Questions In Interview

Interview Question: The Race

Five athletes participated in a cross-country race. Athlete C placed third, and athlete E placed second. Athlete A was not last. Athlete A came in after Athlete E. Athlete D was not first.

How did athletes A, B, and D place in the race?



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:

  1. Evaluates and understand the scope of the problem
  2. Communicates assumptions
  3. Demonstrates quantitative analytical skills
  4. 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

Using the strategy outline above, the answer to this question is quite clear.

C was third, E was second, and A was not last, so A had to be either first or fourth. Since A was behind E, A could not be first; therefore, A had to be fourth. The only possibilities left are first and fifth. Since D was not first, D had to be fifth, so B had to be first.

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.


List of Problem Solving Interview Questions Used by Top Firms (e.g., Microsoft, Google, Goldman Sachs)