Tricky interview question: How many cricket balls are sold each year in Australia?

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The question

During an interview for a position as an assistant product manager in cash management at a big four Australian bank, a candidate was asked the following question:

How would you go about calculating how many cricket balls are sold in Australia per year?

The candidate's reply

I think I started with: "Errr, do you mean whether I would survey shops to see how many they sell?". To which the interviewer replied: "No I mean calculate it for me right now. You can use paper".

My answer was roughly: In the town where I grew up the population was about 15,000. There were 12 grades of cricket - from juniors to seniors, men's and women's - and about five clubs, so about 60 teams.

The Australian population is about 40 million. So assuming my home town and the country as a whole have a similar ratio of cricketers to population, that means about 160,000 teams in Australia.

Then assuming a team has a couple of practice balls at the start of a 12-week season, and a new ball for each game, that's about 15 balls per team per season. So my answer was 160,000 x 15 = 2.4 million cricket balls.

How he would have responded in hindsight

I was happy with the logic of my response overall, but some of my assumptions were a bit off. For starters, I would have liked to have got the population of Australia right! Anyway, it wasn't a disaster. I was hired.

How would YOU have answered?

Use the comments box below to suggest a better response to the interview question above.

If you'd like to submit your own tricky interview question, please email apac.editor@efinancialcareers.com. We're giving away an iPad to the person whose question we like the most, but before you enter, make sure you follow all the competition rules, which are outlined in this link.

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