Interview Question: How many golf balls can you fit in a school bus?
Strategy and Approach to Answering a Problem Solving Interview Question
If you get asked a problem solving question in an interview, remember that they are NOT looking for the RIGHT answer. They are evaluating the approach you use to think out and solve the problem. A strong candidate demonstrates the following:
- Evaluates and understand the scope of the problem
- Communicates assumptions
- Demonstrates quantitative analytical skills
- Answers the question that has been asked. You’d be surprised how many candidates get lost in the analysis and solve for a different question than what was asked.
How to answer this problem solving interview question
This problem is a simple estimation problem solving question with no exact answer.
Assumptions about School Bus:
- The inside of a school bus is about 8ft wide by 6ft high by 20 feet long or 960 cubic feet (8 ft x6 ft x 20 ft = 960)
- 1 cubic foot = 1728 cubic inches (12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches)
- Therefore the inside of the school bus is about 1.7 million cubic inches
Assumptions about a golf ball:
- 0.85 inches is the radius of a golf ball
- Therefore the volume of a golf ball is about 2.5 cubic inches (4/3 * pi * .85)
Divide that 2.5 cubic inches into 1.7 million and you get 680,000 golf balls. Note you can take 25% off the total for seats and you get 510,000 golf balls.
Note: For this problem solving job interview question, there is an actual logical answer, however the interviewer will want to evaluate your thinking process. In answering the interview question, the lead up to your answer will be just as important as the actual answer itself.
For more problem solving, brain teasers, riddles, puzzles, logic job interview questions, please check our out Problem Solving Interview Section.
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