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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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The Below-Decks Crew Members

For some positions, you need people with spirit, yet the job is the equivalent of working in the galley. A prime example: hiring people to work in the Apple retail stores.

Working in an Apple store is a coveted position, more sought after than you might imagine: Only about 6 percent of the applicants are chosen. Candidates frequently try to find out how to prepare themselves so they can ace the personal interview. In fact, it’s not something a person can prepare for, because it’s about attitude, work ethic, and being a team player. And, as well, having passion for the products, having a collaborative spirit, and paying great attention to details. The recruiting process Apple uses is completely different from a job at the company headquarters in Cupertino. Some applicants have been interviewed on a bench in the mall, in a coffee shop, or at an outdoor restaurant.

Another company that has also done a great job of recruiting people to fit their culture is Starbucks. As they grew, the headquarters staff increased from 100 employees to 1,000. On the front lines, they were faced with even a bigger challenge: how to hire over 100,000 new employees without losing their existing culture, which has always been based on the people behind the counter being able to make a connection with the customer. Starbucks senior vice president Dave Olson described their culture by saying that it didn’t matter how many millions or billions of coffees the company served, if ...

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