Why it matters: Do you have aspirations of working for the most valuable company in the world? With its $2.35 trillion market cap, Apple offers plenty of employee benefits, but getting on the payroll isn’t easy. According to boss Tim Cook, there are four qualities Cupertino looks for in its potential hires.

Speaking at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy (via Fortune), Cook emphasized how important it is that incoming Apple staff care about the world, as he believes this brings out the best work in people.

The CEO then broke down the four key attributes he says people need to work for Apple. The first of these and, given the company’s controversial return-to-work mandate, possibly the most relevant today is the ability to collaborate with colleagues.

“…we look for the ability to collaborate with people—the fundamental feeling that if I share my idea with you, that that idea will grow and get bigger and be better,” he said, noting that Apple’s ability to create new products stemmed from collaborative, rather than individual, efforts.

ceo tim cook reveals the four traits apple looks for in potential employees

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Unsurprisingly, Cook cited creativity as another trait Apple looks for in potential employees: “[we look for] somebody that will kind of walk around the problem and look at it from different angles and use their creative juices to come up with solutions.”

Curiosity was next. Cook said being curious enough to ask lots of questions, be they smart or dumb, puts pressure on the person to think through the answers really deeply.

The last and probably most obvious thing Apple wants from workers is a high level of expertise. “If we’re doing something in industrial design, we need somebody that knows industrial design and has a skill set in it either from their college days or through their work days,” he said.

Cook said that Apple staff with these four skills had done well at the company, which is why it looks for the same attributes when hiring staff. He added that being paid a lot of money will not make someone happy if the job is unfulfilling. “People have to work for a reason bigger than themselves,” he said. “So you want to have a vision for a company that is about serving the customer and somehow improving their lives. You want to do it in an ethical way.”

It’s interesting to hear Cook name the collaboration skill first. The CEO has long said in-person teams are essential to Apple’s culture, which is why the company has been pushing harder than most to get its employees back in the office. It led to a staff petition in August against the return-to-work mandate that demanded location-flexible work.

Something else Cook perhaps should have mentioned as a trait Apple looks for is employees not making ill-advised comments in TikTok videos. Tony Blevins, vice president of procurement for Apple, made that mistake recently and it cost him his job.

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