Even Google’s Former CEO Couldn’t Answer Its Brutal Interview Questions

Even Google’s Former CEO Couldn’t Answer Its Brutal Interview Questions
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Earlier last month we posted Google’s five toughest interview questions. And boy were they tough.

They’re so tough that Google’s former CEO struggled to answer one.

Quartz reports that Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, struggled pretty hardcore with this notorious interview question:

“You’re the captain of a pirate ship and you find a chest of gold. Your crew gets to vote on how the gold is divided up. If fewer than half of the pirates agree with you, you die. How do you recommend apportioning the gold in such a way that you get a good share of the booty but still survive.”

To be fair, if I was asked this question on the spot I’d probably crumble into a pile of dust.

Schmidt’s initial answer:

“Let’s do the math…if half die. No, if I die… No, if they don’t like me, I die. This is, like, a really bad question.”

Later, he came up with a better solution:

“It seems to me that if more than half are happy, I survive. I propose, that we give 49% of the pirates stock in internet companies, and 51% get the gold.”

I have no earthly idea how to answer this question.

How about you?

Eric Schmidt struggled to answer a Google interview question [QZ]


  • I would make the voting an anonymous vote where they fill in ballot slips, and put them into a barrel. Just for voting the crew get rewarded with some gold, and advised the rest will be divided up reaching shore.

    The gold and the barrel are locked up in the Captain’s Quarters. I then replace the barrel with one which already had pre-filled in slips. The majority of the pre-filled ballots apportion a lower percentage of gold to each pirate, with a few stating outragous claims to percentages to make the ballot look real. A good share of the gold is siphoned off for myself as Captain, and after a long voyage at sea the fake ballots are tallied by the First Mate. Most of the crew have either forgotten exactly what they wrote down or someone wrote down for them, and are given the lower percentage of gold than they asked. The first mate tallied it so he thinks this is a majority rule, and the funds are split up as agreed as majority.

    As it has been a long voyage, and they had not seen the gold in such a long time, they would not realise even more was taken by the captain. Any disappearance of gold could be chalked up to been given to each crew as a reward for voting. They leave the ship happy, unbeknownst to them they have just been swindled!

  • That’s easy, split the pirates into a 51% group and 49% group take 30% of the gold for myself and give the rest to the 51% group. The other group can get stuffed as they don’t matter in this situation, at this point I retire.

    Another solution is I just hide the chest in my private quarters as I’m the captain and I found the chest.

    • Unless of course a few people in the 51% say nope because they don’t like half their buddies getting nothing. Then the vote swings against you and it’s mutiny time.

  • Im the Captain, and this is not a democracy, nor has it ever been a democracy, so there would be no vote.

  • The crew are asked to vote on how the gold should be shared therefore the captain did not need to make a decision, it was up to the crew, as the question stated.

    The CEO of Google didn’t give an answer, so what, just because he or anyone else is the CEO of a corporation or business doesn’t make them a genius, or even smart.
    Most of them are low in intelligence, that’s why the smart employees never climb the corporate ladder, their abilities are more important on the ‘shop floor’.

  • Since the question states that you, the pirate captain, find the gold, you simply hide what you see fit, say 50 % of the booty, then divide the rest equally between yourself and 51% of the crew. Ooh arr jim lad!

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