How Elon Musk Detects Job Candidates Who Lie

“During the interview, I specifically asked the candidate if he had experience with the advanced features of Microsoft Excel; and he responded, ‘Yes, I used Excel a lot in a previous job.’”

The person was hired; and as you might expect, he proved to be a big disappointment.  When asked about his interview, he responded, “I knew Excel skills were needed for the job, and I thought I would be able to learn them quickly.”

According to a survey by, seventy-two percent of job applicants admit to lying on their resume by exaggerating years of education, experiences, and job skills.

Elon Musk attempts to detect falsehoods by asking applicants to explain the most difficult problems they have worked on and how they solved them.  Musk believes that candidates who make false claims will not be convincing as he listens for specifics and details.

Other studies support Musk’s reasoning.  Lying applicants tend to gloss over details for two reasons:  they do not know the details and they fear someone might follow up to check their accuracy.  Conversely, truth-telling candidates relish the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities by explaining the fine points of their problem-solving experiences.

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