Elon Musk Asks The Same Question In Every Interview To Catch Out Liars

by : Emily Brown on : 28 Jan 2021 16:23
Elon Musk Asks The Same Question In Every Interview To Catch Out LiarsTED/YouTube/Space News Pod/YouTube

You don’t get to be one of the richest people in the world without having some good people working for you, and Elon Musk has revealed exactly how he uses the interview process to find worthy employees. 

Musk, who has helped bring the world the likes of Tesla, PayPal and SpaceX, has spoken out on a number of occasions about what it takes to work for him.


He’s stated in the past that college is just for ‘fun’ and previously told potential Tesla employees that he didn’t care ‘if you even graduated high school’, but there is one kind of person he is always wary of: liars.

Elon MuskPA Images

Speaking during the World Government Summit in 2017, Musk revealed that he attempts to catch out liars by asking each one of his candidates the same question: ‘Tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them.’

Musk explained that ‘the people who really solved the problem know exactly how they solved it’, and therefore can describe the little details that made up their success. Liars, on the other hand, would presumably struggle to come up with the specifics of how they solved their so-called problem.


The billionaire’s approach to job interviews appears to be backed by science, in which it is described as the Asymmetric Information Management (AIM) technique.

Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and ExhibitionPA Images

Cody Porter, a senior teaching fellow in Psychology and Offending Behaviour at the University of Portsmouth, discussed the AIM technique in The Conversation, explaining that it is designed to ‘provide suspects with a clear means to demonstrate their innocence or guilt to investigators by providing detailed information’.

These small details can provide investigators – or indeed, employers – with facts to follow up on, as well as a more detailed statement that can hold more clues than a shorter, less-detailed response.


During an experiment using the technique, Porter explained that lie-detection accuracy rates increased from 48% without the use of AIM to 81% when the method was used,  with truth-tellers providing more information.

Elon MuskPA Images

As well as weaseling out those who are attempting to deceive him, Musk looks for evidence of ‘exceptional ability’ in the candidates that have successfully made it through to an interview with him.

Speaking to Auto Bild in 2014, he explained, ‘If there’s a track record of exceptional achievement, then it’s likely that that will continue into the future.’


I can’t imagine there’ll be many people out there who make it into an interview room with Musk, but on the off-chance that happens to you, be prepared to tell the truth!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Celebrity, Elon Musk, interview, Now, SpaceX, Tesla


The Conversation and 2 others
  1. The Conversation

    Spotting liars is hard – but our new method is effective and ethical

  2. Khaleej Times/YouTube

    A Conversation With Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc At World Government Summit 2017 Dubai

  3. Auto Bild

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk (2014)