Elon Musk Always Asks The Same Job Interview Question To Catch Out Liars

Elon Musk always asks the same question during job interviews in the hope of catching out liars.
Credit: Alamy

Elon Musk always asks the same question in job interviews to weed out liars.

Musk, 52, is one of the world’s richest men and arguably one of the hardest-working people in business.

He’s the leader of five massive companies – Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink and Twitter.

It’s, therefore, no surprise that he needs to hire the best employees – and he has a simple trick to pick out the best candidates.

Watch as Elon Musk details what he looks for when hiring staff…

Unlike most employers, Musk’s not interested in what it says on someone’s CV or qualifications.

“There’s no need to even have a college degree at all, or even high school,” he told the German automotive magazine Auto Bild.

Instead, the father-of-10 wants to see ‘evidence of exceptional ability’ in potential employees. 

“If there’s a track record of exceptional achievement, then it’s likely that that will continue into the future,” he said.

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He also has a special method of spotting lies in interviews.

Musk said he asks each candidate: “Tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solve them.”

The billionaire cares less about whether the person gets the answer right, and more about how they try to solve the problem. 

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The approach is key, he told Auto Bild: “When I interview somebody, I really just ask them to tell me the story of their career. 

“What are some of the tougher problems that they have dealt with? 

“How they dealt with those, and how they made decisions at key transition points.

“Usually, that’s enough for me to get a very good feel about someone.”

Elon Musk
Elon Musk always asks the same question in job interviews in order to catch out liars. Credit: Alamy

To spot someone who is bending the truth, he says he pays close attention to whether they can describe their solution in detail.

Detectives reportedly use the same strategy in interrogations.

Musk’s opinion is also backed by psychologists who have researched the topic.

Lie-detection expert Dr Cody Porter, explained: “If [people] provide longer, more detailed statements about the event of interest, then the investigator will be better able to detect if they are telling the truth or lying.

“In contrast, liars wish to conceal their guilt.

“This means they are more likely to strategically withhold information.

“Their assumption here is that providing more information will make it easier for the investigator to detect their lie, so instead, they provide less information.”

Elon Musk
Elon Musk’s tactic for weeding out job interview liars is backed by experts. Credit: Alamy

Apparently, lie-detection accuracy rates increased from 48 per cent to 81 per cent when using this technique – with truth-tellers providing more information.

In his interview with Auto Bild, Musk added that really, he just wants to know that a candidate really did solve the problem they claim they have.

He added: “And of course, you want to make sure if there was some significant accomplishment, were they really responsible, or was someone else more responsible?

“Usually, someone who really had to struggle with a problem, they really understand [the details], and they don’t forget.”

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It seems honesty really is the best policy for landing your dream job.

It helped Google CEO Sundar Pichai secure his job at the company.

When interviewers asked what he thought of Gmail on the day that it launched, he said he couldn’t answer the question because he hadn’t been able to test the product.

This impressed interviewers enough to give him the job and a decade later, he became CEO.

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.