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What Elon Musk looks for in his employees

The founder of Tesla fears “missing” big talents: “If Nicolas Tesla were alive today, would he have cash for the interview?”; what can be done?

As CEO of Tesla and Spice X, Elon Musk leads two of the world’s most innovative companies. But even someone smart and talented like him can’t make it all himself. Therefore, he attaches immense importance to recruiting the right people for his companies.

Asked a question from the US Air Force on Space Day, Musk said: “You want to be sure that if someone excellent wants to join the company, he’ll at least get an interview. That’s actually one of my biggest concerns. For example, if Nicolas Tesla was alive today, would he have been invited for an interview? If not, we are probably doing something wrong. And I’m not entirely sure he would have come for the interview.

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“So if one of the brightest engineers who ever lived could be rejected, we need to fix it and make sure we don’t block the door for talent, and that we’re looking for the right things.

“As a general rule, you have to look for evidence of extraordinary abilities. I don’t care if someone graduated from college or high school or any other institution … Did he or she build some particularly impressive device? Won a particularly tough competition? Have an excellent idea? Solve a complicated problem? ”

Musk concluded the point with an unusual question: “What did that person do that is clear evidence of extraordinary abilities?”

“Clear evidence of extraordinary abilities” five words that every hiring manager needs to memorize, in every company: evidence of extraordinary abilities evidence of exceptional capabilities.

Research shows that the correlation between educational attainment and high job performance is weak. So much so that companies like Apple and Google no longer require employees with a college degree.

So what is more important described? Intelligence, for example, includes emotional intelligence. The desire and ability to learn and improve, and of course the concrete skills to do the job.

The more exceptional the candidate shows in these areas, the greater his potential for contribution to the company.

But what does the evidence of extraordinary abilities look like? And how can they make their disclosure part of the hiring method? It’s easy to say “recognize them when you see them”, but the truth is that this is not always the case. Easily interviewers and hiring managers can miss evidence if they don’t know where (or what) to look for. has posted some suggestions to help you identify evidence of exceptional job candidates:

Ask them to solve a problem

Candidates have a problem to solve. This can be a typical problem they will face in their work, or something more complex that your company is struggling with on a larger scale. When analyzing the candidates’ answers, look for thinking skills and the ability to formulate thoughts and solutions clearly.

Have a competition

Competition can be a great way to recognize talent and excellence. For example, Microsoft hosts Hakathon every year at its annual festival, which is partly a science fair and partly the Technology Expo. Employees are asked to realize their “two-worlds” ideas in reality. Of course, your company’s competition can focus on fresh recruits. But the Microsoft Hackathon is a great example of how to identify existing employees with the potential to move forward. “It feels that together we encourage more creativity,” said a longtime Microsoft employee on Hackathon. “That’s why we’re here.”

We looked at skills

Instead of focusing on the institution where the candidate or his / her degree was studied, a number of companies discovered that talents come from different backgrounds. For example, a few years ago, Linkedin launched REACH, an internship for engineers that gives candidates opportunities “who are passionate about coding, have a strong interest in independent learning and growth, and are willing to work to achieve their goals and improve their community.” To cope, applicants must complete an application form and coding challenge, to help recruiters determine their skill level. What is not required of the candidates? College degree.

Of course, whoever is considered an ideal candidate for your company may not be suitable for other companies, which is also very much dependent on the job you want to hire. But excellent companies know that no role is eternal and that there is always room for talent. So if you are looking for employees who can improve your company and move forward, remember these five words: clear evidence of exceptional talent.



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