How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30 p.m. on a Friday? Are you familiar with this question? If yes, then you must have attended the job interview at Google for the position of Vendor Relations Manager.
This question got ranked No.1 in the Top 25 Oddball Interview Question of 2011 by Glassdoor, a job-search portal site. It is interesting to note that that Google is asking the interviewee about current status of Facebook, the arch-nemesis of the Internet search engine giant.
Google's interview question can be categorized into the interview method called 'guesstimation'. This was first used by U.S. statisticians in 1930s. One should make an estimate via guess without adequate or complex information.
So is there an answer to this question? There is no exact answer. But it is important to show the logical inference as much as possible. Of course, for this guesstimation within limited time, one should have usual the level of knowledge and logical thinking process. For the Google question, one should offer a reasonable answer after setting up the basic premise on population of whole world, rate of Internet usage and facebook usage time.
Some companies throw an oddball (or curve ball) question to interviewees from time to time. If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?(asked at Hewlett-Packard), Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer? (asked at Deloitte), How would you cure world hunger? (asked at Amazon.com) How do you feel about those jokers at Congress? (asked at Consolidated Electrical) are also ranked as oddball questions.
Seems that company interviews are getting more creative even up to the point of being absurd or embarrassing as they want find out ingenious workers, workers who have got good reflexes. Anyways, this survey based on 115,000 interview reviews and 150,000 interview questions around the world gives a good example for 2012 job trend.