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What Elon Musks Looks For When Hiring

Earlier this month, Tesla held what it called “A.I. Day” to show off its efforts to build artificial intelligence computers capable of autonomous driving. One of the main reasons for the event was to recruit top talent — which got me thinking about a tweet from last year, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about the four characteristics he looks for in a new hire.

In that case, the occasion was that SpaceX, one of the other companies run by Musk, was hosting a career day. To encourage people to come, Musk explained what he was looking for. You might think he was looking for people with expertise in rocket propulsion or any number of advanced engineering specialties. Interestingly, he wasn’t.

I think every leader can agree that finding, recruiting, and developing top talent is one of the single biggest challenges facing any growing business. Hiring the wrong people can be costly in terms of both time and resources. That’s why it’s worth understanding what characteristics actually contribute to making a candidate a top performer.


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