Most of the 217 jobs currently listed on Tesla's website are for design and manufacturing engineers based in Palo Alto and Fremont. But the company is also looking for an assistant store manager in Newport Beach, an intern in Zurich, vehicle technicians in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo and an executive chef. As Tesla's brand has grown in the wake of its successful IPO in June 2010, resumes have poured in. On average, Tesla receives 300 applications for every job opening.
"We're searching for excellent individuals," Geshuri said. "We want people who are exceptional in their own right but share the same DNA and can collaborate as part of a team."
To find the best and the brightest, Geshuri has built a recruiting staff of 25 people. But all Tesla employees are encouraged to think of themselves as recruiters, and referrals are a vibrant part of the hiring process. CEO Elon Musk has often said that staffing is his top priority and that the value of the company is measured by the quality of the talent. He plays a hands-on role in hiring and personally interviews many of the job candidates.
Former NUMMI workers make up a big pool of potential employees to choose from. College campuses are also key: Tesla has reached out to colleges and universities that have active Society of Automotive Engineers competitions, forming relationships with faculty advisers and keeping tabs on top students and winning teams. It's a global search: Tesla employees have relocated to the Bay Area from the Midwest, Germany, Asia and elsewhere.
About 25 percent of Tesla employees are women, a higher ratio than that of many Silicon Valley tech companies. And Tesla has hired nearly 60 military veterans, including several from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the nation slowly emerges from the economic downturn, many workers face the daunting task of reinventing themselves. Geshuri has some advice: Social networks like LinkedIn are effective, but make sure that your information is current and in-depth. And instead of simply listing the most recent jobs on a resume, be sure to elaborate on what exactly you did in each job.
"Sometimes people miss an opportunity to describe their exceptionalism on their resume," he said. "What made them exceptional in that role?"
Gaps in employment can also be overcome.
"We're looking for people who are proactive. We want people who are go-getters," he said. "When you were in between jobs did you go back to school, pursue a favorite hobby or volunteer? Whatever hand you were dealt, are you emerging better?"
Eric Burgess worked for Geshuri at Google and now at Tesla. He says Geshuri is both a player and a coach who wants people to be successful. He regularly takes part in interviews with job candidates and has a knack for peeling back the layers of a resume.
"He's really good at getting interesting nuggets out of people," Burgess said. "He pulls things from resumes that aren't related to the job to see what the person has learned from the experience. He'll ask you why you became a history major."
Though hiring and recruiting is a big part of Geshuri's job, as vice president of human resources he's also building Tesla's culture. It's a typical startup: People arrive early, stay late and work hard.
Tesla tries to alleviate some of the pressure by providing shuttle buses with wireless Internet access to ferry employees who live in San Francisco and elsewhere to and from work. There's an employee garden on the hill above the parking lot, and everyone is encouraged to exercise and stay healthy. Employees can sign up to have boxes of organic vegetables delivered to Tesla. And some of those vegetables could be served in the company's cafeteria once he's found the perfect executive chef.
"They have to not just create a great menu, but programs for healthy living," Geshuri said. "And they need to be an effervescent personality."
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