Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh, to have a gifted brain...

You know those times, when someone asks you something, and your response is nothing but a blank stare, and a growing sense of being the most unintelligent person alive? Wait, what's that? It hasn't happened to you? Well, then prepare yourself...

I came across this article last week about 15 of the questions Google asks their potential employees. Now, Google didn't get to where it is by hiring just average people. They need to ensure their candidates have a certain level of intelligence, and boy, do the make sure!

Some of the questions were not intended for an exact mathematical answer but rather for the thought process behind them, such as "How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?". The interviewee is supposed to carry out a rationale of estimating how many hours a piano tuner works, how long a piano takes to be tuned, and how many households in the world would have a piano that is tuned regularly. I get dizzy just thinking about it, but I do see its purpose.

Other questions have answers so simple that they are (at least for me, of average intelligence) incredibly annoying because I dwell on it for ages trying to figure out the answer. Such as this: "How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?". The answer? "10 USD per window". Ugh!!! I wanted to punch my computer screen right then and there. And that's why I'm not applying for the job of Product Manager at Google any time soon...


Others, I smugly thought I knew the answer to. For instance: "How many times a day does a clock's hands overlap?". Well, I thought, at 1:05, 2:12, 3:18 and so on... so... 24 times, as each hour happens twice daily. Right? Wrong! It's actually 22 times: 1:05, 2:11, 3:16, 4:22, 5:27, 6:33, 7:38, 8:44, 9:49, 10:55 and 12:00, two times each. For the love of all that's pink!


One of my favorites was this one: "You have eight balls, all of the same size. Seven of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings?". It seems an obvious answer once you know it, but I wouldn't have come up with it if my life depended on it: "Take six of the eight balls and put three on each side of the scale. If the heavy ball isn't in the group of six, you know it is one of the remaining two, and so you put those in the scale and determine which one. If the heavy ball is in the six, you have narrowed it down to three. Of those three, pick any two and put them on the scale. If the heavy ball is in that group of two, you know which one it is. If both balls are of equal weight, then the heavy ball is the one you sat to the side." Took the words out of my mouth! (yeah, right!).

I can practically smell my dad's disappointment when he finds out I didn't get the clock one right... or any other one, for that matter! These are the types of "riddles" he absolutely loves. Sorry dad!

There were 11 more questions on that article, but I don't want to make you feel even worse than you must be feeling already... or was it just me? Because if you were able to answer any of these, my hat off to you! What are you waiting for? start listing your skills and submitting a resume as brilliant as that brain of yours!

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