So You Want to Hire Like Apple?

We’ve talked about two tech giants in this series so far; let’s round it out with a third. Microsoft and Google hiring processes are somewhat famous for their intensity and off-the-wall interview questions. Apple, on the other hand, has been a little more secretive about their recruiting procedures. Various websites have lists of Apple interview questions, and one particularly famous incident involving Steve Jobs and an inappropriate question (OK, so that probably didn’t actually happen). However, the broad strokes of an Apple process are more easily corroborated. Apple interviews are designed to find employees who are forward-looking, passionate, and innovative. So you want to hire like Apple? Here are some interview tips.

Apple uses the interview process to find employees who will be a good match for company culture. Interview questions are designed to favor candidates who share a vision similar to Apple’s. One writer comments on Apple’s strategy: “When you hire people who don’t seem to agree with, or care about your company vision, you are potentially employing future enemies.”

Apple also looks for team players, or “contribution-minded” employees. When you interview a candidate, consider how he or she views their past accomplishments. Do they frame their work in terms of the job title they achieved? Or, do they tell you about their contributions to their team, and how that contributed to the success of the company overall? Also look for employees who are forward-thinking and excellence-minded, by asking candidates about their opinions on the future of your industry, and how it can be improved.

Interview questions at Apple are designed to pick up on personality attributes that will contribute to the success of the company. However, you can be sure that Apple doesn’t hire any simpletons. Like Microsoft and Google, Apple has famously used logic puzzles as interview questions. Check out a few good examples via the link below, but we’ll end on an easier one that you might have heard before. Ask this one in case you don’t need your employees to be quite as sharp as Apple engineers… but you want folks who are still up for a good challenge. Follow the link for the answer.

You’re at the end of a quest and you approach two doors, and your treasure is behind one of two doors. Behind the other door is a slow, painful death.

Beside the doors, there are two people. Both of them know which door has the treasure, and both know which door has the slow, painful death. One always tells the truth, and one always lies.

But you don’t know who is who, and you can only ask one question to ask of one of them.

What question do you ask, and which person do you ask, and what do you do based on what they tell you?