duck. There’s not a blender made with less than 2mm of clearance between blade and base. If you have had the misfortune to be placed in some sort of aprototype close tolerance blender, then climb onto a blade and hang on for the ride of your life. And yes, with cetrifugal force you’ll have to find some solid crevice to grip.
3. As many as the market demands.
4. As discussed admirably already, if half of babies born are of each sex, the ratio will by 1 to 1, regardless of the family size. It’s when the intervention comes pre-birth that things get skewed.
5. You’ve got me the last programming I did was undergrad Pascal. But in html I give you Chicken

Microsoft
1. Four.
3. Surely we’re not sooo digital a world that we’ve forgotten that the minute hand, that’s the long one now, goes around the clock once per hour, or 24 times perday, crossing the hour hand once per rotation, are we?
4. Let me borrow that keyboard from your side to the desk and I’ll find out.
5. As noted above two sensors next to each other will give you an order of color change, and so direction.

24. ed says:

re: the blender, they didn’t say anything about the power of your muscles being reduced. If you’re able to generate the same jumping power as before, and you weigh 100+ times less than you did before, just jump out.

25. TomD says:

Not so straightforward. Ratio of boys to girls is other than 1:1 because you have to consider that the parents will still be around for a good part of the childrens’ lives. Families that have one boy will form a ratio of 2 boys to one girl — so in 50% of the cases you’ll have a 2:1 ratio — without accounting for average lifespans.

26. The answer to the questions is one would be a happier worker at Google than at MS.

27. Die Nakamura says:

Google #1.Barring semantics (like how many golf balls you have readily available, are there people or other objects on the bus, how big is the bus, etc.) if you carry them on one at a time, all of them. Because if I have, for example, 4 million golf balls, I could fit them on the bus, but not necessarily at the same time.

2. Assuming physics haven’t been tampered with also, you could either a) jump out or b) put your feet on the blades. Pertaining to theory (A), if at normal size you can jump 14 inches, then this would still apply. Except now the scale of your jump will be greater, due to your size. 14 inches is still 14 inches despite your size, and would (hopefully!) be sufficient enough to jump out of the blender. As for theory (B), at normal height and weight you could put your foot/shoe down on the blade and they would (most likely) stop, so this would still apply if you had the same mass.

3. The answer you give will most likely be wrong, as new pianos are made and new tuners are trained, the number is constantly increasing.

4. Despite a view that genetics can be predicted to within 85%, and taking into account birth/death rates, fertility and other semantics, one simple answer wouldn’t be plausible.

5. Perhaps I ate the chicken, and am now doing some Javascript injection. *types into address bar -> “javascript:alert(‘Mmm tastes like chicken!’);”.

28. Nate says:

Smart enough to let someone else do the work of answering the questions in the comments.

regards,

29. Nate says:

ps.

10 PRINT “CHICKEN”
20 PRINT “EGG”
30 GOTO !0

30. Ron Davis says:

(Blender) You can jump to to raise your center of mass through a height h = E / (m g) where h is the height, E is the kinetic energy with which you leave the ground, m is the mass and g is the acceleration due to gravity. Your mass and the volume of your muscles are reduced by the same factor. E is proportional to the volume of your muscles. Therefore, you can raise your center of mass by the same height after the reduction as before. This neglects air resistance, but nickels are not strongly affected by it at the speeds we are considering here. If you are healthy enough to work, you can raise your center of mass by at least a metre. Therefore, you can jump out easily. If the lid is on, you can probably dislodge it by repeated jumps if it is not terribly tight.

32. Mindgrinder says:

I would rather stick to my present job :p LoL thats stupid questions to judge a skill

33. Jon says:

Microsoft #5

Black and white aren’t colors. They are the absence of color. Therefore, you could use your unlimited supply of color sensors and you still wouldn’t be able to solve the direction the disk was spinning.

34. Robert says:

Guys. chill out.

As an HR person, MOST of these questions are asked to establish how you APPROACH answering the question, not the real answer.

Lets take the piano tuners. Clearly nobody knows, but if you say you would take the number of countries in the world, look for the average number of tuners per piano with a particular tune rate per year, multiple them and come up with a number.

The answer about the golf balls above is a great one. Creative answering, thinking on your feet – these are traits hi tech companies want in people. Not just those who can crunch the numbers

35. Sachin M says:

This is for the Google question where your size is reduced to a nickle and proportionally your mass but your density is maintained at original. You have 60 seconds before the blades start moving. You can start running on the floor closer to the wall and build up some momentum. Then once you have built up some speed step up on the wall of the blender and start running on the wall. You will stick to the wall because of the centrifugal force. Keep running and gradually keep moving up and finally when you are very close to the brim just jump out!

36. Hairy Nyquist says:

re MS#5: Remember kiddies: anti-aliasing isn’t just for gaming rigs!

Nyquist’s Theorem will be kind those MS and Google kids that came from the ‘Tute because they will have passed 6.003. The ones from Caltech and Stanford won’t be so lucky. Core engineering rigor in a CS curriculum FTW!

If you were ever asked google #2 in the same interview, there is probably a joke in there somewhere about getting those blender blades to spin backwards if you just halve the number of sensors you gave for your previous answer.

37. 中国 says:

@deadmonz: You know, the people working in the factory 14 hours a day are living a much better lifestyle than the millions of unemployed who would love to take that person’s place…

38. eddy says:

would someone answer the IKEA question please. It seems the most applicable to every job. thanks

1) Probably more than one. Has the bus been cluster-bombed recently?
2) Start walking if the blender is horizontal, stay put otherwise because the blades will clear my head.
3) Enough to meet demand.
4) The boys are taller than average girls, but shorter than average men.
5) Sorry, Ruby has ducktyping but doesn’t care much for chickens. See any Java programmer.

Microsoft
1) Wilbur, my cubemate, always eats any red or blue beans near the top. So, if I grabbed two I’d know they’re both green. Thanks buddy, really appreciate it.

2) Wow……ar..are you sure you read that right? REally? Ok, put on your rain cap and let’s brainstorm.

The number between the primes has to be even (i.e. divisible by 2). Every third number, or one of every three consecutive integers, is divisible by three. It can’t be the primes, so it’s gotta be our inside guy. Every even multiple of three is divisible by 6. (or the product of any two of its factors)

No prime triples because the next odd number would also be a multiple of three. (x multiple_of_three x+2 next_middle x+4)

Whew….

3) My analog clock runs on military time. The question needs to specify noon or midnight to keep my count from being off by one. Either way I’d work by watching the clock. Isn’t that the expected result my employer had in mind when they started asking me pointless questions?

4) More or less depending on which planet is has landed.

5) Turns out the top half was black (like a record). The sensing of the sensors won’t help much. MacGyver would fashion a needle from the wires of one sensor, place it in contact with the disc, and listen to whether the music were playing forwards or backwards.

40. Telen wang says:

Let me see….

1.the golf balls numbers = the school bus seats

2.Unfortunately, i have not seen a glass blender,i don’t know how it works.
but i will strip the blades down even the screw is “too big”,or i will let the blades jam.

3.There is one piano tuners in the entire world.

4.The proportion is 2:1.

5.pass

MS

2.That’s easy.
A pairs of primes a and b,and a < b .whatever,
a/6 the remainder must be 5,and the same, b/6 the remainder is 1.so the sum (a+b) must be divisible by 6 .Besides the number
between a prime pair must be divisible by 2.So the number between a prime pair is always divisible by 6.

3.The answer is 22.Watch your TV and glance the clock once in a while, then by an almost trivial caculation, i think U can do it just like me.

4.This’s terrible.I have not seen a 747,to say nothing of seated. I will call The Boeing Company if anybody pay the phone bill.

5.There need 3 color sensors,and the three sensors make up an equilateral triangle.

AND the last one:

I will choose the biggest board to be seated.

41. I am not a lawyer, but the answer to most of these questions clearly is: “it all depends…”

Google: empty glass blender question…. why would I do anything? I am as small as a coin (just not as heavy), lying on the floor of the EMPTY blender, so what should happen?

42. Kevin says:

When you shrink, your mass reduces proportionally to the cube of the shrinkage factor, but your strength only reduces proportionally to the square (because it depends on the cross sectional area of your muscles). So if you shrink by a factor of 100 your strength to mass ratio increases by a factor of 100. So you can probably just jump out. If the lid is on, you’re history – your surface area to mass ratio has also increased by 100 so you are essentially powerless against the air currents set up by the spinning blades.

43. b-ry says:

for the record questions:

2 sensors are required next to each other at any point around disc. The will pulse in unison of the direction of the spinning disc.

44. hr genius says:

I hope this post is sarcasm.

Companies that ask these ridiculous questions are not helping themselves. Just because someone has a creative response to a stupid question like ‘how many golf balls can fit a giant ass’ does not mean he/she is going to be a productive, long-term, and happy employee.

Focus on proper management and promoting quality behavior/employees. Or risk having your stock price will reflect the questions you ask. BTW, anyone notice GOOG/MSFT stock price recently?

45. I have worked for Microsoft for over four years. I have been through about 7-8 interviews myself and have probably given about 12. I have never asked puzzle questions, I have never been asked puzzle questions, and the official interview training tells us not to. The reason is that asking someone to figure out a way to guess at the weight of a 747 may tell you about their ability to reason, but asking a programming question in a field that they are knowledgeable in tests their ability to reason, their knowledge of a field they claim to know, their programming ability, and their ability to explore all aspects of a problem by asking good clarifying questions to test assumptions. I often have 30 minutes of a one hour interview during which I need to fully evaluate the candidates abilities. I won’t waste time with a question that only helps me answer one question.

Ted Howard

46. baris akbay says:

sorry is this seattaken,I donot want to get other people rights 🙂 anyway ,I prefer to stand so lets start interview :))

47. Transcontinental says:

I wonder if they prefer a right answer from someone lacking self-confidence or the other-way around. I guess they require right answers and self-confidence.

48. Naeko Ayukawa says:

In the USA, it is not legal to require an “IQ” so these types of questions are used not just to check your IQ, but your ability to be different from the crowd in thinking on your feet. Some people I know who interviewed for microsoft can vouch that they do ask a mixture of creative word problems, but the majority of the questions were really of a technical nature with short answers that required both memory of the basics and the ability to apply what you knew in a timely fashion (another basis of IQ).

1.bus seats

2.Unfortunately, i have not seen a glass blender,i don’t know how it works.
but i will strip the blades down even the screw is “too big”,or i will let the blades jam.

3.There is one piano tuners in the entire world.

4.pass

5.pass

50. Kemal B. says:

I don’t have time to do these foolish questions.

51. BJ Upton says:

You can’t be shrunk down to that size and retain the abilities of your body, even scaled down.

Are we proposing that we’d have the same number of cells at our smaller size? Not gonna happen.

Since many of these are going to be nerve cells…well, you aren’t going to be smart enough to do any thing about any blender.

On the bright side, you’d have sufficiently few nerve cells that you aren’t likely to feel anything. 🙂

1. somewhere between the volume of school bus divided by the square of the diameter of a golf ball and the volume of school bus divided by the volume of a golf ball (the packing problem)

2. I’m 1.85m tall and weigh 85kg, the height (not the diameter) of a nickel is approx 2mm, so my height is reduced 2/1850, which means I’ll weigh 92g. I’m also about 20cm front to back, which means I’ll be .2mm from front to back. I should be able to lie on the bottom of the container and weigh enough to stay there safely as the blades spin. (right up close to the blade’s axis)

3. regions with significant piano population: n. america, europe, australia and new zealand (others?), assume 1 piano tuner per 20,000 people => population of those regions divided by 20,000

4. not enough information. need to know about unwed mothers and their reproduction decisions

5. perl:
#!/usr/bin/perl -w

use strict;
use Chicken;

my \$chicken = Chicken->new;

print \$chicken->describe() .”n”;

exit;

Questions by Microsoft

1. three colours of bean, so four beans will do it.

2. notice 6 = 2 * 3, 2 and 3 are primes. three consecutive numbers, 1 of them must be divisible by three. p is prime, p+2 is prime: p+1 is divisible by 2, p and p+2 can not be divisible by 3, therefore p+1 must be divisible by 3. since p+1 is divisible by 2 and 3 it must be divisible by 6. yes there are: 1, 3, 5 and 3, 5, 7.

3. 23 times: midnight, 1:05:30, 2:11:00, 3:16:30, 4:22:00, 5:27:30, 6:33:00, 7:38:30, 8:44:00, 9:49:30, 10:55:00, 12:00:30 ooooppps! the interval isn’t 65:30, but 65:27 which gives: midnight, 1:05:27, 2:10:54, 3:16:21, 4:21:48, 5:27:15, 6:32:42, 7:38:09, 8:43:36, 9:49:03, 10:54:30, 11:59:57. Hmmm, still not quite. the interval is 65 minutes and 27 1/3 seconds
ok so, that was the first half of the day, then the pattern repeats, but we don’t count midnight (that’s the start of the next day) so we have 22 times.
I’d look at the watch on my wrist and adjust the hands to see. and work the numbers….

4. not enough information. what configuration of 747? (eg. cargo or passenger) fully fueled? fully loaded? presented with a 747, how would I figure out how much it weighs? I’d disassemble it into manageable pieces that I could then weigh on a large scale such as is used to weigh transport trucks. I might even use a transport truck in weighing some of the larger pieces (weigh the truck, weigh the truck and pieces, and weigh the truck again to account for the burning of the truck’s fuel. which brings up the point, how accurate do you want the measurement?)

5. not enough information. is the disk white on one side and black on the other? are the colours concentric?

Carl

53. antiloop says:

54. 1-750,000
2-ı can swim..
3-every piano have got a tuner
4-one by one
6-……(::::)…..^^……
……(:::::::)..(;*;)…..
……(:::::::::::).{}…..
…….!!.!!……………
…….>>..>>…………..

55. mic…
1-4
2-17+19=36…3+6=9…=>..9
(turn the monitör and look the number)
3-24…24:00
4-if you write 747 with one truck cement too heavy,
if you write 747 with pencil not heavy
5-one cencor for you and another for me

56. Berna says:

I think that such companies might well be considering even the recruitment procedure as an occasion to stay on others’ minds; afterall, both companies are selling to masses.
Evidence?: The titles of the companies are now on your website and making people think on some answers while the companies are – I presumed- not paying a penny for this.
Please disqualify this answer if the companies are really paying for this announcement. Otherwise,I will enjoy the Pingdom’s solution package.
Thank you.

57. errata: msft #3: the interval is 65 minutes 27 3/10 seconds, the beginning total is correct at 23, the second is incorrect.

58. James says:

1. I don’t know, let me Google it.
2. 60 Seconds, that’s enough time for me to Google the solution and still escape from the blender.
3. I’m not quite sure, give me less than a second and I’ll return with a list of the best answers.
4. Let me Google their population data.
5. I’m sure someone’s already done this, let me Google it and I’ll provide you with the source code.

59. For the Ikea cartoon.

Gather up the parts. Thank the person for the gift and leave.

1. i will search this question with google and its says ~183,000
2. if they can be real, i am using my teleport machine.
3. a lot of.
4. girls equals to boys .ratio is 0,5 because of statistic 😛 with
alpha = %5
5. cls
print”chickhen is a type of bird.”

Microsoft
1. you need to grab 4 pieces of jelly. i love statistic 😛
r,g,b,. rr,rb,rg, gr,gb,gg, bb,bg,br, rgb,rbg,rrr,rbb,rgg, … rgbr, etc
if we select 4 we will be sure that be have two of same jelly.
2.
do you really know these answers i dont think so.

61. KAB says:

At the risk of airing my Asberger lite syndrome; Microaoft 1: Unanswerable, as it is posed. Now, if you asked how many you would have to pick to get AT LEAST two of the same colour, the answer is four.

62. Ionatan says:

1. All of them, I don’t think there’s a golf ball bigger than any bus.
2. The height of a nikel is a couple of milimeters, so i think that if you lie on the floor, you’ll probably not be touched by the blades, if the air is strong enough to blow you up, I’ll be so thin (if I’m 2mm tall, I’ll be 0.3mm from back to nose) that I think you’ll probably pass between the blades.
3. Enough of them, I’ve never had the problem of not finding one.
4. The ratio will be 1:1.
5. class chicken extends from egg
MS:
1. 4.
3. 23 times.
4. A 747 what? A boeing 747 airplane? If that’s the case, I don’t have the exact number, it’s a lot, but it still flies.
5. They’re half black and half white, but how are they painted? It’s not the same if it’s half cirlce black and half white, or if it’s one side black and other white or they have drawing.

63. DSchutte says:

The weight of a 747 is entirely determined on the location. Pretty basic physics really. If it was in space, it would weigh nothing. If it was on the moon, it would be pretty heavy. If it was on the earth, resting, it would be MASSIVELY heavy. I think they are trying to give a BS question. The real question that would be tough to ask would be ‘What is the Mass of a 747’. That is definitive and can be determined.

64. Tinker Bell says:

1. Depended on the type of the bus.
2. Escapes whithin 1 minute.
3. 1
4. 1:1
5.
10 Let Chicken = “Young lady”
20 Print Chicken

Run

Microsoft
1. 4.
2. If the middle number can divisible by 3, the question proved.
If not it must be 3n＋1 or 3n＋2. If it is 3n＋1, the first one would be 3n; If it is 3n＋2, the last one would be 3(n＋1), not prime. So it must be 3n.
3. 22 times.
4. 395,000-900,000 pounds.
5. 2. Side by side

IKEA
To grab the seat from the interviewer!

65. KAB says:

Repeats in respect to Microsoft 1:
If reinterpreted as having AT LEAST 2 the answer is 4
4 is not the answer to the question AS POSED, because then you may actually have 3 or 4 of the same colour, not 2.
Whether 2, 3, or 4 gives most probability of having 2 like, no less, no more, I give to the more calculating reader.

66. SKP says:

Its jus a question to check you humor quotient!… not great timing I agree… but wats life without having to step back and laugh at all brainacal presumptions we have!

67. rprebel says:

If you’re shrunk down to the size of a nickel, and then thrown into a now very large glass blender, it seems to me that most of your bones would be broken when you hit bottom. At that point, assuming you survived the fall, it’s just a sixty second countdown to the sweet release of death.

68. Darvin says:

1. Enough golf balls to make the bus float.
2. Rock the blender until you tip it over. This will break the glass and you will be free. You can live the rest of your miserable miniature existence
3. The exact answer is impossible, but a rough estimate could be done by finding the ratio of pianos to people on the planet, and pianos to piano tuners.
4. Like with flipping a coin, it is 50% each time. It should be about 50% of each sex.
5. Let chicken = “Baah-caawk!”

Microsoft

1. The question states that “some” are red, “some” are blue, and “some” are green. This tells us only one thing: there are at least two jelly beans of each color. (because “some” cannot equal 1, but can equal 2) It is a possibility that 1,000,000 jelly beans are red, 2 are blue and 2 are green. In order to assure that you pick two separate colors you must pick all of the jelly beans except three. This is true regardless of the amount of jelly beans in the container.
2. No prime triples because every even number is divisible by 2.
3. Hour hand does 2 full rotations around the clock in 24 hours. Minute hand does 24 rotations in 24 hours. In the time it takes for the minute hand to make its way around a full days time, the hour hand will rotate twice, so 24 minus 2 equals 22. It will overtake the minute hand 22 times in 24 hours. But, if you count the beginning point (hour zero) it is 23 times.
4. A 747 weighs nothing while it’s flying.
5. The question states, “Half of the disk is black and the other is white.” It doesn’t say which half. If the top half is white and the bottom half is black, than there is no sensor that can tell direction. But if the colors are on the same side and it is divided like a pie cut down the middle then only one sensor is needed. (If you set the sensor to a stroke pattern out of sync with the revolutions of the disc, you can tell which direction it is turning)

69. Ed says:

the nickle one could turn out well, but more than likely not. if you jump up and climb along a blade, hold it hangling off it on the very tip, when it starts spinning, time it nicely and let go, as the blades are at an angle you might just make a great escape. the only problem is living when your that small, you have tougher challanges that escaping from a blender.

70. Daniel says:

The answer to the piano tuner question is simple. Since no piano is truly in tune (they are even-tempered, which means that there is an even interval between each half-step, therefore no interval or chord is truly in tune), there is no one employed to truly tune a piano, therefore there are no piano tuners.

71. osman nuri aktepe says:

microsot questions
Question 2 : if a number can divide by 2 and can divide by 3, number can divide by 6.

if a number is prime number can’t mustb be singular. first prime number is singular and second prime number is sigular so a number between them must be double and can divide by two.

if first prime number can’t divide by 3 and second prime number neither, so a number between them must divide by 3. beacuse division by 3 repeat by 3 number.

The number between 2 prime number must divide by 3 and must divide by 2 so this number must divide by 6.

sorry my english 🙁

72. osman nuri aktepe says:

Microsost Question 1

Until be sure the box is empty. actually i can’t be sure, maybe i can’t grab same color.

73. Jonny P says:

Volume of B/G = X. X being a number that holds little relevance for any plausible scenario.

Uhh, grow big again. Duh.

About as many as the number of golf balls you can fit in a school bus.

Unless the country can bend the laws of physics and principles of conception and genetic mingling… 50%

74. Leo D. says:

Okay, all of those people who said the answer to the coloured bean Microsoft question was four are wrong. It is not four. It cannot be four. Sure if you want to be one hundred percent positive, and get two extra beans.

The correct answer is two. Read the question carefully. It says “pick out two of a like colour”. If who beans are of a like colour, then they are the same colour. Therefore, you just need to pick two to get two of the same colour. Easy, really.

75. michal says:

1) need more information. with or without driver? 😉 who need to put golf balls into bus school anyway? 😉
3) easy one – only 45263. dont ask me why 😉
4) 1:1
5) \$fly=false, \$weight=’2kg’, \$image=’chicken.png’, \$chicken = new bird(\$image,\$weight,\$fly);

MS:
1) 4.
2) a)
x – prime
y – x+1
z – prime, x+2

x, z – cannot be divided by 2 – they’re odd
y is even so it’s diveded by 2

in group of 3 next numbers (1,2,3) one of them is always divided by 3
x,z – cannot be divided by 3

so y is divided by 2 and 3, so it’s divided by 6
b) prime triples
lets say:
a – prime
b – divided by 3, proofed above, so next number that is divided by 3 should be “e”, but e “is” a prime
c – prime
d – should be divided by 3, because it’s between prime numbers
e – prime

3) 22, 11 times for every 12 hours.
5) 2 sensors, next to each other, but not in the same line with radius

3) Ikea
Hahaha 🙂 nice one.

76. Erasmus says:

How many golf balls fit in a school bus?

Enough to seriously inconvenience the school children. Except in America, where this is too dangerous an experiment to try. You might get shot.

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

I would appeal to whatever intelligence is poised to press the blend button, and failing that I would attempt to climb out or duck under the blades. If I succeeded in making my escape, I would go on to release a best selling diet guide in which I would not mention blenders.

How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

Enough to tune all the pianos in the world, except those used in all school musical productions.

In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?

Statistically, the ratio remains essentially 50/50 . However, though there will only be a fixed and predictable number of boys, this mathematical model allows for wild fluctuation in the number of girls from case to case. So… are you feeling lucky?

Describe a chicken using a programming language.

my %chicken = (
tasty => 1,
intelligent => 0,
lay_egg => sub ( %chicken->new(); ),
kill => sub ( print “SQUUUUARK!”; \$chicken->run_around(); die; )
) ;

You have a bucket of jelly beans. Some are red, some are blue, and some green. With your eyes closed, pick out 2 of a like color. How many do you have to grab to be sure you have 2 of the same?

Logic dictates that I must take four before I can be sure I have two of like colour, but due to the propensity of jelly beans to fuse together, creating discoloured, monstrously malformed, outcast, mutant beans I would probably take five to be safe.

Pairs of primes separated by a single number are called prime pairs. Examples are 17 and 19. Prove that the number between a prime pair is always divisible by 6 (assuming both numbers in the pair are greater than 6). Now prove that there are no ‘prime triples.’

This has been explained many times already, and I honestly can’t think of a good joke based on prime number pairs. Shame on me.

Imagine an analog clock set to 12 o’clock. Note that the hour and minute hands overlap. How many times each day do both the hour and minute hands overlap? How would you determine the exact times of the day that this occurs?

The hands overlaps once every minute. If you can work out where the clock hands are destined to overlap, then you, much like the clock itself, have too much time on your hands.

How much does a 747 weigh?

Slightly more than a 746 and slightly less than a 748

Imagine a disk spinning like a record player turn table. Half of the disk is black and the other is white. Assume you have an unlimited number of color sensors. How many sensors would you have to place around the disk to determine the direction the disk is spinning? Where would they be placed?

In theory you need only two sensors. In practise you need none; record players always spin spin clockwise, in order to play records.

So… do I get the job?

77. Owen says:

I like it how you have all asumed a vertical split for the record player question. All it says is half of the disc is white and half black, the outter rim of the disc could be black with the inner rim being white each covering half of the area of the disc. in which case if perfectly circle no number of static sensors will tell you the direction of spin. as there will be no colour change.

From what is given you can only say clockwise as stated previously it spins ‘like’ a record player hence clockwise

They are so difficult！

79. SLK says:

1) Why would you want to fill a school bus with golf balls?

2) Lay flat and hope the blades stop spinning soon!

3) Who cares!?

4) If they only want boys in this country, how in the world do they think they will be able to continue populating the country?

5) Can I step away from the interview and Google it?

80. My answer to all would be: I want to work at Cuil.com instead… I heard they spent \$33 million on doughnuts and office snacks.

81. mleko says:

These Microsoft questions are way too simple. Do they really hire people based on that?

The one about the primes has false premises, as stated above: 4 isn’t divisible by 6, (3,5,7) is a triplet.

Golfballs: Depends on the compression algorithm. Throw them in a Windhexe first.

Turntables turn clockwise.

Boys/girls: That one’s tricky. One could argue that gender is a societal construction anyway, so there will be 100% boys because they will be defined as such.

Alternatively: There’s probably a gaussian distribution for the genetic likelihood of a couple producing more boys or more girls. Those who are more likely to pop a boy will get only one. Those who are genetically predisposed towards girls will try a zillion times (because as per the premise, they won’t stop trying) and get a zillion girls. So there will certainly be more girls than boys, but the exact ratio is hard to tell. That’s if they don’t kill them.

82. kelly says:

Here’s my question…

If you’re tiny and are “thrown” into a blender, wouldn’t you die? Sort of like a bug smashing into a windshield?

83. James says:

Microsoft:
1. All of them. Blindfolded I’d have no clue of ordering for these. I just can’t BE SURE, if I don’t grab all of them. Based on what I know, I know there are three colors in there. There is no comment on proportions. There could be 99 red, 99 blue, and 1 yellow. And the yellow could be all the way at the bottom.

2. I’m no math whiz, but a prime number can only be divisible by 1 and itself. Since numbers alternate in 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s (only taking into account 1 through 3 as factors) in an interesting order, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 3… You will always find that middle number between the prime pairs on the second three in this interesting pattern (this number is also always divisible by 2, which means 6). Again I’m no math whiz, but if you follow this pattern down the number line you’ll find it to be true.

3. This can depend on how we start the day. The day starts (for most businesses) at 00:00:01, and as such is not perfectly overlapping the hour hand (given a perfect world where a distinction like this could be made), so as we follow it down, we’ll see that it goes all the way through the hour hand 24 times. All the way up until the following 00:00:01.

4. A lot, I’m not sure of the exact number but I could windows live search it. (googling it is a no no in this interview) 😉

5. Two, side by side. You could register movement by determining which color sensor detected black or white first. That being said, my first questions would be “can the color sensors pick up non colors like black and white?” though.

1. I’m not sure off the top of my head. I could probably make a good guess about this, but to be honest, somebody’s already done it. I’d just google search it and figure out their results, as it would be a waste of my valuable time to figure it out myself (not to mention money, I don’t wanna buy a bus and that many golf balls and I doubt ping and laidlaw would sponsor the project).

2. is there a set time these blades will spin? Either way, most blenders don’t have interweaving blades. One set of rotating blades usually is enough to chop up something so that’s all that is usually included. I’d grab ahold of the not sharp end of the blade and hold on for dear life. I am not afraid of death, and I know eventually I’d have to let go due to fatigue, but I wouldn’t just give up. I hate unknowns, and one unknown is if the blades will ever STOP spinning, but I’m willing to hang on long as I can in hopes of finding out.

3. Not a clue. Can we define piano tuners as somebody who does it profesionally and as they’re primary source of income? If so, then we could probably say enough to meet the demands of the surrounding population. After all, TOO many and some of them will not be getting paid and move on to more profitable endeavors. I’m sure we could start a registry, but who’s to say they’d willingly register? I suppose that there just isn’t a way to find out unless there was a mandatory requirement that all professional piano tuners were to register somewhere.

4. I’d honestly imagine it’s pretty close to even. Some families will stop at one kid while others will continue to procreate until they can get it ride. Since every family will have a boy we can at least assume a 1/x ratio per family. Since our ratio currently is already tilted in favour of women, I could only imagine this getting worse with all families only willing to have one boy. It’s already two to 1 in many countries (female to male), I could see this doubling in this culture we’re discussing, but who’s to say?

5. cout << “insert description of chicken here”

Ikea:

Ikea furniture’s only good addition to the world has been being a story telling device in Fight Club, so I’d never apply there… but I like the comic.

84. Irfan Makandar says:

OK. I will think of answering these question if and only if Bill Gates / Larry Page / Sergey Brin answers at least one question out of above 🙂 🙂 kidding…

85. Zenon says:

G1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

One. Two. Ten. There is no “max” in this question. One ball can fit in a bus. This answer is correct.

86. Brian says:

#1–How many golf balls can fit into a school bus?

With the kids inside, or without?

#2–You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

You wake up and resolve to stop eating Domino’s Pizza an hour before bedtime.

#3–How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

They don’t live in pianos, silly. They live in the ocean. (This is, of course, a better answer if your local English dialect is non-rhotic.)

#4–In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?

Well, this is pretty much the case in China and India, and they seem to be keeping it pretty close to 50-50, so…

#5–Describe a chicken using a programming language.

“You know, I’m really afraid to use a nested loop here, and a subrouting just doesn’t seem right either…” (Note: this is also a description of a pussy using a programming language.)

Do I get the job?

87. Jenn says:

re: Describe a chicken using a programming language:

A really smart chicken.

88. Raji says:

1. Use the measurement marks in the blender and try to climb.

89. Christine says:

StaceyC should get the job (or perhaps win the contest in this case).

She (he?) is practical, concise, good creativity:logic ratio, confident enough ask questions and show weaknesses, and enthusiastic. Go Stacey!!

I, on the other hand, am so right-brained I couldn’t even stand to read through an entire number-oriented question. I did immediately think I would hop onto the blender blade and hang on for all I am worth, though my left brain didn’t even kick in enough to think of staying close to the center. I suppose that would have hit me once I was spinning. Hello!?! 🙂

90. matt says:

the one abot the beans is -all but one bean

it doesn’t say howmany of eachc type off bean there isin the bucket – so if there is 100 geen 1 red and 1 blue then u will need to take out 101 to ensure 2 coulors

91. Pat says:

Typical Ikea “puzzle”; some of the screws are missing!

92. J says:

1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
Twice as many as the number of golf balls that it takes to fill half the space in a school bus. 😉
2. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
Sit on the blade at its center point, and then hold on tight. 😉
3. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
The number of pianos in the world divided by x. 😉
4. In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?
This scenario has no bearing on the answer. With any pregnancy, there is a 50/50 chance of having a boy or a girl. (You can have 9 families, where 8 have boys with the first pregnancy and the ninth has 1 girl then 1 boy. The ratio would be 9 boys to 1 girl. You can have 1 family that has 9 girls then a boy. That ratio would be 9 girls to 1 boy.)
5. Describe a chicken using a programming language.
main () {
printf (“A chicken is a tasty bird that produces tasty eggs.”);
}
Questions by Microsoft
1. You have a bucket of jelly beans. Some are red, some are blue, and some green. With your eyes closed, pick out 2 of a like color. How many do you have to grab to be sure you have 2 of the same?
Four. (The number of colors in the bucket plus 1.)
2. Pairs of primes separated by a single number are called prime pairs. Examples are 17 and 19. Prove that the number between a prime pair is always divisible by 6 (assuming both numbers in the pair are greater than 6). Now prove that there are no ‘prime triples.’
Because all primes are odd numbers, with the exception of 2, and sequential integers always alternate between odd and even numbers, then the number between prime pairs must be even, thus divisible evenly by 2. One in every three sequential integers is divisible by 3. Because of this, the number between the 2 primes must be the one divisible by 3. If the number between the prime pair is always divisible by 2 and by 6, then it must also be divisible by 2×3, i.e. 6.
3. Imagine an analog clock set to 12 o’clock. Note that the hour and minute hands overlap. How many times each day do both the hour and minute hands overlap?
22, 11 times each full rotation of the hour hand. (As the minute hand approaches the hour hand after the eleventh hour, it finally overlaps at the twelfth hour.)
How would you determine the exact times of the day that this occurs?
With eleven overlaps every 12 hours and 60 minutes in an hour, the number of minutes after each hour that the hour and minute hands overlap is 60 divided by 11 multiplied by the number of hours after 12:00.
4. How much does a 747 weigh?
747 tons, plus or minus 747 tons. 😉
5. Imagine a disk spinning like a record player turn table. Half of the disk is black and the other is white. Assume you have an unlimited number of color sensors. How many sensors would you have to place around the disk to determine the direction the disk is spinning?
Two.
Where would they be placed?
They can be placed anywhere, except where the line between the two sensors would cross the center point of the disk.

93. JACHV says:

If you are shrunked to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced, the density won’t mantain.

94. JACHV says:

1.How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
Are they inflate?

2.Imagine a disk spinning like a record player turn table. Half of the disk is black and the other is white. Assume you have an unlimited number of color sensors. How many sensors would you have to place around the disk to determine the direction the disk is spinning? Where would they be placed?
See Feynman lectures on physics.

3.a) 24
b) 11

95. Jos says:

just the clock problem of microsoft

it comes to the modulo 12 calculation

12 t = t ( modulo 12)
11 t = 0

or

t = 12 k /11 for k=0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

since solution of t is in modulo 12 it makes no sence to have a k >= 11

the interval is
12/11*5 minutes = 5.454545 minutes

which is : 5 ‘ 27 ” 27/100

96. stephanie says:

That was good Ken, but why not sit on the unfinished chair, conduct the interview, while you put it together, and then announce how you always multi-task, plus it shows you are handy and can “fix” any situation.

97. Uttam Garg says: