Elon Musk apparently has a heightened sense of smell, which means people can’t wear perfume or cologne in job interviews

Mark Brake/GettyTesla CEO Elon Musk
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk apparently has a quite sensitive nose, according to WIRED.
  • The billionaire once complained the smell from a heating vat of silicon could kill people.
  • Job candidates have even been told to avoid strong perfumes or colognes, the magazine said.

Job candidates at Tesla are told to avoid strong-smelling perfume when meeting CEO Elon Musk, according to a new profile in WIRED.

In another instance, Musk said the vapors from a vat of liquid silicon – which smelled like plastic when heated -“were going to kill people.”

It’s an ironic anecdote from Wired’s essay, given accusations of unsafe work conditions from watchdogs and investigations by California’s division of Occupational Safety. In one instance, former workers alleged the company sent major injuries to the emergency room in private cars – and that Tesla hired a new in-house clinician to help avoid documenting injuries that would otherwise be seen by regulators.

It’s far from the chief executive’s strangest quirk. From flamethrowers to rockets, the billionaire knows how to make a splash. Of course, that ambition to change the world hasn’t come without backlash.


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SEC settlements aside, experts have criticised his management style and expectations of much more than a 40-hour work week. At one point, he defended the rigorous schedule and a habit of sleeping at Tesla’s factory, saying that “nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.” Without the time commitment, Tesla would not be able to exist, he said.

Read the full WIRED profile here.

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