Space Exploration Technologies
Space Exploration Technologies Interview Questions & Reviews in Los Angeles, CA
Getting an Interview
- Popular Job Titles:
- Intern (11)
- Software Engineer (6)
- Engineering Intern (4)
- Build Engineer (2)
- Senior Software Engineer (2)
- Production Engineer (2)
- Avionics Engineer (2)
- Structural Engineer (2)
- Structures Engineer (2)
- Structures Intern (2)
- Dynamics Engineer Intern (1)
- Anonymous Interview Candidate (1)
- Aerospace Engineering(McGregor Location) (1)
- Fluid Systems Software Engineer (1)
- Summer Intern (1)
- Engineer (1)
- Human Resources Business Partner (1)
- Embedded Systems Engineer (1)
- Supervisor (1)
- Junior Responsible Engineer (1)
- Inventory Control Clerk (1)
- Talent Acquisition Coordinator (1)
- Technician Trainee (1)
- Avionics Intern (1)
- Mechanical Engineering Internship (1)
- Propulsion Test Engineer (1)
- Launch Engineer (1)
- Electrical Engineer (Hardware Test Lab) (1)
- New Graduate (1)
- Avionics, Hardware Development (1)
Very Difficult Interview
Fluid Systems Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in July 2014.
Interview Details – I was first contacted by a SpaceX recruiter through LinkedIn. The position was based in Hawthorne, CA. The recruiter scheduled a brief one-on-one interview with me in which general questions were asked. For example: "Why do you want to work at SpaceX?", "Are you okay with working overtime?", and so forth. Afterwards, a phone interview was set up between two SpaceX employees and myself. Overall, I felt this phone interview went very well. The employees were very polite and laid back. They did ask more technical questions, specifically towards my resume. For example, "How would you solve the flow in a piping network?".
After the phone interview, I was scheduled for an on site interview. I was very impressed by SpaceX's speed and smoothness of the interview process considering this happened in less than two weeks. The onsite interview involved a two-part process. The first part involved giving a technical presentation on a project worked on to a team of SpaceX employees. The second part involved about 3 hours of one-on-one interviews with some of the same employees. Unfortunately, I did not make it to the second part. As part of the interview process, SpaceX uses the technical presentation to consider if you are a good fit for their company. After you give the presentation, they ask you to leave briefly and make their consideration.
I felt my weakness was that I was not able to answer their questions adequately during the presentation. Their employees are very knowledgeable and ask technical questions. I would recommend being very prepared for technical questions. Try to give a presentation that you have worked on recently and have a very good mentor or supervisor. Make sure that you review the presentation with people who are knowledgeable on the material and/or understand good presentation skills. Since SpaceX is one of the best (if not the best), for a die-hard space junkie to work at, it is understandable that they are very selective of their employees. Prepare and practice a lot if you really want to work there! Also, take pride to always improve your knowledge. Hopefully, there will be more opportunities for me in the near future.
- Draw a freebody diagram of a check valve in a body of fluid flow. Answer Question
- Given the upstream and downstream pressures and type of fluid, solve the mass flow rate as a function of time for a check valve. Afterwards, write the pseudo code for how you would solve this. Answer Question
- Why does the pressure losses drop in their defined behavior as the number of pumps decrease? Answer Question
- How would you lessen the pressure surge (water hammer) from a valve being closed? View Answer
Propulsion Technician Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in June 2014.
Interview Details – Was contacted through a third party recruiter which I've worked with in the past. It looked very promising and I was very interested in the positions available despite already having a job. It was an interview event at their location in Hawthorne on a weekday morning. The facility is impressive to say the least. Baristas making free lattes for all employees, first rate cafeteria with chef and vending machines are free. The CEO Elon Musk's desk is on the production floor. Not to mention the bleeding edge manufacturing equipment and processes. Very impressed by all this.
Interview Question – The questions were vague and not organized. None of the questions were memorable because of this. The interviewers were clearly not interested in interviewing this many people. I was last and this was certainly not ideal. One of them commented when told I was the last, "finally". View Answer
Reason for Declining – It was a contract (temp to hire) position which paid less than I currently make. Not impressed. Given my experience and the location of the facility (middle of LA area) the amount offered was absurdly low. If I didn't have a job and lived closer it might be an option. But they didn't offer competitively with other aerospace employers. I almost laughed, but I didn't want to be rude.
Very Difficult Interview
Human Resources Business Partner Interview (Negative Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in March 2014.
Interview Details – its a series of questions, I cannot understand why the EEOC has not come in and revived HR Records...(Lucky for SpaceX, they do not have any records, al changing so audit would be hard to conduct.
Interview Question – If hired, can you work overtime? They never state how many hours everyone puts in for free! View Answer
Flight Software Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in May 2014.
Interview Details – So I got referred to Spacex by a recruiter. I figured, why not, they do cool stuff.
It all started fairly quickly with an email with an online programming test, that I could start at my convenience. It's a multiple choice test where you read over some code and you state where the bug is. Unfortunately some of the snippets are ambiguous. I still passed with 7/10. I asked the second interviewer for my results, and he could only give me the question numbers and correct answer choices, but since I couldn't see the code in front of me, it was hard to say why I really messed up. I remembered one that they pretty much judged wrong, and he basically struck that one. I took 45min to finish the test, going over everything one or two more times to double check.
I waited a week till they got back to me on the results of the online test. My recruiter pinged them I believe. Next came a programming test over the phone. You open a web site that's mirrored between you and the interviewer. He asks you programming related questions and you type in your answers. It wasn't particularly difficult, don't think I messed up a single thing.
A day or two after that came a phone interview with a lead programmer, that was mostly about getting to know each other and the company. He did ask a few technical questions as well. I believe that interview went relatively well. He said someone would follow up with me later that day.
But I haven't heard a word from them since. Fortunately, I already had other offers pending that I was more interested in, so I didn't bother pursuing them. Strange behavior on their part nonetheless. From what I gathered, there would have been more phone interviews to follow, and one or more on site interviews. All that, in addition to the number of interviews I had already gone through with them, felt excessive to me. Which is the other reason I didn't pursure them further.
What I've been able to glean from them and friends of friends, is that the pay is average, and the work hours are long (supposedly they're trying to improve the latter by hiring more people). That combination doesn't feel like the right mentality for an employer from my point of view, but I'm sure it would be rewarding for someone else.
Interview Question – The first multiple choice quiz is a little disorienting. Answer Question
Dynamics Engineer Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3+ weeks - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies.
Interview Details – Got contacted through LinkedIn and screened by recruiter.
Had a phone interview with the engineering manager, and he asked everything about my resume and technical concepts related to the job. Such as signal processing, control theory, vibrations, projects on resume, etc. If you did well in your classes, you should do fine.
Had another phone interview with the VP of Structures and asked a difficult problem-solving technical question relating to the job. He wants to see your thought process using theories and practical applications.
Interview Question – If a satellite is attached on the top of a rocket, how do you suppress the vibrations during take-off such that the electronics on the satellite won't be damaged? View Answer
Negotiation Details – It's an internship, no negotiation. I followed up a week afterwards and they called me back another week later.
Structures Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in March 2014.
Interview Details – Applied online in January. Received a phone call on March 18 about scheduling a phone interview with the Structures Team. Interview was two days later, on Thursday.
Interview Question – Typical questions about Statics and Mechanics of Materials: Fixed wall with an aluminium beam in between. The beam is heated, what happens inside the beam at and the walls? How would you optimize a beam, which is fixed to the wall at one end, for a vertical load at the very end? What is happening at the wall due to the vertical load? How would you optimize a beam for a torsional load? Answer Question
Design Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in July 2013.
Interview Details – Presentation interview was required. Recruiters were very helpful in guiding you in the right direction. The interview was a panel presentation and Q&A followed by four one on one interviews. I actually felt that while the interview process was difficult, it inspired confidence in myself, because as I was going through the four one on ones you know that you are qualified to do the job that they are asking you to do, instead of being shocked on your first day.
Interview Question – The most difficult questions were requests for a detailed explanation of my prior career and educational choices. Answer Question
Senior Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in March 2014.
Interview Details – SpaceX was the only job I was applying to as my current position is pretty awesome. They were accommodating to my work schedule and when I had to reschedule a phone screen they were understanding.
I got the sense that SpaceX is much more like a silicon valley company than an aerospace company. This was particularly attractive to me as I've been working for big tech companies.
There are some really sharp people working at SpaceX and they all seem enthusiastic about what they're doing. They made it clear that long hours are expected, but that they're also working to reduce the overall load on the engineers.
Interview Question – All the questions were standard software engineer interview questions. SpaceX doesn't assume any domain knowledge, so I didn't have to explain how orbital mechanics work or anything like that. Answer Question
Reason for Declining – I have a phenomenally good comp package at my current employer. SpaceX's offer had higher potential upside but there was also more risk associated with their package.
Product Validation Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in February 2014.
Interview Details – Applied online and received a phone call from HR about 2 weeks later. They were very careful to screen for prior knowledge of the company and willingness to commit significant hours compared to most jobs. After passing the HR screen, I was connected with the hiring manager for this position. The phone interview consisted mostly of high-level questions regarding how my experience is applicable to SpaceX. Very few technical details at that point. Since the manager liked me, they invited me on-site. The on-site interview was very challenging and enjoyable. I had to do a lot of self-reflection because they ask you to describe your most substantial accomplishments to date in great detail. The focus is on YOUR role in anything that is on your resume. Most of the folks were personable, but also looked as if they were working 70 hour weeks all the time. The interview begins with a presentation to a panel who then each interviews you one on one. Finally, after being well liked in the on-site interview, my credentials were reviewed by the executive team and I was approved for an offer. Overall, a fun but challenging interview and fantastic facility to tour.
Interview Question – How can you apply statistical process control to a low volume product such as rockets? Answer Question
Reason for Declining – I received a dream Ph. D fellowship at the same time. The clear lack of a social/family life for everyone working there was also a factor.
Very Difficult Interview
Structures Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Space Exploration Technologies in October 2013.
Interview Details – Initial screening interview consisted of three technical questions relating to basic undergraduate level strength of materials
Interview Question – During 1-on-1 interviews, I was asked to design a system to mount a spherical pressure vessel to a flat wall, allowing it to expand or contract Answer Question
Interviews for Top Jobs at Space Exploration Technologies