Interviews are a source of anxiety for most job-seekers.

From being late to a clammy handshake, there is plenty that can go wrong in those precious few minutes.

But it is the thought of being stumped by an unexpected question that keeps even the most experienced professionals up at night.

Now job site Glassdoor has pulled together a list of the 20 toughest interview questions candidates faced over the last year.


Microsoft, Tesla and American Express are among the global giants that left future employees squirming in their seats.

However experts believe such head-scratchers are designed to reveal something about the candidate and don't always have a 'correct' answer.

As David Whitby, of Glassdoor, explained: 'It not necessarily about getting the right answer, more how you cope under pressure.'

Here are the top 20 tricky questions - and expert opinion on the best possible answer for each.

1. What on your CV is the closest thing to a lie?
How to answer: If you blurt out 'nothing' then you may look overly defensive, like you have been caught hiding something, even if you are innocent.
The best tactic would be to acknowledge that everyone presents the best side of themselves on a CV, that is the point of the document, but that you think lying and even exaggeration is wrong and then steer the conversation towards your major achievements.

2. What am I thinking right now?
How to answer: This question is actually a gift. Set yourself up with a nice, easy route to talk about something that you want to talk about.
For example, your response might be: 'You're wondering how I managed to pack so much into my career while also raising three children' or 'You're thinking if I have a career plan and where I see myself in ten years.'

3. How would your enemy describe you?
How to answer: You could make light of this question by reassuring the interviewer that you are not the sort of person to make enemies, but that you've enjoyed a good natured rivalry with an individual. This could be in a sport, to show your competitive side and drive to succeed.

4. If you had a friend who was great for a job and an identical person who was just as good, but your friend earned you $2,000 less, who would you give the job to?
How to answer: This is tough, but the answer the recruiter is looking for is the ethically correct response that money and commission should not come into the equation and that you, as a professional, would pick the best person for the job and for the client.

5. What's the most selfish thing you have ever done?
How to answer: You don't want to accidentally make yourself look like a selfish person here, so this is another occasion when you could give a light-hearted response. Something like: 'I don't consider myself to be selfish, but I always make sure I carve out some time in my week for something that I feel is important for my physical/mental wellbeing, such as art/ tennis/ football/ singing.'.

6. You are stranded on the moon with a group of other astronauts and you need to travel 200 kilometres back to base, here is a list of 15 items salvaged from the wreckage of the spacecraft you were travelling in. List them in order of importance.
How to answer: You're interviewing for a Sales position, not as an astronaut. Questions like this are posed to see how you react under pressure. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your own to clarify the challenge, and then work through your thinking out loud and in a logical way.

7. If your best friend was here, what advice would they give?
How to answer: Again, this question is a gift, because it is completely open to your interpretation. Respond with something like: 'He would remind me to mention my voluntary activities out of work' or 'He would advise me to talk about why I specifically want to work for this company'.

8. Describe your biggest weakness. Then describe another.
How to answer: Everyone should be prepared to answer this question, no matter what job you are interviewing for. There is no foolproof answer, but it's a good idea to have thought about a list of areas that are not your biggest strengths but that would not have a direct bearing on the role that you are interviewing for.
You might then consider outlining a situation where you have had a weakness in the past, yet you turned it into a strength.

9. How do you cope with repetition?
How to answer: There is a certain amount of repetition in every job. However, make sure you understand the level of repetition required for the job in hand and if you are not comfortable with it, be prepared to walk away.

10. How would you describe cloud computing to a seven-year-old?
How to answer: Remember, at age seven, kids have already been using laptops, tablets and smartphones for years, so they are all pretty familiar with the technology. Talk in terms of the activities that they might do, such as listening to music, writing documents and sharing photos, rather than using overly technical language.

11. There are three people, each with different salaries, and they want to find the average of them without telling any of the other two their salary. How do they do it?
How to answer: Write the salaries on three separate pieces of paper, give them to a fourth person and get that fourth person to calculate an average

12. Who is your hero, and why?
How to answer: You could pick someone from the field of sport, music, politics or entertainment, for example. The important part of this question is not the 'Who' but the 'Why'. What is it about yourself that you are seeking to portray?

13. What's your the biggest regret managing people so far?
How to answer: Pick something far back in your career when you were first a manager and talk about what you learnt from the situation. The key is to show the improvement that you have made, not pretend that you have never made any mistakes.

14. What would you ask the CEO if you met him one day?
How to answer: Pick something strategic - this is the CEO, not just any old employee. You could tie it to a recent development at the company, some news about the firm, or something that you have noticed on one of the company's social media channels.

15. You have 50 red and 50 blue objects. Split these however you like between two containers to give the minimum/maximum probability of drawing one of the colours
How to answer: If you are a serious maths geek, then you might have a decent chance of answering this one. One answer would be to put a single red ball in one container, and all of the other balls in the other container.

16. What does social justice mean to you?
How to answer: If you feel the question is unrelated to the job or company, it is okay to ask the interviewer to provide more detail on how the question relates to how problems are solved in that specific work environment. They may be trying to find out more about how you think on your feet, if you stress out, or how much courage you have. The might also bee seeking to find out your political inclinations.

17. What is your coping mechanism when you have a bad day?
How to answer: If you are resilient in your job then you will have developed ways to unwind. Don't be afraid to talk about these and show how you have a healthy relationship with work. It's also a chance to give an insight into your personal life, which could be very helpful for making a good impression. For example, you could mention how you go to the gym to relax.

18. Are you a nice guy?
How to answer: Avoid yes or no answers here. Think about your personality type and the culture of the company where you are interviewing. What does your gut tell you about the type of people that thrive at the company? This should inform you.

19. Provide an estimate for the number of goals in the premier league
How to answer: This is near impossible to answer with any degree of accuracy unless you happen to follow league tables incredibly closely. The best way to tackle it is to estimate the average number of goals per match (2.77) and multiply by the number of games (380), giving a total of around 1052.

20. Tell me something about your childhood
How to answer: Not necessarily a nasty question, unless you happen to say something silly. The important point here is to link your answer back to the workplace and your career. For example: 'We travelled a lot as a family, which has made me want to work in international teams.'