Could You Have Solved It? Applicant Shares ‘Impossible’ Question That Cost Him the Job

Job interviews are nerve wracking at the best of times, but in a bid to scout out top talent, companies are now throwing impossible curveball questions to candidates.

Now one of Microsoft’s hardest questions has been revealed on the Q&A site Quora by Prashant Bagdia, a computer science student at the National Institute of Technology in Warangal, India.

Prashant revealed that during an interview with the technology giant, his friend was asked what the area of a right triangle would be if it had a hypotenuse measuring 10 cm and an altitude equal to 6 cm.

Initially the candidate was confused about why he was being asked a geometry question when he was applying for a role within a software company.

microsoft question 01

However, after a brief moment of contemplation the young man answered the question.

He replied: ‘As area of any triangle is 0.5 the base multiplied by the height, the answer to this question would be 0.5 x 10 x 6 which evaluates to 30.’

The interviewer gave Prashant’s friend the opportunity to think again.

Prashant said his friend had mulled it over and then replied ‘with full confidence’.

‘Yes sir, I am sure the area of triangle is 30,’ Prashant said. ‘You are just messing up with my brain to make me think otherwise so that I would commit error even in this trivial question.’

However, the interviewer told Prashant’s friend that he was wrong.

microsoft question 02

The friend asked the interviewer to give him the correct answer before leaving the room, and was told that a triangle with such measurements could not exist.

The maximum possible altitude is half the hypotenuse, making it five and not six.

Therefore, the geometry puzzle was a trick question.

Prashant said that his ‘dumbfounded’ friend wasn’t selected for the Microsoft position after his interview slip-up.

Penny de Valk Managing Director of people management business, Penna’s Talent Practice, previously said that curveball questions are designed to put people on the spot and see how they react under pressure.

She added: ‘How candidates answer these questions can provide the interviewer with a bit of insight into how their mind works.’

This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.