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Tesla Recruitment and Selection Process: How to Get Hired At Tesla

As a company fueled by its passion to be a global leader in sustainable energy, it’s no wonder that many talented new grads are eyeing this company as their next tech job.

Tesla is synonymous with style, elegance, and building a sustainable future.

But If you thought that the competition was lighter at Tesla in comparison to Facebook, Amazon, and Google, you’d be wrong. Did you know that Tesla had over 3 million applicants in 2021 alone?

With competition like that, you’ll need a mentor in your corner to help you land your dream job. That’s why, at MentorCruise, we dove into Tesla’s recruitment and selection process to help you learn the secrets of how to get hired at Tesla.

Tesla careers

Before diving into everything you need to know about being hired by Tesla, it’s worth spending a bit of time outlining the types of careers and jobs that are available there.

Most people automatically zero in on engineering or programming when it comes to Tesla. However, there are many more types of positions Tesla hires for that are equally as important to their business.

There are many ways to grow your career at Tesla. They are always looking for the best people for

  • Sales & Customer Support
  • HR & Recruitment
  • Finance
  • Operations & Business Support
  • Environmental
  • Health, Safety & Security

And don’t forget that Tesla only want the best people, as they state themselves:

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you went to school or what industry you’re in—if you’ve done exceptional work, join us to rethink the future of sustainable energy and manufacturing.”

If you think you’ve got the right skills and attitude, and you can demonstrate these to Tesla, the Tesla team will welcome you with open arms.

Tesla Hiring Process Overview

Before you can start enjoying perks like competitive salaries, ample paid time off, and flexible scheduling, you have to nail the interview.

All prospective employees must go through a rigorous five-step screening process before signing an offer letter. This can last from a week to more than a month. \ \ Here’s what you can expect during the hiring process:

  1. Recruiter Phone Screening
  2. Online Assessment
  3. Hiring Manager Phone Interview
  4. On-Site Interview Panel
  5. Application Results (Job Offer or No Offer)

If this process seems overwhelming, don’t worry! We’ll be walking you through the steps more thoroughly below, what they entail, and provide examples to help you nail your interview.

While a five-step hiring process can sound daunting, it’s good to know it’s a positive experience for interviewees.

How long does Tesla take to respond to an application?

How long Tesla takes to respond to your application is dependent on a number of factors including the type of role you’re applying for, where the role is based, the number of applications they have received for the role, and how important it is to Tesla for them to fill the position quickly.

As such, response times to applications can range anywhere from one to six weeks on average. If you’ve applied directly through the Tesla website and haven’t heard back after six weeks, it is safe to assume they will not be moving forward with your application.

If you’ve submitted an application after being directly approached or headhunted by Tesla themselves, the response time shouldn’t be any longer than a couple of weeks subsequent to your application date.

How to check Tesla application status?

When you apply for a position through their recruitment portal you will be asked to create an account. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to log in to your account and check the status of your application.

If the application is no longer visible in your account, that usually means that it’s been unsuccessful or the position is no longer open.

If you’ve applied through a third-party recruitment agent then you should check the status of your application with them directly.

Tesla pre-employment screening process

Tesla carries out a pre-employment screening process with every application. This involves criminal background checks as well as employment history screening.

The length of the pre-employment screening process can vary significantly. Some take as little as four days whilst others take more than four weeks. If you receive a conditional offer from Tesla it states officially that background checks can take up to six months to complete. Though it shouldn’t normally take that long.

Tesla will not hire anyone convicted of a felony. If you have any misdemeanours or issues with your employment history, this will probably work against you too.

However, always be honest if anything related to your employment or personal history is raised by Tesla recruiters during the screening process. If anything like this is discovered afterwards, chances are your offer will be withdrawn or your position will be terminated if you’ve already started your job.

How Long Is the Tesla Interview Process?

Not all positions hire at the same rate, but reports estimate that the interview process can last anywhere from one week to a month or more.

Here’s What the Interviewees Say

Despite the five-step hiring process, many interviewees rate the difficulty level of the interview as average.

Here are some comments from past interviewees:

  • The questions allowed me to show my personality and work ethic
  • The recruiter helped paint a picture of the company
  • The recruiter was fast with turnaround
  • They were down to earth

According to interview statistics from Comparably, Tesla ranks:

  • Top 5% compared to similar-sized companies for its overall interview process
  • Top 20% or a B+ rating for the interview experience

Tesla acceptance rate

As of last year Tesla had 128,290 employees, which was an increase of 29.20% on the previous year.

Tesla has increased its employee count every year since 2010 with one exception (2019).

The most recent data (2021) shows that Tesla received three million unique applications. In that year, the total number of employees grew by 28,565. Without factoring in employee turnover, this would suggest that around 0.952% of Tesla applicants get hired.

But we can be more accurate than that. Back in 2018, Tesla announced it had received 500,000 applications for 2500 positions. That’s a success rate of 0.5%.

If one allows for employees that leave Tesla, The Tesla acceptance rate currently sits somewhere between 0.5-1% of all applications.

Tesla Interview Process Timeline

Whether you wait one week or up to four weeks, here’s the interview process you can expect depending on your position.

STEP ONE: Recruiter Phone Screening

Whether you’ve filled out an application online, received a referral, or you’ve been selected as a match for an open position by one of Tesla’s recruiters, the process starts with a quick 30-minute call.

During the call, you can expect to answer questions regarding:

  • Your work history, experience, or training
  • How you handle tough challenges and your problem-solving process
  • Your salary expectations

The point of this brief call is to determine if you’re a fit for the position and if you have the skills and knowledge needed for the role.

STEP TWO: Online Assessment

During this phase of the interview, you’ll be tested in several ways over a seven-day period.

The tests are designed to assess your technical skills, literacy, numerical and excel understanding as well as a Hogan personality test to see if you’re a good fit for the company.

Senior positions should expect a more rigorous test over an extended time. The questions test your ability to think flexibly, be a problem solver, and use your knowledge and skills to solve the task.

There are many sites online that can help you prepare for an online assessment at Tesla; however, most don’t offer mentorship from employees that have actually gone through the process.

At MentorCruise, our mentors are employees at some of the most valued tech companies in the world. Their knowledge and experience can help you relieve the stress of challenging interview processes like online assessments.

STEP THREE: Hiring Manager Phone Interview

Once you’ve proven your technical merit through an online assessment, it’s time to talk with the hiring manager via a phone interview.

Here is a list of examples of interview questions you might receive:

  • What qualities do you think fit a Tesla staff employee?
  • What is the biggest challenge you foresee in this role?
  • Have you ever solved a problem with little to know information? How did you do it?
  • How would you change the culture of Tesla?

The goal of the interview is to assess your prior performance, address your specific technical skills and competencies, and consider your fit within the culture of the company.

STEP FOUR: On-Site Panel Interview

If the hiring manager deems you a good fit for the position based on your technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and your cultural fit, you’ll move on to the next phase in the interview process: the on-site panel interview.

During this phase, you’ll provide a 30-minute presentation in front of a panel of Tesla’s finest that outlines the toughest problem you’ve ever solved.

Specifically, You’ll explain how you solved it and what steps you took to address the problem.

You’ll be asked many probing questions, so be sure to recall each minute detail. How you respond could be the difference between an offer letter and a rejection.

STEP FIVE: Application Result

Once you’ve completed the four steps above, the team will go over your interview results and make a decision. If accepted, your hiring manager will send an offer letter.

How to Nail the Interview Process

The interview process starts before you’re selected. Having a tailored resume that matches the skills and qualifications a company is looking for is paramount — especially when you’re trying to score an interview at Tesla.

Here’s what we suggest:

Use STAR to Tailor Your Resume

Take a look at Tesla’s job descriptions and requirements. The more you can frame your resume so it addresses the needs of the company, the better off you’ll be.

We recommend using the STAR method. It’s a great way to frame your work experience.

The STAR method stands for:

  • Situation - what was the problem?
  • Task - what steps did you take?
  • Action - how did you solve the problem?
  • Result - what was the result of your actions?

Here is a generalized example of how you could apply this on your resume:

  • Situation and Task: Designed code for the backend interface to help address customer retention issues.
  • Action and Result: Coordinated with the analytics team and created a new application that reduced churn rate by 25%.

Tailoring your resume to address specific job descriptions and requirements is essential to the recruitment and selection process.

Evidence of excellence - Tesla applications

The STAR method taps into one of the fundamental attributes Tesla demands of potential employees; problem-solving prowess.

This is a key skill set for Elon Musk who often reiterates the need to demonstrate evidence of excellence if you want to work for Tesla.

The online Tesla application process commonly features an “evidence of excellence” field in which applicants must outline situations in which they have excelled.

It’s also highly probable this will come up again in the interview stage. So, you should have as many examples to hand as you can possibly muster.

Build Your Network to Get Your Foot In the Door

Building a solid network is key when trying to land a challenging job like working for Tesla. There are several ways you can go about networking, but our advice is to find the style that suits you best.

Here are some ways to network right from your computer:

  • Optimize your LinkedIn and Twitter pages for social proof of your job skills
  • Like, tweet, share, and hashtag to provide more opportunities to get noticed
  • Reach out to hiring managers and employees at Tesla and start a conversation
  • Offer value whenever possible to demonstrate that it’s not a one-sided connection

By doing one or more of these networking techniques, you can build up a list of people to help you get your foot in the door.

Practice Answering Behavioral and Technical Questions

During the interview process, you’ll most likely face situations where you’re asked questions about prior performance, past experiences, and your technical know-how.

The STAR method is a great way to frame your responses in an organized and cogent manner.

Tesla Interview Questions

Here are a couple of examples of questions you may answer during an interview at Tesla. The importance here should be to use STAR to frame your response highlighting your emotional intelligence, technical skill set, and problem-solving capabilities.

Sample Question 1: Why do you want to work for Tesla?

Sample Answer: I believe in Tesla’s mission and commitment to sustainable energy. As an employee of Tesla, I would dedicate myself to this mission by using my creativity, teamwork mentality, and problem-solving each day. If given the opportunity, I would continually improve my skills and commit myself to the long-term goal of creating a sustainable future through the work we do.

Sample Question 2: When have you failed? What did you learn from it?

Sample Answer: I was promoted quickly to manage other software engineers on my team. I developed impostor syndrome and questioned my every move. At times it was paralyzing; however, I persevered and sought the help of a career counselor through my work. We met weekly to work on my impostor syndrome. The following year, our team increased proficiency by 10% and met all of our deadlines faster. I learned the power of having a plan and working with others to meet large objectives that seem scary.

Tesla onboarding process

You’ve been through the recruitment and selection process and joy of joys, you got the job!

But what comes next?

  • First of all, you will receive an “offer packet” which, among other things, contains Tesla’s background checks and drug tests. Should you pass the checks, you’ll then receive an official offer of employment.
  • Next comes the Tesla onboarding process, along with the orientation process. These are actually not all that different from onboarding with most large corporations.

Initially, you will get to know the company, its ethos, and values, and the expectations Tesla has of all its employees.

Your onboarding agent will familiarize you with the company’s history and your new working environment (which normally involves a tour of factories/offices and might involve getting driven around in a Tesla on-site).

After this initial orientation, you will undertake any in-house training that your department managers have deemed necessary for you to perform your new role with Tesla’s preferred methods and standards.

Once your onboarding is complete, then you have your first real day of work - and you will have to hit the ground running. Your Manager will continue to mentor you throughout your career at Tesla, but Tesla expects the highest results from their employees from day one, so make sure you’re ready to perform. You’ve been hired because you are the best so that’s what you have to deliver.


The Tesla recruitment and selection process is challenging, but not impossible. With the right strategies, you can ace the five-step interview process and land your dream job.

The STAR method is a helpful tool for matching your work experience to Tesla’s job descriptions and requirements and organizing your thoughts when answering tough interview questions.

Are you looking for more coaching? We have mentors to help guide you through the hiring process. With the right mentor, you’ll nail every step of the Tesla recruitment and selection process and you’ll be on your way to a new rewarding career.

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