If you want to work for Apple, Tim Cook says you need four traits

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 3
At the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company has great success with employees that have these four traits.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook


During the final week of September, Tim Cook spent time traveling around Europe to visit Apple Stores, company offices, and more. He received an honorary Master's Degree in Innovation and International Management from the University of Naples Federico II.

And, at the university upon receiving the degree, Cook told students that it's essential for incoming employees to care about the world around them.

"We have a group of people in the company that really want to change the world, that want to enrich people's lives, that want to leave the world better than they found it," he said. "It's that kind of feeling that drives people to do their best work and I've seen it happen again and again, and the results are just unbelievable."

And, he shared the four qualities that Apple looks for when interviewing people -- collaboration, creativity, curiosity, and expertise.

Collaboration

On collaboration, an essential skill for people wanting to work for Apple, Cook said the trait is critical for creating new products at Apple.

"We believe that strong individual contributors are really key, but two strong individuals that work together can do amazing work, and small teams can do incredible things," he said.

"So we look for the ability to collaborate with people-- the fundamental feeling that if I share my idea with you, that that idea will grow and get bigger and be better."

Creativity

Creativity is another essential trait that Apple prizes and the company is always looking for people that think differently.

"We look for people that think differently, that can look at a problem and not be caught up in the dogma of how that problem has always been viewed," he said.

"And so [we look for] somebody that will kind of walk around the problem and look at it from different angles and use their creative juices to come up with solutions."

Curiosity

"There are no dumb questions," Cook told students, and curiosity is a quality Apple looks for in people.

"Curiosity is about being curious about something to ask lots of questions, whether you think they're smart questions or dumb questions," he said.

"It's amazing when somebody starts to ask questions as a kid would, how it puts pressure on the person to think through the answers really deeply. And so, we look for this innate curiosity in people."

Expertise

Apple employees need to be experts in their fields; that expertise comes from education and previous work experience.

"If we're doing something in industrial design, we need somebody that knows industrial design and has a skill set in it either from their college days or through their work days," Cook said.

Cook said that these four traits are a good formula that Apple has used in the past and will continue to use when hiring new people.

From the employee's perspective, they must work in a job that fills them with passion and fulfills their life.

"People have to work for a reason bigger than themselves," he said. "So you want to have a vision for a company that is about serving the customer and somehow improving their lives. You want to do it in an ethical way."

"There's no gravitational pull from that-- the gravitational pull is always, what are you doing for other people?" Cook continued. "And with a purpose like that, it's amazing what people will do from a work point of view."

In an interview on September 30, he spoke about virtual reality and augmented reality with Dutch news outlet Bright, calling augmented reality a profound technology that will affect everything.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 409member
    There's a fifth trait in that, unfortunately, one must also be willing to relocate to the Bay Area...
  • Reply 2 of 20
    JP234JP234 Posts: 484member
    hmlongco said:
    There's a fifth trait in that, unfortunately, one must also be willing to relocate to the Bay Area...
    It's worth it if Apple makes you an offer. Trust me. I was fortunate enough to qualify and worked for the greatest company in the world for 12 years. I'm retired now, and just got back from a Grecian Isles vacation, paid in full by dividends from the Apple stock I acquired while employed there (and since). Just as valuable was the friendships I made among the most talented, smart and collegial staff I've ever encountered in 50+ years in the workplace.
    danoxdk49argonautwaveparticleFileMakerFellerdoozydozensflageliqatedololliversconosciuto
  • Reply 3 of 20
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 869member
    hmlongco said:
    There's a fifth trait in that, unfortunately, one must also be willing to relocate to the Bay Area...
    That must be a really new requirement since Apple has people working all over the world.  Perhaps Apple just expects people to show up for work to the office where they were hired?
    mwhiteFileMakerFellerlolliversconosciutobaconstang
  • Reply 4 of 20
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 709member
    Interesting to read this from the CEO perspective. I recently got a look at it from the very opposite side of the spectrum. I spoke to a college student who attended a large EE conference a few months ago. They said that Apple was there recruiting but a lot of students they know were not that interested in working for them. 1. The work culture is not perceived to be that great 2. As mentioned, it could require a relocation to California 3. There are companies who pay more and 4. There are some areas where students would rather work for a smaller company focused on something more specific than being a small part of a larger company. 
    FileMakerFellerdoozydozen
  • Reply 5 of 20
    JP234JP234 Posts: 484member
    bulk001 said:
    Interesting to read this from the CEO perspective. I recently got a look at it from the very opposite side of the spectrum. I spoke to a college student who attended a large EE conference a few months ago. They said that Apple was there recruiting but a lot of students they know were not that interested in working for them. 1. The work culture is not perceived to be that great 2. As mentioned, it could require a relocation to California 3. There are companies who pay more and 4. There are some areas where students would rather work for a smaller company focused on something more specific than being a small part of a larger company. 
    1. I worked 12 years for Apple, and the culture is that great. The only place I found greater camaraderie was in the Air Force.
    2. If that's your only consideration, you're going to miss the opportunity of a lifetime because you don't want to move.
    3. Until that smaller company goes under or gets bought by the big company and cuts their jobs. Anyone who is offered a job with Apple, but wants to be more important to a smaller company, should go to work for Apple, add it to his CV, and leverage it for maximum wage when those "smaller companies" come calling.
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  • Reply 6 of 20
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 709member
    JP234 said:
    bulk001 said:
    Interesting to read this from the CEO perspective. I recently got a look at it from the very opposite side of the spectrum. I spoke to a college student who attended a large EE conference a few months ago. They said that Apple was there recruiting but a lot of students they know were not that interested in working for them. 1. The work culture is not perceived to be that great 2. As mentioned, it could require a relocation to California 3. There are companies who pay more and 4. There are some areas where students would rather work for a smaller company focused on something more specific than being a small part of a larger company. 
    1. I worked 12 years for Apple, and the culture is that great. The only place I found greater camaraderie was in the Air Force.
    2. If that's your only consideration, you're going to miss the opportunity of a lifetime because you don't want to move.
    3. Until that smaller company goes under or gets bought by the big company and cuts their jobs. Anyone who is offered a job with Apple, but wants to be more important to a smaller company, should go to work for Apple, add it to his CV, and leverage it for maximum wage when those "smaller companies" come calling.
    Yes, that is why all positions at Apple are filled /s
  • Reply 7 of 20
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,761member
    JP234 said:
    hmlongco said:
    There's a fifth trait in that, unfortunately, one must also be willing to relocate to the Bay Area...
    It's worth it if Apple makes you an offer. Trust me. I was fortunate enough to qualify and worked for the greatest company in the world for 12 years. I'm retired now, and just got back from a Grecian Isles vacation, paid in full by dividends from the Apple stock I acquired while employed there (and since). Just as valuable was the friendships I made among the most talented, smart and collegial staff I've ever encountered in 50+ years in the workplace.
    Did you work at the new campus? 
    grandact73
  • Reply 8 of 20
    iqatedo said:
    JP234 said:
    hmlongco said:
    There's a fifth trait in that, unfortunately, one must also be willing to relocate to the Bay Area...
    It's worth it if Apple makes you an offer. Trust me. I was fortunate enough to qualify and worked for the greatest company in the world for 12 years. I'm retired now, and just got back from a Grecian Isles vacation, paid in full by dividends from the Apple stock I acquired while employed there (and since). Just as valuable was the friendships I made among the most talented, smart and collegial staff I've ever encountered in 50+ years in the workplace.
    Did you work at the new campus? 
    Who cares... what does this have to do w/ topic?
  • Reply 9 of 20
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,413member
    The People that don’t want to work for Apple don’t fit the qualities Apple is looking for anyway. Their thinking is far too small and limited. Just because they were at an recruitment event doesn’t mean they would make it far enough to get an offer. It sounds like they would be disqualified early in the process. 

    Apple is a longer term gamer. They will likely track these students in linked in see how they do over the next few years and either approach them with an offer once they achieve something worthwhile or if enough of them end up at a relevant company the get purchased by Apple and end up working for them anyway. 
  • Reply 10 of 20
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 709member
    genovelle said:
    The People that don’t want to work for Apple don’t fit the qualities Apple is looking for anyway. Their thinking is far too small and limited. Just because they were at an recruitment event doesn’t mean they would make it far enough to get an offer. It sounds like they would be disqualified early in the process. 

    Apple is a longer term gamer. They will likely track these students in linked in see how they do over the next few years and either approach them with an offer once they achieve something worthwhile or if enough of them end up at a relevant company the get purchased by Apple and end up working for them anyway. 
    Haha. You should write for the Onion. They were not at a recruitment event. They were at an EE conference but Apple and other companies were there recruiting because evidently they are having a hard time filling positions. And according to one I spoke to,  many of the students in this group at the conference apparently chose not to interview with Apple for the reasons already outlines. You can make shit up or you can listen to those who actually could be recruited now but chose not to. If it is so wonderful, why aren’t you working for them?
  • Reply 11 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,160member
    bulk001 said:
    genovelle said:
    The People that don’t want to work for Apple don’t fit the qualities Apple is looking for anyway. Their thinking is far too small and limited. Just because they were at an recruitment event doesn’t mean they would make it far enough to get an offer. It sounds like they would be disqualified early in the process. 

    Apple is a longer term gamer. They will likely track these students in linked in see how they do over the next few years and either approach them with an offer once they achieve something worthwhile or if enough of them end up at a relevant company the get purchased by Apple and end up working for them anyway. 
    Haha. You should write for the Onion. They were not at a recruitment event. They were at an EE conference but Apple and other companies were there recruiting because evidently they are having a hard time filling positions. And according to one I spoke to,  many of the students in this group at the conference apparently chose not to interview with Apple for the reasons already outlines. You can make shit up or you can listen to those who actually could be recruited now but chose not to. If it is so wonderful, why aren’t you working for them?
    In your original post you said you spoke to ‘a’ student and you gleaned all this negativity from that student. Now you’ve concluded that no one wants to work for Apple and you come here to tell us all that. Your conclusions are just as much bullshit as the ones you are trying to label as bullshit.
    sconosciutobaconstangwilliamhStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 12 of 20
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 409member
    JP234 said:
    2. If that's your only consideration, you're going to miss the opportunity of a lifetime because you don't want to move.
    It's not the only consideration, but it is a consideration. I have someone there who's reached out to me a couple of times, but the kicker is that the role is on-site and I'd almost have to double my salary to maintain anything close to the same standard of living I currently enjoy.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 20
    This was super fascinating to read. I recently interviewed with Mayo Clinic and I got the job. It took months from application to offer, I'm super stoked. I would not say I am an expert in my field (which is not medical), but in the interview I pushed the other three values very hard and I know that the folks interviewing me liked my answers. I also emphasized my desire to use my talents to help make a positive difference in people's lives and about wanting to work for an organization whose mission and values inspired me and filled me with passion for my job (rather than, say, helping someone corporation more units of widgets in the next quarter so that the execs get their bonuses). Of course, Mayo's ethical reputation is impeccable and I love that as well about the organization.

    I'm even prouder to have been considered worthy to work there, knowing that Mayo and Apple have similar outlooks on what they value in employees.
    edited October 4
  • Reply 14 of 20
    I moved to the Bay Area in '76 from Los Angeles.
    I enjoy visiting and working in other locales on occasion, but I'm always so happy to get back to San Francisco when the job is done.
    sconosciuto
  • Reply 15 of 20
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 410member
    One of Cook's 4 pillars is collaboration and that explains why Apple are getting more and more overt in their expectation for staff to return to HQ. I have a work-from-home job with decent remuneration. NOTHING can beat the work / life balance of this arrangement. That said, NOTHING can can come close to collaborating face-to-face as compared to 2D video and voices on a screen via Teams / Zoom / Slack / etc. So like most things in life, it comes down to pros and cons that each individual assesses subjectively.
    baconstang
  • Reply 16 of 20
    You know who would make great Apple employees? Us Kiwis. We flew first because we wanted to see if it was possible. We split the atom, mostly for the same reason.

    Our country’s mantra is “If it can’t be fixed with a hammer and Number 8 wire, it can’t be fixed at all”.

    We’re known the world over for being good workers, and we are not afraid to travel.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,415member
    hmlongco said:
    There's a fifth trait in that, unfortunately, one must also be willing to relocate to the Bay Area...
    Then don't apply. Not every position can be work from home. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 18 of 20
    jakcrowjakcrow Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    He forgot to mention ass kiss and backstab as well.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,842member
    Apple has many, many locations around the world that employ tens of thousands of people, so you don't always have to move to Cupertino. Apple plans to have 15,000 workers in Austin alone once all the campus buildouts are finished. I'm sure the traits Tim listed are desireable everywhere, not just Cupertino.
    edited October 4 StrangeDaysbaconstang
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Western culture overpass China in last two hundred years due to creativity. However, creativity is more a personal attribute than a learned thing. Kodak used to be a Down Jones company and revered worldwide for its photographic products. Where is Kodak now? Further, Kodak used to have tens of thousands employees. If creativity is built in the culture, Kodak should have proportionally lots of creative people. Since it failed, it seems creativity is more or less a random event. A culture only serves to not bury creative people and provide the opportunity for creative people to succeed. 
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