5 Interview Brain Teasers with Answers
Interview brain teasers are puzzles or riddles that interviewers sometimes use to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, creativity, and critical thinking abilities.
What are interview brain teaser questions?
Brain teaser interview questions are puzzles or logic problems that are used during job interviews to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, creativity, critical thinking, and ability to think outside the box. These questions are usually designed to be challenging and don’t have straightforward answers. Some examples of brain teaser interview questions include:
- How many gas stations are there in the United States?
- You have a 3 gallon jug and a 5 gallon jug. How can you measure out exactly 4 gallons of water?
- A farmer has 17 sheep and all but 9 die. How many are left?
- What is the next number in this sequence: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, …
- A man is pushing his car along a road when he comes to a hotel. He shouts, “I’m bankrupt!” How can this be?
- You have two ropes that burn for exactly one hour each. How can you measure 45 minutes?
- A man has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river. He has a boat, but it can only hold him and one other item. How can he get everything across safely?
These types of questions are often used in technical, engineering, and finance-related roles, but they can also be found in other industries as well.
Why do interviewers ask brain teaser questions?
Interviewers ask brain teaser questions as a way to evaluate a candidate’s problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and ability to think outside the box. These questions are often designed to be challenging and don’t have straightforward answers, which allows the interviewer to see how the candidate approaches and solves complex problems.
Additionally, brain teasers can also provide insight into a candidate’s creativity, ability to work under pressure, and communication skills as they may be required to explain their thought process and reasoning. Brain teaser questions can also be a fun and engaging way for the interviewer to get to know the candidate’s personality and thought processes.
By including brain teasers in the interview process, interviewers are able to gain a more well-rounded understanding of a candidate’s skills and abilities, and determine if they would be a good fit for the role and the company’s culture.
Brainteasers: pros and cons
Pros of Brainteasers:
Improving cognitive skills: Brainteasers challenge the mind to think creatively and solve problems, improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Enhancing memory: Brainteasers require the recall of information, which helps improve memory.
Building mental flexibility: Brainteasers encourage the brain to think in new and different ways, promoting mental flexibility and agility.
Improving attention to detail: Brainteasers require careful attention to detail, which helps improve overall focus and concentration.
Cons of Brainteasers:
Limited appeal: Brainteasers may not be interesting to everyone and some people may find them repetitive or boring.
Frustration: Brainteasers can be challenging and some people may become frustrated if they can’t solve them quickly.
Time-consuming: Brainteasers can be time-consuming and some people may feel that they are not getting enough done in their day.
Pressure to perform: Brainteasers can create pressure to perform and some people may feel overwhelmed or stressed.
The history of interview brain teaser questions
Interview brain teaser questions have a long history in the corporate world. They were popularized in the 1950s and 1960s by companies such as IBM and AT&T, who used them as a tool to assess the problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities of job candidates. The idea was that by presenting interviewees with unexpected, abstract, and often difficult problems, employers could gain insight into how they approached challenges and how they might perform in a real-world work environment.
Since then, brain teaser questions have been widely adopted by companies across many industries, including tech, finance, and consulting. They have become a staple of the interview process and are often used as a way to distinguish top candidates from the rest of the pool. However, their popularity has also been criticized, with some people arguing that they do not accurately predict job performance and can even be harmful, causing candidates to feel stressed or discouraged.
Overall, the history of brain teaser interview questions reflects a desire on the part of employers to find innovative and effective ways to assess job candidates, and their continued use suggests that they remain a valuable tool for many companies.
Interview brain teasers with answers
Here are a few interview brain teasers with answers:
- If a plane crashes on the border of the US and Canada, where do they bury the survivors? Answer: You don’t bury survivors.
- A man is pushing his car along a road when he comes to a hotel. He shouts, “I’m bankrupt!” How can this be? Answer: The man is playing Monopoly and has landed on a property he cannot afford to buy.
- You have a 3 gallon jug and a 5 gallon jug. How can you measure out exactly 4 gallons of water? Answer: Fill the 5 gallon jug and pour the remaining 2 gallons into the 3 gallon jug. Then fill the 5 gallon jug again and pour 1 gallon into the 3 gallon jug, leaving you with 4 gallons in the 5 gallon jug.
- What is the next number in this sequence: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, … Answer: 64
- A man has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river. He has a boat, but it can only hold him and one other item. If he leaves the fox and chicken together, the fox will eat the chicken. If he leaves the chicken and corn together, the chicken will eat the corn. How can he get everything across safely? Answer: Take the chicken across first and bring it back. Then take the fox across and bring it back. Finally, take the chicken across again with the corn.
These types of interview brain teasers are designed to test a candidate’s ability to think outside the box and solve complex problems, so it’s important to approach them with a creative and analytical mindset.
Interview brain teasers: how to prepare
Here are some tips for preparing for interview brain teasers:
Practice: Practice solving brain teasers and logic puzzles regularly to build your problem-solving skills and improve your speed.
Read widely: Expand your knowledge of different subjects such as math, science, and history, as these can help you solve brain teasers more easily.
Stay calm: Brain teasers are designed to be challenging, so it’s important to stay calm and not panic. Take deep breaths and approach the problem systematically.
Ask questions: If you’re not sure what the interviewer is looking for, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. This shows that you’re willing to work through the problem and not just guessing.
Practice explaining your thought process: Brain teasers often require you to explain your thought process. Practice doing this out loud, so you’re prepared to articulate your ideas during the interview.
Be flexible: Be open to different approaches and solutions. There may be more than one correct answer to a brain teaser, so don’t get stuck on just one solution.
Stay positive: Even if you don’t solve a brain teaser, stay positive and don’t let it discourage you. The interviewer is evaluating your problem-solving skills and your ability to work through challenges.
How to answer interview brain teaser questions
Here are some tips on how to answer interview brain teaser questions:
- Take a deep breath: Brain teaser questions can be stressful, but it’s important to stay calm and focused. Take a deep breath, relax, and approach the problem with a clear mind.
- Listen carefully: Make sure you understand the question completely before you start answering. Ask clarifying questions if needed.
- Break it down: Brain teaser questions often seem difficult at first, but they can often be solved by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable parts.
- Use examples: If you’re having trouble finding a solution, try using examples or analogies to help you understand the problem better.
- Be creative: Brain teaser questions are designed to challenge your creative thinking, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with unconventional solutions.
- Be honest: If you’re not sure of the answer, it’s better to be honest and admit that you don’t know, rather than making up a response.
- Practice: Brain teaser questions can be tricky, so it’s helpful to practice solving similar problems before your interview. This will help build your confidence and give you a better idea of what to expect.
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