Imagine some of the answers you might get to “What is the square root of 101?” First, three answers that suggest an interviewee is not strong with math.

- What’s a square root?
- You gotta calculator?
- 101 doesn’t have a square root.

And here are some other answers that might give an idea where an interviewee is coming from.

- An irrational number. (Pure mathematician)
- Approximately 10. (Engineer)
- Somewhere between 10 and 11, closer to 10. (Better engineer)
- Approximately 10.05, based on a linear Taylor approximation centered at 100 (Applied mathematician)
- Approximately 10.05, based on one step of Newton’s method (Computer scientist)

(This is just for amusement. I don’t think quiz show-like interviews are a good way to find people you want to work with for years.)

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@Christopher Allen-Poole : The Engineer’s answers stay true regardless of the base !