MockQuestions

SpaceX Interview Questions

To help you prepare for a SpaceX job interview, here are 40 interview questions and answer examples.

SpaceX was written by and updated on October 25th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 40

How do you feel about overtime?

Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

This question gauges how dedicated you would be to this opportunity. It will also help them assess how your priorities could conflict with your professional pursuits. Lastly, it will inform them of your flexibility and how much of a team player you would potentially prove to be.

Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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40 SpaceX Interview Questions & Answers

  • Adaptability

    1. How do you feel about overtime?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      This question gauges how dedicated you would be to this opportunity. It will also help them assess how your priorities could conflict with your professional pursuits. Lastly, it will inform them of your flexibility and how much of a team player you would potentially prove to be.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Try not to be caught off guard by any questions when they come up. Ensure you are as familiar with the position's expectations and requirements as possible. Thoroughly research the company, the culture, and what it's like working for them. For example, according to one employee who discussed life at the company, engineers often work over sixty hours a week and even boast about sleeping at the office because they are so invested in their careers and passionate about what they do. Being willing to keep at it in this regard is one of the traits they look for in their recruits. When evaluating your priorities, it is best to be honest with your interviewer about whether such an environment is the right fit for you. If this sounds like a good fit, then meditate on how to drive this point home in your interview and take the time to prepare well in advance.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I don't think about it. I am passionate about what I do, and I love my work. In all honesty, I suppose I am always in overtime mode. I just keep at it, and I can't stop because there's nothing I'd rather be doing than the work I love."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      Mechanical Engineer Example

      "Overtime is a normal part of every work environment. It is an expectation that there will be times when it is necessary to have to stay late to meet a deadline. To be honest, it has happened when I get so engrossed in the work I do not realize how long I have been working and accidentally work overtime."

      Written by Joseph Murphy on November 4th, 2022

      Manufacturing Engineer Example

      "Like anyone, I enjoy my personal time, but I also recognize that at times extra work is necessary in order to reach deadlines. Spending overtime in order to get everything ready for the next launch date is normal and to be expected from any company."

      Written by Timothy Cannon on November 18th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    2. How would you define success?

      What You Need to Know

      This question is more about your attitude or perspective than anything else. How you define what success means to you will tell the interviewer how well you'll fit into their work culture and get along with the others on your teams. There is a wealth of advice on the topic of success that Elon Musk has offered over the years. "Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up." Research and identify which of his principles for success you identify with most. Tie your answer to the success you plan to bring to this position.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I define success as my ability to reach the goals set for me. On a personal level, those goals are the things I wish to achieve in my life. On a work level, they are the targets set for me and the professional development I seek."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      2nd Answer Example

      "Success is the completion of any task you set out to do or any goal you set for yourself. Success is interpreted in many ways, but I know I have been successful when I feel that relief and contentment only accomplishment can bring."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Mechanical Engineer Example

      "Success is what you make it. Everyone has their own goals and can define their own success. For me, it was getting my Professional Engineers license. No one believed I was able, but I passed the tests on the first try."

      Written by Joseph Murphy on November 4th, 2022

      Manufacturing Engineer Example

      "Success can be hard to define through metrics as far as productivity, number of tasks completed, etc. I think the best way to define success is through continuous improvement. This could be personal improvement or for your organization but as long as there is that continuous upwards progression, I believe that is success."

      Written by Timothy Cannon on November 18th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    3. If we asked your peers, coworkers, or boss about you, what three things do you think they would say?

      What You Need to Know

      The recruitment process for SpaceX consists of a wide range of personality and IQ tests where they'll explore your career history, skills, behavior, and attitude. Elon Musk requires all his employees to have an upbeat personality, a clear understanding of what is expected, and fit into their culture. So, when answering this question, perform your research, and try to identify ways you would complement their teams. Think back to compliments or comments your coworkers have made about you. Offer anything that exemplifies what a good match you'd make for the teams at SpaceX.

      "You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great - and that's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars."

      -Elon Musk

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "They'd say I am incurably curious, honest to a fault, and the most happy-go-lucky person they know."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      Mechanical Engineer Example

      "I am intelligent, passionate, and quiet...most likely in that order. I am smart and looked to as an expert in my field. Passionate may be under-selling it, when I am right I will fight to the grave to prove as much. I am quiet and don't say much unless I know what I am speaking of."

      Written by Joseph Murphy on November 4th, 2022

      Manufacturing Engineer Example

      "They would say that I am a hard worker who is constantly trying to learn more and more. I am an extremely flexible individual with an excellent capacity to adapt to new situations or requirements."

      Written by Timothy Cannon on November 18th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    4. Tell me about yourself.

      What You Need to Know

      The employee culture at SpaceX is known for long hours, non-stop, where you spend most of your time with your teammates. This question is a personality check to unravel what makes you tick, what motivated you to pursue this field, and what drives your passion beyond your resume. It is an icebreaker question designed to get you to relax, get you out of interview mode, and show who you are as a person. How you answer will help them assess how well you'll fit in and whether you are made of the right stuff.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "From an early age, I have been incurably curious. I used to take apart all of our appliances and put them back together, which drove my parents crazy. I can be a bit obsessive-compulsive when working on a project. I have trouble stopping and letting go of what I am working on. I tried to fight it, but then I'd lose sleep thinking about it and eventually quit trying to sleep and kept working on a project until I needed to sleep. I have never been a quitter. I firmly believe any obstacle can be overcome. Where there is a will, there is a way."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Behavioral

    5. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

      What You Need to Know

      This question serves as a personality assessment. Before answering this question, recognize that you don't have to be confined to one extreme or the other. Sometimes there is more value in displaying your propensity for thinking outside the box and having a foot in both worlds, recognizing the significance of the question.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      These are two distinct metaphorical views of innovator personalities. This question aims to determine which one applies to you. A hunter's personality focuses on a short-term goal, ready to fearlessly charge and overcome the odds. It also suggests attention to a broad landscape, seeing what is on the immediate horizon. Gatherers are viewed as more methodical, playing the long game toward the big-picture goals. These personalities are typically viewed as multitaskers focused on the data and the finer details with a more narrow view.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I'd say I am whichever I need to be at any time. Using this metaphor, I am a survivor who identifies every opportunity presented. I'm resourceful and will keep moving forward, depending on the conditions of any given day."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Behavioral

    6. How do you manage your time?

      What You Need to Know

      Time management is more than keeping a calendar, making to-do lists, or setting reminders for yourself. It's about possessing a grasp on what you can attainably accomplish in any given period and strategizing how to fit every piece of the puzzle. Without strong time management skills, it is impossible to know when to recruit help from your teams or delegate appropriately. Without a firm grasp of time management, it will be more difficult to manage your stress and maintain balance in your work and personal life. Consider these points as you detail the methods you employ to manage your time at work. Elaborate on how your techniques have contributed to your track record for success.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require additional hours from me. Never have I under-delivered on a deadline."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Behavioral

    7. Who would you say inspires you?

      What You Need to Know

      This question serves as a personality assessment, which will help them determine how well you'll potentially fit into their work culture. Inspiration is typically defined as being moved or influenced by something or someone outside of yourself, which expands your understanding of what you can accomplish and what is possible. Having an immediate answer at the ready for this interview will suggest your dedication to your mission of what you hope to accomplish in your career.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "My previous manager was a huge inspiration to me. Her passion for the aerospace industry was motivating and put the fire in me to climb the ladder. I also find inspiration from the SpaceX COO and President, Gwynne Shotwell. To be a woman recognized with such influence in this industry is rare, indeed."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Behavioral

    8. Do you focus on the reasons something won’t work, or do you find ways to adapt to change?

      What You Need to Know

      This question assesses your attitude and approach to innovation. Employees of Elon Musk have described him as a machine, someone who refuses failure and demands a path be forged around every obstacle, and he expects of others what he expects of himself. When working for an innovative company that frequently has to make adjustments or shift its focus to reach its goals, one's adaptability is integral to the success in the role they have to play. Therefore, their expectations are often high. Consider how you would define your attitude as you ponder how to answer this question.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "Some changes can be tougher to accept than others. Once I understand the motivation or goal behind the change, I initially try to balance the pros and cons before I can adapt. Overall, I prefer to focus on why the changes will work. I am a pragmatically positive person by nature."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Career Goals

    9. Are you close to an offer stage with any of the other companies you're interviewing with?

      What You Need to Know

      The interviewer wants to know the timeline you are under before a competitor recruits you. Your interviewer also wants to know the types of roles that interest you and how discerning you are with your career trajectory. They want to hear that they are your top choice and why. Discuss your search without over-sharing.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I recently started my search and found some interesting job postings related to my degree; however, your role is the position I am most enthusiastic about."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Career Goals

    10. Have you progressed in your career as expected?

      What You Need to Know

      The occasional setback or detour is to be expected in your career, and one's career progression is rarely linear. As Elon Musk states, failure is an option at SpaceX. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression, what you learned from your setbacks, and how those lessons helped you move forward. Explain what you would like to see for yourself in the future and how your positive attitude has informed your determination to persevere.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "Overall, my career has progressed slower than I would have liked. I have held a few positions that didn't offer the growth and learning I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. This particular position would take my career exactly where it should be."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Career Goals

    11. What interests you in working with SpaceX?

      What You Need to Know

      Elon Musk says that SpaceX was founded on the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is more exciting than one where we are not. They're looking for employees who are as passionate about this pursuit as they are to join them on this journey of innovation. Before your interview, spend adequate time familiarizing yourself with their accomplishments, mission statements, philosophy, and culture to align your goals and priorities with what this opportunity offers. Since their website is a bit limited in this regard, you should extend your research beyond the confines of their website.

      "Life at SpaceX - At SpaceX, we are actively developing technologies with the potential to change the course of life on Earth and beyond. We believe that hard work and innovative solutions result in big gains, so we prioritize hiring top talent and cultivating a culture based on merit. From building our interplanetary transport system to working with astronauts and deploying our Starlink broadband internet system, all SpaceX employees directly contribute to making our mission of making humanity multi-planetary a reality."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I've always been passionate about the aerospace industry. When I was a kid, my parents brought me to the jet propulsion laboratory to watch the first mars rover embark on its first mission. That inspired me, and since then, my imagination went wild with the limitless possibilities of humanity exploring the endless reaches of space. The work of Elon Musk and the pursuits of SpaceX similarly inspired me, and I knew I wanted to be part of this work. So I kept working hard, relentlessly pursuing my goals, and never giving up. That's what led me here today."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Career Goals

    12. Of the numerous avenues within SpaceX, which career path interests you most?

      What You Need to Know

      It is essential that you thoroughly research SpaceX before your interview. Examine their careers section, any additional locations, and the variety of departments or business units they may have. You can then accurately assess the potential growth opportunities with SpaceX. Within the three main job categories within SpaceX (Engineering, Manufacturing. and Operations), there is a wide range of opportunities, ranging from Avionics, Finance, Information Technology, Launch, Manufacturing and Production, Propulsion, Vehicle Engineering, and even Mission Management. Thoroughly research the opportunities available and explore how your career goals align with what they offer.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I saw on your website that you are looking for an Avionic Systems Engineer. I am not yet qualified for that role; however, it interests me. I would love to be considered for a role like that with SpaceX in the future."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Communication

    13. Our goal is to be the top-rated company in our industry. After researching SpaceX, what do you think we could improve?

      What You Need to Know

      As they state on their website, "We strive to create an inclusive workplace where different viewpoints are encouraged and the best idea--no matter the source--wins."

      SpaceX prides itself on its unique approach to innovation, counting on failures to lend to success and encouraging outside-of-the-box thinkers who are willing to go all the way. Do your best to offer an informed opinion while keeping your perspective positive and light. If you prefer to proceed with caution in your answer, approach it scientifically and explain that you would have to collect the appropriate data on the avenues explored and exhausted before coming to any cursory judgment or suggestion.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      How to Answer

      They're looking to recruit those who exhibit the relentless determination and dedication they expect from their crews. So put in maximum effort to perform adequate research first. The last thing you want to do is offer a suggestion they've already explored and decided against or offer something detailed in a recent article or interview with their executives.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I researched SpaceX before meeting you today. I like your branding, and your online presence is strong. If I could make a suggestion, it would be to have a confirmation email sent to all online job applicants. I found the site a bit difficult to navigate and was not sure that my initial application went through successfully. Luckily, your HR department was amazing, and they called me just a few days later for a pre-screen interview."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Communication

    14. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.

      What You Need to Know

      Clear communication is integral to the functional operations of any business, but this is especially true of the aerospace industry, where the stakes are high. This question aims to assess how adept you are at every communication skill. That goes beyond your written and verbal communication skills and extends to your emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, as well.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Take extra effort to communicate as clearly as possible while answering this question, and avoid using tics, speech crutches, or long pauses. SpaceX is a cutting-edge company known for its pioneering innovation, so imagine you are giving a Ted Talk and doing your best to present as professionally as possible.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I am not always as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Compatibility

    15. Many of our industry competitors have their employees under a non-compete contract. Are you bound by any non-compete contract with your current employer?

      What You Need to Know

      It's in the interest of your interviewer to avoid any hurdles or unnecessary difficulties when onboarding the candidate they deem the most desirable or qualified. Therefore, they want to ensure you aren't restricted from working with them. Carefully review your employment contract to ensure nothing will hold you back from seizing this opportunity before accepting the interview. If there are any issues in this regard, exhibit transparency early on to see if there is any potential workaround.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I am under a non-compete contract with Company ABC; however, it specifically states that I cannot share any trade secrets or recruit any of their current employees. There is nothing in the contract hindering me from joining SpaceX."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Compatibility

    16. Are you willing to sign a confidentiality agreement?

      What You Need to Know

      SpaceX is on the cutting edge of innovation in the aerospace industry as the world undergoes a renewed space race. Therefore, the use of confidentiality agreements is a commonplace measure for protecting the company's highly classified information in a competitive industry. Such trade secrets often hold a high price tag, not just from other aerospace companies in the industry, but from foreign government agencies as well. Therefore, your interviewer needs to know you are a trustworthy individual who understands the stakes involved.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I am a highly trustworthy person. My background includes many years of experience working on sensitive projects. I fully understand the desire that SpaceX has to protect their data and am more than willing to sign a confidentiality agreement."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Compatibility

    17. In your opinion, what makes SpaceX stand out from our competitors?

      What You Need to Know

      It is essential to research not only SpaceX before your interview but their primary competitors as well. Some of SpaceX's competitors are Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and Vector Space Systems, to name a few. Do your research, and contemplate how you would distinguish SpaceX from its competitors and what you value about how they stand apart.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      Focus Your Answer On

      One of the primary ways SpaceX differentiates itself from other companies in the aerospace industry is its sustainability. For starters, their ships are designed to refuel in space, and they use something similar to biofuel that is composed of methane and oxygen. When this fuel is burnt, it is far less harmful to the planet than other fossil fuels. Additionally, they've lowered the cost of their rockets by making them reusable. As Elon Musk said, "Imagine if you built a new 747 for every flight." This quote says so much in just a few words. These are just a few ways they stand apart from the crowd.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "SpaceX is taking a simplified approach to space travel, which the technological advances of our day allowed for, yet no one else was pursuing. When the space race first unfolded, disposable rockets were the model. But that was over fifty years ago. Yet the industry didn't move on from it, despite adding to further space junk while wasting expensive equipment. That was not sustainable, cost-efficient, or necessary. So SpaceX approached this sustainably, making space travel and exploration more attainable. That is big-picture stuff, and SpaceX has pioneered the only route of space travel, moving forward."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Compatibility

    18. What is the mission statement of SpaceX?

      What You Need to Know

      By testing your familiarity and knowledge of the company, they hope to assess your determination to compete for this position. While preparing for your interview, extend your research beyond their website and read up on everything anyone is saying about the company. Additionally, revise your mission statement in a way that complements theirs to showcase how you would make a valuable addition to their teams.

      By examining the mission statements on the SpaceX website, along with other sources, you can see their priorities and values include commitment, innovation, reusability, sustainability, and creativity. But comb through their mission statement and key phrases and determine how your priorities align with theirs. A few of their key phrases are, 'Make an impact,' 'Making history,' 'Reducing cost,' 'Becoming the first,' and 'Increasing access.'

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "To revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Competency

    19. In your opinion, what was the biggest breakthrough in the aerospace and defense industry in the past decade?

      What You Need to Know

      As stated on the SpaceX website, "On a daily basis, SpaceX employees work on programs and projects with the potential to notably impact our lives on Earth and beyond the stars. From rocket reusability to global broadband networks to developing interplanetary transportation systems, our employees take pride in solving hard problems that can have tangible impacts on our future in space."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      Focus Your Answer On

      You'll want to offer the interviewer assurances you have a firm grasp, thorough knowledge, and genuine interest in the aerospace industry. All the more reason to go above and beyond in the extent of the research you perform before your interview. Whatever innovation you choose, avoid offering a breakthrough of one of their competitors; instead, limit your answer to the achievement of Nasa or SpaceX.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "There have been endless breakthroughs in our industry; however, I would say the one that excited me the most was the Falcon 9, manufactured by SpaceX. I find it amazing that a partially-reusable launch system is in existence."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Conflict

    20. What would you do if you saw two co-workers arguing?

      What You Need to Know

      This question is a personality assessment. Your interviewers want to know what you perceive as a conflict and your attitude towards conflict situations. How you answer will inform them of your sensibilities towards collaboration and teamwork and offer a broader picture of your communication skills, mediation skills, and emotional intelligence. Remember, one of the key phrases of SpaceX is, "Come together under one roof."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I would approach the situation non-defensively through active listening and objectifying the situation. I'd serve as a mediator and, through empathy and diplomacy, try to reach a meeting of the minds between all parties."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Direct

    21. SpaceX conducts criminal background, credit, and education verification checks. Would this be a problem for you?

      What You Need to Know

      Most companies in the aerospace and defense industry need to be very cautious about who they hire, and SpaceX is no exception. There is a chance that much of the information you are going to access could be confidential and dangerous if put into the wrong hands. Assure the interviewer that you will not hesitate to comply with any form of background check they require. Additionally, if you are concerned about what might come up on your background check, such as credit issues, explain your circumstances and present the context of your situation. Approaching with transparency shows more integrity than not mentioning it and hoping they won't notice.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I am happy to comply with any background check required. My record is clean, and I have a strong credit history. I do not participate in drug use, either. If you hire me for this role with SpaceX, I will maintain a clean record."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Education

    22. This role requires specific post-secondary educational experience. How will yours aid you in this position with SpaceX?

      What You Need to Know

      Most positions at SpaceX have the basic educational requirements of a Bachelor's degree, with the preferred qualifications of a Master's degree or Ph.D. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the job posting and job description provided by SpaceX to ensure that you have the proper educational requirements. If you fall short in their preferred qualifications, make sure that before your interview, you consider how your unique experience, qualifications, or talents make up for that shortfall. Do your best to convince them why you are the best candidate for the job.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I saw on your job posting that you are looking for candidates with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. I have a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from an accredited University. My education will be helpful in this role as it directly relates to your company's focus."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • EQ

    23. How would you balance your personal life and the heavy workload you can expect from this role at SpaceX?

      What You Need to Know

      Some previous employees have described the life of working at SpaceX as a burnout culture, where expectations of the amount of time and the work you put in are high. Elon Musk has even been quoted as saying that you aren't successful unless you are putting in at least 80 hours a week. Considering this unique working environment, your interviewer wants to know how sustainable such a lifestyle would be for you and how you would balance the demands of your personal and work life. How you answer will inform them of whether you can sustainably thrive in an environment like theirs.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I find that with the right company, it's pretty simple to balance life and work. When I enjoy what I do, it doesn't feel like a chore. When I'm home, my family gets my attention first. I take time on the weekends to do things for myself and ensure that I regenerate before the work week begins."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Experience

    24. What resources do you turn to when keeping up to date on aerospace-related current events or trending topics in this ever-evolving industry?

      What You Need to Know

      The interviewer would like assurance you take efforts to stay informed, are a trusted resource in your field, and exhibit a genuine interest in your industry. Briefly detail how you stay up-to-date on current events and developments in your field and interests. Include any sources of media that have recently covered SpaceX, their executives, or featured Elon Musk.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I am always interested in learning more about this industry and the changes taking place. It's fascinating. Most frequently, I read the International Journal of Aerospace Engineering. I also follow a few blogs, including www.aviationweek.com. Also, I do follow the career and findings of Elon Musk closely through Twitter and blog posts."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Experience

    25. Looking at your resume, I see multiple gaps in your employment history. Can you contextually fill in those gaps for me?

      What You Need to Know

      Any time there are gaps in your work history, you should prepare for this question. You want to communicate the context for this clearly and succinctly. Rambling on about your personal history at this time will cast doubts on your reliability as a potential employee. So be brief and to the point while remaining unapologetic and confident.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I had a gap from 2009 to 2010 while on maternity leave and then another for six months in 2015 while I cared for an ailing parent. During that time, I was vigilant in keeping up to date on the market trends and breakthroughs so that my aerospace engineering knowledge did not become outdated."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Experience

    26. At SpaceX, we seek to hire only those with aerospace experience. Are you more experienced in the private or public aerospace industry?

      What You Need to Know

      Distinct from NASA or JPL, which are public agencies, SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. The interviewer is curious where you are more experienced - private or public entities or both. Try to align your answer with the preferred qualifications of the job description while being honest about your qualifications and acting with integrity.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I noticed in your job posting that you prefer to see experience in the public aerospace sector. I have experience in both public and private; however, the most recent three years of my work experience is in the public sector. I am pleased to see that you kept applications open to those with experience in automotive, aerospace, aircraft, or civil dynamics or instrumentation. I have experience in aerospace and some automotive."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Experience

    27. How will your experiences early in your career lend to your success in this position?

      What You Need to Know

      The interviewers want to know about your formative years in your career and how those early experiences shaped your mindset, work ethic, and professional character. Many hiring managers agree that the best employees have 'grit' and have held a 'dirty job' or two in their lives. Talk to the interviewer about your early work experiences, the lessons you learned, and how they shaped your attitude and passion for your profession. As they state on their website, "SpaceX is looking for world-class talent ready to tackle challenging projects that will ultimately enable life on other planets."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I have been working since I was just 14 years old. My first job was as a shop hand for my father, a mechanic. I had to sweep, clean, greet customers, and order parts. It was a great way to get my hands dirty, and the job taught me excellent customer service skills. Everything I learned during that time has helped me to stay grounded and humble in my career."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Experience

    28. How do you plan to compensate for the required skills which seem to be missing from your resume?

      What You Need to Know

      Nearly every job posting on the SpaceX website has some basic qualifications and a longer list of preferred skills and experience. Your interviewer is aware it's not always feasible to find candidates who meet their every preferred qualification. However, they expect you to give them a convincing sales pitch for why you are the right fit for the job and uniquely qualified for this position. Take advantage of this opportunity to give them your elevator pitch and tout your merits. Perform research not only on the job position, but on yourself, and compile a list of reasons you are the right fit for this opportunity.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I realize that I may not check off all of the boxes for this position; however, I can assure you that I am a rapid learner. The main experience I am missing is with Siemens 840D controller and the Okuma OSP controller. However, I do have experience with Renishaw Inspection and probing software. I think that I can pick up the required knowledge quickly."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Job Satisfaction

    29. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?

      What You Need to Know

      SpaceX takes pride in the benefits and perks they offer and celebrates a culture of inclusion. As they state on their site, "Our employees' well-being is important to us and essential to our capacity to do extraordinary things. We offer a wide variety of programs to support the health, wellness, and financial security of our employees and their families. We strive to create an inclusive workplace where different viewpoints are encouraged and the best idea--no matter the source--wins. SpaceX facilitates employee-led groups that build a community around social identities and common interests, fostering connections across the company. They provide opportunities for employees to develop skills, learn about topics of interest from speakers, gather socially, and support one another." Additionally, most positions advertised on their website have additional qualifications, including working extended hours, evenings, and weekends.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Their expectations for the world-class talent they aim to recruit are high. This question aims to reveal how they can motivate their future SpaceX employees to persevere and succeed in their culture and environment. Share what it takes to feel cared for and what you need to thrive.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way to be recognized for a job well done is through words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is knowing that my hard work makes a difference."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Leadership

    30. How do you demonstrate leadership when not in a leadership role?

      What You Need to Know

      This question challenges you to think about how you demonstrate leadership in your daily life and whether you are a natural leader, which is something you can't turn on or off. Once you have leadership skills, they're with you to stay. Consider the leadership qualities of Elon Musk as a transformational leader who constantly exhibits creative thinking, fearlessly innovates, and inspires those around him. Think of how your approach aligns with the SpaceX culture.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I demonstrate leadership qualities every chance that I get! Everyone can be a great leader if given the right environment and opportunity. I appreciate that SpaceX has a University to allow topping talent in engineering functions and business operations."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Leadership

    31. How do you like to encourage ideas in others?

      What You Need to Know

      This question tests your leadership style and what you would potentially contribute to their environment. Spend time reflecting on how you've successfully coached, motivated, or inspired those on your teams. Consider this quote from Elon Musk on the topic, surrounding the philosophy they embrace at SpaceX, and try to align your answer accordingly; "We want our leaders to find ways of motivating and inspiring their teams, reduce the noise in their work and help remove blockers. If you are a manager or leading at any level at SpaceX, we stress that your team is not there to serve you. You are there to serve your team and help them do the best possible job for the company. This applies to me most of all. Leaders are also expected to work harder than those who report to them and always make sure that their needs are taken care of before yours, thus leading by example."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I like to encourage others to be creative and present ideas to the company, no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of our most successful employees are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas. I encourage participation through an open door policy and strong praise for those who show initiative."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Performance Based

    32. Tell me about an achievement you're proud of. What challenges did you overcome in that experience?

      What You Need to Know

      One of the key phrases that repeat on the SpaceX website is "Building on achievements." Sometimes a great achievement is surmounting a challenging task or simply overcoming the obstacles that arise along the way. Another key phrase is "work" that "regularly leads to accomplishing historical firsts."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      How to Answer

      To showcase how you already embrace their approach towards innovation and success and are embedded in their culture, draw examples from your professional experience which align with their philosophy. Display your determination and focus on reaching your goals. Incorporate their language into yours. Think of situations that highlight your unique strengths and qualities while trying to keep your answer as relevant to SpaceX as possible.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "My greatest career accomplishment was gaining a promotion faster than anyone in the organization's history. I received accolades from the VP of Sales in front of the entire company, which was an extraordinary moment. Exceeding expectations, being promoted, and then financially ahead of where I initially expected was exhilarating."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Problem Solving

    33. Tell us about a time you faced failure at work.

      What You Need to Know

      Elon Musk has repeatedly been quoted as saying, "A failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating."

      This interview question focuses less on the fact that you failed and more on your emotional intelligence and whether you learned from that failure. Taking your failure in stride and finding the lesson to be learned from your failures ensures you are less likely to repeat your mistakes. There's an expression that says no one can hold over you what you already own. There is nothing to fear in admitting to the mistakes you've made. Consider this when formulating your answer.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I ran a simulation that repeatedly resulted in a rocket failure. I couldn't determine which calibration was off until I realized somehow that my propagation paths were slightly off between the four rockets. It took me about twenty simulation run-throughs before I unraveled the issue. But I kept at it and refused to give up."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Salary

    34. What is your current salary?

      What You Need to Know

      A potential employer will often base your professional worth on your current salary. But there are other factors worth volunteering as well, such as how frequently you receive a pay increase if it is more than once a year, as well as any bonuses, perks, or incentives you receive, such as stock options or mutual contributions towards your retirement. Before your interview, write down any benefits or incentives you receive that count as income or lower your cost of living, and decide which are worth detailing when answering this question. Be transparent about your most recent and projected earnings.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I currently earn a base salary of $178,000, plus a car allowance of $900/month and health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Scenario Based

    35. If given a choice, which work-related task would you leave for last? Why?

      What You Need to Know

      Some will leave the tasks they least prefer for last out of procrastination. Others might be more mindful and save for last the tasks that make the most sense from a time management or logistical perspective. Help the interviewer understand your systematic approach to your style of work. Break down your philosophy and logic while exhibiting adaptability to the ever-changing demands of the work involved. Be clear and decisive in your answer. Taking time to think about it or trying to come up with an answer on the spot will convey that you wing it and are inexperienced.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "If given a choice, I would leave my documentation tasks for last. I say this because I like to spend my time with my customers, and I feel that anything to do with documentation during business hours takes away from my client-facing tasks. I do understand the importance of it, though."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Situational

    36. How often do you implement innovations that improve your performance?

      What You Need to Know

      Innovation is a phrase ubiquitously used by SpaceX. As they state on their site, "The company was founded on the philosophy that simplicity, reliability, and cost-effectiveness are closely connected. We approach all elements of launch services with a focus on simplicity to both increase reliability and lower cost."

      Think of the ideas you've come up with throughout your professional experience to simplify your approach to your work, increase productivity and cost efficiency and save time and energy. Consider the times you've positively impacted your coworkers and company, and find the common denominators. Having the ability to identify growth opportunities is a desirable trait that can advertise you as an asset.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I would say that at least once a month, I have an idea, big or small, that I present to my manager. My most recent innovation was code that I wrote and tested for the testing of spaceflight hardware. I am always curious and trying out new methodologies as a developer."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Teamwork

    37. Is it possible to be a team player while disagreeing with your leadership?

      What You Need to Know

      Being able to focus on the big picture, supporting the company's vision, and managing up are qualities SpaceX values. "We are all in the same boat. Always view yourself as working for the good of the company." Even though you may work with some headstrong individuals or big personalities, the interviewer wants to know you can diplomatically approach situations where you may need to offer your leaders feedback. Describe your communication style and approach to such situations while exuding the confidence and emotional intelligence to professionally navigate such terrain.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all in maintaining respect for each other despite the difference in opinion."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • Teamwork

    38. Have you ever had to work with someone you didn’t get along with? How did you navigate that?

      What You Need to Know

      SpaceX is known for its culture of putting in long hours while working nonstop under high-pressure, fast-paced conditions. Expectations are high, and it is not uncommon for their employees to experience burnout on the job. Working under such circumstances can put one's emotional maturity to the test. Therefore, this question aims to evaluate your emotional intelligence and sense of teamwork.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      How to Answer

      How you answer could inform them how well you get along with and collaborate with the others on your teams. So try to offer an example where your fellow team member may not be among your closest friends, but you can see past any personal differences and work well together, succeeding in your common goals. You want to exemplify that you are emotionally mature and always have your eye on the big picture.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I worked with a gentleman who didn't have much of a filter and would often volunteer his political opinions or offer his assumptions of the morality of others; he would also summarily judge anyone for their disapproval of his manner. This was difficult for more than a few teammates in our department to deal with. But he had his talents, and I knew I wasn't going to change him. The only thing I had any control over was my attitude and approach to the situation. So, anytime I worked with him on a project, I would focus on the project at hand, and he would ramble on. If he was mumbling along with one of his rants, I would interrupt him with a project-related question without hesitation and maintain my focus on the work at hand. I never engaged him with his rhetoric and just stayed on point. I was able to often laugh it off by not taking him too seriously. So, we worked together just fine."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Technical

    39. In simple terms, what is the distinction between stress and strain?

      What You Need to Know

      There are a variety of technical questions you may be asked in your SpaceX interview. Not only does this interview question test your basic knowledge and qualifications, but it also tests how you communicate. Not everyone is a skilled verbal communicator who can explain complex concepts in simple terms. At SpaceX, the standards are high for how efficiently you can work and how well you can communicate and coordinate with others. Consider this when practicing your answer.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "These are two separate principles in physics that are intertwined in how they together modify the shape of an object. In simple terms, stress is the proportion of force or pressure applied over an area of an object. Strain is the proportion of deformation of an object as a result of the stress. The deformation takes form as a result of either normal strain or shear strain."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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  • Technical

    40. What are Newton's threes laws?

      What You Need to Know

      This question tests how readily you can draw upon and communicate your basic industry knowledge. This is one of many such questions SpaceX typically asks in their interviews. Brush up on all of your knowledge before your interview, and be ready to answer any question they throw your way.

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "You mean Newton's law of motion? The first is the law of inertia. The second is the force placed upon an object is equal to the mass of that object times its acceleration, or F = ma. And the third is the law of action and reaction."

      Written by Kevin Downey on November 18th, 2022

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