You may have answered the typical “Why do you want this job?” question in an interview so many times that you have your perfect answer memorized. But what do you do if a company throws you a curveball? And say that curveball is something like, “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?”

Yes, this question—along with many more seemingly random ones—is completely possible when interviewing at top companies. In fact, we dug through the internet and found lots of examples from pretty well-known places such as Google, Apple, and Facebook.

And here’s the thing you should know before you dig into this: Most strange or tough interview questions are actually asked for a very valid reason, even if it feels ridiculous (or terrifying) in the moment.

In an article on how to answer these off-the-wall interview questions, career expert Lily Zhang says, “Your interviewer isn’t necessarily looking for a right answer. He wants to determine how quickly you can think on your feet, how you’ll approach a difficult situation, and, most importantly, whether you can remain positive and proactive and make progress in the face of a challenge.”

While we can’t tell you exactly what a hiring manager will ask, running through this list and thinking of how you would answer will get your brain working in the right direction. That is, if these questions don’t make it explode first.


1. Facebook

“25 racehorses, no stopwatch. 5 tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.”


2. Google

“Why are manhole covers round?”


3. Apple

“If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?”


4. Amazon

“How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?”


5. Microsoft

“How would you test an elevator?”


6. Uber

“How would you find the words that became obsolete in English language between 16th and 17th century? You may use a search engine.”


7. Trader Joe’s

“What do you think of garden gnomes?”


8. Living Social

“What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now.”


9. Urban Outfitters

“You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?”


10. American Heart Association

“What’s the color of money?”


11. PETCO

“How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?”


12. Kraft Foods

“On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer.”


13. MasterCard

“Can you say ‘Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?”


So yeah, basically everything’s on the table when it comes to job interviews. You’ve been warned.

Now tell me on Twitter, what’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?


Photo of Google offices courtesy of Asif Islam/Shutterstock.