Recruitment is not an easy job! Yeah, I know most of the recruiters reading this and hiring managers busy right now with the process, will reiterate this fact. You might not be surprised when I say that even Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. felt the same! The opinion was perhaps a result of his extensive recruiting experience. From a hiring manager’s perspective, hiring nothing but the best staff is crucial for an increased employee performance, productivity, engagement and retention. Hence, this makes hiring one of the most important managerial skills as well.

As part of the interview process in Apple, the candidates go through various kinds of tests that help the hiring manager judge as to how they fare as individuals and as team players. Sometimes, the interview is conducted in groups of two or more candidates, which is a slightly different from the conventional methods. This could be thought of as a very direct and visible competition between the candidates, and the candidates are evaluated based on their response to the situation. They are also evaluated in dual roles - as a developer as well as an end user. This makes the hiring manager understand how well the candidate can capture the customer requirements and enhance the product accordingly.

Steve Jobs and the whole organisation called Apple Inc. believes that people are an organisation’s most valuable asset. And hiring the best talent is crucial to the success of the individuals and that of the company. They never believed in rushing through the process and end up getting a wrong hire on board. But yes, this is not an easy job. If you analyse the hiring philosophy of Apple, you find that the candidate getting hired has some fundamental, categorical attributes which make him the best choice.

Apple expects its employees to be in sync with the vision and culture of the company. You should have love and passion for the company and its products. People are hired for their deep admiration for the company and the products. The candidate should not only agree with the management vision, but also care, fight for and defend the same throughout his tenure. In a recent interview, CEO Tim Cook said: “You're trying to pick people that fit into the culture of a company. You want a very diverse group with very diverse life experiences looking at every problem. But you also want people to buy into the philosophy, not just buy in, but to deeply believe in it.”

You might not make it into Apple Inc. if you are not a perfectionist – a seeker for excellence. You are evaluated for your excellence and your passion for achieving your goal. Commitment and sincerity towards your goal are equally important. The hiring manager looks for your ability to be a team player and contribute to the team. Your title and experience are secondary; what counts is your contribution to your previous roles and the winning attitude.

If you are a person who believes in creating the future rather than anxiously waiting to be a part of it, then Apple Inc. could be the company you ought to be in. Steve Jobs always had a clear vision about the future and the employees at Apple are expected to be future-minded rather than just being in the rat- race. The candidate is assessed for his/her ability to be innovative and creative. In fact, the candidate is first chosen for his/her willingness to initiate and conceive new ideas rather than his/ her technical competence. As part of the recruitment tactics, candidates are even asked to create a new product and present it to the group.

Mind you; this is not something to be followed during the interview process alone. There is a continuous evaluation going on, and you may be systematically eliminated if you do not conform to these attributes throughout.

I agree that all the qualities I mentioned above are personality related and not exactly linked to technical competence. But Apple believes that recruiting the best of best talent will necessitate focusing on these vital soft-skills. Experience is important, and an active interest in technology is highly valued; but at Apple, the hiring manager always looks for that special something in the candidate that makes him stand apart from the crowd.

That was probably why Steve Jobs was particular that he recruit people for his team. No wonder he has interviewed more than 5000 candidates in his career and hired only the finest of talents!

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