Job interviews are nerve-wracking enough, because you never know what tricky questions will be thrown your way.
But imagine you’re being interviewed by none other than Tesla and Space X CEO, Elon Musk, the nerves would probably be truly frayed.
Especially since the billionaire reportedly asks job candidates one head-spinning question that is designed to show a hopeful's full potential by putting them under pressure.
Mechanical engineer, Tanya Zakowich (@pinkpencilmath) has shared a TikTok about Musk’s infamous riddle which now has more than 790,000 views.
She begins: “Elon Musk asked this question to people that interviewed at SpaceX and Tesla. Think you can get it? Let’s try!
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Elon’s math riddle. Can you get it?🤔#mathtricks #fyp #pinkpencilmath #riddle #brainteaser #mathriddle #elonmusk #spacex #tesla #interviewtips #math
“You’re standing on the surface of the Earth. You take a walk one mile south, one mile west and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”’
It appears that people have also been left just as baffled as to what the correct answer could be, with thousands commenting their thoughts.
One person said: “Still finishing the interview...”
Another person asked: “Well...what the heck is the answer?”
Someone else joked: “You’re at a Tesla factory in China, India, or Texas.”
“At your office. Interview? Right?” A fourth person quipped.
Others provided more serious suggestions as to what the correct answer could potentially be.
One person wrote: “There are a few solutions. One is the North Pole but anywhere one mile north of a place close to the South Pole where you can walk in a west-east direction where a full rotation is 1mi/1/2mi/1/3mi etc.”
“Logically, ‘the equator’ could also work as a starting point, where you could figuratively end up back to where you started but not literally,” another person replied.
Someone else answered: “The North Pole, as you’ll walk in a triangle, ending back at the North Pole, easy.”
“Bermuda Triangle,” a fourth person offered.
In true Elon fashion, there are actually two possible answers to the riddle in an unexpected twist.
The first answer is the North Pole - which is guessed correctly by most candidates and by some on TikTok (well done you clever lot).
Though Musk then throws a curve-ball by asking candidates a follow-up question: “Where else could you be?”
The second - and less obvious answer - is the South Pole.
Since, if you walk one mile south, the circumference of the Earth becomes one mile, according to Musk’s biographer Ashlee Vance.
“Fewer engineers get this answer, and Musk will happily walk them through that riddle and others and cite any relevant equations during his explanations,” he added.
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t get the correct answer.
Therefore, like most job interview questions, Musk uses this exercise to see how people approach problem solving and process information.
So if you ever apply for a role at Space X or Tesla, keep this question in mind.
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