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Tesla Interview Guide for Software Engineers

A dynamic work environment and a great company culture make Tesla a great place to work at. This sustainable car manufacturer is one of the most exclusive employers in the world. According to a recent employment survey by CNBC, the selection rate for software engineers in Tesla is 0.5%. 

Working at Tesla gives you the chance to work alongside the brightest minds and provides you the satisfaction of creating a significant difference in the world. 

The Tesla job interview process is a test of your technical and coding skills and how much you believe in the company’s values and vision. If you head to the interview just for the sake of getting a highly rewarding job, the chances are that you won’t make the cut. Only those who work towards improving their problem-solving skills end up performing well enough to land the job. 

Before you go about drafting a preparation strategy, you need to be well-aware of the interview procedure. In this article, we’ll answer all the frequently asked questions about the Tesla interview process and tips on how to ace it:

  • How Long Does the Tesla Interview Process Take?
  • What Is Tesla's Interview Process Like?
  • What Exactly Is Tesla Looking for in Software Engineers?
  • How Do I Practice for Tesla’s Interview Questions?

How Long Does the Tesla Interview Process Take?

The interview process can last about two weeks or extend for a month or two. It entirely depends on the position that you are applying for and how urgently the company is hiring. 

Tesla Interview Process For Freshers vs. Experienced Professionals

It’s no surprise for a fresher with no previous experience to get hired at Tesla. If you are well-qualified and display enthusiasm for the company and its services, you basically have as much chance as those with a compelling resume.

As an experienced professional, your expertise in the relevant field will be tested. You will be put through tests that evaluate your coding and problem-solving skills. Though, if you are a well-experienced coding engineer, the interview process may be extremely quick for you.

What Is Tesla's Interview Process Like?

Getting a job at Tesla isn’t easy. The process is designed to find the brightest minds that are driven to bring change in the way the world functions.  The process may seem daunting, but the payoff is going to be worth it. 

Let’s begin by understanding the recruitment process at Tesla:

1. Application 

The first step of the Tesla interview process is the application. You have to tailor the application and the cover letter as per the position that you are applying to. The application should convey your passion for working for Tesla. The recruiter will review it, and if shortlisted, you will get a phone call from them. Update your LinkedIn profile to include the right keywords that reflect your skills. 

2. Phone Screening

In the second round of the recruitment process, the recruiter will interview you about your skills and qualifications. You will be briefed about the role. The objective of this round is to evaluate if you’re the right fit based on your skills and experience. You also need to know the company well before appearing for this round. 

3. Phone Interview With a Senior Engineer

This round is slightly more technical than the previous one. You can talk about your experience as a software developer, projects you have worked on, problems you have solved, etc. This round is extremely engaging, and you will most likely end up learning new things. 

4. Onsite Interview

For this round, you may be asked to come prepared with a presentation on your previous experience. After presenting this to a five to six-membered panel of senior engineers and hiring managers, you’ll be asked questions based on your skills and previous job roles. The questions will be based on your previous work and your knowledge of the fundamentals of data structures and algorithms. You’ll also be asked behavioral questions that gauge your attitude and motivation to work for the company.

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For some positions, you will be invited to the Tesla Assessment center. Here, you have to participate in various activities that test certain attributes of your personality and whether you would be an ideal fit for the organization. You must participate in various group activities, roleplay exercises, etc., that put your employability to the test. These activities also assess how collaborative and reliable you are.

In the past, every single hire had to get approval from Elon Musk since hiring has always been a priority for the company. Tesla also performs a thorough background check for every candidate before extending them an offer.

What Exactly Is Tesla Looking for in Software Engineers?

The objective of the Tesla job interview process is to find the best candidate who is innovative, driven to inspire change, and trustworthy. 

The foremost thing that Tesla looks for in the candidates is excellence. The interviewer will figure out if you genuinely wish to work for Tesla and believe in its mission or you are just there for the paycheck. The desire to use your skills to bring about positive change is rewarded at Tesla. 

The qualities that Tesla recruiters look for in coding engineers: 

  1. The passion that you have for the company and its vision. It is extremely important that you have conviction in the company and what it is doing. 
  2. What is the motivation behind you working for Tesla? Is the reason compelling enough? You have to provide a convincing answer to this question as it's going to affect your chances of getting selected.
  3. It’s tough working at a company like Tesla. Recruiters check if you are capable of handling stress and can hit the ground running. 
  4. Do you have the ability to think on your feet? The culture of the company is fast-paced, and they need employees who can keep up with it. 
  5. How good are you at problem-solving? Critical thinking abilities are one of the most important qualities that a Tesla aspirant should possess. 
  6. Recruiters wish to see if you are able to take ownership of your actions and failures. Accountability is a desirable characteristic in candidates appearing for a Tesla interview.
  7. Your level of preparedness for the Tesla interview process indicates how much you want to work for the company. Discover as much as you can about the company and its competitors. This will help you show the recruiters how interested you are in working for the company.
  8. Your experience and your ability to come up with innovative solutions for problems will come in handy at Tesla. They are looking for someone who believes in ‘Show, don’t tell.’ If you can demonstrate your skill set efficiently, you are very likely to get selected.

How Do I Practice for Tesla’s Interview Questions?

To enhance your chances of working at Tesla, you need to prepare for the technical interview adequately, giving yourself ample time to master data structures and algorithms concepts. 

  • Find interview questions online for software engineers and practice them to give your best shot at the interview.
  • Time yourself while practicing questions. This will help you perform better during the interview.
  • Practice mock interviews to polish your communication skills and develop the confidence to ace the interview.

Technical Interview Questions for Tesla

Getting hired as a software developer at Tesla is challenging. You need to have a clear understanding of engineering fundamentals and hands-on knowledge of software applications. Some of the questions that you may be asked during the technical interview conducted at Tesla include:

  • What is your motivation to work in this industry?
  • What is modularization?
  • What is the process you have for a programming task?
  • What is concurrency, and how can it be achieved during software product delivery?
  • What programming languages are you the most familiar with?
  • What do you understand about Agile software development?
  • What is the difference between black-box testing and white-box testing?
  • What are CASE tools?
  • What is the difference between Fixed and Fluid layouts?

Behavioral Interview questions for Tesla:

The various behavioral questions that are asked from software engineers during the Tesla interview include:

  1. Why do you wish to work for Tesla?
  2. How would you describe a dynamometer to an 8-year-old child?
  3. Tell me about a situation when you overcame failure. 
  4. What are your career plans?
  5. What are your biggest strengths?
  6. How would you resolve a conflict with a co-worker?
  7. Tell me about a situation where you received constructive criticism and how you handled it.
  8. When have you worked under pressure to complete a task?
  9. What was the one thing you did not like about your last job?
  10. What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?

Check out 40 Tesla Interview Questions for more.

Additional Tips for Tesla Interview

Some tips that can help you improve your chances of getting a job at Tesla are:

  • Learn about the company and its competitors. Having adequate knowledge about the industry and its recent happenings will help you stand out from others. 
  • Have expertise in your niche. You have to be the best at whatever you do to stand a chance of working at Tesla.
  • Make it a point to explain your thought process to the recruiter. They are more interested in knowing how you got the solution rather than whether you got it right or not.
  • You should tailor your application for a specific role. Pay proper attention to your CV and cover letter before submitting it.
  • You should use relevant examples from your previous work experience. Bring a portfolio of your work to prove that you possess the skills that the company is looking for. 
  • Be calm and composed; It helps to make the right impression.

Ready to Nail the Tesla Interview?

In this article, we’ve covered all the key information you need to start your prep. Are you still confused about how to practically apply this? Don’t worry; we are here to help!

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We have trained thousands of software engineers to crack the toughest interviews at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and other top tech companies.

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Interview Process
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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