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Elon Musk Asks The Same Question At Every Interview To Catch Out Someone Bragging

Rebecca Shepherd

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Elon Musk Asks The Same Question At Every Interview To Catch Out Someone Bragging

Featured Image Credit: PA

If you've got an interview lined up, it's always worth doing a bit of practise beforehand. Most questions you'll get asked are pretty generic 'where do you see yourself in five years' time'-vibes.

Another thing that crops up regularly is telling your interviewer about problems you've overcome and how you got past them.

Well, that's certainly one Elon Musk is fond of anyway... and it's clearly doing something right for his business, Tesla, as it's contributed to him becoming the richest man in the world.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The billionaire explained why he asks the question when he spoke at the World Government Summit in 2017.

He said he asks each candidate to 'tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them.'

The reason, he explained, is: "The people who really solved the problem know exactly how they solved it. They know and can describe the little details."

It seems there may be more to the question than first meets the eye - it's an example of an interview technique called Asymmetric Information Management (AIM).

The question is simple, yet effective. Credit: PA
The question is simple, yet effective. Credit: PA

Cody Porter, a senior teaching fellow in Psychology and Offending Behaviour, at the University of Portsmouth, told The Conversation: "At its core, it is designed to provide suspects with a clear means to demonstrate their innocence or guilt to investigators by providing detailed information.

"Longer, more detailed statements typically contain more clues to a deception than short statements.

"Essentially, the AIM method involves informing suspects of these facts. Specifically, interviewers make it clear to interviewees that if they 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.

"Research shows that when suspects are provided with these instructions, they behave differently depending on whether they are telling the truth or not.

"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."

Maybe Musk has had the question stewing from when he was a boy, as his mum recently recalled - she knew he was a genius from a young age but wasn't confident he would be a success.

Maye says she realised that her son was super smart when he was just three years old, however, she wasn't sure whether he would use it in the way that he has or end up living in a basement.

Elon Musk's mum, Maye. Credit: CBS
Elon Musk's mum, Maye. Credit: CBS

The 72-year-old told CBS This Morning: "At three, I knew [Elon] was a genius, but you still don't know if he's going to do great things because many geniuses just end up in a basement being a genius but not applying it."

But at the age of 12, she remembered, the future tech boss built a computer game, impressing a group of students.

Maye recalled: "They said, 'Wow, he knows all the shortcuts'. I don't think they knew that he was 12."

Topics: elon musk, Celebrity, News

Rebecca Shepherd
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