Tesla has slashed its recruiting team as Elon Musk takes control of hiring at the company.
“All headcount requests from the business must get Elon approval,” Tesla wrote in a memo to recruiters in February, according to Business Insider. “Evidence of this sign off is required.”
The memo also reportedly said Musk would receive a daily report about recruiting, and that the company would “be instituting a more rigorous process around requisitions and offers to help manage headcount across the business.”
That “more rigorous process” apparently requires fewer, not more, recruiters. On March 12, Tesla laid off between a third and half its global recruiting team, which had numbered around 150 people, Electrek reported. The company told some employees the layoffs were a cost-cutting measure. It gave employees notice that day, and they received severance based on their time at Tesla.
It doesn’t look like those workers will be replaced any time soon. According to data from research firm Thinknum, the number of jobs open in recruiting at Tesla has plummeted to eight in recent weeks, down from 32 as of December 2018.
This isn’t the first time Musk has asserted his control over Tesla’s hiring process. Former Tesla recruiter Marissa Peretz told Business Insider in December 2017 that Musk personally signed off on every hire, including during a push to bring on 2,000 employees for a new Tesla factory. “He had to approve every single hire,” said Peretz, who left Tesla in 2015.
Peretz also told Business Insider that recruiters had to write bios for Musk on every candidate. “If we wanted him to interview someone, we essentially had to pitch him before we could set that up,” she said. “He was very critical and would push back on us if he didn’t think we had answered the things he wanted to know.”
Along with recruiting roles, total job openings at Tesla have slumped since late 2018. Thinknum most recently counted about 950 open positions at Tesla on the company’s official careers site, down from about 2,400 in December.
Tesla declined to comment on the February hiring memo, March 12 layoffs, and Thinknum careers data. A spokesman pointed out that Tesla this week named Zach Kirkhorn chief financial officer and promoted its corporate controller, Vaibhav Taneja, to chief accounting officer. Former chief financial officer and longtime Tesla executive Deepak Ahuja announced his intent to retire in January.