hiring at TESLA – impressing Elon Musk

During Peretz’s time at Tesla, the company grew from 200 to 16,000 employees worldwide. But when she joined in 2010, she said Tesla wasn’t as well known as it is today. As a result, her role was more devoted to headhunting than sifting through thousands of applications. business insider story

“We were really selling a dream at that time,” she said. “We did not have brand equity at that point. We didn’t know whether our stock was going to be worth anything.”

As a result, hiring was a major priority for the company.

“Elon is really obsessed with hiring world class talent,” she said. “The pressure was on in recruiting.”

For a single role, which generally took about two months to fill, the process would be:

1. Screening and preliminary conversations

Screen five to 15 people per role.

Have a preliminary conversation. These mostly focused on the candidate’s background and greatest accomplishments. Peretz said the goal was to gauge the person’s technical abilities, as well as get a sense of the their career trajectory.

2. Deeper conversations with a hiring manager

If the initial conversation went well, dive deeper into the person’s background.

Next, a hiring manager interviewed the individual, asking both technical and cultural questions. Recruiters also did a deep dive into potential factors affecting each hire, like relocation and compensation.

3. An on-site interview

When a candidate cleared those hurdles, it was time for an on-site interview.

“Once we flew them in, it would be a pretty intense day for them,” Peretz said.

The day would involve several interviews, including an interview with a whole panel of Tesla employees. Applicants would also take technical and engineering tests, and have their problem solving skills analyzed throughout the day.

4. Impress the CEO

If the candidate fared well, they would move on to the final step: impressing Musk himself.

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