Before an interview, it’s best to have a few basic questions in the bank such as ‘tell us a bit about yourself’ and ‘why are you applying for this job?’. Although they seem rather harmless, these are some of the most telling questions about your personality and what you’d be like as an employee...And it seems like Elon Musk as this method down-pat.
Elon Musks asks every employee the same question
As the richest man in the world, Elon Musk clearly knows a bit about what it takes to run a company, including employing those who work for him. At the World Government Summit back in 2017, Musk revealed that there is one question that he asks at every interview:
Tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them.
The billionaire revealed the reasoning behind the practice, admitting that it’s a good way to catch out any liars:
The people who really solved the problem know exactly how they solved it. They know and can describe the little details.
It’s actually a well-known interview technique
Questions such as these may leave you stumbling for words if you are unprepared, but Elon’s question is actually an example of a well-known interview technique called Asymmetric Information Management (AIM).
Cody Porter, a senior teaching fellow in Psychology and Offending Behaviour, at the University of Portsmouth spoke to The Conversation, explaining that the technique gives the interviewee’s a clear path to demonstrate whether they were guilty or innocent in the situation:
Longer, more detailed statements typically contain more clues to a deception than short statements.
Porter continued to explain thatElon Musk's AIM question makes it clear to interviewers that if they provide more in-depth information about the situation then the interviewer will be better able to tell if they are lying about whether or not they really solved the problem. Those who are telling the truth will often give the longest and most detailed answers:
Truth-tellers typically seek to demonstrate their innocence and commonly provide more detailed information in response to such instructions. In contrast, liars wish to conceal their guilt. This means they are more likely to strategically withhold information in response to the AIM instructions.
So, in case your dream is to one day work for Elon Musk, it’s best you start preparing your answer.