Think you’re prepared for your upcoming job interview? First, answer these common interview questions.


  • What is the distance between the earth and the sun? 
  • How many gas stations are there in Utah? 
  • How many times do clock hands cross during a day?


Wait, what? Is this an audition for “Jeopardy”? Big tech companies like Apple, Microsoft and Facebook have been known to ask such questions. But not to see if you’re knowledgeable enough to represent them on a game show.

But Why?

Brainteaser questions — those that test your mental mettle — may be used for any job requiring problem solving skills, from engineering to finance to technology. Interviewers don’t use them just to torment you. Probably. Instead, the questions are used to evaluate your critical thinking skills. How do you analyze and solve problems?

If you’re looking for a management job, you may be safe. But if you’re a recent graduate, or someone seeking an entry-level or junior position, you may want to plan for a few. Still, you can rest easier knowing it’s not about the actual answer. It’s about your skills and ingenuity in coming to one. 

Say What?

You’ll know how to answer brainteaser interview questions more effectively when you understand the reason behind the questions. Interviewers are looking at certain thought processes.


  • Can you see multiple solutions to a problem?
  • How do you evaluate your options?
  • Do you look at the big picture?
  • Are you creative in your approach?
  • Can you come to a solution quickly? 
  • Are you patient? 
  • Would you work well with others?
  • How do you think under pressure?


Phew! You don’t really need to know how many pingpong balls it would take to make a line across the Golden Gate Bridge. But you should be able to identify the most important obstacle in a problem, then offer resolutions. 

Answer Me This

Common interview questions are intended to show your resourcefulness, as well as your initiative and personality. Can your team rely on you to contribute solutions? Or do you sit back and wait for someone else to lead the way. Hint: The former is more desirable.

Remember, it’s not about how smart you are. It’s more about lateral thinking or reaching a solution in a creative way. Here are some suggestions on how to answer brainteaser interview questions.



Before the interview, review the job description to determine what skills the company is looking for. Critical thinking? Problem solving? Effective team leading? Then consider what types of situations you would deal with in this position. This should clue you in to the type of questions they may ask. 


While you may not know the specific questions, you can think of potential responses ahead of time. Then work on how you would deliver them. The more comfortable you are at communicating your ideas, the more confident and well-spoken you will appear. No blank stares or squirming from you!


In the interview, evaluate what the question is really asking. Do you really need to know how to teach someone to perfectly fry an egg? Or demonstrate how you can give clear instructions, and then offer praise for a job well done?


Ask for clarification. Do you need any follow up information?

Q: How much fuzz do you need on a tennis ball?

A: Is this for a grass, hard or clay court?

Talk It Through

Work out your answer aloud. The interviewer can’t see your brain working, so take them through the process as you get your solution. Explain why you would do the things you do.

Stand Out(side the Box)

On paper, many candidates look like a perfect fit. You went to a demanding school. You were a great student. You had an internship. You received awards. Nailing the difficult questions in the interview may make you a much more viable — and memorable — candidate.

Search for your career move on KSL Jobs. Then, review these steps on how to answer brainteaser interview questions. Practice responding with your own flair, then get ready to move into your new desk.