Only a Genius Can Answer This Tricky Job Interview Question

Tech mogul and billionaire Elon Musk reportedly asked this one particular interview question to every candidate—and if you solve it, you may be a genius.

Job-InterviewAYA images/ShutterstockReady to nail your next interview? Sure, you brushed off the nerves and brushed up on how to answer the trickiest job interview questions. But just imagine getting hit with this doozy on the big day: “You’re standing on the surface of Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”

No, it’s not a trick question. Tech master and billionaire Elon Musk reportedly asked this exact interview question to every job candidate, according to biographer Ashlee Vance. Much like these curveball interview questions, this one might as well be a riddle. But solving it would almost certainly land you a job working for Musk.

In that case, take your time thinking this one through. Here’s a hint: The trickiest riddles almost always have more than one solution. (And regardless, just be thankful you didn’t commit these hilarious job interview faux pas!)

The first correct answer is the North Pole. Thanks to the curvature of the Earth, the directions given above would make a triangle, putting you back where you started. As for the second? “Anywhere that’s one mile outside a one-mile circumference circle around the South Pole,” Curiosity reports. As they explain it, “walking one mile south will place you on this circumference path. When you walk west, you will walk in a complete circle. Walking north will place you back where you started.”

We’ll take their word for it. Looking for another challenge? See if you can solve Einstein’s riddle—only two percent of people can. Or test your smarts by finding the secret word in this logic puzzle. Good luck!

[Source: Curiosity]

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.