I read the comments here and have a bit of a laugh.
I've asked these questions in interviews, and other questions like them (I won't show my hand and say what they are but you can probably guess).
These questions CAN and ARE a decider of who gets hired.
In one case a few of us were in an interview, things were going well, and the guy got asked the "curly question with no right answer" at the end.
When asked, he got very agitated, stared at us all, and said something like: "thats a dumb question, I can't see the relevance of it, and I think we should move on". At the same time he was leaning across the table, aggressive, and seemed ready to hit whoever was closest.
As you can imagine, the question gave multiple answers:
- can't work well under pressure
- aggressive AND arrogant
- does not WANT TO TRY and think on his feet
Sorry - but professional work in IT / software / engineering requires all of the above attributes. If you can be shown to have those behaviour patterns in an interview then the question did its job: No Hire.
I've also been in the same kind of interview with somebody who realised immediately what was going on, asked more questions to tease out the ope-ended nature of the original question. Refined, made notes, did it all on a white-board in front of us, realised the parts that were spurious or irrelevant, and came up with an answer. The actual answer didn't matter. The process of getting there did. Got hired.
These questions are asked for a very good reason: They show a bit more about your PERSONALITY and also ANALYTICAL ability.
In any workplace of more than 1 person, a new hire needs to be technically able as well as have a personality that will fit with the group (to varying degrees). Frequently you can teach to extend ability, but there is nothing you can do about personality conflicts. Finding them early is a great thing.