Mexican engineers flood Tesla hiring event in Monterrey

Sat May 6, 2017 4:24pm EDT
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By Anthony Esposito

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - Engineers from across Mexico streamed into a cramped hotel lobby in the industrial city of Monterrey for a chance of a job with the U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O: Quote), which is looking south of the border for talent in short supply at home.

The fair was held at a delicate time for American firms hiring abroad as President Donald Trump reviews immigration rules for bringing high-skilled foreign workers to the United States, part of a "buy American, hire American" policy.

Tesla, which prides itself on its "Made in America" credentials, had scheduled interviews with an unknown number of Mexican candidates on Friday and was slated to screen other prospective employees over the weekend at the closed-door event.

The Silicon Valley automaker is recruiting in the United States' neighbor for work on robotics and other automated equipment at its Fremont, California factory, where it aims to build 500,000 cars a year by 2018, a six-fold increase from 2016. The factory will build Tesla's upcoming Model 3.

Mexico boasts a substantial pool of experienced manufacturing engineers, with 19 automotive plants owned by global automakers including General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote), Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCHA.MI: Quote) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote).

A steady tide of hopefuls showed up at the event unannounced and without an appointment, some having traveled hundreds of kilometers, mistakenly thinking it was an open recruiting fair. Several dozen were turned away.

Tesla gave them a brief explanation about the mix-up, said those being interviewed were often already weeks into their application processes, and directed them to email their resumes, according to more than a dozen mechanical, mechatronic, electrical and chemical engineers that Reuters spoke with outside the event.

Representatives from Tesla headquarters in California and recruiters in Monterrey declined to comment on the event or the company's hiring plans in Mexico. Reporters were escorted off the premises by security.   Continued...

A security employee (L) looks on as a recruiter from Tesla (C) talks to a job seeker at the hotel where the electric vehicle maker is holding a recruiting event for its California factory, in the municipality of San Pedro Garza, neighbouring Monterrey, May 5, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril