SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk likes to put people on the spot (Image: Getty Images)

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Job interviews fill us with dread and often rank highly as a reoccurring nightmare we'd like to be able to stop.

And that's just a bog-standard interview where you have an idea of what to expect before going in.

Imagine one with CEO Elon Musk, 49, whose company SpaceX is leading the way on private space exploration – you really would be nervous.

It's a fair expectation, he reportedly asks potential employees to solve a tricky riddle during interviews at the tech firm.

According to an authorised biography by Ashlee Vance, the question is designed to put people on the spot, and see what they're really made of.

A video of the ultimate riddle was shared on TikTok by mechanical engineer @pinkpencilmath – and people were stumped.

She said: "Elon Musk asked this question to people that interviewed at SpaceX and Tesla. Think you can get it? Let's try!

"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?”'

Her comment section was flooded with guesses as people tried to answer the riddle.

One joked: "I'm here in the interview."

Another guessed: "In your head: because this question denies the theory of relativity," while a third admitted: "My home because he is not going to hire me."

The South African billionaire is creator of Tesla and SpaceX
(Image: REUTERS)

But others were more game and threw their hat in a ring with a potential answer.

One guessed: "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."

Another commented: "You're standing on the surface of the earth, so if you walk three miles a different way and come back where you started, it is the North Pole."

A third speculated: "One mile west of where you started?"

The twist (and you should expect a twist during an interview with Elon Musk) is that the riddle actually has two correct answers.

The first answer, which most engineers answer correctly, is the North Pole.

But Musk would then ask candidates a follow-up question to add some pressure: "Where else could you be?"

“The other answer is somewhere close to the South Pole where, if you walk one mile south, the circumference of the Earth becomes one mile", his biographer Vance explained.

"Fewer engineers get this answer, and Musk will happily walk them through that riddle and others and cite any relevant equations during his explanations."

Luckily for those amongst us that struggled, Musk doesn't actually care whether you got the correct answer.

Instead, he sees it as an opportunity to check whether prospective applicants approach problem solving and process information.

Did you crack the riddle? Let us know in the comments below.

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Mr Vance adds: “[Musk] tends to care less about whether or not the person gets the answer than about how they describe the problem and their approach to solving it.”

Unsurprisingly, that's not the only tough job interview question designed to throw a curveball during an interview with Elon Musk.

But luckily, this one doesn't require you to flex your logic skills – it requires honesty, a skill all companies value.

You don't even need to have gone to a top university to potentially end up working at SpaceX or Tesla.

In 2017, Musk said he always asks candidates: “Tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them.”

It may seem an ordinary question on the surface, but actually, it hinges on the fact that people exaggerating their ability will not be able to back it up convincingly.

The CEO said it allows strong candidates to shine, with people who have solved big problems able to break it down and describe the little details.