Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?

Published 29. 10. 2018

Hello, this is Katie.
I work as a Project Manager in Kansas City.
Feeling like a typical office person, I would like to share my experiences and maybe a few tips that I learn along the way.


Extraordinary questions

Did you think Janice had already found her dream job? Unfortunately not. Maybe you can remember the mistake she made last time – she criticized her previous boss during her job interview. No surprise that she hasn’t been offered the position. But why was she unsuccessful the second time as well?

“This time I thought before I spoke and didn’t say a word about my old workplace,” Janice began. “They were quite impressed by my profile as well as the projects I’ve participated in.”

“Well done!” I cheered. “So what was the turning point?”

“Out of nowhere, the HR manager asked me what I would be if I was a flower and why!”

I burst out laughing. “What did you say?”

“Nothing!” Janice replied. “I just stared at them all with my mouth wide open!”


What is that supposed to mean?

Have you ever been asked such a strange, maybe almost crazy question during an interview?
This is a specialty of big companies. Probably everyone who has already been in the professional world for some time is ready for questions such as: “Why are you the ideal candidate?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” And corporations know you are. They often choose those peculiar questions you are NOT ready for.

Apple asked a candidate how he would benefit from scissors if he was a pizza delivery guy. Amazon was curious how a candidate would solve problems if he was a martian. And my favorite is what Deloitte supposedly asked in an interview: “Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?”


Why would anyone ask you that?

That’s easy. The point is not whether you know the “right” answer. They want to see how long it takes you to recover from such a question and how you react. That should show your approach toward difficult and unexpected situations, whether you are able to remain positive, and your overall ability to face challenges.


How can you get ready?

The thing is you can’t. They can really ask you anything, even if it’s not related to anything relevant. However, if you want to practice the kind of thinking necessary to be as prompt as possible, have a look at this LIST OF QUESTIONS that have been asked during interviews in the past. You can also find examples of answers there.

If it doesn’t help, at least you can have a good laugh and be a bit more relaxed for your interview.


Enjoying our lives

“Oh my!” cried Janice when I showed her the list of questions. “What do you think of garden gnomes? I feel like I’m unemployable!” But this time, she laughed her failure off. I noticed her phone kept beeping. At first, she didn’t want to tell me what was going on, but then she gave in. Could you believe it? On her way home, she stopped by a cafe and flirted with a barista, who happens to be five years younger than her!

“This is not what we went shopping for!” I laughed. “You were supposed to look for a job, not for fun!”

“Speaking of that, why don’t we do that again? I think I’ve started to like fashion!” This is Janice for you. Her savings won’t last longer than a month, but that doesn’t keep her from enjoying her life! Actually, why should it? And so, we went. I was happy Janice got out from her previous depressions.

Now I’m a little stressed. This morning, our boss announced the personal changes in the company hierarchy.

“Bea is switching to Division A. Her manager will be Katie.”

Bea might have tried her best to be nice to me last time, but you should have seen her face! Exactly the same grimace I used to make in elementary school when they served the rubbery Salisbury steak. I can smell a challenge here. And you know I love those!