The 1 Personality Trait Steve Jobs Always Looked for When Hiring

FLICKR / DAVID GELLAR

Steve Jobs

FLICKR / DAVID GELLAR

AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis
April 19, 2024 at 10:50PM UTC

Quartz at Work recently resurrected a video of a young Steve Jobs talking about the one quality for which he looked when hiring at Apple. That one quality was passion.

Jobs believed that, instead of managing employees on how to do their work, leadership should have a vision and be able to articulate that vision so everyone else can understand it and work towards the same goal. In fact, Jobs goes on to explain that great employees shouldn't need to be managed, anyway — they should be able to manage themselves, if they're passionate and driven. And a core group of great people becomes "self policing."

That's why he promtly fired two "professional" managers Apple hired from outside the company at one point.

"It didn't work at all," he says in the video that's now making the rounds on YouTube. "Most of them were bozos. They knew how to manage, but they didn't know how to do anything."

To replace them, Jobs hired Debi Coleman, who had been working in a different department. She was an inexperienced 32-year-old who had a English literature degree. In the video, she calls the move a "big risk" and says that no one else would have given her the opportunity. Flash forward a few years and, after working as the company's manufacturing chief, Coleman went on to become Apple's CFO by age 35. 

"We wanted people that were insanely great at what they did, but were not necessarily those seasoned professionals," he explains. "But who had at the tips of their fingers and in their passion the latest understanding of where technology was and what they could do with that technology."

Watch the full video below.

 

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.

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