The Most Common Interview Puzzles and How to Answer Them

Did you know that you have only seven seconds to make a good first impression in a job interview? One of the most daunting experiences during the job hunting process is the interview. Not only do you have to sell yourself to the company, but you also have to be prepared for any questions they might throw your way.

To help you prepare, we've compiled a list of some of the most common interview puzzles and how to answer them. With these tips in mind, you'll be one step closer to landing your dream job.

Keep reading and stop puzzling over whether or not you'll be prepared.

Table of contents


What Is a Puzzle Question?

A puzzle question is a type of question that's designed to test your problem-solving skills. Puzzle questions are often used in job interviews, especially for technical positions.

Puzzle questions can be difficult to answer, but there are some strategies you can use to solve them. First, take a few deep breaths and relax.

Then, try to break the problem down into smaller pieces. Once you have a better understanding of the problem, start brainstorming possible solutions.

If you're still having trouble solving the puzzle, don't be afraid to ask for help from the interviewer or other people you know who are good at solving puzzles. With a little patience and effort, you should be able to find a solution to any puzzle question you're faced with.

Why Do Interviewers Ask Puzzle Questions?

Puzzle questions are often used in interviews as a way to gauge a candidate's problem-solving abilities. They can be tricky, and sometimes there is no single "right" answer. However, interviewers are looking to see how you approach and solve problems.

When it comes to hiring, employers are looking for a few key qualities in potential employees. First and foremost, they want to see that you have the skills and qualifications necessary to do the job. They'll also be looking for qualities like motivation, determination, and the ability to work well under pressure.

In general, employers are looking for three things in potential employees: technical skills, soft skills, and cultural fit. Technical skills are the specific abilities and knowledge required to do the job.

Soft skills are interpersonal skills that enable you to interact effectively with others. Cultural fit is a match between an applicant's values and the organization's values.

Puzzles can test all three of these areas. For example, a word puzzle can test an applicant's verbal reasoning ability, which is a form of intelligence that is important for many jobs. A spatial puzzle can test an applicant's ability to think creatively and come up with new solutions to problems. A puzzle that requires teamwork can test an applicant's ability to work well with others.

Thus, puzzles can be a helpful tool for employers in screening potential employees. However, it is important to keep in mind that no one type of assessment is perfect and that multiple measures should get used in order to get a complete picture of an applicant.

Here are some of the skills that puzzles can help test.

Logical Thinking

This is the most obvious skill that puzzles test. Do you have strong analytical and reasoning skills?

Can you see patterns and relationships between things? You need to be able to think logically and systematically in order to solve most puzzles.


Some puzzles require you to think outside the box in order to find the solution. This is a great way to test your creative problem-solving skills.


Some puzzles can be quite challenging and require a lot of patience to solve. This is a good way to see how well you handle frustration and how long you are willing to persevere when faced with a difficult task.


There will be times when you need to focus intently on the puzzle in front of you in order to solve it. Can you stay focused on a task even when there are distractions?

Do you have an excellent attention span? This is a good way to see how well you can maintain focus and concentration under pressure.

Attention to Detail

Do you pay close attention to detail? Are you able to catch errors that others might miss?

The ability to pay attention to detail is a highly sought-after trait in many job descriptions. These employers are looking for candidates who can read and comprehend information, notice errors, and follow instructions correctly.

Problem-Solving Skills

Puzzles are often used as a means of testing problem-solving skills. This is because they require the individual to use a variety of skills in order to solve them.

These skills include creative thinking, logical reasoning, and pattern recognition. By testing these skills, employers can get a good idea of an individual's ability to solve problems.

How Do You Prepare for an Interview With Puzzles?

When you are preparing for an interview with puzzles, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you are ready. First, you will want to familiarize yourself with the most common types of puzzles that get asked in interviews. This way, you will know what to expect and will be able to better prepare your responses.

Next, it is important to practice solving puzzles. This will help you to better understand how to approach them and will also give you a chance to see what types of clues or hints you may need in order to solve them.

Finally, make sure that you are comfortable with the format of the interview itself. This way, you will be less likely to get nervous and will be able to focus on solving the puzzles.

What Kind of Puzzles Are in Interviews?

When it comes to interview puzzles, there are a few different types that are commonly used. The most common type of puzzle is the brainteaser. Brainteasers test your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

They typically involve a mix of logic, math, and wordplay. Other common types of interview puzzles include riddles, logic problems, and pattern recognition exercises.

Riddles during Job Interviews

Riddles during job interviews are becoming increasingly popular. Many companies believe that they can help potential employers gauge a candidate's intelligence, problem-solving ability, and creativity. Riddles are often more straightforward than brainteasers, but they can still be challenging.

To solve a riddle, you need to be able to think logically and deductively. Pay close attention to the wording of the riddle, as this can often give you clues about the answer.

While there is no guarantee that you will be asked a riddle during your next job interview, it is always helpful to be prepared. Here are some example riddle questions and answers that may get used in a job interview.

Boat Filled With People

You see a boat filled with people. It has not sunk, but when you look again, you don't see a single person on the boat. Why?

What's the solution?

This is a classic riddle that has been around for centuries. It's one that can easily stump people; you might assume that the boat is filled with ghosts; however, there's a more logical explanation.

The answer to this riddle is that everyone on the boat is married. That's why you don't see a "single" person on board.

Egg vs. Concrete

How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without it breaking?

This riddle could leave you stuck. Your first thought will probably be that you can't drop a raw egg on the floor without breaking it.

However, remember, riddles test your ability to think outside of the box and creatively. Notice that in the riddle, it says "without it breaking."

The egg may crack, but the concrete floor won't break. This tests your ability to think critically and your listening skills.


When it comes to interviewing, there are a few different types of questions you may be asked. One popular type is the brainteaser.

A brainteaser is a question that is designed to test your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. They are often used in technical interviews but can also be found in other types of interviews as well.

To answer a brainteaser, you need to be able to think creatively and out of the box. Once you've identified the key information and relationships in the puzzle, you can start brainstorming possible solutions. It's often helpful to approach the problem from multiple angles and to consider all of the possible implications of your solution.

While they may seem daunting at first, with a little practice, you will be able to answer them with ease. In this article, we will go over some common brainteasers and how you can answer them.

While these questions may seem difficult, there are ways to approach them so that you can find the correct answer quickly and confidently.

How Would You Weigh a Plane Without Using Any Scales?

This brainteaser is a bit more complicated. However, there are several approaches you could take to answer it.

If you wanted to take a more scientific approach, your answer would focus on the facts. Here are some samples of a scientific approach:

One way would be to estimate the weight of the plane by its size and the materials it is made of. Another way would be to use the density of the air to calculate the weight of the plane.

To estimate the weight of the plane by its size, you would need to know the dimensions of the plane. You could then use these dimensions to calculate the volume of the plane. Once you have the volume, you could multiply it by the density of aluminum or other materials used in construction to get an estimate of the weight of the plane.

You could use the dimensions of the plane to calculate its volume. Once you have the volume, you could multiply it by the density of air to get an estimate of the weight of the plane.

However, maybe you know nothing about planes. Maybe you want to take more of a problem-solving approach. You could talk about the steps you would take to find the answer.

For example, you might research the solution online or ask a supervisor for help.

A more interpersonal approach would be to talk about checking company manuals and consulting coworkers or a supervisor. When you're answering this brainteaser, think about the job you're applying for and the skills you need.

This will help you give the best answer possible.

Michelle's Mom

Michelle's mom has four kids. Her first daughter is named April, followed by May and then June. What is the name of her fourth child?

The answer to this question is Michelle. However, many interview candidates will say July. This correct answer will show that the candidate has listening skills, uses logic, and is a quick thinker.

Strawberries and Bananas

There are three boxes in front of you. One box is labeled "STRAWBERRIES," another is labeled "BANANAS," and the third is labeled "MIXED."

Suddenly, you realize that all the labeling is wrong. You can only take out one piece of fruit from any one box without looking inside. How will you fix it?

Solving this brain teaser involves using listening skills, logic, and problem-solving skills. So what's the solution?

Note that the brainteaser states that all of the labels are wrong. That means the Mixed box will not be mixed. It will be either strawberries or bananas.

If you pull out a strawberry from the mixed box, you will move the strawberry label to that box. You then know that the banana box is still labeled incorrectly, but it can't be strawberries. That means it must be the mixed box, and the other box will be your banana box.

The Gallon Jugs

How do you measure four gallons of water using two container sizes that only come in three and five gallons?

The answer to this brainteaser requires you to use mathematical skills, logic, and problem-solving skills. While this one may leave you thinking for a minute, there are some possible solutions.

Here's one:

The first thing you want to do is fill up your three-gallon jug. You'll take that and pour it into your five-gallon jug.

Next, fill up your three-gallon jug again. Pour what you can into your five-gallon jug.

You will now have one-gallon left in the three-gallon jug. Pour out the five-gallon jug, then pour what's left in your three-gallon jug into your empty five-gallon jug.

Finally, fill up the three-gallon jug again and add it to the one-gallon that's already in your five-gallon jug. You now have four gallons in your five-gallon jug.

Math Problems

Answering math problems during an interview can be daunting, but it's important to remember that interviewers aren't looking for you to get the answer right. They're looking to see how you think and approach problem-solving.

With that in mind, here are some tips for answering math problems in an interview and some examples of math puzzles interviewers use.

Listen Carefully

Listen to the question carefully and make sure you understand what is being asked. If you're unsure, ask for clarification.

Take a Few Moments

Take a few moments to think about the problem before beginning to work on it. This will help you organize your thoughts and approach the problem in a logical way.

Go Step-by-Step

Work through the problem step-by-step, explaining your thought process as you go. This will help the interviewer understand how you're thinking about the problem and whether your approach is sound.

Ask for Help

If you get stuck, don't hesitate to ask for hints or clues from the interviewer. They'll likely be happy to provide guidance so that you can continue working on the problem.

Double Check Your Answer

Once you've arrived at a solution, take a moment to check it for accuracy and verify that it makes sense in the context of the problem. If it does, great! If not, try retracing your steps and see if you can identify where things went wrong.

Example One: How Would You Solve a Rubik's Cube?

This is a classic puzzle question that has been asked in interviews for years. To answer it, you need to demonstrate your ability to think logically and methodically.

The key is to break the problem down into smaller steps and then work through each one systematically. For example, you could start by solving one face of the cube, then move on to the next face, and so on.

Example Two: What Is the Next Number in This Sequence?

This type of question tests your mathematical skills and your ability to spot patterns. The best way to approach it is to look for any clues or patterns in the sequence that you can identify.

Once you've done that, try to work out what the underlying rule is that governs the sequence. From there, you should be able to work out what the next number will be.

Example Three: Two Trains Are Approaching Each Other from Opposite Directions

This is another classic puzzle question that commonly comes up in interviews. It tests your ability to think about problems in a three-dimensional way and to visualize complex scenarios.

The key here is not to get too bogged down in the details. Instead, focus on the big picture and try to work out a general solution that would apply in any situation.

Example Four: You Are on a Deserted Island with Nothing but a Knife

This is another question that tests your ability to think about problems in a three-dimensional way. The key here is to use your imagination and think about all the possibilities that are available to you.

For example, you could use the knife to make a fire, which would then allow you to signal for help. Or, you could use the knife to catch fish, which would provide you with food and water.

Example Five: There Are Three Points on a Line

This is a classic geometry problem that is often used in interviews. The key here is to visualize the problem in your head and then work out what information you need in order to solve it. Once you've done that, the answer should be relatively straightforward.

Example Six: You Are Given a Bag of Marbles

This is another classic puzzle question that tests your ability to think about problems in a three-dimensional way. The key here is to visualize the problem in your head and then work out what information you need in order to solve it. Once you've done that, the answer should be relatively straightforward.

Logical Questions

Logical questions are designed to test your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. They are usually presented as a scenario or puzzle that you must figure out. For example, you may be asked to determine how many different ways there are to arrange a group of people given certain constraints.

To answer these types of questions, it is important to take your time and think through the problem carefully. Read the question carefully and identify all of the information that is given.

Then, start brainstorming possible solutions. Once you have a few potential solutions, try to eliminate any that are obviously incorrect. From there, you should be able to narrow down the possibilities and arrive at the correct answer.

If you get stuck, don't worry! These types of questions often have more than one correct answer.

The interviewer is looking to see how you think through problems and arrive at a solution, not necessarily whether or not you get the "right" answer.

The Classic '9 Dots' Puzzle

This is a classic puzzle that has been used in interviews for years. The challenge is to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines without lifting your pen from the paper.

What's the solution?

The key to this puzzle is to think outside of the box. Most people assume that the lines must stay within the confines of the nine dots, but that is not the case.

If you draw lines that extend beyond the dots, you will be able to connect all nine dots with just four lines.

The Tower of Hanoi Puzzle

This puzzle is named after a temple in Vietnam where it is said that if you can solve it, you will achieve enlightenment.

The puzzle consists of three pegs and a set of disks of different sizes. The disks are stacked on one of the pegs, with the largest disk at the bottom and the smallest disk at the top.

The goal is to move all of the disks from one peg to another, following these rules:

You can only move one disk at a time.

You can only move a disk to an empty peg or onto a larger disk.

What's the solution?

There are many different ways to solve this puzzle, but there is a specific strategy that will allow you to do it in the fewest number of moves.

Here's one way to do it:

  1. Move the small disk from the first peg to the third
  2. Move the medium disk from the first peg to the second peg
  3. Move the small disk from the third peg to the second peg
  4. Move the large disk from the first peg to the third
  5. Move the small disk from the second peg to the first
  6. Move the medium disk from the second peg to the third
  7. Move the small disk from the first peg to the third

Now you have successfully moved all disks from the first peg to the third while staying within the rules of the game.

The Bridge Crossing Puzzle

This puzzle is also known as the 'River crossing puzzle.' The challenge is to get all four people across a river using only one flashlight and two planks of wood. Each person can only cross the river once, and the flashlight can only be carried by one person at a time.

What's the solution?

One potential solution is to have two people cross the river first, carrying the flashlight and one plank of wood. The two people can then use the plank of wood to help the other two people across.

The Knight's Tour Puzzle

The challenge here is to move a knight chess piece around an empty chess board, touching each square only once. This is actually quite difficult to do!

There are a few different ways that you could approach this problem. One is to use a brute force method, where you try every possible move until you find a solution. This is not very efficient, but it will eventually find a solution if one exists.

Another approach is to use something called backtracking. This is where you start with a knight on some square on the board and then try every possible move from there. If you ever get stuck, then you go back to the last square that you moved to and try a different move. You keep doing this until you either find a solution or determine that there is no solution for the given starting position.

Yet another way to solve this problem is with something called constraint satisfaction. This is where you have a list of constraints that the solution must satisfy, and you try to find a configuration of the knight that satisfies all of those constraints.

Which method do you think would be most efficient? Try implementing all three and see which one works best!

How to Answer Interview Puzzles

If you're preparing for an interview, you've likely heard that you should expect to be asked some brainteasers. While these types of questions can be daunting, there are some strategies you can use to prepare for them.

Before we get into how to answer interview puzzles, let's first understand what they are and why employers ask them. Interview puzzles are often used to test a candidate's problem-solving skills, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. They also give the employer a chance to see how the candidate responds under pressure.

With that being said, here are some tips on how to answer interview puzzles:

Take Your Time

Interviews are time-limited, but that doesn't mean you need to rush your thinking. Pause and think for a few moments when you see the question.

It's ok to ask the interviewer if they can give you a few minutes to formulate an answer. They will usually say yes, as it makes them look good too!

Be Creative

There is usually more than one correct answer to an interview puzzle, so don't be afraid to think outside the box. Employers want people who can problem-solve creatively and think in different ways.

Don't Get Stuck

If you really get stuck, explain to the interviewer what technique you are using and ask whether there are any other hints or suggestions they have. Most interviewers will be happy to help out as long as you are making earnest efforts yourself.

And don't forget: there is no harm in admitting that a certain puzzle is beyond your ability. Some interview puzzles cannot get solved with pure logic alone; they may require lateral thinking or even intuition.

Everybody has different strengths and abilities, so if it turns out that a particular puzzle is outside of yours, then so be it. You can still perform well in an interview by how you handle these situations!

Stay Calm

As mentioned earlier, these types of questions are designed to test how you respond under pressure. It's important that you stay calm and don't let the puzzle stress you out.


The best way to prepare for interview puzzles is to practice them! There are many resources available online that provide sample questions and answers.

Familiarizing yourself with the types of puzzles employers may ask will help you feel more confident when it comes time for your interview.

Ace Your Interviews

Interview puzzles test a variety of skills, from problem-solving abilities to creative thinking. If you're looking for a job that requires these skills, then puzzles may be a good way to assess your fit for the role.

However, not all puzzles are created equal, so be sure to choose ones that test the specific skills you want to highlight. And if you get stuck, don't hesitate to ask for help - after all, teamwork is another important skill that employers value.

 Are you ready to continue testing your puzzling skills? Check out some unique puzzles and answers here. 

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