Apple: The Recruitment Made Simple Mindset

Konstantinos Anastasiadis @ SCALEUP | November 20, 2020

According to Forbes, as of August 2020, the company has approximately 137,300 full time employees on a global scale, all of which were required to go through its long and demanding recruitment process.

With a skills focused approach and striving from innovation, these are the core pillars that drive Apple’s recruitment mindset. The tech innovator has clearly built a reputation of excellent customer service by giving its customers high level experiences through their products on a global scale. The great questions we will focus on this article to answer would be:

How Apple recruits employees who are passionate about both its brand and customers?
How can they trace high potentials that can compliment the brand values and ensure the continuous rise of its innovative products?

#1. The “Good Things come to those who wait” Way

There is a series of highlights on various job portals, such as Glassdoor & Indeed that on average the tech giant carries out 3 Screening Calls, 5 Facetime Interviews plus a trip to its headquarters for 5 two-person interviews with all these leading to a simple no answer.

May sound extreme at the beginning, but that is the time Apple takes to make its final decisions. The process they have crafted is based on a simple premise - if the candidate does not choose to go the extra mile they do not fit the right fit standards.

Clearly, not every company has the same quality in its quantity base as Apple but clearly if one thing should be kept from this practice is the extra effort from the candidate’s point of view. A case study or an extra interview not only will give your organization a better insight into the candidate but will also ensure their true interest for the role.

#2. The Ideal Candidate Profile - Innovative, Persistent, Status Quo Disrapters

Apple’s candidates do not face a series of tests no matter their discipline, instead they go through several rounds of interviews of up to ten people or more. The sole purpose is not to find the one with all the answers but the one that is determined to figure it out.

This type of approach is something started early on, as Steves Jobs and the “Think Different” campaign. Jobs was not only describing its customers through the add but also the kind of people the company wants to have on board.

“They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. They are the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world.” - Steve Jobs

People that support their opinion and they are determined they can make things better, these are the kind of people the company is focused to get on board. Apple looks for someone who can offer fearless feedback. Someone who has an opinion and will stick by it

#3. Apple’s Test, Test, Test

Apple tends to ask candidates unexpected questions during its interviews, a strategy that is also applied from Google, as mentioned by The Telegraph, let us go through some of the most intriguing and their logic behind.

Apple Question Back-end Logic
“What would you say to a customer who says they don’t like Apple?” Intuition and a level of cleverness is the key hare, will the candidate give a smart/funny response or crumble under pressure?
“Tell me about a time when you got something you didn’t think you deserved.” Focus on a positive derived from a negative encourage candidates to be honest and break those pre-prepared answers they have.
“Explain a situation when you gave the wrong advice. What were the consequences? What did you learn from this?” Pairing a negative with a positive and anticipating an honest response from the candidate is the point of interest.

#4. What to Leverage & Reflections

The company’s product and store designs clearly stand out from the market but at the very center of it’s accomplishments is its people. Any person interviewing at Apple should have a story that clearly reflects a desire to prove the naysayers wrong. This is the philosophy that leads the company to accumulate such a diverse workforce.

Skills are taught, potential is not thus one of the company's top executives in Talent Management states “I would prefer to hire a teacher who doesn’t know computers instead of a computer expert who can’t teach.”

Hiring the right people allows Apple managers to lead rather than dictate.