Getting A Job At Tesla
Tesla was founded in 2003, and has since become a real powerhouse in vehicle manufacturing and the production and storage of clean energy.
The founders of Tesla were engineers who wanted to prove that electric vehicles can be better, faster, and more fun to drive than gasoline vehicles, and with several different model options available throughout the world now, Tesla is perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the world.
Tesla is headquartered in San Francisco Bay, and produces vehicles in Fremont, California, and Gigafactory in Shanghai, but has offices all around the world including Canada, the US, Europe, and Asia.
Tesla's mission is ‘to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy’, and as a business Tesla is looking for the brightest and best minds who can help create that - whether through vehicle production, or working on the generation and storage of infinitely scalable clean energy.
The culture at Tesla is fast paced, energetic, and innovative, with an inclusive environment designed to let every employee shine and develop regardless of background, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality.
Tesla as a company is at the pinnacle of technology, and the values of the business reflect the consistent striving for perfection. Back in 2006, when Musk first became chairman of Tesla, his vision was to create a series of increasingly affordable cars that would become energy positive - actually going beyond just nullifying carbon emissions and putting more energy back into the system than is being consumed.
This approach to research and development might have been a bit of a rollercoaster, but the values that are important to Tesla, in general, reflect the path to creating both amazing vehicles and the cleanest energy.
Types Of Roles
There is more to working at Tesla than just programming and engineering; all the roles available at Tesla are advertised on their career pages, and there are opportunities for recent graduates as well as internships across all business areas.
Interns can get involved in a program that is well compensated and designed to be a talent pipeline for a full-time role in the future, and internships are available across the business areas from software programming, to the Powerwall initiative, and even in HR, operations and sales.
Applicants can choose roles depending on their area of interest and expertise, including:
- Software and programming
- Customer Service
Each role has specific requirements including skills, competencies, qualifications and experience.
Hiring Process At Tesla
The application process at Tesla has several distinct stages, but certain things might be different depending on the role that you have applied for. It is well-known that the process can be long and somewhat vague, requiring patience between completion of each stage and hearing whether you have been successful.
The first stage is to complete an online application. All available roles are advertised on the internal Careers section of the Tesla website, and you can filter your search by job type and location.
Once you have selected a role that suits you, the job description is full of all the information you will need to craft a bespoke CV and cover letter that will emphasize your experience, competencies and qualifications that are specific to that role.
When you choose to apply, you can either set up a quick application or create a Candidate Profile - the latter is more useful if you are applying to more than one role, which is actively encouraged at Tesla.
Aside from basic contact details, the application form is about uploading your carefully crafted and bespoke CV and cover letter.
This will be assessed using both a computer algorithm (ATS) and read by an actual person too, and if you meet the requirements, you will be invited to the next stage.
The first phone interview will be with a member of the Hiring Team, and consists of questions about your CV and cover letter, as well as some 'getting to know you' questions and finding out why you want to work at Tesla.
This is usually the first time you will have had a conversation with Tesla regarding a job, so enthusiasm and research is really important. The recruiter wants to know specifics about what attracted you to apply for a role at Tesla, as well as considering your future plans and how much you know about the business.
Be prepared to go in-depth with answers about your relevant experience and qualifications, and try to provide examples of the skills and competencies that they are looking for in the job description.
There is usually an opportunity to ask questions here about the application process, the role itself or the wider business - try and think of some questions that are more interesting than 'how much holiday do I get' or similar.
There are sometimes more than one telephone interview depending on the position that you have applied for.
If you are successful and the recruitment team is interested in taking your application forward to the next stage, you will receive an email invitation to complete an online assessment.
Hogan Personality Inventory
The HPI takes this a little further, to assess your personality and how you relate to others on your best day, known as your 'bright side' personality. The scales used for this include:
- Interpersonal Sensitivity
- Learning Approach
It also assesses your potential work performance, looking at service orientation, stress tolerance, reliability and potential in different job levels like clerical, sales, and managerial.
The test is not timed and usually takes 15 - 20 minutes to finish. You will be presented with several sentences, and need to decide if they are true or false in describing you.
Depending on the role you have applied for, you will be assessed by several different Tesla employees through a series of interviews. Some might be completed by the Hiring Team, while others will be led by managers and team leaders in the department you have applied for.
These interviews will consist of a combination of motivational and competency-based questions. Competency-based questions are best answered using an example, and you might find it easier to arrange your answers using the STAR mnemonic (Situation, Task, Action, Result). You can use the details available in the job description to get an idea of the competencies that you might be asked about before the interview so you can be prepared.
The motivational questions are specifically looking for why you have chosen Tesla, and are a good opportunity to demonstrate that you have researched the role, the business, and the wider industry before applying.
You will be informed about how many interviews you will face, and once they are all complete you will receive some feedback about your performance. If you are successful, you will be invited to the final stage of the process - the Assessment Centre.
Tesla's Assessment Center
Depending on the role you have applied for, the assessment centre might be one or two days long and consists of several different activities, both individual and in groups. There will be other applicants at the assessment centre, and they might be looking for other roles.
During the assessment centre, you can expect to complete activities like:
- Individual presentations
- Group discussions
- Role plays
You will also have to complete more psychometric and skills tests if the role requires it. These can include verbal reasoning to assess your ability to read, understand and analyse information in text, and a numerical reasoning assessment looking at the way you can read, understand and manipulate data presented in tables and graphs. There might be skills tests, particularly if you have applied for a software, programmer, or engineer role.
It was widely reported that Elon Musk used to have the final say on applications early in Tesla's history - while it is unclear if this is still the case, keep this in mind throughout the process because it will help you perform better!
If you are successful in the assessment centre, the recruitment team will be in touch with a job offer and the next steps to your new career.
What's It Like To Work At Tesla?
Working at Tesla is challenging but it is also rewarding, with an industry-standard compensation programme and access to the best technology and brightest minds in the world.
Employees can also enjoy:
- Medical, vision, and dental cover
- Retirement plans
- Paid time off
- Stock options
- Employee loans
- Employee discounts
US employees can get discounts at places like Disney Resorts, too!
Top Tips To Getting Hired At Tesla
Follow Tesla's Dream
Passion and enthusiasm are really important to Tesla, and this means that all employees need to demonstrate that they share the same dream as the founders.
The drive to innovate and to create better ways of doing things is part of the vision that Tesla has, and this forms an important part of their values.
Embrace The Pressure
It is widely reported by employees that many roles are fast-paced, and this pressure is something that needs to be embraced for success. The flurry of interviews and tests can seem intimidating, but they are good demonstrations of the workplace culture that always wants employees to perform at their best. The inclusive culture needs every member of the team to take part and thrive under pressure.
Practice And Prepare For Tests
While the Hogan Personality Inventory is built to assess your behaviour and traits, practicing for this test will help you find out more about yourself. For the other tests in the assessment centre, practice will be beneficial, as you can get familiar with the structure and wording of the assessments.
General practice for numerical and verbal reasoning, as well as brushing up on your technical skills where necessary, should be paired with test preparation like getting enough sleep, making sure that you have eaten well and are adequately hydrated.
Be Ready To Demonstrate Your Skills
The hiring team wants to make sure that you can live their values and demonstrate your skills, so be prepared to show off what you can do throughout the application process. Tesla is well-known for hiring the very best, and with a tough, long-winded and very specific recruitment process, you want to make sure that you are exactly what they are looking for.
Is It Hard To Get A Job At Tesla?
In a word - yes. As a demonstration of the competition that you will face in your application, in 2017 Tesla received more than half a million applications for just 2,500 roles.
This means that you need to meet and even exceed the basic requirements of the role to get past the first stage of the process, and then perform at your very best throughout the rest of the assessments and interviews.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Work At Tesla?
For an internship, you need to be a student enrolled in a relevant program at an undergraduate or advanced level, with a good academic standard.
For other positions including full-time roles, the qualifications needed will depend on the role and the level applied for, but this information will be provided in the job description.
How Do I Prepare For A Tesla Interview?
There are a number of interviews in the application process for a role at Tesla, and you should ensure that you are as prepared as possible. You want to make sure that you have prepared a number of relevant examples of your experiences that demonstrate your competencies and skills in relation to the role that you have applied for.
You also want to present yourself as well as possible. The recruiting team are the best people to ask about dress code, but if you are unsure then smart business wear is always a good bet. You want to be comfortable but presentable.
Be open and honest, confident and enthusiastic, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about something.
How Long Is The Tesla Interview Process?
Depending on the role you have applied for, the process can take anything from several weeks to several months, but you will be kept in the loop as and when decisions are made.
Due to the volume of applications, if you do not hear back after a couple of weeks from the initial application form, you have likely been unsuccessful. However, you can apply again or to another role.