Wednesday, 05 June 2024 04:41

I’ll never hire anyone again without asking Apple's genius interview question

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They say recruiting is a lot like dating. Online profiles act as piles of resumes that reduce humans to a comparatively tiny number of choice words they've strung together to entice you to consider them. All are hopelessly vying for your attention, if not approval. 

Meanwhile, once they do just that, many won't even be interested in what you have to offer, according to daters everywhere and SHRM

For some, your "competitive salary" isn't competitive enough. Others won't find your benefits package to be, well, beneficial enough. And then there are those who are simply using your interest as a bargaining chip to show their current engagements that they need to step it up, as they have other options.

Blue chip companies are the celebrities in the employment world. No matter how widely known their flaws may be, they hold mass appeal. And with their widespread interest, and the larger-than-average applicant pool that floods their inbox, they're in a unique position to be far more picky than the average employer. With that, they also need to be more savvy than average to find the proverbial needle in the Everest-size haystack. 

No easy feat. Or at least so I thought until a source at Apple HR shared a simple, yet brilliantly effective strategy--one that I will never hire anyone again without first using: 

Ask candidates how they got their previous roles. 

Much as getting to know a date boils down to asking good questions, the same holds true for interviews. Apple has a history of bizarre interview questions that secretly serve a larger purpose, and my inside source at Apple HR tells me that the purpose of this question is to find out whether or not former colleagues brought them on to work with them at their new employers. And the reason is twofold. 

1. They know whether the candidate knows their stuff 

Finding candidates who have the skills and knowledge to perform a job well can prove to be quite the mission. After all, there are the smooth talkers whose expertise lies within saying what they can do, not in the actual doing of it. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are better at doing what they do than talking about what they do. 

Add the fact that the more advanced the position, the more difficult it becomes. 

In fact, according to a former Apple interviewer, around 75 percent of candidates can't answer Apple's most basic questions. However, asking staff for recommendations on candidates they have previously worked with has changed the hiring game. 

This is because colleagues have a unique vantage point into the inner workings of their co-workers. As experts in their field, they can truly tell how knowledgeable and skilled others are in their field. And having worked with them, they have also witnessed how they actually work. 

For example, despite regarding myself as an informed homeowner, it wouldn't take much to fool me into believing that someone is a capable plumber. Yet, a plumber could tell whether or not another plumber seems to know what they're talking about, and a former co-worker would know whether or not they are actually good at their craft. 

Meanwhile, they might get the job done, but the workmanship might be sloppy to those who know what they're looking at, they might overlook an issue that will cost you more later, or perhaps they take far more time than the job should take -- while you're footing the bill for hourly labor. 

Of course, this is not only about how well our colleagues perform their jobs. It also reveals many of the soft skills and characteristics that you'll be hard-pressed to glean from a resume, an interview, or even a reference. 

2. They know the candidate's character

A resume and cover letter are simply a great way to get to know what a candidate wants you to know. But perhaps the most important parts are often the ones left off the resume. However, former colleagues are privy to things that no one would tell a potential employer.

For example, do they show up late every day and take two-hour lunch breaks, yet put in for overtime? Do they get their work done or do they distract others from doing their work? When they say they're open to new ideas, does that mean others' ideas, or just their own? Do they require excessive hand-holding to do a good job?

You get the point and I'm sure you have your own examples from experience with certain colleagues over the years. The point being, people often move to new employers and, in time, bring their favorite co-workers with them -- and there's a reason for that. 

Not only do we know who is good at their job after working with them, but we also know who is simply good to work with. People don't stay in jobs solely for the pay, the clout, or even the work itself. What makes or breaks someone's day-to-day life within a role -- or a relationship -- is often how they feel about the company we keep. 

What the hiring team at Apple recognizes is that having the skills to sufficiently perform a job is just a small piece of the puzzle when hiring the truly best candidates, because skills and knowledge are just a small piece of who someone is. Though character was traditionally revealed in time, savvy employers are using the interview process to gain more insightful information through questions and tests, such as Apple's three tests to separate candidates -- and with that, make better hiring decisions more easily.



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