The difficulty of getting hired at Tesla will depend on the role you’re applying for.
While it may be easy to get a typical factory job as a production associate or a process tech, it’s a bit more difficult getting an engineering job at Tesla. Unless you’re an amazing engineer, you’ll need some experience and a bachelor’s degree to even be considered.
While the requirements may not be high, actually getting hired at Tesla is a different thing. The obstacle here is the huge amount of applications Tesla receives every month. You might get considered, but to get hired you’ll need to stand out.
Requirements to Work at Tesla
Your requirements to work at Tesla will depend on the position you’re applying for. Most people just want a general overview of what it takes to get a Tesla job, so let’s look at a few typical positions at Tesla.
Requirements for the typical factory positions such as production associate are minimal, and you don’t have to satisfy anything special. For example, requirements for a production associate include:
- high school diploma (preferred),
- 18 years of age,
- you can speak and write in English,
and that’s pretty much it. The only qualifications here are a high school diploma, and that is only preferred, not necessary. No experience is required. Therefore, requirements are quite low, so getting a job as a production associate at Tesla should be easier.
However, requirements for a Quality Engineering Technician are a bit higher. You need to have at least a year of experience in a Manufacturing, Quality, or Process focused role. As you gain this experience you’ll also satisfy other requirements for this role such as:
- Mechanical inspection experience using various tools
- Ability to read and interpret basic mechanical drawings
- Understanding of fundamentals of GD&T
- Experience writing work instructions
- Knowledge of Lean Manufacturing practices
Not too bad is it? These are all learned by working in such roles, and no degree is generally required. Therefore, to get hired in a typical role for a Quality Engineering Technician, you’ll need at least a year of experience in similar roles beforehand, and that’s pretty much it. This is still fairly easy to gain, and it’s on the low to medium difficulty for most people.
On the other hand, requirements for a typical engineering position at Tesla include:
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, etc)
- Proficiency in a CAD software
- Experience with component design, analysis, and validation
- Proficiency in Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing
- Previous experience in working on such projects (preferred)
Notice the “preferred” part. Tesla has openings from entry-level to expert positions in engineering, which is why previous experience is preferred, but not necessary. You just need to be familiar with basic skills in working in CAD software, have an engineering degree, and at least some experience, whether in professional or academic projects.
Remember, that even though Elon Musk says a college degree isn’t necessary if you’re shooting for an engineering role without a degree, you better make sure you have some great experience you can show them to even be considered.
Similarly, keep in mind that Tesla is quite popular these days and gets a huge amount of resumes and applications, not just in the US but across the world. While you may satisfy some basic requirements, it’s going to be difficult to get an offer unless you stand out somehow.
What Does Tesla Look For in Employees?
Tesla is looking for talented and driven people willing to work at least 40h per week (often above 50h), who are hard-working, and willing to stay at Tesla for years. They’re looking for great engineers, and highly-motivated individuals, who don’t mind occasional difficult hours.
It is well-known that many Tesla employees are often required to work long hours. This doesn’t mean that all departments at Tesla are like this. It just means that in the automotive industry, you might be pushed a bit more than usual, and this includes engineers and comes from the top from the CEO, Elon Musk.
It is also known, that while many employees don’t like this, others don’t mind either due to their payment satisfaction or the great future they are affecting through their work. You also might get paid in stocks (usually RSUs), and Tesla stocks have been rising tremendously over the past 10 years, especially since 2020.
This can motivate a lot of people to join Tesla. Others are highly motivated by working for a company that is the leader in helping the world transition to electric cars and working for a CEO that has a vision of sending people to Mars. These people are enthusiastic, motivated, highly skilled, and usually, a joy to work with.
Most Tesla employees are nice, talented, and hard-working people. If this fits your description, then this may be your kind of environment. Have a look at Tesla Careers to find the team you’re most interested in working with.
How Hard Is It to Get a Tesla Internship?
Tesla internships can be difficult to get unless you’re at one of the Universities they’re recruiting from. They recruit regularly from Universities across the world, so if you’re in one of those Universities you’re in luck. They may not pay top dollar for those recruited interns, but you can get in easily.
Tesla requires a 3.5 GPA, and although some recruiters might accept one that’s slightly below, most of them are strict with this requirement.
Another requirement often seen in a university student is previous internship experience. While this may not apply to everyone, most interns have some previous experience whether a small or a big company doesn’t matter.
An additional plus for getting a Tesla internship is extracurricular activities. Tesla is big on projects and interesting experiences, whether academic or personal. Anything interesting you’ve worked on, better yet – finished, is a big plus.
During your internship interview, you’ll have some generic questions about why you chose your major, what you know about Tesla, how you work in a team, projects you worked on, etc. So be sure to read on about Tesla, check some Tesla interview experiences online, and practice how to answer some of these interview questions.
How Hard Is It to Get an Interview at Tesla?
Tesla recruiters get dozens of applications daily, and they reject 90% of them without even looking into the great detail of each applicant. They know who can get the chance just by glancing at them. Therefore, unless you’re a great fit for the job role or have a contact, getting an interview at Tesla can be quite difficult.
With that in mind, to get an interview at Tesla you’ll need to stand out, or at least connect with the people who can refer you to the right person. This person then needs to give you a chance.
Sure, applying at the Tesla site is easy, but judging by how many applicants they get every month, it’s very difficult to get noticed, so the Tesla acceptance rate is fairly low. You need to find some way to increase your chances of at least getting a phone screen.
You could study for a few years, get a nice degree and then apply, but that’s not the answer you want. The only other way is either to gain some relevant experience or to network your way in. In the case of networking, you’ll need to fix your social network profiles, find the right people online and in the real world, and connect with them.
I’m writing a neat article on getting a job at Tesla where I’ll go into more detail on this. Look out for future articles about Tesla.