Genre and Sub Genre: Verbal Folklore, Riddle/Brainteaser
Country where Item is from: United States
Informant Data: Brendan Krimsky is a Dartmouth ’17 majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in Florida and is a member of the Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity. Brendan participated in the Summer and Fall 2015 corporate recruiting cycles. After college, he is looking to work in a tech company, possibly as a software engineer.
Social Context: This folklore was collected during an in-person interview in Baker-Berry library. Brendan participated in two recruiting cycles, but did not end up finding his internship on campus. He interviewed for technology firms, and this riddle is from an interview he had for Magic Leap.
Cultural Context: During in-person interviews, students will often be asked non-traditional questions such as riddles or brain teasers. Though this may seem off-topic and irrelevant, these questions are often seen as true tests of a candidate’s intellect. They also serve as stress tests for students to see how they handle questions they aren’t prepared for as opposed to the usual technical questions that everyone prepares for. Getting the correct answer isn’t necessarily the point, though; more so these questions are used to see how an applicant thinks through problems.
Item: During Brendan’s Magic Leap interview, he was asked to try to solve a brain teaser about measuring time with burning ropes. After answering several technical questions correctly, the interviewer told him that this would be his last question and asked him to think through the problem out loud. Brendan was given a minute to come up with his response, and though his answer was not the “right” answer, the interviewer said he was more interested in seeing how he logically broke down a problem.
Associated file (a video, audio, or image file): Interview audio was not recorded.
Transcript of Interview: “I flew down to Florida where Magic Leap is for my second round interview. The interview went well at first, we started off with the usual technical questions about some of the languages I know and concepts like greedy algorithms and dynamic programming. After that, the interviewer paused, grabbed a cup of coffee and when he came back he said he was done asking me technical questions because it seemed like I knew my stuff. His last question was a riddle – he asked me ‘You have two ropes that each burn for 60 minutes, and a lighter. How do you measure out 90 minutes using just the ropes and a lighter?’
I didn’t know how to respond so I made something up about folding the second rope in half to burn it twice as fast. He said the right answer was to burn the first rope from one side and the second one from both sides, but he didn’t end up caring whether I got it right or not. He just wanted to see how I thought through the riddle.”
Informant’s Comments: N/A
Collector’s Comments: N/A
Collector’s Name: Sachin Vadodaria
Tags/Keywords: Verbal Folklore, Corporate Recruiting, Riddles and Brainteasers