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

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On Not Using Recruiters

Steve believed from the first that you could not rely on outside recruiting firms to select people who would be a good fit for the Apple culture.

Talking to Fortune senior editor Betsy Morris in 2008, Steve told her that rather than using outside search firms, Apple did its own talent searching. “Recruiting is hard,” he told her. “It’s just finding the needles in the haystack. We do it ourselves and we spend a lot of time at it.”

For Steve, this wasn’t just a now-and-then task that he found time for when things were slow. “I’ve participated in the hiring of maybe 5,000-plus people in my life—so I take it very seriously. You can’t know enough in a one-hour interview.”

It’s the talent of sizing up whether the person is a truly good fit for the culture that Steve developed and nurtured. “In the end,” he said in the Fortune interview, “it’s ultimately based on your gut. ‘How do I feel about this person? What are they like when they’re challenged? Why are they here?’ I ask everybody that: ‘Why are you here?’ ”

He finished with a statement that sums up the essence of what I think of as the Steve Jobs culture standard: “The answers themselves are not what you’re looking for. It’s the meta-data”—by which he meant the information you draw from the data.1

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