What Elon Musk Looks For When He Hires

What Elon Musk Looks For When He Hires: CEOs know that hiring the right people can build a company. Elon Musk personally interviews candidates for some high-profile positions to date. SpaceX is hiring big time. Musk tweeted that his company needs engineers, technicians, builders, and necessary support personnel in and around southern Texas — its production facility and launch site for Starship.

He hopes to bring in several thousand more in the next year or two. But, if you want one of the major jobs, you have to pass muster. So, what does Musk look for in job candidates?

According to Ashley Vance’s biography, she is known to ask people riddles during job interviews. Like this: Imagine that you are standing on the surface of the earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end right where you started. Where are you?

One north is the North Pole. If you start there and go a mile south, then a mile west, and then a mile north, you’ll make a triangular path and get back to the North Pole. But there is actually more than one answer. Musk has been known to do follow-ups: Where else could you be?

Its north is somewhere near the South Pole. Imagine a circle with a circumference of one mile. If you started one mile north of the circle and traveled one mile south, around the circle one mile west, then one mile north, you would be back at your starting point.

Musk is said to care less about whether the person gets the right answer and more about how they try to solve the problem. Attitude is important as he explained in this interview with a leading German automobile magazine.

When I interview someone, I really just ask them to tell the story of their career, the tough problems they’ve dealt with, how they’ve dealt with them, and how they made decisions at critical transition points.

Usually, that’s enough for me to feel great about someone. And to find someone who is less than honest, he says, pays attention to whether they can describe their solution in detail. Detectives also adopt the same strategy during interrogation.

Honesty helped Sundar Pichai get a job at Google. When interviewers asked what he thought about Gmail that same day, he said he couldn’t answer the question because he wasn’t able to use the product.

This impressed the interviewers enough to move on to the next round. Exactly a decade later, he became CEO. Before succeeding in an interview, it can be hard to get just one interview.

Musk has questioned whether one of the greatest inventors of all time, Nikola Tesla, would have reached the interview stage at the company that now bears his name.

The Tesla CEO has even said: This is actually one of my big concerns. If Nikola Tesla was alive today, could he get an interview? And if not, we are doing something wrong. And I’m not quite sure he’ll get an interview.

To minimize the chance that talented people aren’t overlooked, he says his companies don’t always focus on candidates from school or even if they just graduated from university.

On Tesla’s career page, the requirement for its artificial intelligence team to be a software engineer is either a Bachelor of Science in an applied field or “proof of exceptional skill” is something that Musk has repeatedly reiterated.

We are only looking for evidence of extraordinary ability. It is not clear how many people who do not have degrees have actually been hired at Tesla. But degree or not, “everyone must pass (a) the hardcore coding test”. Those closest to Musk believe he has a knack for hiring talent.

When he began recruiting for SpaceX in the early 2000s, Musk met an engineer named Tom Mueller through an amateur rocket club in California. He talked with Mueller for hours and knew he had struck gold.

Muller is called the modern godfather of rocket science. He led the design of SpaceX’s Merlin engines that power the Falcon line of rockets before being retired last year.

Elon was very good at spotting talent and hired people who recognized talent. I think my group, the propulsion, was really strong. It’s hard to hire really strong people, train them right, and beat a small group of really smart people.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to have Musk as the boss. There are wide-ranging complaints by former employees about the difficult working conditions in the headlines. Musk is also asked to expect a level of excellence from employees. Take it from Dolly Singh — former head of talent acquisition at SpaceX.

When someone on the question-and-answer site asked Quora: What’s it like to work with or for Elon Musk? He replied: Working with him is not a comfortable experience, he is never satisfied with himself so he is not really satisfied with anyone around him.

He pushes himself harder and he pushes others around him in the same way. The challenge is that he is a machine and the rest of us are not. So if you work for Elon you have to accept the inconvenience.

But in that discomfort is the kind of evolution you can’t find anywhere else, and every ounce is worth blood and sweat. Musk has also given his employees advice on how they can be more productive.

He once reportedly sent an email to Tesla employees suggesting they try to avoid holding too many meetings. Even saying that people should feel free to walk out of a meeting if it isn’t adding any value. Whether you’re employed at Tesla or any company, it’s all about working as efficiently as possible.


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Information Source: Youtube – Newsthink

7 thoughts on “What Elon Musk Looks For When He Hires”

  1. Very good read. The question he asked I had in my head 1 second. Then kept reading and I became uncomfortable with my first thought . Moral go with your instinct. Thanks for providing the article.
    Thank Ryi

  2. Id say he’s looking for someone with smarts. Intellectual thinkers with scientific minds. Usually highly intelligent people are hard working and trust worthy. IMO


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