The Logic Behind 19 Common Interview Questions

The Logic Behind 19 Common Interview Questions

Go on enough job interviews and you’ll quickly learn most interviewers ask the same questions. But what are employers really looking for when they ask things like “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” This graphic spells out the reasoning behind typical questions like that.

Sample Questionnaire provides this infographic covering different types of questions, from the straightforward (“Tell me about yourself?” — checking your communication skills and how you present yourself) to the challenging (“If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” — testing your problem-solving abilities). Know what the interviewer is testing or looking for and you could prepare better and answer the questions in the best way possible.

Here’s the full image:

The Logic Behind 19 Common Interview Questions

Concept and Logic Behind Typical Interview Questions [Sample Questionnaire via Undercover Recruiter]


  • Wow question 1-7….. Nope.

    What i’ve learned from this article? Never go for an interview in America!

      • Because the holes are round…? Because square ones wouldn’t fit…? To give maximum space to fat workers…?

        I have to agree with @yeahyeah on this one, I think these questions are completely unnecessary. Although they *may* tell you something about the interviewee’s deductive reasoning and so forth, there are many more relevant ways to do that. If someone asked me these questions, I would have to wonder if they were taking the piss, and would feel as if they were just wasting my time – “Am I just filling in the numbers?”. Asking these questions is a bit disrespectful IMO.

        • Technically it wouldn’t tell anything about deductive reasoning. It would be an exercise in abductive reasoning, or inductive reasoning depending on how much prior knowledge of the issue the person has.

          I find it irritating that people call abduction, deduction. I blame Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    • But you should be able to answer them as they’re not looking at your answer, they’re looking at your reasoning. Talk your answer through – for question 6, I’d say “North Dakota – I don’t really know anything about them so I know they’re not much of a tourist destination, and I think they share a border with Canada so they could become connected with the government there.”
      Total B.S. in itself, but displaying thought priorities and future planning.

      • When I read reading through I thought of North Dakota too. My reasoning was that there was another Dakota and we don’t need two. Your answer is much better.

    • I’ve been asked similar questions before in Australia (All for IT Jobs). There’s no right or wrong answers, it’s how you explain it. Q5 I have been asked. Question 2 I’ve been asked as well. A question similar to 3 I’ve been asked “if you had no arms or legs, how would you cross a river without the use of a bridge” A question similar to 7 is, “How many jellybeans will fit in the Clem7 tunnel?”.

  • Seriously? Why doesn’t anyone ask me those interesting questions? I’d love being asked novel questions – the stranger/silly/funnier/weirder the better.

  • I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with any of these questions – they all do serve a purpose, but I would say that if you’re in an interview and you’re asked several of these questions, then that would indicate to me that the employer / interviewer has a huge amount of time on their hands and has no interest in , or requirement for, efficiency.

    That could be interpreted as being that the employer has time and money to burn, or could be interpreted as the organisation being hugely inefficient and potentially uncompetitive because of it.

  • Over the years I have received so much contradictory information about interview questions, usually from people who claim to be experts in the employment field, that I’ve come to completely ignore all of it.

    • Well done, you have discovered the best possible option. For all concerned.

      Just be yourself in interviews, it shouldn’t be that difficult – and it shouldn’t require much preparation, or second guessing.

      For sure, do some relatively minor research on the company (you’re not doing an accounting audit, but you need to have a comfortable understanding about what they do), but there is no real need to overly prepare yourself for the types of questions that appear in this article.

      Have an understanding of the position you’re applying for. Have an understanding of what the employer does. Have an understanding of what you’re looking for in a position / employer. Have an understanding of how you can suit the employer, and how the employer can suit you.

      Don’t get me wrong. You (the candidate) needs to take the interviewing process seriously, and need to be mentally prepared – but you don’t need to know the ins and outs of a ducks behind, and there really isn’t too much point in attempting to present yourself as something that you’re not.

      • I agree, reading all of this kind of advice just makes me overthink it, and feel awkward in the interview. I think it’s better just to be confident of your own capabilities, and to have a clear understanding of why you want to work there than it is to know the “best” answer or what’s behind each question necessarily.

        • Absolutely.

          Don’t over-think it.

          Unless you’re applying to be an astro-physicist, then maybe over thinking it is appropriate. But otherwise, please, keep it simple.

          Even if the recruiter / employer wants to play fluffy time wasting games, let them do that if they must, but at the very least keep yourself on track and on point.

          Don’t launch into over complicated, expansive answers unless that’s what you’ve been asked to do.

          Don’t go off an a tangent because you absolutely must explain absolutely everything about your experience. Maybe the recruiter / employer doesn’t want or need to know absolutely everything about your experience.

          Just answer, to the best of your abilities, the questions that you’re asked, and be friendly in the process.

          Don’t get all agitated and pissy when the recruiter is simply asking the questions that they’re obliged to ask.

          And yes, do be confident. But not arrogant. There’s a fine line for some.

          You should be confident, because you should have adequately prepared yourself for the interview by having a good understanding of the position, and the employer – and how it’s suitable for you, and how you are suitable for them.

          What’s to be unconfident about?

          What’s the worst that can happen?

          They think that you’re not suitable (or the most suitable) for the position?

          There’s a very good chance that that will happen. The odds are already against you.

          Good news is that this won’t be the only position available.


          if they think that you’re not suitable (or the most suitable) for the position then there’s a good chance that they’re right.

          Afterall, they’re the ones dealing with all the applicants – not you.

          Sure, you might be better at astro-physics than the HR representative but the chances are that they’re better at HR than you.

  • If someone asked me the exact text in Question 1 “If you have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea?” and sat there waiting for an answer to that question, I would just walk out because this company doesn’t deserve me.

  • These are typical questions ? I thank my stars I’ve not encountered most of them:

    Q1: I wouldn’t be sitting here answering questions….
    Q2: Inside The Mind of a Serial Killer
    Q3: I’d lay off the LSD for a start..
    Q4: All my hours have 60 minutes in them. If you have longer ones, I’d need to see them.
    Q5: How many triangle shaped men have you seen ?
    Q6: State of Confusion
    Q7: I wouldn’t need a quarter – I’d easily climb it in a few hours
    Q8: Sitting on a beach in the South of France under a different identity
    Q9: Do the other candidates have your home address and ready access to explosives ?
    Q10: Wait, what, is this a trap ? Who told you about the sock puppets ?
    Q11: I have – in the CV I sent you a week ago
    Q12: I’m sorry, but lawyer-client conversations are confidential.
    Q13: He was about 5′ 8, brown hair and drove a Prius. Why’d you ask ?
    Q14: Let me reverse the question, and ask you why you think I am a good candidate for the role ?
    Q15: I thought we only had an hour for this interview ?
    Q16: Marriage
    Q17: The Great Divorce
    Q18: Well, the punk correctly guessed the amount of shots I’d fired, but I still wanted to shoot him.
    Q19: I really enjoy the hours, but being unemployed actually has a lot less benefits than the politicians make out.

    • A round of applause to you, sir. I lol’d heartily. My favourite was Q4 – the idea that you wanted to “see” their longer hours cracked me up.

  • HR is IMHO one of the most bulls**t jobs every conceived. I work as a Pilot and the thought of someone with a fancy piece of paper from a University who has no idea what my job really involves is going to sit there and decide whether or not I can do my job makes my blood boil. When faced with one of these cronies I find it a lot of fun to sit there at the end and make full use of the “So, do you have any questions for us?” section to ask them a bunch of technical questions about my job and see them squirm when they realise that they know s**t all about my job and are woefully under qualified to make any decision on my abilities.

    Mind you, I reserve this treatment when faced with interviews from companies who decide to only use HR for their interviews because if they are stupid enough to think that HR on its own can make good decisions they aren’t worth working for.

    • Yeah I often think that HR exists because companies consider it as being too expensive to take their experienced employees who generate the income out of the field long enough to conduct interviews. So they hire anyone with a BA who can’t find work in their own field to weed out the dickheads, then make a semi-educated guess as to who’s the best out of the rest of them. Not really an efficient system if you ask me.

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