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"Bucholz?" Cracked Editor-in-Chief Jack O'Brien asked, sticking his head into the door of my office. "You're the smartest person here, right?" "Correct." I looked up from one of the seven play-by-mail Go games I had going on. "Or as the French would say, 'correcte.'" "Wow." Jack did a credible job of feigning being impressed, although he didn't make the big showy gasp that I prefer. "We need you to do something for us." "Yes, you norms always do need help with various odds and ends, don't you?" I chuckled warmly. "Very well, Jack. Make your request." Resisting his natural urge to slap me, Jack continued: "We need you to write some interview questions for us. You know how Google has those interviews where they ask really off the wall questions to test the candidate's problem-solving ability? Like 'How many golf balls can fit in a Volkswagen?' and that kind of thing?" "I'm aware of it, yes. But I don't think Google does that any more. I think they eventually realized that it was more useful for their computer programmers to know how to program computers. With just golf ball crammers around, you end up making shit like Google Wave. And, I'd assume, deal with a lot of office pranks involving people firing golf balls out of their assholes. Is that the kind of person we need working at Cracked?" I asked, already knowing the answer. "If they can also work a spell check, yes." I frowned. "I thought I wasn't permitted to be part of the Cracked hiring process. Because I'd hire 'nothing but the reddest of the red communists,' I think you said." "Your Canadianness does alarm us to no end, and you still won't be allowed to meet candidates, or to lay hands on any of our means of production. But we would still like you to draft an interview script for us." "Because of my great intelligence." "That is the angle that we're currently coddling you with, yes." "OK then. It's done." "Thanks. When can you have it ready by?" "I said 'done,' didn't I? I predicted what you were going to say before you even walked in here." Using both hands, I massaged my enormous head in the most obnoxious way I knew how while maintaining full, unblinking eye contact. "It's already sitting in your inbox." ____________ That was a lie, but Jack isn't very agile with computers (he still uses both hands to mouse), so I figured I had a solid 20 minutes before he'd notice that the questionnaire wasn't there. My first thought was to just take one of the many lists of Google-esque interview questions from around the Internet and send that to him. But given Cracked's specialized needs, and the fact that Google is clearly staffed by imbeciles, it was obvious I would have to make some changes. Below I've broken down some of Google's laughably flawed questions and provided new and improved interview questions that are exactly one thousand times better. The questions are grouped into the six categories that all Cracked employees must excel in: - Calculations - Puzzles - Problem Solving - Lateral Thinking - Physics - Potpourri

Calculations

For Google, obviously the ability to carry out quick, accurate calculations would be a highly prized trait in their employees. Our calculation needs at Cracked are a bit more straightforward.

Beyond that, the most complicated calculation we're likely to perform is ordering a list in descending order. Though we can also usually get our IT guys to do it for us in a pinch, or, ironically enough, just Google the answer. Google Question What are the first 10 consecutive digits of e that form a prime number? Any idiot can build a script to cycle over the digits of e, running them through a basic primality test -- I think an episode of Entourage hinged on such a plot point. In fact, this is so easy, I wonder if maybe Google is actually asking about e the vowel. Cracked Question Calculate all the digits of 5. Anyone who can look at the number 5 and get a real handle on it is all we need here at Cracked, given our low-cal calculation needs. Bonus points for anyone who can put the numbers 1 to 5 in descending order, or who knows why it's such a funny number (because it looks like an S with a massive German forehead).

Puzzles

Presenting a puzzle during an interview is a classic way of determining if a candidate has seen that puzzle before.

Anyone who's seen Rubik, the Amazing Cube cartoon would immediately qualify for a position here as our Senior '80s Bullshit Researcher.

__ Google Question You have eight balls, all of the same size, but one weighs slightly more than the rest. Find that ball by using a balance scale only twice. This is a fairly straightforward mental puzzle that tests the candidate's ability at logical reasoning, and is not, presumably, related to any quality control problems at Google's sphere plant. Cracked Question Is it possible to have an odd number of testicles in a room, and if so, how would you determine that using a balance scale? This is a two-part question designed to observe how people react to ideas about testicles. We used to have a different way of doing this that got us in a lot of trouble. Looking for an answer? For the first half, the correct answer is "Yes." Consider people who have suffered injuries, or people who are halfway through gender-reassignment surgery, or men entering a room while walking sideways when the door violently slammed shut. For the second half, to make such a determination using a balance scale, you'd ask everyone in the room who has only one testicle to get on the balance scale, and then count the number of people on the balance scale.
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Problem Solving

The ability to come up with original solutions to challenging problems is vital for anyone in a creative role. It was creative problem solvers like this who helped Google become so efficient at directing the public to explicit pornography, and they're also the reason Cracked became so good at finding synonyms for the acts that make up pornography.

"Hmmmmmmmmmm ... how about the horizontal baby forge?"

__ Google Question How many Ping-Pong balls would fit in the Mediterranean Sea? This is a classic interview question with no right answer. It's asked so that the interviewer can get a feeling for how the candidate would approach a problem. There is presumably no actual Google project to fill the Mediterranean Sea with balls. Cracked Question How would you avoid prosecution after filling the Mediterranean Sea with Ping-Pong balls? At Cracked, however, we do have an ongoing project to devastate the Mediterranean shipping industry (they know what they did), and a question like this has serious value to us. A suitable Cracked candidate will find a way to achieve such a feat, lay all the blame on another party and compile 1,500 words on the subject that includes no less than seven references to old cartoon shows or American presidents.

Lateral Thinking

The ability to approach a problem from a variety of different angles is especially useful for both computer programmers and comedy writers.

"Maybe ... maybe just whale on it and see if something funny happens?"

__ Google Question How many audio tape decks are there in the world? This question tests the candidate's ability to estimate sociological and economic variables, a useful trait for Google's executives or product managers. Given Cracked's heavy focus on our audience and tricking our audience out of money, these are also useful abilities for Cracked candidates, though a slightly more focused approach might look like ... Cracked Question You have 200,00 cassettes containing a motivational speech by Michael Swaim in which he exhorts the audience to avoid the mistake of committing to a 200,000-cassette purchase on credit without thinking a single goddamned part of it through. How do you sell these tapes? This is another practical matter that we actually need answered pretty quickly, because it turns out that you can't buy vast quantities of blank cassettes from legitimate companies anymore, and the Archaic Format Mafia 1) exists and 2) is extremely furious with us.
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Physics

An understanding of the laws of the physical world is useful for anyone in an engineering or technical role, as well as for someone who's about to spend 2,000 words shrieking about the scientific inaccuracies of Starscream's flight envelope in the Transformer movies.

Physics can also be used for lobbing hot napalm on Cracked's foes.

__ Google Question A car has a helium balloon floating in it. What direction does the balloon float when the car accelerates forward? This question checks whether the candidate can resist the first choice and really understands concepts like density. There is also a chance that Google is launching a party planning service. Cracked Question You're standing outside an airtight car that is filled with helium. Inside it, deep-voiced national treasure James Earl Jones is suffocating. What would you demand him to say in a hilarious high-pitched voice in exchange for saving his life? Another question with a trap answer; in this case, making Jones squeak out any of Darth Vader's classic lines. The correct answer, "Free him immediately, demanding nothing in exchange," ensures that Cracked doesn't accidentally hire a monster. As opposed to deliberately hiring one, which we do, admittedly, often have cause for. (It's also assumed that later Jones will be so grateful that he'll agree to record a cool voice mail message for us, or maybe just narrate the events of our lives for a few days.)

Potpourri

These questions are just meant to fuck with the candidate, because sometimes making other people feel uncomfortable is its own reward.

New Cracked employees are also responsible for producing Cracked-brand potpourri (a mixture of dried flowers, herbs and seasoned taco beef).

__ Google Question Why are manhole covers round? So they don't fall down the holes they cover. This question ensures that Google won't ever accidentally hire a 4-year-old. Cracked Question What shape would the bathroom stall doors be at a bar called Manhole? This is both a trick question and a way to identify Cracked candidates who are already familiar with navigating the gay cruising world, where a surprising amount of our research ends up taking place. Seriously, these guys know pornography-act synonyms like nobody's business.

"I'm thinking some kind of pun on hot napalm ..."

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Check out more from Bucholz in 9 Steps to Creating Your Own Hyper-Intelligent Ape and The 8 Worst Types of Blog on the Internet.

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