Interviewing with a top hedge fund is not dissimilar to interviewing with Goldman Sachs: you'll usually be expected to attend multiple rounds of interviews and the process might be stopped at any point. But while Goldman Sachs has all but given up asking brainteaser style interview questions, hedge funds are still fully committed to putting people on the spot.
Based upon the questions recent interviewees have posted on Glassdoor, Citadel is one of the most challenging funds to interview with. Coincidentally, it's also one of this year's biggest hirers. Bridgewater Associates, which is widely known for its strangeness and asks all would-be hires to go through a personality test, also errs on the side of odd and complex questions. Brevan Howard is pretty pedestrian by comparison.
If you interview with these funds, here's a sample of what you'll need to be ready for.
1. In a 52 card game, you randomly draw five cards. You then return four cards back to the dealer and you keep one. The dealer will always know what card is in your hand. Can you tell me what strategy he used? (Asked by Citadel)
2. You are holding two eggs in a 100-story building. If an egg is thrown out of the window, it will not break if the floor number is less than X, and it will always break if the floor number is equal to or greater than X. What strategy would you use to determine X with the minimum number of drops in a worst case scenario? (Asked by Citadel)
3. For the years 1901 to 2000, count the total number of Sundays that fell on the first of a month. (Asked by Citadel)
4. How would you write a program to move inside a square spiral? Start at the upper left corner of the square and walk its edges clockwise. Just before re-approaching the upper left corner, spiral into the square instead, ultimately arriving at the center of the square. (Asked by Citadel)
5. Estimate the mass of the earth. (Asked by Brevan Howard)
6. You have a chess knight on a typical phone number pad, write an algorithm to enumerate the different numbers that knight can dial. (Asked by Bridgewater)
7. How would you calculate/assess the productivity of two ice cream salesmen across a 12 month period, where one takes 20 days of vacation in a row, and the other takes 20 days of vacation dispersed randomly across the year. (Asked by Bridgewater)
8. Design an algorithm to find the largest palindrome in a given string. (Asked by AQR)
9. How do you replicate a dice with flipping coins? (Asked by AQR)
10. If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? (Asked by Bridgewater)
11. Are designer babies ethical? (Asked by Bridgewater)