Want to work for Apple? You need these 4 traits.


Tim Cook recently described key traits of Apple hires while speaking with university students in Naples, Italy. No, a beard isn't one of them.
Tim Cook recently described key traits of Apple hires. (No, a beard isn't one of them.)
Photo: Miguelangel Miquelena/Unsplash License

Apple CEO Tim Cook told a group of students in Italy last week what it takes to get and keep a job with the Cupertino tech giant.

Cook said Apple seeks out candidates with four shared skillsets that help employees — and the company — succeed.

Apple looks for 4 main skills in prospective employees

Cook made his remarks in Naples during his visit to the University of Naples Federico II, where he attended commencement, received an honorary Master’s degree in innovation and took part in a Q&A session with students.

What are the four magical traits or skills, as reported by CNBC and other media outlets? Here they are in the order Cook described them:

  1. The ability to collaborate
  2. Creativity
  3. Curiosity
  4. Expertise

“It’s been a very good formula for us,” Cook said. “It’s not like somebody goes in a corner or closet and figures out [how to build technology] by themselves.”

Collaboration is crucial, Cook said, because it combines the other three skillsets.

“We look for… the fundamental feeling that if I share my idea with you, that that idea will grow and get bigger and get better,” he said. “And that [collaborative] process is how Apple creates products.”

Ask questions ‘like a kid would do’

He added that launching new products and improving existing ones depends on teamwork, which lends itself to creativity and curiosity.

“We look for people that think different — that can look at a problem and not be caught up in the dogma of how that problem has always been [solved],” he said. “It’s a cliché, but there are no dumb questions. It’s amazing when somebody starts to ask questions as a kid would do.”

And yet questions remain about Apple’s culture and work environment.

“But whether Apple’s hiring tactics consistently ensure a positive working environment is up for debate. This year, the company dropped off Comparably’s annual list of global companies with the best workplace culture. It also received a ‘C’ rating for office culture, despite ranking at No. 14 last year,” CNBC said.

It also noted Apple fell 25 places — from 31 to 56 — on the annual ranking of best places to work in the U.S. from Glassdoor, and receives plenty of negative employee reviews about high stress, crazy schedules and bad work-life balance.


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