5 Hiring Lessons Church Leaders Can Learn From Apple


For years now, Apple has managed to stay not only on top of the mobile phone industry but to stay well ahead of all its competitors. Samsung has been closing the gap but cannot seem to take the number one spot.

Why can’t Apple be beaten? It’s not the parts in the products – Samsung is Apple’s supply chain. It’s not speed – Samsung sees what Apple is making before most of the world does. It’s not size of the company – Samsung is worth over $200B now.  So why can’t Samsung catch Apple?

Apple’s winning advantages are not just tech-oriented - They are also criteria that church leaders should look for when hiring so that they have a team with a winning advantage. In other words, you want to hire Apples not Samsungs.

Consider some of the reasons people choose Apple, and think about how they transfer to your church or organization’s teambuilding and hiring processes. Here’s what I’ve learned in helping build hundreds of teams, including my own:

1. Hire virus free people.

When I ask people why they choose Apple products, over and over I hear statements like, “I don’t want viruses.” No matter how fast the processor, how big the screen, or how great the camera, nobody wants a device that can catch a virus.

But how many times do we hear stories of companies hiring talented people who come with clear baggage, only to find out that person ends up not fitting? In hiring, baggage outweighs talent.

Related: 8 Ways To Spot Emotionally Elite Candidates

2. Hire from the Genius Bar, not the help desk.

With the exception of one quarter, Apple’s technical and customer support has been ranked number one for countless years, and it remains one of the reasons for Apple’s dominance. If you have been to a Genius Bar or dealt with Apple’s online support, you know that there is a “wow” factor that is rooted in their tenacious search for an answer to your issue.

In general, people live on either the “problem” side of life’s equation or on the “solution” side. When hiring, ask questions about problems you have, and look for a person committed to a solution. Ask candidates about times they had to solve a problem they had never encountered. The winners will shine through every time. People who attack a client problem head on and find different ways to attack it are like the employees at the Genius Bar—people whose motivation for a customer complaint is to get them off their backs are the like faceless help desks… Find your employees at the Genius Bar.

3. Hire people who can tell you what you need to know before you know you need to know it.

Nobody knew they needed a phone without a keyboard until Steve Jobs told us we did. Nobody had considered a tablet until we met the iPad. Apple has the uncanny ability to tell us what we want before we know we want it.

The very best team members are ones who tell you a solution to a problem you didn’t even know existed. Years ago, I interviewed Holly Tate to help us start a business development department. During her second interview, I asked her how she would spend her first 100 days. She said, “I would spend those days learning the company and convincing you to adopt this inbound marketing tool.” She immediately handed me a written proposal for a marketing tool – Hubspot – and how it would solve problems I didn’t even know we had. I hired her on the spot.

Related: 7 Key Interview Questions To Ask For Operations And Finance Roles

4. Hire artists.

Consumers love the aesthetics that comes with Apple. Apple products aren’t just functional; they also look cool. They are slim, sleek, and something people want to own as a piece of art.

In building a church team, this doesn’t mean only hiring beautiful people. Rather, it means hiring people who view their work as art. Teams that are made up of people who are committed to the beauty and artistry of their craft will always beat teams that are simply driving to finish a task. While functionality is a given for successful teams, functional teams who view their work as art will almost always be superior.

Related: Churches: 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring An “IT Guy”

5. Hire people who work together seamlessly.

One of the undeniable advantages of Apple is how their devices seamlessly work together. Macs, iPads, and iPhones all work together so that the messages and tasks you’re sending on one platform show up on the others, in the same format. No other company can make that claim.

In my work helping churches and faith-based organizations build their teams, I am amazed at how many times the final differentiation between good candidates and great ones is the answer to the question: “How well do they play with others?” Talented candidates are great. Talented candidates who can mesh with others, particularly across multiple departments, are superior. Smart church leaders spend longer than normal interview time looking at chemistry and interpersonal skills. They rarely regret it.

Related: 3 Ways To Create Contagious Staff Culture

Sooner or later, someone will pass Apple. But for now, their lead continues to set records. I believe it has less to do with technology, and a lot more to do with qualities like these. Applying these filters to your hiring might make the difference between having a good church staff and an unstoppable one.

If you liked this, then you'll also like How To Make Hires That Stick.