Amazon Supposedly Asked Job Applicants to Solve This 'Hanging Cable' Problem

Here's what it looks like.

Tech companies are famous for having some of the world's most challenging and competitive interview processes. That's one reason why rumors tend to swirl around what it takes to get hired at giants like Facebook, Google, or Amazon. According to Internet lore, you don't always just have to be prepared to tell a recruiter about your last big win, or your biggest mistake, or where you see yourself in five years. If the rumors are true, you might just have to be ready to answer a challenging math problem on the spot.

A viral YouTube video claims that a prospective employee encountered one such problem during an Amazon job interview for software engineers and developers. It went like this:

A cable of 80 meters is hanging from the top of two poles that are both 50 meters off the ground. What is the distance between the two poles—to one decimal point—if the center cable is: 20 meters off the ground and 10 meters off the ground.


Turns out, it's a problem that can be traced back to at least one place, if not Amazon—a 2010 paper in the Atlantic Electronic Journal of Mathematics. If digging through an obscure academic journal isn't exactly your idea of a fun Friday night, fear not: the YouTubers behind the channel MindYourDecisions do a great job of breaking down how to solve the problem and reach the correct answer. Now you can get back to worrying about other things, like where you see yourself in five years.

Watch the video here:

FromEsquire US

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About The Author
Mike Darling
Executive Editor
Mike Darling is an executive editor at Men’s Health where he assigns and edits coverage around the brand’s core subject areas, including fitness, style and grooming, sex and relationships, and technology and gear. He was previously a senior editor on the magazine, and also spent two years as the managing editor of Vice Media’s health vertical.
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