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What the Recruiting Industry Should Learn From Steve Jobs

A company can be as great as its leader. Apple ended last quarter with 82% revenue increase, a 125% profit increase, and more money than the United States Government. The bottom-line is only a fraction of the story. Innovation, user-friendliness, good shit: these terms are synonymous with Apple products. The Steve Jobs user experience changed culture, making sure that everyone is an “i” and that everyone comes first. Now, Jobs has resigned as CEO. And tomorrow, the army Jobs equipped with white ear buds and fingers on flat screens will continue to grow. “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Jobs always knew that the end was near. Remember, every deal has a timetable. Act now. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” What is truly important in economics is not price. It is product. It is our work that matters.

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

When recruiting, the candidate must align with the product, the vision, and the company. The salary, the benefits, the perks – those are only icing to the top professionals. The best talent has the confidence to know that the compensation will be sufficient. Truly, compensation is always a secondary selling point.

Apple’s goal isn’t to make money. Our goal is to design and develop and bring to market good products… We trust as a consequence of that, people will like them, and as another consequence, we’ll make some money. But we’re really clear about what our goals are.”

Jobs made the most profitable company in the world by making the best products in the world. The next best product can always be made. When the best job opportunity arises, those with that mindset will act. When recruiting the top talent, ask yourself, is this the best job opportunity this person has? If you believe – really believe – the answer is yes, that person will end up working with you. When the company and the candidate have the same goals – perfection – the right hire will be made. “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Build good shit together.

To those who suggest,  “In a typical startup, a manager may not always have the time to spend recruiting other people,” Steve Jobs says:

“I disagree totally. I think it’s the most important job. Assume you’re by yourself in a startup and you want a partner. You’d take a lot of time finding the partner, right? He would be half of your company. Why should you take any less time finding a third of your company or a fourth of your company or a fifth of your company? When you’re in a startup, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A players? If three were not so great, why would you want a company where 30 percent of your people are not so great?”

What I am saying is company culture. It comes from the leader. The legacy of Steve Jobs will continue to lead Apple. The top innovators will continue to want to work for Apple because of what Jobs accomplished. The brand of Apple will never be exclusive from the brand of Steve Jobs. Educate your employees on your vision. Apple plans to leverage the brand of Jobs for eternity. Apple founded Apple University “to teach Apple employees how to think like Steve Jobs and make decisions he would make.”

I mean, some people say, ‘Oh, God, if [Steve Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.’ And, you know, I think it wouldn’t be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple.”

Surrounding a great leader with the best talent is the best a company can do. If Steve Jobs believes a person is capable, do you?

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple.

I’m deeply saddened by this news. Not because I have any fear for the future of Apple. But because I believe Steve Jobs would not have resigned as CEO unless his health forced him to do so. I wish Jobs the best of luck in his health, family life, and future endeavors. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Your work, like your life, is limited. Surround yourself with talent to fulfill your vision. Build good shit. Like Steve Jobs did.

Photo Credit RackCDN Video Credit Stanford Commencement Speech

UPDATE: Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

Video Credit David Smooke

David Smooke

David Smooke was the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at SmartRecruiters and is the Founder of ArtMap Inc & AMI Publications.