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What? "How many gas stations...?"
Ack! Thhpppt! <bonus points for knowing the reference>
I haven't kept up, obviously. Talk about revealing things about the company...
Is that one of those trick questions that are supposed to "reveal which of several [fashionable] modes of thinking" you revert to, first?
"There are exactly and precisely as many as it takes to prompt some moron meat-puppet to ask such a question in an interview. Don't call me."
Now, whether or not I would actually give that honest and demonstrably accurate and correct response would depend entirely on how desperate I was for a job at the time.
OK, not entirely. If the interviewer had the good grace to look ashamed at having asked the question, I might continue the discussion and try to ferret-out what was wrong with an organization that would pressure her/him to inject such a thing into a serious process. Maybe it was mandated by some brain-dead HR droid, and was not from anyone I would need to work with/for on a daily basis.
The only correct answer is "Not enough, or too many, depending on your politics and your current situation."
If you let your tank get too low, and are running on fumes - or walking, from where the truck stalled, to the nearest station - then there aren't enough.
If you are a doctrinaire environmentalist, there are too many.
From: Richard Hamilton
Sent: March-28-13 7:29 PM
To: Tech Writers
Subject: Re: An interview question
Like many questions, I think the value of this one is in the way it is answered and the level of understanding shown by the interviewer, especially if the interviewer is a manager.
I agree with the folks on this thread who say there isn't a correct answer. What is important is what the answer reveals about the interviewer and the company. And, either answer could set up some follow-ups that could reveal even more.
Overall, I think it's a more useful question than those thought questions ("How many gas stations are there in the US?") that seem to be fashionable.
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