Most Challenging Interview Questions
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The lack of skilled IT workers is hurting the deployment of emerging technology, according to a new survey from Gartner. In areas from cloud to cybersecurity, this crisis is expected to last for years to come.

Business Insider team combed through posts on Glassdoor to find some of the toughest interview questions candidates have been asked. Some require solving tricky math problems, while others are simple but vague enough to keep you on your toes.

1.    "We have a cup of hot coffee and a small cold milk out of the fridge. The room temperature is in between these two. When should we add milk to coffee to get the coolest combination earliest (at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end)?" —Product Design Engineer candidate

2.    "How does an airplane wing work?" — Lead Systems Engineer candidate

3.    "How much does the Empire State Building weigh?" — Solutions Consultant candidate

4.    "How do you check if a binary tree is a mirror image on left and right sub-trees?" - Research scientist candidate

5.    "Explain what RAM is to a five year old." — Apple Genius candidate

Software Engineer Candidates

6.    “If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what's the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What's the optimal solution?”

7.    "Describe an interesting problem and how you solved it."

8.    "You have a 100 coins laying flat on a table, each with a head side and a tail side. 10 of them are heads up, 90 are tails up. You can't feel, see or in any other way find out which side is up. Split the coins into two piles such that there are the same number of heads in each pile."

9.    "Are you creative? What's something creative that you can think of?"

10.  "Have you ever disagreed with a manager's decision, and how did you approach the disagreement? Give a specific example and explain how you rectified this disagreement, what the final outcome was, and how that individual would describe you today."

11.  "What brings you here today?"

12.  "Given an iTunes type of app that pulls down lots of images that get stale over time, what strategy would you use to flush disused images over time?" — Software Engineer candidate

13.  "Why do you want to join Apple and what will you miss at your current work if Apple hired you?"

Software Engineering Manager Candidate

14.  "Tell me something that you have done in your life which you are particularly proud of."

15.  "What are your failures, and how have you learned from them?"

Software QA Engineer candidate

16.  "How would you test a toaster?"

17.  "How would you test your favorite app?"

18.  "There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?"

19.  "62-63=1; Changing only one element (either digit or operand), make this statement true." — Software Development Test Engineer candidate

Technical Lead candidate at Apple

20.  "If you are to go up the mountain one day and come down the next day, leaving at the same time, will you ever be at the same place at the same time of day?"

Lead Analyst candidate

21.  "If you're given a jar with a mix of fair and unfair coins, and you pull one out and flip it 3 times, and get the specific sequence heads tails, what are the chances that you pulled out a fair or an unfair coin?"

Project Managers

22.  "What was your best day in the last 4 years? What was your worst?" — Engineering Project Manager candidate

23.  "Tell me about a time when you failed. Not when you failed and learned or course corrected — actually totally failed." — Senior Project Manager candidate


24.  "Give me 5 ways of measuring how much gasoline is in a car." — Hardware Engineering candidate

25.  "How would you plan a hand gliding trip for your colleagues to North Korea?" — Hardware Test Design Lead

26.  "Draw the inside architecture of an iPhone" — Hardware Test Design Lead candidate

Supply Chain

27.  “How would you break down the cost of this pen?” — Global Supply Manager candidate

28.  "How many children are born every day?" — Global Supply Manager candidate

29.  "How do you create an efficient supply chain model?" — WW Supply Demand Planner candidate.


30.  "Explain to an 8 year old what a modem/router is and its functions." — At-Home Advisor candidate

31.  “A man calls in and has an older computer that is essentially a brick. What do you do?” — Apple Care At-Home Consultant candidate

32.  "What's more important, fixing the customer's problem or creating a good customer experience?" — Apple At Home Advisor candidate

33.  "Show me (role play) how you would show a customer you're willing to help them by only using your voice." — College At-Home Advisor candidate

Technical Specialists

34.  "Describe a time when you hurt a friend and how did you handle it?"

35.  "What is your favorite Apple device and why?"

36.  "You seem pretty positive, what types of things bring you down?" — Family Room Specialist candidate

Build/Mechanical Design Engineer

37.   “Are you smart?” — Build Engineer candidate

38.  “You put a glass of water on a record turntable and begin slowly increasing the speed. What happens first

39.  "You sit on two air mattresses pumped to the same pressure. One mattress is twice as tall as the other. Explain why you felt that you sank deeper into the taller mattress. How much further did you sink?" — Mechanical Design Engineer for Apple Watch candidate

40.  "Describe the stresses in the spokes of a simplified bicycle tire"

Retail Specialists

41.  "Scenario: You're dealing with an angry customer who was waiting for help for the past 20 minutes and is causing a commotion. She claims that she'll just walk over to Best Buy or the Microsoft Store to get the computer she wants. Resolve this issue."

42.  "What superhero would you be and why?"

43.  "Describe a humbling experience."

44.  "Are you the type of person people come to for technical issues?"

45.  “Why did Apple change its name from Apple Computers Incorporated to Apple Inc.?”

46.  "When you walk in the Apple Store as a customer, what do you notice about the store/how do you feel when you first walk in?"

47.  "Tell me about a time that you had more to do than you could possibly get done." — store manager candidate


48.  "What sort of data would you ask for when looking to bring iPhone to a new market?" Finance candidate at Apple

49.  "What is your favorite ice cream?" — Admin assistant


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