Your Guide To The SpaceX Hiring Process

Space Crew Team - 08 March 2024

SpaceX is always looking for the best and brightest minds to join its team. If you're interested in a career at SpaceX, Space Crew has put this guide together for you!

We'll start by reviewing the types of interviews that you may encounter. We'll then give you some tips on how to prepare for your interview. Finally, we'll provide a few examples of questions you might be asked during your interview.

By the end, you'll have a solid understanding of what to expect from your applicant journey, so you can start applying!

What are the components of SpaceX's interview process?

Before we dive into the specifics of the SpaceX interview process, it's important that we give you a quick rundown of the standard components. The specifics of your interview process will depend on the job you're applying for, but it will certainly be made up of three main components:

  • Prescreening Interviews

  • Onsite Interviews

  • Assessments

Most applicants report sitting through around 7-9 interview and assessment rounds before making it to the offer stage. If that sounds gruelling, that's because it is!

Given the company's ambitious goals, it makes sense that they would want to vet their applicants very carefully. A thorough and taxing interview process is one way to ensure you're only getting the best of the best.

Don't worry, though - Space Crew is here to help you get through it! Let's take a closer look at the various stages of the SpaceX interview process, so you can start preparing.

Prescreening Interviews (2-4 Rounds)

If you've ever applied for a job at an enterprise-level company, you're probably familiar with prescreening interviews. If you haven't, here's what you need to know!

Prescreening interviews are typically conducted over the phone or via video chat (i.e., Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.). Their purpose is to help the company get a better sense of who you are and whether you meet the minimum criteria for the position in question.

While most companies typically have 1 or 2 prescreening interview rounds, SpaceX has between 2 and 4:

  1. Round 1 (~1 hour): The first round is typically conducted by a recruiter, who will ask you general questions about your experience, qualifications, and reasons for applying.

  2. Round 2 (~1 hour): The second round is usually with a hiring manager for the position you're applying to. You'll likely be asked in-depth resume questions, along with technical questions related to the job you're applying for.

  3. Rounds 3-4 (~1 hour each): The third and fourth rounds are usually with members of the team you'll be working with if hired. Generally, these prescreening rounds tend to be more technical in focus.

Tips for Acing SpaceX Prescreening Interviews

The best way to prepare for prescreening interviews is to brush up on your resume and familiarize yourself with the job description. The interviewer will likely ask you questions about your experience and qualifications, so it's important that you're able to speak confidently and knowledgeably about these things.

When it comes to the SpaceX interview process, prescreening interviews are just the tip of the iceberg. Next up are onsite interviews!

Onsite Interviews (4-6 Rounds)

If you make it past the prescreening stage, congrats—you're one step closer to landing a job at SpaceX! The next phase of the interview process is known as the onsite interview.

Onsite interviews are conducted at SpaceX headquarters in California, or at the company’s other locations in Florida, Texas, and Washington.

The onsite interview process takes a full day (don't worry, you get lunch halfway through!) and consists of 4-6 interview rounds. The type of interview you sit for will depend on the job you're applying for (either technical or non-technical). However, there are three main types of interviews that can come up:

  1. Behavioral Interviews

  2. Technical Interviews

  3. Assessments

Let's look at each type in a bit more depth, so you know what to expect!

1) SpaceX Behavioral Interviews

SpaceX behavioral interviews are designed to assess your ability to work well in a team environment and handle the challenges of a high-pressure job. They're generally open-ended questions that ask you to recall moments from your personal or professional past that relate to one of the company's hiring criteria.

You can expect questions like:

  • "Describe a time when you had to manage a difficult project."

  • "What do you do when you're feeling stressed at work?"

  • "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult problem."

To prepare for these kinds of questions, it's helpful to run through your resume to develop stories for each key point. You can also think of a few stories that touch on key values from the company’s mission statement and messaging, such as collaboration, accountability, or innovation.

2) SpaceX Technical Interviews

The SpaceX technical interview is, unsurprisingly, focused on your technical skills and abilities. Members of the team you'd be working with conduct these interviews and often take the form of a case study.

You can expect questions like:

  • "Which of the three heat transfer modes is the most effective?"

  • "What is the difference between a thread and a process?"

  • "List as many STL containers as possible."

To prepare for these kinds of questions, it's helpful to brush up on your technical skills and knowledge—especially your fundamentals! Online practice tests can be helpful if you’re able to find one that covers the job’s target subject matter. If not, Glassdoor is a great source for past assessment questions.

3) SpaceX Assessments

The last type of interview you may encounter during the SpaceX interview process is an assessment. These are designed to test your ability to perform the specific tasks required for the job you're applying to.

If you're applying for a position as an engineer, you may be asked to complete an engineering design challenge or problem set. If you're applying for a software engineering role, your assessments might be online coding tests administered through Codility.

The best way to prepare for assessments is to familiarize yourself with the specific skills and tasks required for the job you're applying to. If you have any previous experience in the relevant field, be sure to draw on that to give yourself a leg up.

Tips for Acing SpaceX Onsite Interviews

The best way to prepare for onsite interviews is to familiarize yourself with the company's mission and values. The interviewers will likely ask you why you want to work at SpaceX and how your skills and experience can contribute to their goals.

It's also a good idea to think about your answers using an interview answer framework like the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Results) method. The STAR method helps you structure your stories so that they're clear and concise. Here's a quick summary of how it works:

  • Situation: Describe the context of the situation you were in. Use descriptive language to set the scene.

  • Task: What were you trying to achieve? What were the stakes? Who was involved?

  • Action: What did you do to achieve your goal? Explain your actions and the reasoning you used to determine the best course.

  • Results: What was the outcome of your actions? Did you achieve your goal? Don't worry if you didn't; just make sure you explain what you learned!

Finally, don't forget to practice your problem-solving skills! Many of the interview questions will require you to think on your feet and solve complex problems. The more practice you have, the better you'll do.

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Timeline for SpaceX Interview Process

While there isn't an exact timeline for the SpaceX interview process, we can give a sense of the amount of time you can expect to spend at each stage.

  • Prescreening Stage (1-2 Weeks): From the time you schedule your first prescreening interview, you can expect to spend around 1-2 weeks at this stage (depending on the number of phone interviews you're invited to).

  • Onsite Stage (2-3 Weeks): If you're invited to an onsite interview at SpaceX, it will likely take 2-3 Weeks to schedule and complete your visit.

  • Offer Stage (1-2 Weeks): Once you've completed your onsite interviews, SpaceX usually takes 1-2 weeks to decide your application. This stage might take longer if the position received a ton of applications!

  • Negotiation Stage (1 Week): If you receive an offer from SpaceX, you'll have a week to negotiate the terms of your employment. Expect this to take around one week.

Applicants can expect the interview process at SpaceX to take 5-8 weeks. While it's certainly not quick by most people's standards, it's not the longest interview process around!

Apply for SpaceX Today

The SpaceX interview process is intense, but if you're prepared, you can ace it! Be sure to brush up on your resume and qualifications, familiarize yourself with the company's mission and values, and practice your problem-solving skills. With a little preparation, you'll be one step closer to getting your dream job at SpaceX.

At Space Crew, we connect talented applicants who have dreams of working in the space industry with job opportunities at hundreds of cutting edge companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Terran Orbital

Browse the solar system's biggest job board today and take the first step towards landing your dream job! And for more advice about acing your SpaceX interviews, be sure to check out our Guide to answering SpaceX interview questions.

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