The Giraffe in the Refrigerator

When I first got into business, the HR manager asked me a series of informal questions which claimed to test my suitability for corporate life. As I recall, I didn’t do so well on the quiz but I’ve still managed to figure out the corporate gig. I recently came across the questions and started using them again – partly for fun and partly to see if they are applicable to new hires.

Here’s the quiz with the correct answers and some associated commentary:

Question 1: How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
Answer 1: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door.

This question tests whether you overcomplicate simple tasks. Most people assume the giraffe is larger than the fridge and use elaborate descriptions to solve that problem.

Question 2: How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

If you’re like most people, you probably said “Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the door.” That’s the wrong answer.

Answer 2: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant, and close the door.

Question 2 is designed to test your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions. Each decision cannot be made in isolation.

Question 3: The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All of the animals attend, except for one. Which animal does not attend?

Answer 3: The elephant, of course. You just put the elephant in the refrigerator.

Question 3 is designed to test your memory and to associate events which don’t seem related.

Question 4: You need to cross a river but it is inhabited by crocodiles. You don’t have a boat but you do have a refrigerator. What should you do?

Answer 4: Jump into the river and swim across. All of the crocodiles are attending the animal conference.

Question 4 is designed to see whether you can ignore extraneous information (the refrigerator) and whether you learn from your mistakes in the previous questions.


I doubt this quiz is scientifically accurate and therefore it’s difficult to draw any specific conclusions from it. Nonetheless, it’s fun to consider what it might say about your personality.

How did you do on the quiz?

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7 Responses to The Giraffe in the Refrigerator

  1. Nauman Javed March 15, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    Hilarious! Couldn’t figure out 75% except the last one.

  2. UTS March 17, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    It’s great! unfortunately everyone knows this kind of quiz nowadays at least all youngster or less than 35. but this will not work in IT.

  3. ekua odoi (@ekuaodoi) March 22, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    I would have removed the elephant from the refrigerator and used him to get me across the river. No need to get my feet wet.

    • Jonathan Becher March 31, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

      I like this answer!

  4. NOt June 29, 2017 at 11:35 am #


    These are excellent questions to determine job suitability, they clearly determine that the HR manager was not suitable for their job. The only possible use of these is to test a candidates ability to speak against authority, with extra points for anyone who refuses to answer before the series has ended.

    That notwithstanding, the HR manager has the wrong answers :-

    1) Why assume the refrigerator is closed? Given the question seems to assume there is a giraffe in the vicinity of a refrigerator, it is presumably either dead or sedated and that you have giraffe-lifting superpowers, assuming the refrigerator is open seems a small step by comparison. Additionally, why the unnecessary step of closing the refrigerator, that was not required by the question and would seem unfair to the giraffe as it would probably suffocate before the sedation wore off.

    2) Why assume there is not room for both the giraffe and the elephant in the refrigerator ? We have already thrown relative sizing out of the window by assuming that a giraffe can fit in, so why are we now assuming that we are dealing the only exactly-giraffe-sized refrigerator in the world. Much simpler to assume that the elephant can fit in there too. It also give the giraffe some company. In addition, you don’t need to open the refrigerator because as we saw in question 1 the logical thing is for it to be already open.

    3) As an entry-level criteria, I expect job candidates to know that lions don’t host conferences, if they don’t then probably some testing for illicit substances would be in order

    4) Unfortunately, the HR manager is dead. He or she jumps in and tries to swim across but given LIONS DON’T HOST CONFERENCES, the crocodiles are all there and promptly eat him or her. One of the main reasons I expect candidates to know that lions don’t host conferences is to avoid exactly this situation.

  5. Cecelia February 1, 2018 at 9:03 pm #

    see purpose of first question.

  6. Mirian Ogudo June 13, 2019 at 11:53 pm #

    Didn’t answer any in this section in the test because I had no clue at all. Thank you

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