A former SpaceX employee describes the job interview tactic that ensured the company only hired the best of the best

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  • A former SpaceX employee told Business Insider that he was directed to cut interviewees off abruptly if he knew they wouldn’t be a good fit at the company.
  • Halfway through an interview they’d be escorted out.
  • It led to some uncomfortable situations.

Interviewing at SpaceX is an incredibly rigorous. But a brutal interviewing tactic makes it even more tense, according to former SpaceX employee Josh Boehm.

“If you know in the middle of an interview that [an applicant answers a question] that totally changes your mind, you’re not supposed to just be polite and finish it out. You have to end it right there and escort them out,” Boehm, now cofounder and COO of Cyph, told Business Insider.

“That actually led to a couple of uncomfortable situations,” he said, describing the entire process as a multi-part “gauntlet” applicants need to get through.

The gruelling process includes multiple phone conversations and a full day of seven to eight hour-long interviews. At any part of the process, an interviewer was instructed to abruptly cut short the interview if they had doubts, Boehm, who worked at SpaceX from 2013 to 2016, said.

“Elon and Gwynne [Shotwell] from the top down said we only really want top talent coming in. It was really difficult to bring people in and get them on the team,” according to Boehm, who said it was extremely difficult to hire people.

“It was frustrating at times,” he said.

The interviewing tactic may sound brutal, but it closely aligns to Musk’s desire for efficiency. He’s been known to call out employees when they waste his time with unnecessary meetings.

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