Trick question: What is Coca-Cola?

'Dear Mr Job Thank you for applying to be a burger flipper at our restaurant chain. The standard of applicants was very high and, unfortunately, you have been unsuccessful at this time. However, we will keep your details on file and contact you should a suitable position arise.'

‘Dear Mr Job
Thank you for applying to be a burger flipper at our restaurant chain. The standard of applicants was very high and, unfortunately, you have been unsuccessful at this time. However, we will keep your details on file and contact you should a suitable position arise.’

You know when you go to a job interview, and the interviewer asks you a seemingly simple question, but it turns out the correct answer is not the obvious one?

I read such a story on one of my favourite news websites, RocketNews24, the other day that inspired this blog post.

The story was about an applicant for a job at McDonald’s. During the interview, the teenager was asked, ‘What kind of place do you think McDonald’s is?’.

He answered, ‘It’s a place where people eat hamburgers’.

He knew he’d made a major error when the interviewer looked at him witheringly and replied, ‘It’s a place where people are raised’.

The interview was over and, needless to say, he didn’t get the job.

Now, knowing how tough it is out there to get a job these days, I thought I’d help out by doing some research and providing the right answers to similar questions should you find yourself applying at one of the following top companies.

I’ve taken the answers for these hypothetical interviewers’ questions from advertising, blurbs and mission statements on the companies’ own websites. Good luck with your search!

Interview at Coca-Cola Amatil

Interviewer: What is Coca-Cola?

Applicant: A high-sugar fizzy drink or an artificially sweetened fizzy drink, depending on which type you buy.

Interviewer: No! At Coca-Cola, we’re in the business of spreading smiles and opening happiness every day all across the world.


Interview at PepsiCo

Interviewer: What is Gatorade?

Applicant: A high-sugar energy-boosting drink.

Interviewer: NO! It fuels the best and the best of the future. It is a product that will help you work harder, for longer; scientifically proven since 1965.


Interview at Google Inc

Interviewer: What is Google?

Applicant: A search engine.

Interviewer: No! Google is a company that understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.


Interview at Cadbury Ltd

Interviewer: What is Cadbury?

Applicant: A brand of chocolate, most famously dairy milk chocolate.

Interviewer: No! chocolate means different things to different people at different times, but most importantly, Chocolate is Cadbury, with a passionate commitment to making everyone feel happy.


Interview at Yum! Brands Inc

Interviewer: What is KFC?

Applicant: A place where people go to eat fried chicken.

Interviewer: Most definitely not! It’s a place that knows its responsibility goes beyond ensuring great-tasting, high-quality food. It is a place that aims to make a positive difference to the communities where it works, the wider environment and, of course, to the lives of its employees.


Interview at Wesfarmers

Interviewer: What is Coles?

Applicant: A place where people go to buy groceries.

Interviewer: No! It’s a place that is dedicated to giving Aussie families the products they need for a happy, healthy home life, at prices they can afford.

15 thoughts on “Trick question: What is Coca-Cola?

  1. LOL! Oh, Caron, this is priceless!! I love it! And I can just see interviewers expecting answers like that. Hmmm… I’ll bet you’ll be responsible for many people getting jobs they might not otherwise get, since now they’ll be prepared for the interview.

    • Hah hah! Thanks, Margot. I always remember the story a young friend told me about going for a job at a chain clothing shop when she was a student. The interview process took several days, including team activities and face-to-face interviews. (Remember, this was for a job as a part-time shop assistant on a youth rate). She was advised by a friend in HR that if asked ‘What member of the animal kingdom would you be?’, the right answer was, ‘I’d be an ant, because it’s a team-player’. She got the job!

      • Oh, what a story, Caron!! Unbelievable what they expected! And for a shop assistant job on student wages? Yikes! I must say I’ve never been asked what animal I would be. However, for one job I had many years ago (as a kid only a few years out of uni), I had to go through a psychological interview and test. I’ve always thought that was a little odd…

    • Thanks, Fransi! Some of the company hyperbole is quite bizarre, isn’t it? Some of it is pretty banal, too, like I can’t believe it was written by the types of clever creatives I know who are in advertising/marketing: or maybe it’s deliberately that way.

      • Well, so often it’s not even close to what the creatives presented the first time. Most advertising is based on what the client wishes his/her brand stands for — not what it really is. What they don’t seem to understand is, today’s consumers are smart and they know bull when they see it; and they reject dishonest advertising and the brands they associate with it.

          • You get used to having ideas rejected. What always got to me was the ‘dishonesty’ — that what we were portraying was really nothing more than fiction — or just wishful thinking on the clients’ part.

            Some brands are authentic, but not all that many.

            And the other thing that always drove me insane was the over-inflated role clients believe their brands play in consumers’ lives. Give me a break — it’s a burger, not a cure for cancer. It may hit the spot when I’m hungry but it isn’t going to make the world a better place.

  2. Now I miss the Cadbury’s chocolate we brought from England last month…. The version sold here in the states just isn’t as good. 🙂 I’m thinking these companies should hire you to do their interviews!

    • That’s funny! Yes, it could be a new career for me.
      On your other point, it’s funny how recipes for such well known products are different. Products even differ between New Zealand and Australia. When I lived in Thailand, I noticed that Pepsi, for example, was sweeter there and not as complex in flavour, but it was also quite cheap in comparison with what it was in Australia.

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