The 20 toughest UK job interview questions - From Tesla to Condé Nast to British Airways

Glassdoor scoured hundreds of thousands of interview questions shared by candidates on the website over the past year

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The Independent Online

Getting thrown off by a hard interview question can be frustrating. And how you answer can make or break your chances of landing that dream.

To help you prepare to tackle any interview scenario, job and careers website Glassdoor scoured hundreds of thousands of interview questions shared by candidates on the website over the past year.

“What on your CV is the closest thing to a lie?” asked by software company The Phoenix Partnership for a marketing communication role was crowned the toughest interview question of the year, according to the survey.

It was followed by “What I am thinking right now?” asked for a regional director role at digital education company TES Global and “How would your enemy describe you?” for a position on the advertising sales graduate scheme at publishing group Condé Nast.

“Preparing for an interview thoroughly means being ready for anything, even a curveball question not directly related to the job. Remember, it’s not necessarily about getting the right answer, more how you cope under pressure,” David Whitby, UK country manager at Glassdoor, said.

Enduring a hard interview can mean higher job satisfaction down the road.

An October 2015 Glassdoor report revealed that increasing the difficulty of an interview by 10 per cent led to a 2.6 per cent increase in individual employee satisfaction later on.


From Tesla Motor to American Express – here are the 20 companies hiring for jobs with the toughest interview questions


1. “What on your CV is the closest thing to a lie?” – Marketing and Communications Employee, The Phoenix Partnership 

2. “What am I thinking right now?” – Regional Director, TES Global

3. “How would your enemy describe you?” – Advertising Sales Grad Scheme, Condé Nast

4. “If you had a friend who was great for a job and an identical person who was just as good, but your friend earned you £2,000 less, who would you give the job to?” – Associate Recruitment Consultant, Hays

5. “What's the most selfish thing you've ever done?” – Graduate Consultant, PageGroup

6. “You are stranded on the moon with a group of other astronauts and you need to travel 200 miles back to base, here is a list of 15 items salvaged from the wreckage of the spacecraft you were travelling in. List them in order of importance.” – Sales Employee, Turnstone Sales

7. “If your best friend was here what advice would he give you?” – Central Clearing Counterparty, American Express

8. “Describe your biggest weakness. Then describe another.” – Forward Deployed Software Engineer, Palantir Technologies

9. “How do you cope with repetition?” – Product Specialist, Tesla Motors

10. “How would you describe cloud computing to a seven-year old?” – Graduate Scheme, Microsoft

11. “There are three people, each with different salaries, and they want to find the average of them without telling any of the other two their salary. How do they do it?” – Technical Delivery Graduate, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

12. “Who is your hero, and why?” – Product Quality Employee, GE

13. “What’s your the biggest regret managing people so far?” – Area Director, Regus

14. “What would you ask the CEO if you met him one day?” – Performance Analyst, British Airways

15. “You have 50 red and 50 blue objects. Split these however you like between two containers to give the minimum/maximum probability of drawing one of the colours.” – Operations Analyst, Clearwater Analytics

16. “What does social justice mean to you?” – Content Marketing Manager, ThoughtWorks

17. “What is your coping mechanism when you have a bad day?” – Consultant, Switch Consulting

18. “Are you a nice guy?” – Product Manager, Badoo

19. “Provide an estimate for the number of goals in the premier league.” – Management Accountant, VAX

20. “Tell me about your childhood.” – Learning and Development Employee, Next