Applying to Tesla: This is what Elon Musk really matters

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As early as September 2020, Elon Musk advertised on Twitter with the words “Please work at Tesla Giga Berlin! It will be great fun !! ”for employees of his Gigafactory in Brandenburg. But what do you have to bring with you if you want to start at the US electric car manufacturer? A former Tesla recruiter has now revealed the question that most engineers stumble on.

Because if you want to pass an interview with flying colors, you have to talk about your performance. You should know which of them you should particularly emphasize. Otherwise your entire interview could fail.

In an article in Fast Company magazine, former Tesla recruiter Max Brown said that this was the question that candidates often struggled with: “Tell me about your most important technical achievement, the project you are most proud of” .

At first it doesn’t sound difficult at all. Certainly no trickier than some of the other questions Tesla has asked applicants in the past. Brown, who has conducted more than 1,000 interviews with candidates for the automaker, complains that many of the applicants presented the wrong projects and successes.

“In my experience, applicants instinctively choose the project that sounds best on paper – but that’s not always the best that illustrates their actual technical skills,” he says.

Focus on smaller projects

Usually it is better to focus on a smaller project where you can really address all the technical aspects. Because in many cases your most impressive project was definitely teamwork. According to Brown, in the ensuing discussion about your project, don’t let yourself be caught thinking someone else has taken on a particular task. Boasting can be a good strategy for making a positive first impression – but only if you have evidence to back it up.

“The real reason recruiters are asking this question is because they need a topic they can use for follow-up questions to learn the candidates’ technical expertise,” Brown told The Fast Company.

Most of the weaker answers to this question would often have resulted in the applicant either sounding like they wanted to excel at others’ work, or they did not lead to a “productive technical discussion”. And the last thing you probably want is to come across as dishonest in an interview.

There are additional bonus points for personal responsibility

It is better if you point out a problem, present the solution that you have found for it, and then respond to your individual contribution. This type of interview is also used with the PayPal payment service, for example. There are additional bonus points if you can back up your answers with examples that demonstrate strength and personal responsibility. This applies to all job interviews – not just those at Tesla.

“You’d think that telling a story about a relatively small project would bore the recruiter,” says Brown. But if that is the project with which you really demonstrate your skills, you should name this. “HR managers want to let off steam – and hopefully learn something new themselves”

The text was translated from English by Franziska Telser. You can find the original here.

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