How to Get a Product Management Job at Tesla

If you have a passion for fast cars and renewable energy (being a fan of Elon Musk probably wouldn’t hurt either!) then you’ve probably thought about getting a Product Management job at Tesla. If you haven’t…you definitely should!

But getting to work on some of the most desired cars in the Western world won’t be easy. That’s why we put together this easy all-you-need guide for getting your interview and acing it!

Tesla car

What is Tesla?

Tesla is the perfect company to marry your Product skills and your love for renewable energy.

According to their LinkedIn, “Tesla aims to accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy by ensuring we provide a seamless and frictionless experience to our customers.”

  • Locations: Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with other locations in Fremont, Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, and Sparks.
  • Average Product Manager salary: $85,133/yr USD
  • Benefits: 401K, high-quality health insurance, unlimited time off (though obviously subject to approval). You’ll also have the opportunity to drive some pretty awesome cars!
  • Previous experience required: An entry-level PM role at Tesla requires a minimum of 5 years experience in a Product role, and a Bachelor’s or Masters in Engineering – or a similar discipline.
Tesla charger

Who is Elon Musk?

Love him or hate him (though if you’re considering applying to his company, the former is better!) Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, is a major player in the tech world right now.

While the chances are pretty small that you’d meet Musk at the interview stage, it’s worthwhile to know at least a little about him.

He has two bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics from the University of Pennsylvania, and dropped out of Stanford where he was pursuing a PhD in energy physics to take advantage of the dot-com bubble in the 90s.

He launched his first company, Zip2 in 1995, which gave newspapers access to online city guides. When Compaq acquired it in 1999 Musk received $22 million for his 7% share.

He went on to co-found X.com which would later merge with Confinity and was renamed to PayPal, gaining Musk $165 million. Musk then founded SpaceX in 2001, which remains America’s largest private aerospace manufacturer.

The man who could be the first to put humans on Mars might be your future boss!

Check out Musk’s TED Talk on Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity from 2013

What Do Current Tesla Employees Say?

There are a few things to note about working at Tesla which you won’t find on their careers website!

Here’s what you need to know:

  • It’s a tough, fast-paced environment to work in, which can be either thrilling or exhausting, depending on your personality.
  • When you’re in a meeting with Elon Musk, if you don’t contribute he will call you out. Make sure you’re confident enough to speak up when you’re needed.
  • Work/life balance can be difficult to manage as long hours are expected – but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing the intensity can be a valuable experience.
  • At the interview stage, all expenses like travel, accommodation, and meals are provided. 
  • Everyone loves being able to test drive Tesla cars!
  • You are provided with constant training to help you grow, but actual career progression within the company is said to be limited.
  • The company culture is very friendly, welcoming, and professional.

What Happens in a Tesla Product Manager Interview?

Stage 1: You can apply directly for a particular position via the usual sources (LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, etc) and you might have a recruiter reach out to you if they find your profile interesting.

Stage 2: You’ll have a phone interview with a recruiter to make sure you meet the basic requirements. Depending on the team, you may also speak with a team member at this stage. You can expect fairly easy questions, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your best foot forward!

Stage 3: Once you’ve passed the phone stage you’ll be invited to an on-site interview, or a series of on-site interviews. You’ll most likely meet with several teammates, including senior members. This might take place over the course of a couple of days, which you’ll be informed of in advance.

Stage 4: After a few days (usually up to 2 weeks) you’ll be informed on the status of your application.

According to employees, Tesla likes to keep the interview process fairly short and sweet, so expect intense interviews but short wait times.

Tesla building

Potential Interview Questions

While you can expect to be asked some common Product Management interview questions, we want you to go into that interview super prepared! So we combed through sites like Glassdoor to bring you questions asked in real Tesla interviews:

What do you know about Tesla?

Tell me about a time you’ve worked with Software Engineers?

What goals do you have for your first 6 months of working at Tesla?

It’s easy to get burnt out at Tesla – how can you make sure you don’t?

Why/when are you leaving your current role?

Why did you choose your major?

What do you know about Tesla cars?

What is work, what is energy, and what is power?

Several interviewees have also mentioned that they were asked to describe aspects of a previous project/product in extreme detail. You might also find this piece from Fast Company from the perspective of a former Tesla recruiter of interest.

Now you have everything you need to step into a Tesla interview room with confidence! Check out the Ultimate Interview Checklist to get doubly prepared. Did you find this guide helpful? Tweet us @ProductSchool!

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