If I’m being honest here this COO sounds like kind of a D-Bag for trying to catch interviewees off guard with a pop quiz math question in the middle of interviews, but I also respect the hustle and he has some good logic behind why he asks this simply yet tricky question.
Jeff Zwelling is a cofounder of Convertro and COO of ZipRecruiter, an executive who has made a career out of placing people into jobs, and he says that this one question is a trick he uses to weed out the quick-minded candidates from the masses, via Business Insider:
…in the middle of the conversation, he often throws in this curveball math question: A hammer and a nail cost $1.10, and the hammer costs one dollar more than the nail. How much does the nail cost?
It’s simple, but tricky.
“Some candidates will instantly blurt out 10 cents, which is obviously wrong,” he said. “They don’t have to get the exact right answer, which is a nickel, but I want to see them at least have a thought process behind it.”
Zwelling understands that math isn’t everyone’s forte, but he wants them to realize that “10 cents is too easy of an answer, and that if it was that easy, I wouldn’t be asking it.”
I’d ask you bros if you can solve this math question but 1) I know that you can and 2) I’ve already shown you the answer above. I think the point here is that anytime you’re in an interview you take the time to deliberately answer every question by thinking about your answer beforehand, and not just speaking from the cuff the entire time.