Elon Musk wants to approve every Tesla hire. That could take up to 21 days of non-stop work, not counting sleep.

Elon Musk standing outside Twitter's Headquarters with two bodyguards in San Fransisco, California.
Elon Musk is getting more involved with Tesla's hiring — and that means more time out of his already busy schedule.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk said in an email on Monday that he must approve all new Tesla hires.

  • That's no small task: Tesla increased its head count by about 30,000 in each of the last three years.

  • Musk's oversight could amount to hundreds of hours of extra work and slow Tesla's hiring process.

Elon Musk told staff he wants to approve each person that is hired at Tesla, but that won't be an easy feat.

We crunched the numbers, and depending on how much time he devotes to each approval, it would take anywhere from two to nearly 21 days of non-stop work if Tesla continues its recent hiring pace.

Here's the math.

Tesla employed nearly 130,000 people in 2022. The company also said it received about 3.6 million applications last year and over the past three years it has grown its head count by about 30,000 each year.

If Tesla were to maintain this hiring trend, Musk would be saddled with what amounts to hundreds of hours of extra work on top of his current duties. For example, if Musk took just a minute (it takes the average person about 1.7 minutes to read one page) to review each new hire (Tesla hired around 30,000 people last year) it would amount to 500 hours of work or just shy of 21 days of non-stop work, without counting any sleep.

If he kept the email approvals to 12-hour shifts each day, that number balloons to almost 42 work days.

If Musk were to take a much lighter touch and took only 5 seconds to decide on each hire, it would take him almost 42 straight hours over the course of the year, or almost two days of straight work.

'Only the truly Tesla-dedicated folks have the patience'

Musk's new process could amount to something of a hiring slowdown or even a hiring freeze. In the email from Monday, he warns executives to "Think carefully before sending me the request." Musk wrote that executives must send him a list of their candidates once a week for approval.

"No one can join Tesla, even as a contractor, until you receive my email approval," he wrote in the email that was obtained by Insider.

Three current Tesla employees told Insider that they've been told Musk has been involved in the hiring process in the past. Though, the billionaire had appeared to relax his stance on the issue over the years. The employees requested anonymity in order to speak freely. In 2019, Insider previously reported that recruiters received an email that all hiring request must receive "evidence" of Musk's approval.

"We already have a long hiring process for engineers, often such that we miss out on good candidates because they accept another offer before we can get them one," one Tesla employee said. "This likely will make that worse. Meaning only the truly Tesla-dedicated folks have the patience to make it through."

If Tesla were to only increase its headcount by about 15,000 this year, Musk would still be facing about 250 hours of work and that's not even including the number of employees that Tesla hires to address annual turnover.

But, maybe an extra 500 hours or so of additional work is doable for a man who has slept on the factory floor and has claimed to work 120-hour weeks in the past. After all, Musk has taken similar steps at his other companies. For example, Musk told staff at Twitter last year to send him weekly emails with updates on their work and at one point asked workers to print out their code so that he could personally review it.

Ultimately, Musk's recent email appears to be a sign that Musk is getting more involved at Tesla after finding a new CEO for Twitter. Wedbush tech analyst Dan Ives said in a note on Friday that the new Twitter CEO will allow Musk to turn his attention back to his "golden child" companies.

Musk and a spokesperson for Tesla did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

Do you work at Tesla or have insight to share? Reach out to the reporter from a non-work email at or via Signal at 248-894-6012

Read the original article on Business Insider