Televisions

June 10th 2021

Today I had a job interview and it’s really hard to tell how I did. I had no opportunity to talk about any of the stuff I’d prepared, and instead the interview was more of a test. He asked some more practical questions than questions about my current work or my skillset.

He asked some questions about what I would do to deliver the company more revenue if I got the job, and it’s kinda hard to answer that without knowing any real details about the company or how they operate. I know that mostly he was putting me on the spot to see what my instincts were like, but I don’t think I answered it pretty well. I’m currently cringing thinking about my immediate answer which when he repeated it back to me was basically “uhhhhh put the prices up?”

There was one question that I know that I did answer correctly, although at the time I’d assumed I’d fucked it up. He asked me this:

How many televisions are sold each year in the UK?

Now on the surface, that’s a completely irrelevant question for the job for which I was interviewing. I wasn’t expected to know the answer, but he asked me to explain my methodology for how I came up with an answer. My method was this:

  1. Assume there are 60 million people in the UK.
  2. Assume each family consists of 4 people: 2 parents, 2 kids.
  3. That gives 15 million households.
  4. Assume each household has 2 TVs on average.
  5. That gives 30 million TVs in the UK
  6. Assume a TV needs replacing every ten years.
  7. That gives 3 million TV sales per year to domestic households.
  8. You then need to consider all of the TVs sold for commercial reasons: football stadiums, businesses, pubs, offices, etc. Those numbers are hard to guesstimate, but should be considered.

That was a pretty logical solution, but that is pretty much exactly how my brain works when it comes to solving problems.

After the interview, I Googled the question, and it turns out that it’s a pretty common interview question. The actual accuracy of the answer isn’t really important, but it’s just a test of a person’s critical thinking. The example methodology given in the Googled answer was pretty much bang on how I approached the answer. The only difference being they assumed 3 people per household and they have a much more frequent TV-purchasing lifespan. I mean, I’m 27 and I’ve bought one TV in my life so I thought 10 years was fair.

Anyway, I guess at least I know that that’s one question that I got right. The other ones I’m not too confident on, but I know I at least got one.

Until tomorrow, that and “what’s your notice period?” at least.

Jacn

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