Leadership

Top SpaceX HR exec: Here’s what it takes to score a job at Elon Musk's company

If you want a job at Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX, there is one thing all candidates absolutely need to have: an appetite for exploration.

"We're out there looking for people that want to help us achieve that goal of making humans multi-planetary," SpaceX vice president of human resources Brian Bjelde recently told job listings and career site Glassdoor.

Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and has since been making historic strides toward making reusable rockets, including its most recent accomplishment of launching the first reused rocket on a NASA mission. The company's ultimate goal is to enable people to live on other planets.

SpaceX has been rated one of the top places to work on Glassdoor for two consecutive years now. Given the volume of applications the company receives, Bjelde said he also looks for three things in candidates: passion, drive and talent.

While your resume is key to detailing your accomplishments, Bjelde said his team really wants to learn what makes you tick, what motivates you to do your best work and how you like to be challenged.

"Resumes gauge the ability to write a bulleted list of achievements, and that's not always indicative of success — the resume is not going to be sitting in the seat doing the work on Monday," Bjelde said.

One way he recommends that you make your resume more personable is to discuss a failure you've experienced in your career so far and discuss how you overcame it.

Furthermore, Bjelde wants hiring managers and employees who are part of the interviews to "always be focused on hiring people better than themselves."

"If you're given the opportunity to grow your team and you seek out someone better than yourself, then you're going to make the company better," he added.

Previously an engineer at NASA and SpaceX, Bjelde noted that it's also important to put the candidates' skills to the test before hiring them.

"If you're hiring someone to be a world-class welder here, then we actually bring them in as part of the interview and give them a welding assignment to understand their talent with this task," Bjelde said. "We do the same thing with our engineering groups, and with any role in which the work activity can be distilled into a practical examination."

What Bjelde ultimately wants to see in SpaceX candidates is the same mission-driven work ethic he sees from Musk, who has always made clear that the company's collective goal is to get humans to Mars.

"We're not all here to serve Elon Musk and his needs — rather, he's there to serve ours," Bjelde said. "It's rare, and it's a breath of fresh air to have a leader who sincerely cares. It's not about the bottom line or making a dollar to him — it's about the mission."

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Video by Mary Stevens