# Business Financial Interview Preparation Guide **Download PDF** Add New Question

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Financial Interview Questions and Answers will guide the viewers about some common business financial matters. If you are in the field of business administration and want to develop your interview questions and answering skill then this is right Finance section for you to gripe more on this major topic of any business. Banking Financial questions will also be available in this Finance Interview Questions and Answers section

## 28 Financial Questions and Answers:

### 1 :: If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands?

The answer to this is not zero! The hour hand, remember, moves as well. The hour hand moves a quarter of the way between three and four, so it moves a quarter of a twelfth (1/48) of 360 degrees. So the answer is seven and a half degrees, to be exact.

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### 2 :: You have a five-gallon jug and a three-gallon jug. You must obtain exactly four gallons of water. How will you do it?

You should find this brainteaser fairly simple. If you were to think out loud, you might begin by examining the ways in which combination of five and three can come up to be four. For example: (5 - 3) + (5 - 3) = 4. This path does not actually lead to the right answer, but it is a fruitful way to begin thinking about the question. Here's the solution: fill the three-gallon jug with water and pour it into the five-gallon jug. Repeat. Because you can only put two more gallons into the five-gallon jug, one gallon will be left over in the three-gallon jug. Empty out the five-gallon jug and pour in the one gallon. Now just fill the three-gallon jug again and pour it into the five-gallon jug. Ta-da. (Mathematically, this can be represented 3 + 3 - 5 + 3 = 4)

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### 3 :: You are faced with two doors. One door leads to your job offer (that's the one you want!), and the other leads to the exit. In front of each door is a guard. One guard always tells the truth. The other always lies. You can ask one question to decide which door is the correct one. What will you ask?

The way to logically attack this question is to ask how you can construct a question that provides the same answer (either a true statement or a lie), no matter who you ask.

There are two simple answers. Ask a guard: "If I were to ask you if this door were the correct one, what would you say?" The truthful consultant would answer yes (if it's the correct one), or no (if it's not). Now take the lying consultant. If you asked the liar if the correct door is the right way, he would answer no. But if you ask him: "If I were to ask you if this door were the correct one, what would you say," he would be forced to lie about how he would answer, and say yes. Alternately, ask a guard: "If I were to ask the other guard which way is correct, what would he say?" Here, the truthful guard would tell you the wrong way (because he is truthfully reporting what the liar would say), while the lying guard would also tell you the wrong way (because he is lying about what the truthful guard would say).

If you want to think of this question more mathematically, think of lying as represented by -1, and telling the truth as represented by +1. The first solution provides you with a consistently truthful answer because (-1)(-1) = 1, while (1)(1) = 1. The second solution provides you with a consistently false answer because (1)(-1) = -1, and (-1)(1) = -1.

There are two simple answers. Ask a guard: "If I were to ask you if this door were the correct one, what would you say?" The truthful consultant would answer yes (if it's the correct one), or no (if it's not). Now take the lying consultant. If you asked the liar if the correct door is the right way, he would answer no. But if you ask him: "If I were to ask you if this door were the correct one, what would you say," he would be forced to lie about how he would answer, and say yes. Alternately, ask a guard: "If I were to ask the other guard which way is correct, what would he say?" Here, the truthful guard would tell you the wrong way (because he is truthfully reporting what the liar would say), while the lying guard would also tell you the wrong way (because he is lying about what the truthful guard would say).

If you want to think of this question more mathematically, think of lying as represented by -1, and telling the truth as represented by +1. The first solution provides you with a consistently truthful answer because (-1)(-1) = 1, while (1)(1) = 1. The second solution provides you with a consistently false answer because (1)(-1) = -1, and (-1)(1) = -1.

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### 4 :: How many gallons of white house paint are sold in the U.S. every year?

THE "START BIG" APPROACH: If you're not sure where to begin, start with the basic assumption that there are 270 million people in the U.S. (or 25 million businesses, depending on the question). If there are 270 million people in the United States, perhaps half of them live in houses (or 135 million people). The average family size is about three people, so there would be 45 million houses in the United States. Let's add another 10 percent to that for second houses and houses used for other purposes besides residential. So there are about 50 million houses.

If houses are painted every 10 years, on average (notice how we deftly make that number easy to work with), then there are 5 million houses painted every year. Assuming that one gallon of paint covers 100 square feet of wall, and that the average house has 2,000 square feet of wall to cover, then each house needs 20 gallons of paint. So 100 million gallons of paint are sold per year (5 million houses x 20 gallons). (Note: If you want to be fancy, you can ask your interviewer whether you should include inner walls as well!) If 80 percent of all houses are white, then 80 million gallons of white house paint are sold each year. (Don't forget that last step!)

If houses are painted every 10 years, on average (notice how we deftly make that number easy to work with), then there are 5 million houses painted every year. Assuming that one gallon of paint covers 100 square feet of wall, and that the average house has 2,000 square feet of wall to cover, then each house needs 20 gallons of paint. So 100 million gallons of paint are sold per year (5 million houses x 20 gallons). (Note: If you want to be fancy, you can ask your interviewer whether you should include inner walls as well!) If 80 percent of all houses are white, then 80 million gallons of white house paint are sold each year. (Don't forget that last step!)

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### 5 :: What is the size of the market for disposable diapers in China?

Please share your answer.

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### 6 :: How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the United States each month?

Take your figure of 300 million people in America. How many people eat pizza? Let's say 200 million. Now let's say the average pizza-eating person eats pizza twice a month, and eats two slices at a time. That's four slices a month. If the average slice of pizza is perhaps six inches at the base and 10 inches long, then the slice is 30 square inches of pizza. So four pizza slices would be 120 square inches. Therefore, there are a billion square feet of pizza eaten every month.

To summarize:

300 million people in America

200 million eat pizza

Average slice of pizza is six inches at the base and 10 inches long = 30 square inches (height x half the base)

Average American eats four slices of pizza a month

Four pieces x 30 square inches = 120 square inches (one square foot is 144 inches), so let's assume one square foot per person

200 million square feet a month

To summarize:

300 million people in America

200 million eat pizza

Average slice of pizza is six inches at the base and 10 inches long = 30 square inches (height x half the base)

Average American eats four slices of pizza a month

Four pieces x 30 square inches = 120 square inches (one square foot is 144 inches), so let's assume one square foot per person

200 million square feet a month

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### 7 :: How would you estimate the weight of the Chrysler building?

This is a process guesstimate - the interviewer wants to know if you know what questions to ask. First, you would find out the dimensions of the building (height, weight, depth). This will allow you to determine the volume of the building. Does it taper at the top? (Yes.) Then, you need to estimate the composition of the Chrysler building. Is it mostly steel? Concrete? How much would those components weigh per square inch? Remember the extra step - find out whether you're considering the building totally empty or with office furniture, people, etc.? (If you're including the contents, you might have to add 20 percent or so to the building's weight.)

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### 8 :: Why are manhole covers round?

The classic brainteaser, straight to you via Microsoft (the originator). Even though this question has been around for years, interviewees still encounter it.

Here's how to "solve" this brainteaser. Remember to speak and reason out loud while solving this brainteaser!

Why are manhole covers round? Could there be a structural reason? Why aren't manhole covers square? It would make it harder to fit with a cover. You'd have to rotate it exactly the right way. So many manhole covers are round because they don't need to be rotated. There are no corners to deal with. Also, a round manhole cover won't fall into a hole because it was rotated the wrong way, so it's safer.

Looking at this, it seems corners are a problem. You can't cut yourself on a round manhole cover. And because it's round, it can be more easily transported. One person can roll it.

Here's how to "solve" this brainteaser. Remember to speak and reason out loud while solving this brainteaser!

Why are manhole covers round? Could there be a structural reason? Why aren't manhole covers square? It would make it harder to fit with a cover. You'd have to rotate it exactly the right way. So many manhole covers are round because they don't need to be rotated. There are no corners to deal with. Also, a round manhole cover won't fall into a hole because it was rotated the wrong way, so it's safer.

Looking at this, it seems corners are a problem. You can't cut yourself on a round manhole cover. And because it's round, it can be more easily transported. One person can roll it.

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### 9 :: You have 12 balls. All of them are identical except one, which is either heavier or lighter than the rest. The odd ball is either hollow while the rest are solid, or solid while the rest are hollow. You have a scale, and are permitted three weighing. Can you identify the odd ball, and determine whether it is hollow or solid?

This is a pretty complex question, and there are actually multiple solutions. First, we'll examine what thought processes an interviewer is looking for, and then we'll discuss one solution.

Start with the simplest of observations. The number of balls you weigh against each other must be equal. Yeah, it's obvious, but why? Because if you weigh, say three balls against five, you are not receiving any information. In a problem like this, you are trying to receive as much information as possible with each weighing.

For example, one of the first mistakes people make when examining this problem is that they believe the first weighing should involve all of the balls (six against six). This weighing involves all of the balls, but what type of information does this give you? It actually gives you no new information. You already know that one of the sides will be heavier than the other, and by weighing six against six, you will simply confirm this knowledge. Still, you want to gain information about as many balls as possible (so weighing one against one is obviously not a good idea). Thus the best first weighing is four against four.

Start with the simplest of observations. The number of balls you weigh against each other must be equal. Yeah, it's obvious, but why? Because if you weigh, say three balls against five, you are not receiving any information. In a problem like this, you are trying to receive as much information as possible with each weighing.

For example, one of the first mistakes people make when examining this problem is that they believe the first weighing should involve all of the balls (six against six). This weighing involves all of the balls, but what type of information does this give you? It actually gives you no new information. You already know that one of the sides will be heavier than the other, and by weighing six against six, you will simply confirm this knowledge. Still, you want to gain information about as many balls as possible (so weighing one against one is obviously not a good idea). Thus the best first weighing is four against four.

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### 10 :: A company has 10 machines that produce gold coins. One of the machines is producing coins that are a gram light. How do you tell which machine is making the defective coins with only one weighing?

Think this through - clearly, every machine will have to produce a sample coin or coins, and you must weigh all these coins together. How can you somehow indicate which coins came from which machine? The best way to do it is to have every machine crank a different number of coins, so that machine 1 will make one coin, machine 2 will make two coins, and so on. Take all the coins, weigh them together, and consider their weight against the total theoretical weight. If you're four grams short, for example, you'll know that machine 4 is defective.

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