4 Recruitment Ideas You Can Pinch From Apple

Not everyone can afford to spend an absolute fortune on recruitment, like Apple unquestionably do. But there is still much to learn from them. Check out this blog to see some of their recruitment ideas.

June 20, 2023

When it comes to technology, Apple leads the way.

From the latest iPhone model to their ever-evolving presence in the PC and laptop industry.

And a big part of this success stems from Apple’s hunger to employ the right candidates.

Whether it’s for one of their retail shops or a development role within their headquarters, every employee matters and plays a pivotal part in creating their global brand.

So, if you want to improve your recruitment processes, I suggest you take a leaf (or bite) out of Apple’s book.

1. Good things come to those who wait

According to a UX designer, Luis Abreu, Apple carried out “3 screening calls, 5 FaceTime interviews, a trip to Cupertino for 5 two-person interviews lasting a whole day and a launch at the newest Café Macs.”

The result? “A shallow no.”

Extreme perhaps, but the key here is the length of time in which they took a long time to make their decision.

You see, while something as lavish as this simply won’t be affordable for most, Apple created a process which tested their candidate. In Apple’s opinion, if the candidate chose not to go the extra mile, they weren’t a right fit for them.

And by treating Luis to the lunch at the very end, they were also giving him a taste of what life could be like if he was successful, hopefully, fuelling his passion to get the job in the first place.

Just like MI5, Apple management value the recruitment process and know they must take every necessary step to find the right person.

Now, while it’s not advisable to create a process as extensive as Apple’s, don’t be afraid to add an extra week or a small task for the candidates to complete. After all, good things come to those who wait.

2. Testing initiative

Another tactic Apple deploy is their method of asking candidates unexpected questions during interviews.

A 2016 report published by The Telegraph highlighted 25 of them.

Some of the best ones include:

"Who would you most like to share a coffee with and why?"

One of Apple’s more pleasant ice-breaker style questions to make a candidate feel at ease. This could spur on further conversations about hobbies and interests.

"What would you say to a customer who says they don't like Apple?"

Ideal for a customer facing role. This question requires intuition and a level of wit. Can the candidate give you a smart and/or funny response? Or will they crumble under the pressure?

"Tell me about a time when you got something you didn't think you deserved."

We often talk about achievements in interviews, but Apple’s decision to focus on a positive contrived from a negative is genius. It encourages your potential candidates to be honest and break through the preconceived auto-responses they have in their heads.

"What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?"

Another good ice-breaker question used by Apple. This one should definitely bring a smile to everyone’s faces.

"Are you smart?"

If your candidate is having an interview with Apple, we all know they must have a degree of intelligence. So, this is an interesting way of separating the arrogant candidates from the humble. Give it a go.

"Explain a situation when you gave the wrong advice. What were the consequences? What did you learn from this?"

Another question used by Apple to get their candidates to give an open and honest answer. By pairing a negative with a positive, you’ll be able to see who has a genuine answer and who doesn’t.

You’ll note that Apple (and other tech companies like Google) are steering away from really difficult and often pointless interview brainteasers too.

Recruiter Top Tip Want some more tips on interview questions? We have an array of different articles for you to look at:
  • 8 Interview Questions to Lighten the Mood – read here.
  • 7 Interview Questions to Help You Find a Real Team Player – read here.
  • 8 Cliché Interview Questions We Should Stop Asking – read here.

3. Create the right atmosphere

If you have a pool of strong candidates possessing an abundance of talent, don’t discard them.

For retail positions, Apple carry out group interviews to help distinguish the better candidates.

A student named Dylan explained to Macworld how five people conducted the first interview and applauded the group of applicants as they entered the room.

You see, Apple recognise that some people might be nervous or naturally quiet, so they give their potential employees the warm and infectious reception they deserve.

It’s a perfect way to make candidates feel comfortable enough to get involved in group conversations.

4. Recognising your core values

Before the recruitment process even begins, it’s vitally important to remember what the core values of the business are.

Whether it’s all about securing sales quickly or putting an extra emphasis on customer service, establish this and you’ll find it easier to source the right candidate.

In the same article by Macworld, Dylan said that there were a huge array of candidates who attended the group interview for the retail job. He believes that Apple wasn’t interested in the standard salesperson.

Apple ultimately places their customers at the forefront of everything they do. And if that means selling them a cheaper model, that’s absolutely fine.

A better experience means a better service, and a better service usually results in repeat business.

Using Apple’s method of finding the right candidate with the same core values is how they’ve created a loyal fan base who come back for more and more.

Is this something you can afford to miss?


While some of Apple’s recruitment techniques might not suit every budget, there’s still a lot you can learn from them.

They don’t simply rush in to find a candidate, as there’s a high probability they won’t be a right fit for the company.

Just like the tortoise and the hare, quality of service outweighs a quick win in the long-run.

Placing a perfect candidate instead of an average one will not only benefit the business, but generate further business in more ways than one in the future.

Apple also loves to test their candidates during the interview stages. So, don’t be afraid to push the envelope with your questions or find quirky ways to find the right employee.

It’ll make the business more desirable and often give you better answers.

Good luck!

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Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
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