Elon Musk says he wants to personally approve every new Tesla hire

Elon Musk told Tesla employees that he wants to approve every new hire at the company personally. It’s a surprising move for a company hiring about 30,000 people per year.

Electrek obtained an email that the CEO wrote to Tesla employees today.

In the email, Musk said that he wants to get a better understanding of hiring at Tesla; in order to do so, he seems to indicate that he needs to approve all new hires – even contractors:

No one can join Tesla, even as a contractor, until you receive my email approval.

This is likely going to result in a mild hiring freeze, considering Tesla has been hiring about 30,000 new employees per year on average over the last three years. It’s hard to imagine that Musk can approve new hires at a rate anywhere near that.

It’s not clear how long the CEO plans to require his personal email approval on new hires.

Tesla implemented a brief hiring freeze last summer and a round of layoffs, but the company quickly resumed and ended last year with about 127,000 employees – up 28% year over year.

The company is trying to cut costs in order to compensate for its significant price reductions across its entire lineup in 2023.

The automaker still enjoys industry-leading margins on electric vehicles, but this might change following further price drops in April.

Electrek’s Take

It could really be just Elon trying to understand Tesla’s hiring process better, but effectively, this could result in a major slowdown in hiring.

He has used the same strategy in the past, like during the major cost-cutting effort in 2019 when he said that he and CFO Zach Kirkhorn would have to sign off on every page of spending for the entire company.

Workers are way more careful about things when they know the CEO will personally be taking a look. This looks like a similar approach with this email approval for hiring.