5 Traits CEO Tim Cook Looks for in Prospective Employees

gettyimages-188093734-compressorAnd to get to be CEO? Well, aspirants may want to try channeling Abraham Lincoln.

These are some pieces of advice offered by Apple CEO Tim Cook during a recent Q&A session in Utah, which can be viewed here.

Cook identified 5 traits that he looks for in prospective employees:

1. Intelligence: “Obviously, we look for wicked smart people. But put that aside for a second. There are a lot of wicked smart people.”

2. Persistence: “We look for grit and determination.”

“Even someone with an ‘S’ on their chest and a cape on their back can’t do everything alone.”

3. Curiosity: “We look for people [who] are curious because many times you really don’t know what to do, but you’re curious enough to start pulling the string to see where it takes you.”

4. Collaboration: “Even someone with an ‘S’ on their chest and a cape on their back can’t do everything alone. So we’ll look for people who believe that by working with others they can amplify what they can do.”

5. Rebelliousness: “And we look for people [who] won’t accept the status quo. People [who] aren’t satisfied with the way things are. They really want to change the world and put all of themselves into doing it.”

Cook joined Apple in 1998 and was tasked with filling Steve Jobs’ big shoes as CEO in 2011.

When asked by a sixth-grader in the audience “how do you become the CEO of Apple?”, Cook said having faith in himself played a big part.

“I always believed in this old saying from President Lincoln. He used to say: I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”

“And I’ve always believed that. If you have faith that whatever you’re doing today—you’re not sure necessarily what it will become tomorrow—but eventually, if you have faith, something great will happen.”

Cook said he had never dreamed of becoming CEO and that accepting Jobs’ invite to join the company was the best decision he’d ever made.

“Study hard, that’s very important, do great work and have faith that those things add up and lead you on a journey that will be a most incredible journey,” he said.

Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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