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12 Off-the-Wall Job Interview Questions and What They Mean

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Interviews are perhaps the most nerve-wracking part of a job hunt. Will they ask you about your strengths and weaknesses, or will they ask you how many golf balls would fit in a school bus? And if golf balls do come up (and you're not looking for a job at Golf Digest or Titleist), what is the interviewer actually looking to find out about you?

Tech companies, in particular, are known for asking bizarre-sounding questions while interviewing future employees, but unusual interview topics aren't only the domain of Silicon Valley giants. Living Business, a blog for the insurance company Colonial Life, put together a short list of odd questions that might come up in a job interview, explaining what they really mean so that you can answer them in a way that makes you look like the stellar employee you are.

To prepare for your next job interview, take a look at the questions below, which have all been asked by real companies. Unfortunately, research shows that free-form interviews aren’t actually very useful for finding the right candidate for a position, but in a world where interviews are still a necessary step to securing a position at most companies, you have to endure them regardless.

Note: Some questions are illegal for potential employers to ask during interviews, so you don’t need to prepare answers to queries like “do you enjoy drinking?” or “how old are you?” It is, however, perfectly legal for Urban Outfitters to hire you based on what you would call your hypothetical debut music album.

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How Common Is Your Birthday? An Interactive Map Can Tell You
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by James Hunt

At some point in their life, everyone counts back from their birthday and tries to figure out what anniversary, special occasion, or other excuse might have happened to their parents nine months before they were born. To make this backtracking exercise easier—and give us the chance to do it for a much larger population—data journalist Matt Stiles created an interactive "heat map" showing the most common birthdays in the United States for individuals born between 1994 and 2014.

Click on the map and you'll quickly notice that July, August, and September are by far the most common birth months. It's no surprise that nine months prior you'll find the dark and rainy period of October, November, and December when—to put it delicately—people have to make their own entertainment.

According to Stiles, "People generally seem to have time for baby-making during their time off. Several of the most common birth dates, in September, correspond with average conception periods around Christmas. September 9 is most common in this dataset, though other days in that month are close. September 19 is second. Following a customary gestation period, many of these babies would, in theory, have been conceived on December 17 and December 27, respectively."

But that's not all we can tell from the chart. When you take into account the fact that some people get to choose their child's birthday because of induced and elective births, they tend to want to stay away from the hospital during understaffed holiday periods.

"The least common birthdays in this dataset were Christmas Eve, Christmas [Day], and New Year’s Day," Stiles concluded. "Dates around Thanksgiving aren’t as common. July 4 is also at the bottom of the list. Conversely, Valentine’s Day ranks relatively high, as you can see in the graphic, as are the days just before a new tax year begins."

Amazingly, though it only comes around every four years, Leap Year babies aren't as uncommon as you might think: February 29 ranked 347th out of 366 on the list.

You can play around with the interactive graphic, and see the full ranking of birthdays, here.

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7 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory
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Being cursed with a bad memory can yield snafus big and small, from forgetting your gym locker combination to routinely blowing deadlines. If your New Year's resolution was to be less forgetful in 2018, it's time to start training your brain. The infographic below, created by financial website Quid Corner and spotted by Lifehacker Australia, lists seven easy ways to boost memory retention.

Different techniques can be applied to different scenarios, whether you're preparing for a speech or simply trying to recall someone's phone number. For example, if you're trying to learn a language, try writing down words and phrases, as this activates your brain into paying more attention. "Chunking," or separating long digit strings into shorter units, is a helpful hack for memorizing number sequences. And those with a poetic bent can translate information into rhymes, as this helps our brains break down and retain sound structures.

Learn more tips by checking out the infographic below.

[h/t Lifehacker.com.au]

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