Killer Interview Question: How Would You Make Money From An Ice-Cream Stand?

Killer Interview Question: How Would You Make Money From An Ice-Cream Stand?

This week’s KIQ is a little bit sweet. It’s also a question from an executive who works at Google.

Old man selling ice-cream image from Shutterstock

We’ve all heard about all the cool perks Google employees get so it’s no surprise that jobs at the company are highly sought after. Landing a position with the tech giant isn’t easy and Yasmin Green, head of research and development at Jigsaw, Google’s tech incubator arm, shed some light on what it takes to get into the company.

She revealed one of the questions she likes to ask job candidates when she hires for Jigsaw: “How would you make money from an ice-cream stand in Central Park?”

The exact location of the ice-cream stand isn’t all that important. For us Australians, we can substitute Central Park with any popular public tourist spot such as Bondi Beach in Sydney.

As for why Green likes to ask this question:

“I’m curious to see how people deal with ambiguity and whether they can have fun while thinking on their feet.”

She wants to use this question to identify somebody who is “innately driven” and has a “force of spirit that powers them through any obstacle that comes their way.”

How would you tackle this question? Let us know in the comments.

[Via Business Insider Australia]


  • “Sell the ice-cream stand and then go get a high paying job at Google.”

    Honestly, a lot of these “killer” interview questions would have the effect of killing my desire to work for the prospective employer.

    • All they’re trying to do is get an understanding of the candidate, by putting them in situations that need them to think. The actual question generally isnt the important part, but how the person being interviewed thinks through the question.

      On this one specifically, I’d recall a lesson I learnt where finding a niche market was important. In the 50’s, if you were making a hotdog, you’d make a hotdog that was the same as everyone else. Today, you might make a kosher or halal dog to corner that market, or put (for arguments sake) vegemite on instead of mustard.

      In other words, something to stand out from the crowd. In markets like that, you often only need 1% of the customers to make a profit. Picture Town Hall station in Sydney. If you sold whatever you were selling to 1 in 100 people, you’d be a major success.

  • I might go for the job ad in the article above just to see if these “killer interview questions” ever get used at Allure too. Cool to see if the “ask your interviewer” questions go down as well as they’re reported to.

    • If I’m involved in the interview process, I’ll be coming in with a notepad full of Killer Interview Questions. You have been warned 😛

  • I’d sell the ice cream stand. Ice creams may not be included in the sale, depending how hungry I am.

  • Sell drugs, Isn’t that what most ice cream vans are meant to be covers for anyway.

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