Glassdoor is out with their top 25 oddball interview questions of 2011… http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/top-25-oddball-interview-questions-2011/
I’m really not sure what the value is in asking someone how many ridges are around the edge of a quarter, what response could you possibly expect?
a) I’m exceedingly introverted and like to study the coins in my pocket while I’m supposed to be paying attention during meetings.
b) Unable to control myself, I shout out, “are you freakin’ crazy?” and display how extroverted I am or…
c) I know how to use Google to find out (119) and I’d make a great contestant for Jeopardy.
I’ll reluctantly give you that some of these high school math brain teasers — you know, if two trains leave the station at the same time, one is going 60MPH, the other 45MPH — may show how a candidate thinks, but the best way to understand how a candidate will perform is to both look at past work product (portfolios, YouTube videos of them speaking to a conference, etc.) as well as test them in the proposed environment (an assignment, a contract gig, ask them to code or how they would improve your messaging, UI, whatever….
The best questions, in my opinion, are around ‘what other features should we consider to better monetize our product?’, ‘what partnerships make sense?”, ‘describe what you think the top 2-3 competitors may do in our space this year.’
The latter, by the way, are all questions candidates can think about before the interview and have some thoughts on. Brain teasers? Not so much. Stay calm under pressure and give it your best shot.