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Wacky interview questions from Amazon, Google and Facebook

It can be tough to find a job in this economy. And with dozens (sometimes hundreds) of qualified people trying to land a job it sometimes comes down to how you interview.

In order to help job seekers get ahead, has compiled a list of some of the "weird and wacky" interview questions which have popped up at Apple,, Google, Facebook and other tech titans in recent interviews. Here's a look at some of them:

“How many basketball[s] can you fit in this room” – Asked at Google, People Analyst position

“Out of 25 horses, pick the fastest 3 horses. In each race, only 5 horses can run at the same time. What is the minimum number of races required?” – Asked at Bloomberg LP Financial, Software Developer position

“Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum numbers guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint "higher" or "lower" for each guess you make.” – Asked at Facebook, Software Engineer.

“If you had 5,623 participants in a tournament, how many games would need to be played to determine the winner?” – Asked at Amazon, Manager position

“An apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents, how much is a pear?” – Asked at Epic Systems, Project Manager position

“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?” – Asked at Apple, Software QA Engineer position.

“You have 8 pennies, 7 weigh the same, one weighs less. You also have a judges scale. Find the one that weighs less in less than 3 steps.” – Asked at Intel, Systems Validation Engineer position.

John Cook is co-founder of TechFlash. You can follow him on Twitter @johnhcook.

This article was originally published on TechFlash in December 2010.

Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.