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Timmay [userpic]
Favorite Stupid Interview Questions

... and man I've had some doozies leveled at me in my day. My all-time favorites seem to be the uber-technical job-irrelevant queries submitted by some geek swinging his dick and staking out his territory for the new guys, but then again there are others that I remember fondly as well.

What follows are some real questions, along with my actual responses. Two of the below interviews led to job offers, one of which I actually accepted despite the question.

  • Q: What port can run SSL over HTTP?
    A: Um, I can tell you what port is assigned by IANA to be the default for HTTP over SSL, will that work?

  • Q: How would I go about securing a Red Hat Linux 4.2 workstation? *
    A: Upgrade it to Enterprise 5.2?

  • Q: What's the difference between Smurf and Fraggle?
    A: They do the same essential thing, but one is TCP-based and the other is --
    Q: UDP, yep.
    A: -- I was going to say ICMP.
    Q: ICMP.
    A: Yes, it uses ping, which is part of IP and not a transport layer protocol.
    Q: Okay, do you know the RFC number for ICMP?
    A: 1149. **
    Q: Very good.

  • Q: What microkernel OS attained POSIX.1 compliance in 1997?
    A: I think I'm in the wrong interview.

  • Q: How do you feel about Kevin Mitnick's imprisonment?
    A: Well, I feel that he'd be pretty pissed that that was an interview question ...

  • Q: Do you believe in pre-marital sexual relations?
    A: What? ***
* This was in 2008 - WTF
** It's actually 792, 1149 was a practical joke involving carrier pigeons
*** As it turns out, religious non-profit organizations can do quite a bit of digging around your private life with relative impunity - who knew.


I didn't understand anything that was said, lol. Computer language has never made that much sense to me. But I did have to do a double take on the last two. What kind of questions are those?

If I were to hazard a guess, the Mitnick one was to feel out an applicant's sympathy toward convicted hackers or something. The sex question is a very common question with uber-Christian institutions. You can't get into most fundamentalist Christian schools and a lot of Christian-centric companies without giving the right answer on that one.