How to Get a Job at Tesla
Tesla Motors is the kind of company that can look too cool to be true. They’re constantly forging new paths in the electric car industry, and their vehicles are often as sleek as they are energy-efficient. There’s no doubt about it: every day, Tesla is making history.
Of course, it takes quite a crew to keep such an iconic tech giant operating. With roughly 50,000 employees on their payroll, Tesla has come a long way since the days when they had just five staff members total.
They aren’t lacking for employee candidates, either. Every time a job opening appears, they’re swarmed with applications. And why wouldn’t they be? Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, is known for inspiring his staff through his contagious zeal, and plenty of job seekers relish the idea of becoming a part of history.
So, are you one of those determined go-getters eager to make your mark on the world as part of the Tesla team? If so, take heart. There is hope.
Here’s how to get a job at Tesla.
Should You Get a Job at Tesla?
At its core, Tesla is a mission-driven company, designed to attract the kinds of people ready to invest themselves in pushing the boundaries and help the world transition to sustainable sources of energy.
Employees get to join a world of ambition, innovation, and fearlessness. On the other hand, they’re also joining a world of deep commitment. Tesla makes high demands of its employees and requires their full engagement in furthering the company’s goals.
In fact, almost every anonymous employee review of Tesla focuses on the long hours and lack of personal life that comes with the bargain. But those same anonymous employees also emphasize the fast-paced, inspiring work environment that provides an opportunity to think outside the box and impact the world. Deepak Ahuja, former CFO for Tesla, once described the company’s work culture as a “non-stop adrenaline rush.”
For the right person, that can more than make up for the lack of free time.
If you prefer to punch a clock as briefly as possible during your otherwise busy life, Tesla might not be the spot for you. On the other hand, if you’re up for a true challenge — and if you thrive under pressure — then you might be a Tesla employee in the making.
How Hard Is It to Get Hired by Tesla?
Because so many people would love to work at Tesla, job competition is significant. In 2017 alone, they received almost half a million applications for only about 2,500 open positions. Obviously, the vast majority of those applicants didn’t get the gig. But don’t get too daunted. Getting hired by Tesla is possible, and if you make it in, you’ll be glad you took the leap.
When asked for tips on how to get a job at Tesla, Cindy Nicola, vice president of global recruiting, responded with: “Everyone should just apply.”
And if you think you’d be a good fit for Tesla’s culture, you’d be wise to take her advice. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? They don’t hire you. You haven’t lost anything but the time it took to put your application together. Contrast that with what you might gain — finding your dream job and impacting humanity’s future in a meaningful way.
Don’t let fear of rejection keep you from chasing your dreams. Go for it!
Where Can You Find Tesla Job Opportunities?
The first stop for finding a Tesla job opening is their careers page. Before you move on to the actual job hunt, take a minute to look over the information they provide. Does it still look like a place you’d want to work? If so, click the “Search All Careers” button, and get started.
A page will open with a list of all the jobs that are currently available. That would take a long, long time to scroll through, so here’s how to find what you need:
- Enter the job title you want or a relevant keyword into the search box on the left of the screen. The results should automatically update as you type.
- Set any filters to help narrow the search, such as the job category, region, and specific location. Depending on the filters you choose, this may open new filters, such as your state (if you’re in the United States) and city.
- Once you’re happy with your results, look over the options and make your choice.
Tesla’s careers page isn’t the only place you can find job opportunities, though. There are hundreds of job posting sites on the internet that showcase Tesla openings. You could even check out their public organizational chart to see what’s available.
What Do You Need When Applying for a Job at Tesla?
Tesla offers almost any career path you can think of, from electrician to engineer to construction project manager. Some will require more education, such as a four-year degree, and others will require less. The job description will tell you the educational requirements for the job you’re interested in.
Regardless of what job title you’re after, you’ll want to prepare a resume and cover letter for your application — just as you would for nearly any job.
But to really stand out from the crowd, you need more than just paper or a PDF. Tesla is looking for candidates with the right drive, motivations, and character. A few things they prize in a prospect are:
- Work ethic
Be sure to emphasize these aspects of yourself in your application if you can. Think of ways you can use your professional experience to showcase those traits.
How Does Tesla’s Hiring Process Work?
Because Tesla is such a unique and innovative company, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that their hiring process doesn’t fit the standard pattern. They have legions of brilliant minds vying for a place in their company, and that means they have to get creative in picking out the cream of the crop. That means an intense and demanding interviewing process, but not an impossible one.
After you’ve polished up your application and sent it in, you’ll have to wait for a bit. Every application submitted to Tesla is reviewed and evaluated by a human. That takes time, so don’t expect an overnight response.
If your application catches the company’s eye, a hiring manager will call you to ask for some further details and schedule the first of your interviews — yes, interviews plural. The interviewing process takes a little time, so get comfortable. With each interview, you’ll be proving to them that you’re the kind of person who will fit well with their culture and demonstrating your potential to help them reach their goals.
Before you sit down for a single interview, take the time to learn all about the company so you can present a solid case that you’re the right person for the job.
Some of the questions you may hear in a Tesla job interview include:
- “Why do you want to work at Tesla?”
- “What motivates you?”
- “What do you know about cars?”
- “What are some ways you’d change the company culture?”
- “Describe some problems you’ve faced in your life or career and how you solved them.”
- “Give me some more details about everything you put on your resume.”
- “Tell me about a time you had to work with a team to solve a problem or overcome an obstacle.”
- “How do you cope with stress?”
- “What makes you different from everyone else we’re interviewing?”
Tesla likes to throw riddles and seemingly unrelated questions at candidates too, such as:
- “You are standing somewhere on earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”
- “You're in a boat floating in a large tank filled with water. You throw an anchor overboard. Does the water level in the tank rise or fall?”
If you get one of those questions, don’t panic. Breathe deep, think as clearly as you can, and give it your best shot. (That applies to the whole hiring process, really.)
Once you’ve made it through the interviews, they’ll invite you to an assessment center where you’ll take part in tests to assess your abilities. You’ll spend a day or two participating in various activities so that they can gauge your aptness for the role you’re interested in.
Last of all, your application will be reviewed by Elon Musk himself. Yes, Elon personally reviews the application of every candidate who passes the interview and assessment stages. If he agrees with the hiring managers who’ve endorsed you up till then, you’re hired.
Congratulations! You’re joining one of the most exciting companies in the world. You’ll be working in a life-changing environment surrounded by inspiring teammates, constantly facing new challenges, and developing your skills. Best of all, you’ll be part of a movement to make our planet a better, more sustainable place.
And that’s how to get a job at Tesla. No one can say it’s easy, but it is possible. With the right attitude and plenty of preparation, you can find your place in the Tesla Motors team.
What If Tesla Doesn’t Hire You?
If Tesla isn’t the place for you after all, don’t take it too hard. Not everyone can work at such an in-demand company. Your dream job is still out there, just waiting for you.