Elon Musk is currently the richest billionaire in the world. He believes that “college is basically for fun, not for learning”. While most leaders rely on degrees to find talent, Musk firmly believes that skills are many times more important.
Tesla and SpaceX operate on attracting and retaining the brightest minds from around the world without regard to qualifications. Candidates who want to work for Elon Musk do not necessarily have to graduate from a prestigious university. However, that doesn’t mean anyone can get into Tesla and SpaceX.
Before being admitted, candidates need to pass two tests. It’s a simple process, but it can reflect many things in one person.
1. Soft skills test
Despite the controversy surrounding college, for Musk, experience is more important than education. Rather, the experience is a form of education. In fact, a report from the Association of American Colleges and Schools has proven Tesla’s theory to be valid.
AACU research shows that three-quarters of employers believe college is essential. However, the reason is not based on the curriculum but on the soft skills that students learn.
In other words, education is not limited to what is taught in the classroom, but what is learned through direct experience. Thus, firsthand experience is a vehicle for discovering one’s talents and knowledge.
One of the questions that Elon Musk often asks candidates is: “You are standing on the surface of the Earth. Then you step 1,609 meters south, 1,609 meters west, and 1,609 meters north. , you are still in the original place. So where are you now?”.
The answer is not too difficult, it is the North Pole. Most candidates can answer this question. The meridians on Earth will converge to the two points of the North and South poles. At the North Pole, wherever you go, it’s going to be South. When you follow Musk’s description, you’ll end up where you started.
However, the question does not stop there. Musk made it difficult for them again: “Where else is there?”. And the second correct answer is somewhere near the South Pole. However, very few candidates gave this answer.
However, the reality of this question is not to exclude candidates, but to give them the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind their answer. This is the approach he uses to see how they will act when it comes to problem solving, how they deal with failure and frustration, and how they process new information.
2. Problem-solving experience test
Elon Musk is a leader who applies engineering strategies and processes to other aspects of his business – and his life. In Musk’s view, evaluating a candidate is like testing a product on a large scale.
The job interview is a test, but instead of assessing the candidate’s actual ability, many companies simply test the candidate’s knowledge. However, this is a fatal flaw, as there is a big difference between remembering and understanding.
According to Elon Musk, employers should ask candidates questions that require real-world experience.
To properly assess a candidate’s qualifications, employers simply need to present the tests (e.g. a task or assignment) that they are likely to face. To obtain an accurate measurement of a person’s ability to effectively perform the duties of the position, ensure that the scope of the test is limited to the required resources.
Musk isn’t afraid to share his secret: “I always ask them the same question,” he said in a 2017 interview: “Tell me about some of the hardest problems you’ve faced and how to solve them. decide them”.
With this single question, plus his experience and ability to see people, Musk has picked up a lot of talent for Tesla and other companies like SpaceX.
“Only those who have directly solved the problem know exactly how to deal with the problem. Those who have faced the difficulty will not forget how to overcome it – Musk explained – They know well and recount the details”.
Meanwhile, dishonest people in interviews are often just general, rambling and unconvincing.
Musk’s method has recently been proven to be correct and scientifically effective. In a study published in December 2020 in the Journal of Applied Memory and Cognitive Research, researchers suggested a way to detect dishonest candidates.
Accordingly, the employer only needs to ask to talk more about the problem and go into details. Competent and honest people will go into details to discuss while liar will only talk in general, avoiding details for fear of revealing the wrong. About 70% of lies were detected using a method called AIM.
Cody Porter, one of the AIM researchers and a Senior Teaching Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, wrote in an article for The Conversation: “The small details provided by eyewitnesses are a big part of the story. forensic investigations”.
She added: “Interviewers should clearly instruct interviewees that if they provide longer, more detailed statements about the case, the investigator will be able to tell whether they are telling the truth or lying. “.
Of course, no one wants to hire someone who just talks and doesn’t do it. So if you want to get a good job, do everything honestly.