The 'Tell Me The Story Of Your Life' Question Can Help Spot A Liar

Elon Musk
Founder of Zip2,, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, Hyperloop, OpenAI, Neuralink and The Boring Company

Elon Musk is known as one of the leading business figures in the world. Because of this, he has lots of people willing to be close to him, wishing to be in his circle.

But when professionalism matters, to be on board with Musk, there is at least one thing candidates need to pass.

According to the serial entrepreneur and billionaire, there is one thing he does to every candidate in a job interview with him, to instantly spot a liar.

He doesn't need the person to be strapped in a polygraph lie-detector machine, or using an Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), or AI, or some other devices.

All he does, is asking candidates to answer one simple question.

Elon Musk in Dubai, 2017.
Elon Musk in Dubai, 2017.

The billionaire has founded space company Zip2,, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, Hyperloop, OpenAI, Neuralink and The Boring Company, and more.

He is also one of the main people behind the creation of OpenAI, the company that started the overall generative AI trend.

As the founders of more than a handful of companies, many of which he sits at the help, Musk definitely knows that the success of his businesses isn't entirely depends on him. He needs people with knowledge and experience.

He needs people with expertise in their field, to help his companies grow.

One mistake can cost a lot, and can even bring down a company to a collapse.

Back in 2017, during the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Musk was asked how he would recruit candidates to go on a manned mission to Mars. He answered that his choice would mainly depend on his "gut feeling more than anything else," but he would also use certain questions to make the final decision.

"My interview questions are always the same."

"I say tell me the story of your life and the decisions you made along the way and why you made them. [...] Tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them."

"The people who really solved the problem know exactly how they solved it. They know and can describe the little details."

If someone is lying, that person would avoid going into the details, or would automatically recall someone else's story, and claimed it to be their own.

"The people that pretended to solve the problem can maybe go one level and then they get stuck!" he said.

This is why Musk said that he asks this crucial question, right after the introduction segment.

Therefore, this is a good question to spot the liars, he proclaimed.

This method can help because a liar will think more than someone who is telling the truth.

A liar needs additional cognitive processes to narrate their stories, in order to prevent their story from not contradicting itself. Because lying is more effort-taking than truth-telling, a a liar who has to constantly monitor themselves, would eventually hit a road block, and can no longer handle the extra stress.

Someone who tells the truth, can.

When a person is telling the truth, their innocence will reflect in their verbal cues. Words will come out of their mouths as if they're flowing naturally, and that the narration can be in great details.

This is why asking candidates to narrate their story, can be one easy way to spot a liar.

The idea behind Musk’s question, is to make candidates spill out detailed statements about their work experience.