PostHeaderIcon Steve Jobs: The Ultimate Human Resource

Written by:  Eric LipkindYoung Steve Jobs

On October 5th another jobs report was released.   This report was the overwhelming sadness and tributes shown following the passing of Chairman and Founder of Apple, Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs was like no other Human Resource in recent times.  He has been compared to Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and many other true innovators.    Why was Steve Jobs the ultimate Human Resource?  Well, from a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR perspective, his resume would read as follows:

·         No college degree — although completed one semester at Reed College
·         Co-founder of Apple Computer, but fired after nine years

How would most employers view a resume with such details?   I am going to take a guess that this would not be the ideal candidate to hire on paper.  Hence the importance of digging deeper and not solely relying on a resume when evaluating a candidate.

Steve Jobs was an Entrepreneur, an Innovator, a Charismatic Leader, and customer service-focused professional.  These are items which are not shown on the resume highlights above which would be red flags for most recruiters.  I still remember going downtown in New York City with my father to 47th Street photo in 1982 to buy a brand new Apple II+ computer.   Oh how I miss 5 1/4 inch floppy disks and the ability to make them double sided by using a hole puncher.   Ok, I don’t really miss them, but I certainly showed my innovation and resourcefulness skills back in high school.   That was my first foray into Apple products.  I wrote some of the best programs in BASIC and was the master of the For-Next loop.  I also remember such classic games as Castle Wolfenstein and Olympic Decathlon.  Specifically, I recall banging on the space bar and arrows to throw the javelin in Olympic Decathlon.

However, the next two decades took me down a different path and I became a PC guy.  My wife had her Mac for Graphic design, but Microsoft and Windows was for me.  Then came the Ipod.  A real game changer.  I thought I was happy with my Sony Disc-man.   It played CD’s which were so much more portable than cassette tapes for the Sony Walkman.   However, now it appeared time for me to go back to Apple.   I have now owned three different versions of Ipods and can’t imagine how we possibly listened to music on CD’s and tapes.  Thank you Steve Jobs.   Not only did you innovate and create a game-changer for music enthusiasts, but you saved my back and sciatica from carrying around CD’s.  Steve, you were a true Human Resource.

Investors, employees, and consumers anxiously awaited the regular new product release conferences where Steve Jobs would ultimately have ‘just one more thing’.   His ‘one more thing’ was always more innovation.   His charisma made these speeches not only entertaining, but something to which to look forward.  Steve, you were a true Human Resource.

As far a customer service, culture is spread from the top down.   A perfect example of exemplary (and unexpected customer service) would be what happened to me last week.   I purchased the Ipad2 the day it was released about 6 months ago.  Last week I noticed a hairline crack across the screen.   Yikes!   $800 down the drain.   I took the Ipad into the Apple store (not where it was purchased), and was handed a brand new Ipad –not a refurbished one, but a brand new one no questions asked.   This is something I will not soon forget.  Other customers feel the same.  Such customer service skills were certainly taught by Steve Jobs.   Steve, you were a true Human Resource.

The lesson to be learned is that top people/producers in any company who innovate, deliver top product, and are customer service oriented will succeed.   Successful people aren’t only defined by what is written on a resume, or actually what is not written on a resume. They are also defined based upon what is potentially still to come.    Some people just need to be given the chance to shine as Steve Jobs did.

And one more thing….despite my XBox and Wii, I still miss the javelin throw of Olympic Decathlon and my worn out keyboard.   Steve, you were a true Human Resource.

And that is today’s Jobs report.

Written by:  Eric Lipkind is a Partner with Vaco, a top national recruiting and consulting firm specializing in finance, accounting, technology, and administration.

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