Young man

Question:

A young man is driving along in his two-seater sports car on a stormy night. He passes a bus stop and sees three people waiting for the bus:

  • An elderly woman who is in serious distress and needs to get to the hospital or she will die.
  • A best friend from the Army who once saved his life.
  • An attractive person who may be the young man’s soul-mate.

The young man’s car accommodates only two people. What do you think he should do in this situation?

.

.

C

A

P

T

A

I

N

I

N

T

E

R

V

I

E

W

.

.

Solution: This puzzle requires candidates to accept that the issue is about ethics. Avoid speculating about when the bus will come or cramming everyone into the car. The issue is about balancing competing interests and making a choice and living with the consequences, a situation that is common to all businesses. So let’s look at the ethical claims here. The first impulse for many candidates is to consider the plight of the elderly woman who will die. This is desirable. These candidates will pick up the woman and take her to the hospital. Candidates who respond to loyalty will want to pick up the old friend as payback for saving the young man’s life. Few candidates will selfishly drive off with the potential soulmate, leaving the elderly woman to die and the best friend as a witness. But in the unlikely event the candidate does pick the soulmate, the interviewer will object by saying, “What, and take the chance that you’ll never find your perfect life partner again?”

The goal is to find an out-of-the-box solution that balances all the interests. But, quick, what assumptions are you making? Not challenging the unstated assumption—in this case that you must stay with the sports car—is what makes this puzzle so interesting. As soon as that assumption is deflated, the solution comes more easily.

Answer: The young man stops the car, gives the car keys to his best friend, and asks him to drive the elderly lady to the hospital for immediate treatment. The young man stays behind and waits for the bus with the attractive person of his dreams.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s