It was quite amusing reading these responses to odd job interview questions. For example:
Twenty-five racehorses, no stopwatch, five tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.
The fewest number of races is one. Just keep those suckers running round and round and round until they collapse from exhaustion. The final three make it through, the rest end up as dog food. Actually, I thought that’s how they make dog food.
It’s all very similar to the types of questions they apparently ask at Oxbridge interviews, and the reason these questions are thought of as “odd” is because they don’t really have answers.
But that, of course, is the point; it’s the process of developing a line of thought and pursuing ideas that the potential employers and universities are after.
This puts me in mind of a part of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, in which he highlights that kids whose parents have a lot of books on their shelves aren’t doing better at school because they’ve read more books. It’s because more books on the shelves are an indicator of the value put on education and learning by the parents, which they’re then likely to pass on to their kids.
I’ve never really understood the utilitarian nature of our question-and-answer education system. The odder the questions, in my book, the better.