By Steve Moran

Have you ever hired someone you really liked, only to find out they present well but turned out to be big fat liars?

If you have done any hiring at all, I can pretty much guarantee you have had this happen. It turns out there is a simple technique, a single question that can help you uncover the truth. It is something Elon Musk uses, as do many others.

Knowing this is really important because the data suggests that most interviews are near worthless when it comes to picking the best candidates for the job.

The Technique

Ask a candidate to tell you about a time they solved a really difficult problem and to describe it in as much detail as they want.

It turns out that when a candidate actually solved a really difficult problem, they will be glad to tell you all about it. Step by step and in great detail. But if they did not solve the problem; either it didn’t get solved or someone else solved the problem, they will try to make it look like they solved it by talking in broad generalities.

The name for this technique is asymmetric information management (AIM). The technique was originally designed for police departments to use in their hiring practices. It is pretty cool because it turns out that the difference is easy to spot. In one experiment, interviewers’ ability to spot a liar jumped from 48 percent, which is less than blind luck, to 81 percent.

Pretty simple and pretty easy to put into practice. The source for this story was an article at Inc. titled: “Science Just Confirmed Elon Musk’s Favorite Interview Question Is Brilliant (You Should Steal It)”.

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