A Microsoft job interview question. What's your answer?

Not sure if it’s GQ or IMHO…

Supposedly a real question of sorts on a Microsoft interview:

GQ part: is there a right answer(i.e., one that will maximize one’s chances of getting the job)
IMHO part: what would you say?
My “answer”: Hand back the pen to the interviewer, and say, “Nope, that’s not it.” Lame, I know.

Actually, maybe it’s just a red pen/red ink pen thing, I don’t know.

How about…

“Let’s do some beta testing shall we?” scribble scribble

“Nope. And you seem to have an ink buffer overflow error here. Better fix that.”

GQ: From what I’ve heard of Microsoft oddball interview questions, there is often not a correct answer, like asking, “When is it okay to steal?”

IMHO: (Since I have no plans of ever working for Microsoft…) “Black. It’s the new red.”

*Interviewer hands you a black pen and says nothing but “This pen is red.” *

GQ: What question?
IMHO: (Dag takes the pen and throws it in the trash) “What pen?”


Either… “I didn’t realize you were color blind.” or

This pen is red?? I’m sorry, a *book * is read; a pen writes.”


I’d look at the interviewer and say, “Ya know, if you can’t tell the difference between red and black, that might explain why your OS is so buggy.” :smiley:

If you know the question will be asked, forewarned is forearmed:

Interviewer: This pen is red.
You: [take the pen, pocket it, pull out a red pen from your pocket, and hand it back to the interviewer] Lemme take care of that; there you go, boss!


I see. Here’s a pen that writes in red and black. I call it Linux.

Breaks out color chart:

Me: Hold my hand and point to this color. Say black.

Interviewer: Black

Me: Good boy! Now point to this one. Say red.

Interviewer: Red

Me: Great! Boy you are going to a wiz when you get to kindergarten. That’s enough for today.

A. I’m sorry. Would you like another chance?

A. Well, it looks black. Why do you say “red”?

A. Do you mean “coloured red” or “writes in red”?

A. Have you watched Liar, Liar too many times?

A. No, it’s the Bolvian navy in manouvuers in the south pacific!

Most groups don’t use these kinds of questions anymore.

Even compared to most of these kinds of questions this one seems asinine and I would be amazed if it were actually used.

The “unique” question types usually centered around problem solving and deduction. And as Ethilrist said it’s not about getting the right answer, it’s about problem solving. Will the person give up? Will they try one way and stop? Will they think things through and document how they are doing it?

So while I have never heard of this question I have heard of questions like:

As I mentioned most teams don’t use these anymore.

I would break into tears and sob out, “Its true! Its true! I was with your daughter in the back of the van, and when your wife caught us and said she wanted to join in, I couldn’t help myself! I’m only a MAN, dammit!

BurnMeUp: yeah, these I’ve seen(or at least heard of), too. Cecil even wrote about one of the riddles(the manhole one).

Though I must say, the red/black question isn’t a lot weirder than the standard nonsense like “what do you most want to improve about yourself” or somesuch, IMHO.

Tuckerfan and Shagnasty, it doesn’t look like you want the job [/whiny] :wink:

Lefty, you start Monday :cool:

Interviewer hands you a black pen and says nothing but “This pen is red”.

Is there a right answer? Nope. Its more than likely a “personality test” of sorts. Somehow, how you react will say something you as a person.

With that said…

What would you say? “You’re fucking kidding me right. Next you’re going to hold up a spoon and tell me its not even there… go fuck yourself.” throws the pen back at the interviewer and walks out of the door :smiley:

Jam it into the interviewer’s chest, pull it out and say, “It’s red now!”

I think I’d go with “In what way?”

Yeah, I get that. But they don’t presumably just ask without, say, deciding what type of personality they want? Or do they?
So the question is what kind of personality would they want, and how to convince them that you have that kind of personality?

I suspect, like apparently most people here, that they do this one(if they really do it) just for the hell of it, but I’m obviously not sure.

Ah, but if this pen was a tree, then what flavor would it be?


Yes. But now the door will be gone and you won’t be able to open your mouth because its melting shut! :eek: