Spot a lying candidate with Elon Musk's "must-ask" interview question

Spot a lying candidate

At the World Government Summit in 2017, billionaire Elon Musk mentioned that at every interview, he never fails to ask candidates this simple question: “Tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them.”

Musk believes that “the people who really solved the problem know exactly how they solved it”, and hence “they know and can describe the little details”.

  • This is backed up by the Asymmetric Information Management (AIM) technique, which aims to allow candidates to prove their innocence through the way they respond to the question.
  • Lying candidates tend to find difficulty providing detailed information when answering the golden question, while candidates telling the truth tend not to forget even the tiniest details, and will seek to provide more details in their story in order to prove their innocence.
  • The AIM technique study also found that this technique increases the probability of lie detection by almost 70%!
  • Besides lie detection, understanding the details to the candidates’ problem-solving also helps recruiters ascertain the significance of the candidates’ accomplishments.

Therefore, never summarise your achievements! Recruiters want to hear all about how you solved the problem, even down to the tiniest struggles. This increases your credibility and hence your chance at the job.

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