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Elon Musk asks the same question in every job interview to try and spot a liar

Elon Musk asks the same question in every job interview to try and spot a liar

This approach helps him select the best candidates for his companies.

Having co-founded six companies, Elon Musk has probably hosted his fair share of interviews.

He's also not shy about his unconventional way of going about things.

In job interviews, the tech billionaire asks each candidate a specific question.

After hearing what it is, it might sound like a standard question when you're tested for a potential job, but it's pretty impressive what it can reveal about someone.

As such, Musk's rationale for this question is simple: it weeds out the liars.

The SpaceX founder uses this technique to see whether the interviewee truly solved the problem they claimed to have solved.

Maja Hitij / Getty Images
Maja Hitij / Getty Images

The question is: 'Tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them.'

That's because people who have actually solved complex problems can explain their approach step-by-step in great detail.

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

Whereas those who are completely making up their experience struggle to provide specifics about it.

And before you think it's just another method from the Tesla CEO: science has backed it up.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition analysed job-interview techniques and found that Musk's is known as 'Asymmetric Information Management' or AIM.

This approach asks candidates for detailed accounts of situations. More information helps interviewers distinguish between truth and lies.

So, if you are going to try this out yourself, don't be shy about the details.

miodrag ignjatovic / Getty Images
miodrag ignjatovic / Getty Images

'Small details are the lifeblood of forensic investigations and can provide investigators with facts to check and witnesses to question,' Cody Porter, one of the study’s authors and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, pointed out.

'In contrast, liars wish to conceal their guilt. This means they are more likely to strategically withhold information in response to the AIM method. 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.'

The study found that using this technique can improve an interviewer's ability to detect liars by 70%.

Many employers value accountability. So, using this method is a great way to find this trustworthy quality in candidates early on.

After all, no one wants to hire someone who talks big but delivers nothing.

Featured Image Credit: Maja Hitij / miodrag ignjatovic / Getty Images