Apple’s hiring strategy for its retail stores was summarized this way by a journalist who worked…

Apple’s hiring strategy for its retail stores was summarized
this way by a journalist who worked part-time at one of the locations: “The
company was not looking for great salespeople using sophisticated technology,
as one would imagine it easily could; instead it isolates true enthusiasts and
true believers in Apple products, of which there are many. . . . As workers all
we had to bring to the table was a passion for Apple products; the company
supplied the knowledge we needed to teach, share, and sell to customers.”39
Other than that singular focus, the hiring procedures at the Apple Store
»

Apple’s hiring strategy for its retail stores was summarized
this way by a journalist who worked part-time at one of the locations: “The
company was not looking for great salespeople using sophisticated technology,
as one would imagine it easily could; instead it isolates true enthusiasts and
true believers in Apple products, of which there are many. . . . As workers all
we had to bring to the table was a passion for Apple products; the company
supplied the knowledge we needed to teach, share, and sell to customers.”39
Other than that singular focus, the hiring procedures at the Apple Store are
fairly typical. Applicants apply online by answering a few questions, pasting
in their resume, and selecting the jobs and locations in which they’re
interested. This process may need to be repeated multiple times before the
applicant is contacted by a store. That contact may then lead to one or more
face-to-face interviews, perhaps at the store itself or at a local coffee shop.

Two recent decisions, however, signal a departure from
Apple’s hiring and overall retail philosophies. On the hiring front, Apple
recruiters have been spotted handing out black cards to retail employees in
other organizations.40 The front of the card bears the Apple logo and reads,
“You’re amazing. We should talk.” The back of the card reads, “Your customer
service just now was exceptional. I work for the Apple Store, and you’re
exactly the kind of person we’d like to talk to. If you’re happy where you are,
I’ll never ask you to leave. But if you’re thinking about a change, give me a
call. This could be the start of something great.” The card also includes a URL
for more information. With respect to its overall retail philosophy, Apple
entered into an agreement with Best Buy to create a “store within a store” at
select locations.41 Although it remains a pilot program, Apple is taking steps
to prevent the bad experiences that drove it to launch its own retail stores in
the first place. First, Apple is setting up its own space within the Best Buys,
mimicking the look and feel of an Apple Store. Second, Apple is sending
consultants to the Best Buys to train employees, so that they know almost as
much about Macs as they do Hewlett-Packards, Acers, and other PCs.

a. Is there something unethical about Apple’s “black card
strategy,” or does it merely represent good, hard-nosed business?

b. Should Apple offer different training content for
employees recruited through the black card strategy? How might their job
satisfaction differ from employees who are recruited in more traditional ways?

c. How does the motivation of a Best Buy employee selling a
Mac differ from the motivation of an Apple Store employee selling a Mac? Is
there anything Apple can do to address such differences?

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