Why Are Manhole Covers Round Was a Microsoft Interview Question

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why are manhole covers round

Why are manhole covers round when they could be square, oval or rectangle? Believe it or not, but there is a completely logical answer to the question. Furthermore, it was a question that was made famous by Microsoft when they began asking it in job interviews. The question was intended to be a psychological assessment for the job applicant but it actually went far further than that.

Before we continue, why are manhole covers round? What’s your explanation for their shape. Is it a logical answer or a philosophical one? How would you answer the question if applying for a job interview at Microsoft?

It might come as a surprise top discover that there are several possible reasons as to why are manhole covers round. One argument is that a round cover won’t fall through the hole, no matter which direction or way you try and force it. But one other shape at least would be just as logical. A triangle one.

Don’t be thinking that triangle manhole covers are ridiculous. Nashua, New Hampshire has triangle covers that serve two purposes. One is the obvious one of covering the hole, the other is to point in the direction that the flow below travels.

Other possible answers are that round tubes, the holes that people have to descend and ascend through are more sturdy. So because the pipe is round, then so should the cover be round. But there are even more that delve into economics.

A square cover would undoubtedly require more material to produce. The reason it a round cover has n o corners. More material means more expense. When supplying a large number of these heavy steel covers, every dollar counts.

You might not think it possible, but there are more possible answers to the question of why are manhole covers round. These include the ability to place the covers and move them. Clearly aa round cover would be simple to move. You could simply role it to the location that’s required. Not only that, once you had it where it needed to be, a round cover would be easier to fit and stay in place longer.

So how did you answer this question? You can see why Microsoft included it in their job interviews. It provided a superb insight into how the job applicants approached an interview question and attempted to solve it.


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