How to survive a job interview with Elon Musk

October 10, 2015 – 03:00 am

Elon-musk1Interviewing with Elon Musk is not for the faint of heart.

Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, is known to appear disinterested in candidates at first before interrogating them and throwing in a tough brainteaser question, at least for candidates applying to SpaceX, according to, a new authorized biography of the high-profile tech founder written by Ashlee Vance, a reporter at Bloomberg Businessweek.

"Elon will likely keep on writing e-mails and working during the initial part of the interview and not speak much. Don't panic. That's normal, " Vance writes in the book. "Eventually, he will turn around in his chair to face you. Even then, though, he might not make actual eye contact with you or fully acknowledge your presence. Don't panic. That's normal. In due course, he will speak to you."

Sound bad? It gets worse: Musk has a favorite riddle he likes to ask applicants at some point during the interview.

"You're standing on the surface of the Earth, " Musk begins, according to the book. "You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?"*

Musk is said to have interviewed nearly all of the first 1, 000 hires at SpaceX, and many of the engineers since. He was also an active and adept recruiter at his companies, including Tesla and PayPal, the latter of which had an all-star roster of employees who went on start and fund a number of influential tech companies.

In the early days of SpaceX, Musk personally called prestigious universities around the country to get the names of the best students. Then he would cold call those students and work to convince them. "I thought it was a prank call, " recalled one person who was hired this way. "I did not believe for a minute that he had a rocket company." On other occasions he would impress candidates with his knowledge of technical and business details.

If the interview and hiring process sound a little intimidating, it's nothing compared to the demands of actually working with Musk.


Source: mashable.com

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