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Elon Musk’s Job Interview Question

Elon Musk is one of the most well-known businessmen in the world.

Similar to Steve Jobs, you just have to hear the name to see the picture of him in your head. Often Musk reaches media outlets for both controversial opinions and business ventures. Not only is he an incredible entrepreneur, but he also holds the title of the richest man in the world.

Before Tesla and SpaceX took off, Musk interviewed all candidates for roles in his company. That’s right, no hiring manager or supervisor, just Musk himself. He wanted to meet everyone joining his team, and it didn’t matter which position they applied for.

If you land the interview…

The brainteaser question Musk is most well known for asking is, “You’re standing on the surface of the earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”

So, how do we answer this Elon Musk’s Job Interview Question?

We’ll touch on that soon…

elon musks job interview question

Who Is Elon Musk?

Elon Musk is an entrepreneur and the founder of SpaceX and Tesla. He is also the founder of ‘The Boring Company’ and co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAL. He studied Physics and Business at The University of Pennsylvania and achieved early success as a serial tech entrepreneur.

In fact, he was instrumental in creating the company that we all know as PayPal. Elon Musk is extremely intelligent but also determined and hard-working, which is why he has achieved his success to date.

elon musks job interview questions

How To Answer Elon Musk’s Job Interview Question?

The question may come across as intimidating and confusing. Strangely, Musk wasn’t exactly bothered about the exact answer; he wanted to see how is candidates solved the question and see how their critical thinking worked.

He wants to gauge how applicants deal with the pressure and how they answer with confidence and problem-solving. Musk wants his employees to be able to reason their way through specific problems and create a solution.

“You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”

Engineers and others have tried to solve this, and they believe the answer is the North Pole. Check out the explanation on this. Another answer could also be the South Pole.

Find out more in this Youtube video.

What If You Can’t Answer The Question?

Musk is looking for applicants to show critical analysis thinking to prove they are worthy of the job. So if you can try and explain how you got there, even if it’s not the correct answer, it shows you have some ability.

Musk states in several televised and written interviews that he wants an honest person who can prove they have critical thinking skills. They must be able to solve problems, have autonomy within their answers, the ability to explain personal experiences, and someone who can dismantle or crack a brainteaser by thinking their way through it!

the elon musks job interview questions

Other Interview Questions Elon Musk Asks Applicants

1 Tell me about some of the most challenging problems you worked on and how you solved them.

2 Why do you want to work here?

3 Tell me about your career and the tough problems you dealt with.

4 In five minutes, tell me about yourself and your strengths.

5 Tell me the story of your life and the decisions you have made along the way, and why you made them.

6 Talk about a project you are proud of.

7 Walk me through the process of something you designed. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

8 Describe a situation where things went wrong, and it was because of your mistake.

Education Requirements To Work For Elon Musk

Elon Musk has also been quoted explaining he believes there is no need to have a college degree or even a high school diploma.

He highlights the example of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who both never graduated from college; however, these men are extremely hireable. He explains that looking for a person with exceptional ability holds more importance than someone with an excellent education.

A degree won’t hurt!

However, it is unlikely job roles for his companies offer positions to people without degrees or a range of experience. His companies are so large that there are typical HR departments and rules to follow within the application. It seems that Musk looks for candidates with expertise in technology, engineering, science, and space.

Musk often requires answers both written and verbal. This means you must be proficient in English if it is not your first language.

Why do people want to work for Elon Musk?

Working for Musk gives you an insight into technology that most people won’t have witnessed yet. Creating these products is going to impact future generations to come. Elon Musk is one of the greatest innovators of our generation.

He has very high expectations of his employees, but he pays them very well in return. The average salary for an employee at Tesla is $153,755 per year. That’s $73 per hour!

Check out this video if you want to know What Is It Like to Work For Elon Musk?

the elon musks job interview question

Tips For Answering Brainteaser Questions

First of all, you may be thinking, why do interviewers ask brainteaser questions. After all, they are not for everyone and could cause you to panic.

If you don’t like this idea, make sure to take your time. Don’t blurt out the answer straight away, and ask your interviewer for a moment to think about the question or if they can repeat it.

Calm down and walk through the question…

Once you are ready, walk through the question scenario and explain each part and how you got there. This will show your analysis and critical thinking. Doing this shows exactly how you get to the end answer, and it also shows the interviewer how you act under pressure.

Companies also ask brainteasers to view their candidate’s creativity and communication skills. It may seem intimidating at first but practicing brainteasers with friends or family is a great way to expose yourself to questions in a relaxed environment.

Don’t try and lie if you can’t answer!

Be honest; if you are struggling to answer the interview question, you can request to answer later in the interview or ask for another brainteaser question. It’s wont feel great to dismiss or ask for another question. But, it is better than making something up on the spot that doesn’t highlight the skills you have.

elon musks jobs interview question

Other Brainteaser Interview Questions

1 How many golf balls will fit into a school bus?

2 How many basketballs will fit inside a small jet plane?

3 You have a 3-gallon bucket and a 5-gallon bucket. How do you measure 4-gallons?

4 How many people are scrolling Instagram at 1:30 pm in San Francisco on a Thursday?

5 Michelle’s mom has four children. The first is named April; the second child is May, the third’s name is June. What is the name of the fourth?

6 How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle??

7 Explain the internet to someone coming out of a 30-year coma.

8 How would you describe a sunset to a blind person?

9 A farmer has 17 sheep, nine die. How many are left?

10 How many gas stations are there in the U.S.A?

Want To Know About “Everything Elon Musk”?

Well, that shouldn’t be too difficult with the endless biographies alone on his life! So, we’ve picked our top choices for you, such as the Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, or perhaps The Biography of Elon Musk, and the very interesting Elon Musk: The Unauthorized Autobiography to begin with.

Next, for the business side of things, we recommend reading Elon Musk: A Biography of Billionaire Entrepreneur Elon Musk, or the Elon Musk: The Biography of a Modern Genius and Business Titan, the BIOGRAPHY OF ELON MUSK: A Fascinating Story of the Richest Entrepreneur in Modern History, and finally the Elon Musk: A Biography of Innovator, Entrepreneur, and Billionaire Elon Musk.

And lastly, we all know his dream of wanting to change the world, which can be read in Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, as well as in Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World, all available online in 2022.

Of course, you can buy the collection of his story with The Elon Musk Collection: The Biography Of A Modern Day Renaissance Man & The Business & Life Lessons Of A Modern Day Renaissance Man which would also make for a fantastic gift!

Final Thoughts

It is clear from reviewing all the information that Elon Musk is a very clever, driven man who looks for employees to go above and beyond.

He is looking for people to work for him who are on a similar wavelength and are exceptional critical thinkers along with fantastic problem-solving skills. The brainteaser is just one of Musk’s questions to evaluate character. Remember, it’s not always about the answer but how you get there.

When answering brainteasers, explain your thinking, and talk through how you got to the final answer.

Good luck with your exciting Elon Musk Job Interview!

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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