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8 Christmas Brainteasers (That You Could Get Asked in Interviews!)

By Kris Kringle (James Ball) | Dec 21, 2015 | Candidate Tips

Yorkshire Terrier dog wearing a red santa suit and hat isolated on whiteInterview brainteasers are a topic that I personally love to hate…

On the one hand, I see the appeal. They’re certainly ‘fun’ and they do break the ice.

On the other hand, they have the ability to totally sabotage the entire interview process, putting candidates off and making them feel even more nervous.

However, they are quite good fun in a completely casual setting! Especially on Christmas day, after a couple of beverages!

So – because it’s (almost) Christmas, we thought we’d share a rather more lighthearted blog this week…

Behold, 8 brainteasers, you could genuinely get asked in an interview (fingers crossed you won’t) with a festive TWIST!

Merry Christmas, everyone.

1.  Parental Percentages

wunderkind little girl schoolgirl with a book from the blackboard with physical formulasI don’t know about you but I haven’t worked with percentages and ratios since college.

If your friends and family are the same, they’re bound to struggle just a little bit.

Want to make it a little bit harder? Ban the calculators (and phones!)

As a Christmas gift parents buy 16 computer games for their 3 children! The youngest gets 1/8 of the games, the middle child gets 1/4 of the games and the oldest gets 1/2 of the games.

How many games does each child receive and how many do the parents keep?” Courtesy of Julie Turnbull

Click here to check out the correct answer!

2. A Family Affair

This question is so simple – once you know the answer.

2 mums & 2 daughters went out for Xmas dinner each ate one portion, yet only three portions were eaten in total. How is this possible?

Pose the problem to group and just wait as the penny slowly drops… last one to work it out loses!

Have you got it? Click here to check your answer.

3. Honey I Shrunk The Candidate…

This weird question was alleged used by Google during interviews…

 candy canes in a cupYou get shrunk to the size of a candy cane and then thrown into an empty blender.

You’ve got 60 seconds before the blades start to turn…

What do you do?

As far as I’m concerned, this hypothetical brainteaser is best kept for late-night “philosophical” debates and is certainly not appropriate for an interview.

Put it to the room & award points for the most creative, comedic and downright idiotic responses you get!

At the very least, it’s bound to get everyone giggling.

4. Tongue Twisters

This works best if the sentence is actually written down (it’s a bit mean otherwise).

What’s interesting about this phrase: “A Santa spit taboo bat tips at NASA?”

But if you do decide that you do want to say it out loud – try not to get tongue-twisted! It kind of defeats the object.

You can come up with your own (less Christmassy and strange) versions and you could (to make it easier) give them a few example sentences to work with.

Click here to check your answer!

5. What’s Your IQ Like?

puppy looking confusedOK – so this one’s not that Christmassy – but it’s still a brilliant brainteaser (I just couldn’t leave it out).

Which of these letters is the odd one out? “F  H  K  L  N  Y  Z”

It is pretty difficult and you may have to give your family and/or friends some time and/or a couple of hints before they get it.

Click here to discover the answer!

I nicked this one from Mensa, so congratulations if you did get it – smarty pants.

6. A Really (Die) Hard One

Do you recognise this little riddle?

You have a 3-Litre jug a 5-Litre jug, and an unlimited supply of mulled wine. How do you get exactly 4 Litres of mulled wine without estimating?” UBS Investment Bank

I simply couldn’t do a Christmas blog on brainteasers, without including this little riddle from Die Hard With a Vengeance(a Christmas-film favourite of course).

Click here if you’d like McClane to reveal the answer for you…

7.  An Elves Equation

elvesThis is quite a sneaky little riddle and depends on a human tendency to over-think the question.

If it takes 5 elves 5 minutes to make 5 dolls how long would it take 100 elves to make 100 dolls?

Your sharp-minded loved ones will probably get it straight away (depending on how much self-indulgence has already occurred!)

Click here to reveal the answer.

8.  The Alphabet Puzzle

I’ve nicked this one from Mensa again (they have some great brainteasers on their website – if you’re into that kind of thing – check them out here).

Using the letters that are missing from this incomplete alphabet, work out what Christmassy word you can make.

B C D G H I J M P Q R T U V X Y Z 

Again, this is toughie if you don’t offer your family/friends a pen and paper!

Click here to find out the answer.

Did you get all of the right answers?

Congratulations if you did.

I can honestly say that under the intense pressure of an interview, I’m not sure I’d get any of them right!

If you’ve got any weird and wonderful interview brainteasers, we’d love to hear them – just pop a comment in the box below!

Recruiter Pro Tip:

As Christmas gets ever closer, we’ve taken a step back from our usual, serious, no-nonsense career and job-seeking advice, because, to be honest, it’s often the last thing that people want to be thinking about over the holidays.

But there are things you could be doing to get ahead of the game – January is the busiest time of year in terms of recruitment!

To get a head start, check out this guest post from  Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, revealing how to get your name out there over Christmas and/or check our live vacancies here.

And if you’d like to swot up on some great career-boosting tips and job-search tricks this festive season, check out the rest of the blog here or click here to subscribe.

Have a fantastic Christmas!

- Kris Kringle (James Ball)
James Ball - as Santa

Kris Kringle (James Ball)

James is the founder and owner of Coburg Banks and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes.

> More blog posts by Kris Kringle (James Ball)

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