Elon Musk wants employees with these 4 traits, according to a top HR exec at SpaceX

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.
Alberto E. Rodriguez | Getty Images

Elon Musk says he is on track to send people to Mars by 2024 through his aerospace company SpaceX.

He even gave a tongue-in-cheek example of what running around the Big Falcon Rocket spaceship could look like by sharing a GIF from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey."


And, though Musk admits he tends to over-promise when it comes to timelines, SpaceX does seem to be ramping up its hiring. Since last year, the company has more than doubled its number of job listings and has even reached a record high, according to data analysts at Thinknum. SpaceX declined to confirm this to CNBC Make It.

If you're considering applying for one of the 544 openings at SpaceX, as of Friday, it's helpful to know that there's one main trait all candidates need to have: an appetite for exploration. After all, "we're out there looking for people that want to help us achieve that goal of making humans multi-planetary," SpaceX VP of Human Resources Brian Bjelde told career site Glassdoor in December.

Bjelde said he also looks for three other qualities in candidates: passion, drive and talent — and they can't be found on a resume.

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.

To make your resume more personable, Bjelde recommends including a failure you've experienced in your career so far and discussing how you overcame it.

Bjelde sets a high bar for new recruits to the company: He wants hiring managers 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 said.

Bjelde, who worked as an engineer at NASA and SpaceX, noted that the company also puts 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," he 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."

Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, and it has been rated one of the top places to work on Glassdoor for two consecutive years. Now Bjelde looks for Musk's mission-driven work ethic in SpaceX candidates.

"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."

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook!

Don't miss:

Video by Mary Stevens

Treat your friend like a billionaire with one of these gifts
Treat your friend like a billionaire with one of these gifts