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SpaceX Launch Engineer Interview Questions

Interviews at SpaceX

15 Interview Reviews

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Launch Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Accepted Offer

Interview

Phone interview and on-site interview

Interview Questions

Other Interview Reviews for SpaceX

  1. Helpful (12)  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in VAFB, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 6+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (VAFB, CA) in July 2014.

    Interview

    4 separate interviews:

    1.) Phone interview - HR asked general questions

    2.) Phone interview - Hiring manager talks about the specific position and why its needed. Resume generally is reviewed. Mine was not as I talked 35 of the 40 minutes. Not too technical.

    3.) Onsite interview - PowerPoint presentation previously prepared and sent to HR. This was presented in front of a team of 5 guys including the onsite director. Following the 15-20 minute presentation there are technical questions relating to many things both about the presentation and about current issues at the company and future potential problems that do not currently exist. Once done, a tour was given around the site. I was introduced to more workers that also asked me to help give on the spot ideas/fixes for current issues. I don't think this is common.

    4.) Onsite interview - Last set of interviews was done at the main facility in Hawthorn. Here I had 4 separate 30 minute interviews. First was with my HR contact. She gave a tour of the mega awesome facility and also discussed pay expectations. Second person was VERY technical and right away jumped into the discussion of a rocket launch quick release mechanism. I had to redesign a full mechanism and describe how it works. While doing this new parameters were added. This is done to see how quickly and accurately you react on your feet. They also like to say things just loud enough for you to hear and respond too if you catch on (i.e. This rocket went 1000 meters in the air... whatever that is in feet...). Answers these statements. It is part of the interview process. Third was more relaxed about the resume mostly. Make sure you can explain in depth about whatever is on your resume. Fourth was with the VP of propulsion and another person that was not previously mentioned. This last interview was also very technical. We instantly jumped into I-beams, their purpose reason for their design, equations (what I added to the mix), reason for no design change to them. Then I was asked about pressure vessels and factors needed to determine finite element stresses in the pressure vessel wall. After that the two interviewers talked too each other about something related to what i had on my resume. I quickly responded to them and it surprised them because what they talked about was more advanced then what I wrote down. They asked me to explain and once I did they were very happy.

    Everyone was very kind, very smart, and fun to talk too

    Negotiation

    Negotiated one time. Dont want to chance getting the offer pulled.


  2. Helpful (1)  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Bay City, MI
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 6 days. I interviewed at SpaceX (Bay City, MI) in July 2015.

    Interview

    Had two phone interviews. One with engineering group leader and one with engineering manager. Both about one hour interviews. They were asking about my resume. They were huge on process improvements and giving specific examples.

    Interview Questions

    • If you had a pedal bike manufacturing plant, explain how the plant layout would look (machines, tooling, fixtures, gages, etc.)   Answer Question
    • What excites you the most about SpaceX?   Answer Question
    • How do you feel about living in the LA area?   Answer Question
  3. Helpful (7)  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at SpaceX in June 2015.

    Interview

    I applied for a Launch Engineer position at SpaceX mid May 2015. Several weeks later I received a call back from a recruiter who wanted to set up a phone interview. I received this call while I was in transit, and thus the recruiter left a voicemail. I attempted to contact her the very next day, but did not establish a live connection. This happened on a Friday, and I left a message. I attempted to contact her again on Monday, though the call went unanswered. I followed up again on Wednesday, still with no answer. Finally, a week removed I got through to the person who originally contacted me. She seemed nice enough and we set up a time for a phone interview.

    I believed the phone interview went well--I've definitely had more difficult interviews in the past. One odd thing though, which I have never experienced, was that SpaceX was interested in knowing my SAT/ACT/GRE scores in addition to my GPA. Being 30 years old, with graduate school, a published peer-reviewed article, and 4 years of work experience under my belt, I kind of found this humorous, but I complied with their request and thankfully was able to track down my old scores. I phoned them again two days later with the information. The recruiter was glad with this news, and informed me that she had sent on my information to a higher manager, I assume one who would be integral in my next round of interviewing. At the time however, she told me that this person was in the midst of SpaceX's latest rocket launch, and that he was particularly busy. That late June launch proved to be a failure, and I figured that the company was thrown into a state of internal unrest trying to figure out what happened to the rocket.

    After about a month, I considered the opportunity dead. I am now two months removed, and still have yet to hear anything back. I tried calling the recruiter once more, but again, straight to voicemail. This seemingly abrupt dismissal, prompted me to do some research on the company's hiring practices. From reading employee reviews both on GD and Indeed, it seems that SpaceX generally hires young (mostly straight-out-of-college) engineers and employees who they judge to be in the top echelon of their respective fields. This translates to high academic achievement from top ranked universities. Practical real-world work experience, however, doesn't seem to be on their radar. My engineering program was good, but it is not a top 10 ranked one. This is probably what edged me out of consideration, though these facts are readily apparent on my resume, so I don't know why they contacted me in the first place.

    I would like to know if other people have had a similar recruiting experience with SpaceX. I cannot say that I hold their HR department in high regard, as it was difficult trying to get in contact with people who initially reached out to me, and who apparently don't have the time to send one simple email saying I'm no longer being considered for the position. I was really interested in working for a company which is truly trying to change the world, but I guess I won't get the opportunity.

    Interview Questions

    • Why are you excited about the opportunity to work for SpaceX?   Answer Question
    • Are you open to working long hours?   Answer Question
    • Describe a project you worked on, what made it difficult, and how did you solve the problems?   Answer Question
    • What are your SAT/ACT/GRE scores?   Answer Question

  4.  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Vandenberg AFB, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Vandenberg AFB, CA) in March 2015.

    Interview

    SpaceX visited my university, where I talked to an alumnus engineer. After, I got contacted by a recruiter, where I had a 20 minute phone screen. Two days later I had a technical phone interview with two engineers from the team I'd be working on. That day I was notified I got through to the final round. I went on-site a few weeks later and gave a twenty-minute presentation on a technical project I worked on and went through some more technical interviews. That day (again) I was notified that pending executive approval, I was to be given an offer. The process was very fast and the fact that you are notified of the results of that interview that day is particularly a nice change of pace.

    Interview Questions

    • If I had a quadrotor drone that worked on Earth and put it on Mars, how would it behave differently?   1 Answer

  5.  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Hawthorne, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA) in May 2015.

    Interview

    Initial phone screening consisted of a set of stock fluids/mechanical questions. This was followed by a group phone interview where 3-5 engineers asked me some technical questions followed by questions about myself and my experience. The final day of interviews was on-site and started with a presentation/Q&A session followed by several one-on-one interviews.

    Interview Questions

    • A few of your standard tricky interview questions. They also asked me to provide an example of a time when I was a "self-starter."   Answer Question

  6.  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 5+ months. I interviewed at SpaceX.

    Interview

    Long interview process, consisting of phone interviews, an emailed test problem, more phone interviews, several 1:1 interviews and a presentation throughout a one-day onsite visit, followed by- you guessed it, more phone interviews with those who couldn't make it for the 1:1s. Highly technical and very exhausting, but intriguingly enjoyable.

    Interview Questions


  7. Helpful (2)  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX.

    Interview

    I talked on the phone to a recruitor who asked basic questions about myself. A phone interview was then set up and a test was emailed to me to do with a one hour time cap. I was asked to two seperate all day interviews where I presented a different 15 minute presentation for both of them. Another phone interview was scheduled and conceptual questions were asked of me.

    Interview Questions

    • As a turbine becomes older how does the exhuast temperature change.   3 Answers
  8. Helpful (3)  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Hawthorne, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 6 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA) in November 2014.

    Interview

    Two phone interviews: one was a mix of behavioral and technical, the other purely technical. Each lasted about 45 minutes.

    Then, the on-site interview onslaught you may have heard before: they flew me down to LA and put me up in an awesome suite in Redondo Beach, and had me come to the Hawthorne headquarters at 9 am one morning. The interview is in two segments, a presentation and a number of one-on-ones.

    I gave a fifteen-minute slideshow and talk about a project I'd worked on for school to four engineers and a hiring manager, then fielded questions from them about a number of different aspects of the project. Things like what I could have done differently under different constraints, math behind some of my finished work, etc. This went on for about half an hour, and also touched on some of my past internship experiences.

    After the presentation and questioning, I was directed to wait in a separate conference room while they deliberated about me. At that point I was pretty nervous because some applicants are dismissed there, but after about ten minutes one of the engineers came in and assured me that things were going well. He and I believe three others took turns interviewing me one-on-one for about 25 minutes each. I asked and answered all kinds of questions, ranging from thermodynamics concepts and general things about the team to large consulting-type problems.

    Finally (this was around noon), I had lunch with a few members of the team before leaving. Two and a half weeks later, I received an offer from the hiring manager.

    Interview Questions

    • How many gallons of water are there on Earth?   1 Answer
    • How does a balloon's radius change with respect to time as it deflates?   Answer Question
    • Draw the water/steam flows in a combined-cycle power plant. What are some reasonable temperatures and pressures for each flow? How will these temperatures and pressures change as the plant ages?   Answer Question

  9.  

    Launch Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at SpaceX.

    Interview

    I applied online for the position. I received a phone call screen from a recruiter three weeks later. The recruiter then set up a technical phone interview with the hiring manger.

    Interview Questions

    • What would you say is your area of expertise? Prove it.   Answer Question

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