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Logic Interviewing Questions

Logic questions in interviews are designed to assess a candidate's problem-solving abilities and analytical thinking. These questions typically involve scenarios or puzzles that require candidates to apply logical reasoning and critical thinking skills to arrive at a solution. They help employers evaluate a candidate's cognitive abilities and decision-making process.

Not all interviews follow the same pattern. If you're looking to hire for a sales role that requires a lot of analytical work or any role that requires problem-solving, it's possible you'd want to set puzzle questions for the candidate. After all, if they can't handle these, they're not likely to be of much use for your business.


Five great puzzle interview questions and answers


1. Newcastle rain

Question:

You're about to board a flight to Newcastle from London. You want to know if it's raining, so you call three friends who live there. Each of them has a 2/3 chance of telling you the truth and a 1/3 chance of telling you a complete lie.

All three friends tell you that, yes, it's raining in Newcastle.

What is the probability that it is, in fact, raining in Newcastle?

Answer:

The answer is around 96%. How?

You only need one of them to be telling the truth. So, calculate the odds of them ALL lying; that's 1/3 multiplied together, making 1/27 (1/3 x 1/3 x 1/3).

So that's a 1 in 27 chance that all three friends are lying. Now, turn that around, and it's a 26/27 chance one of them is telling the truth – or about 96% - and that it is, indeed, raining in Newcastle!


2. Juggling jugs

Question:

You have a 5-litre jug and a 3-litre jug. That's nice, but how do you measure out exactly 4 litres without using any other equipment?

Answer:

This is a good logic question. First, fill the 3-litre jug and pour it into the 5-litre jug. The 3-litre jug is now empty, and the 5-litre jug has 3 litres in it. Still with us?

Now fill the 3-litre jug again and tip it slowly into the 5-litre jug. You'll get 2 litres in before the 5-litre jug is full because it already has 3 litres in from before? OK so far?

Now you have 1 litre left in the 3-litre jug and the 5-litre jug is full.

Empty the 5-litre jug. Now pour the remaining 1 litre in the 3-litre jug  into the 5-litre jug.

Lastly, fill up the 3-litre jug again and tip it all into the 5-litre jug, which now ends up with exactly four litres in it!


3. Snail trail

Question:

A snail sits at the bottom of a 30-foot wall. Each hour it can climb three feet, but it then slips down two feet. How long does it take the snail to reach the top?

Answer:

A slimy question. The answer is 28 hours. That's because, for the first 27 hours, it climbs a net one foot. But in the 28th hour, it reaches the top with its three-foot climb before having the chance to slide down two feet.


4. Door to door

Question:

You are confronted by two doors. Opening one leads to certain death, while the other provides untold riches. Standing outside are two men, who both know which the treasure door is. One always lies, and the other always tells the truth.

You don't know who is who and have just one question to save yourself from death. What do you ask, and to whom?

Answer:

The answer is you can ask either man: "Which door will the other man say leads to untold riches?"

Why? Because the liar will give you the WRONG door because he'll lie about what the 'truth teller' will say. And the 'truth teller' will give you the WRONG door because he'll correctly tell you the liar will be lying.

So, without further ado, you can select the opposite door to the one either of them says. And be very rich indeed.


5. A quacking question

Question:

There are two ducks in front of a duck, two ducks behind a duck and one duck sitting in the middle. How many ducks are there?

Easy, you say. There must be five, in the shape of the number 5 on a dice.

Answer:

Wrong! There are three standing in line. The last two are behind the front duck. The front two are ahead of the last duck. And one of them is in the middle.

So, there you have five logical questions to use during an interview. For the right role, they can be useful. But be aware the candidate might know the question, so balance their answer with your assessment of their overall interview performance and skillset.

Why use logic questions for interviews?

If you're filling a normal sales position, there's no need. But if you're hiring a sales role that requires business intelligence or marketing analysis, or one that involves running reports on business activity to spot opportunities, then analytical interview questions could be relevant.

Some of the world's biggest companies, including Google, Apple and LinkedIn, have used puzzle questions in the past.

Given that your candidate will be under some duress during the interview, it's useful to observe how they handle such teasers under pressure. What's their thinking process, and do they assess the task logically?

Some questions (not our examples) don't have a right answer, such as "How many windows are there in London", but the interviewer wants to see how the candidate gets to an estimate. Do they fire questions back at you, even if it's as simple as: "Do you mean Central or Greater London?". Their questions help you understand their work and thought processes.

That said, you need to use the tactic carefully. You can get false positive signals from a candidate who has already rehearsed common puzzle interview questions found on the internet. And if you make a judgement on a candidate, perhaps ruling them out of a job based on their handling of a puzzle question, you could open yourself up to accusations of being inappropriate or, at worst, discriminative.

One last tip for you as an interviewer: don't ask questions that make you seem like you're 'showboating', so that if challenged by the candidate, you can substantiate why you're asking.

So, let's get to it…

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Date published: 1st March 2024

Rob Scott, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, Author Photo

About the author

Rob Scott

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.
 
With over 24 years of experience in sales recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with an MBA (Merit) and a PgCert in Management Practice.  In 2007, 2009 and 2013 Rob conducted the most extensive surveys of sales professionals in the UK and is a trusted authority in the sales industry. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as Business Insider and The Independent, as well as OnRec, which host The Online Recruitment Awards every year.

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S. Bartlett, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

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Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

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G. Thompson, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

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L. Knowles, Candidate

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D. Burgess, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

Rob was really helpful when I was putting together a presentation for the second stage interview. Overall their communication was great and kept me updated of any progress

J. McGrattan, Candidate

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M. Crisp, Candidate

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M. Owusu, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate

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R. Houston, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with.

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I had a very good experience with Aaron Wallis. The company itself is offering great content for all things related to the hiring process. I definitely recommend.

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