Instead of Hiring, Invite to Join

News came out today that Tim Cook hired Angela Ahrendts for the SVP of Retail role. The word ‘hired’ just seemed out of place. It’s dominating and cold; it implies a hierarchy where one part reports to or is in other ways lesser than the other.

From what Cook and Jobs have been saying about the way they do business, they don’t hire people – they ask them to join. Steve asked the Pepsi CEO at the time to change the world with him, not to work for him.

It’s a subtle, but powerful difference. If you interviewed at Khan Academy, for example, wouldn’t you rather them follow up with “We invite you to join us in transforming education” rather than “We offer you employment for XYZ position”? The former is warmer and implies more trust, ownership, and a higher sense of value from the beginning.

Apple’s senior leadership, perhaps now more so than ever, is like a family rather than a collection of people working for Tim Cook. And he didn’t just look at Angela and said “You there, I want you. You’re hired.” Angela received in invitation to join Apple in changing the world; and by accepting, she became a member of the family more so than an employee of Tim Cook.

PS: For full credit, even though she doesn’t cover this in her video, I was watching Angela’s TEDx talk when this thought popped into my head.