Tough Interview Questions and Answers
Why don't polar bears eat penguins?
Alternative and related questions:
Why do butterflies generally come out during the day and moths generally come out at night?
The meaning behind the question:
You might think this question is along the same lines as question 23, “If there was a monkey hanging from a chandelier, how would you get it down?” However, technically, this is actually a general knowledge question. Polar bears don’t eat penguins because polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins live in the Antarctic – a very long way away! However, in asking this sort of question, the interviewer doesn’t really expect many people to get the right answer – and they don’t necessarily care too much if they do. They’re more interested in how you think your answer through – so, yes, unless you know the ‘correct’ answer, this question is indeed similar to the previous question.
“Because they can’t get the wrappers off.”? Well, that would certainly be one possible answer. Let’s face it – you’re probably not a zoologist and this is one occasion where demonstrating a sense of humour – not to mention some lateral thinking – wouldn’t do you any harm. I certainly know of at least one candidate who answered in this fashion. However, assuming you don’t know the correct answer nor are you a budding comedian, the best answer to give is along the same lines as the previous question – demonstrate your ability to analyze the situation and identify possible theories.
I’m afraid I’ll have to admit that biology isn’t one of my strong points! I do enjoy watching documentaries but I haven’t seen one yet which would give me the answer to this question. I can think of a number of possible hypotheses – maybe penguins are too small for a polar bear to bother with and they stick to larger prey, maybe polar bears aren’t fast enough to catch a penguin, perhaps there’s something toxic about penguins – some form of defence mechanism, maybe polar bears live and hunt inland but penguins spend most of their time in the water or at the water’s edge. I obviously don’t know for sure – but these would be my possible ideas. Am I close?
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Author: James Innes