Hiring Steps and Tips Used by Apple, LEGO, Red Bull and CEOs

Finding the right talent has long been cited as a top business priority. Founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson wrote an article for Entrepreneur in 2014 which read: “Your choice of who to hire will make or break you — and this is true no matter how big your company is” – a sentiment echoed throughout the business world. The importance of hiring the best has long been ingrained, but how do some of the top global brands today maintain high standards to stand out in saturated marketplaces? We’ve sifted the online archives to bring you top hiring tips from the biggest and brightest.



Tech giant Apple has created a gruelling hiring process to maintain its $720bn global empire, According to a UX designer, Luis Abreu, the hiring process of the world’s most valuable brand is a lengthy process. According to Abreu, candidates are put to the test through three screening calls, five video interviews and finally a trip to the Apple headquarters in Cupertino for no less than five two-person interviews. In order to attract the attention of Apple internal recruiters, Abreu wrote a series of popular blogs. Like the internal workings of many tech companies, the screening process was informal and based on interests, personality and team fit with plenty of indirect questions. Following several 30-minute phone and video calls, successful candidates are invited to the next round of face interviews that, in Abreu’s experience, lasted for six hours. After a lunch with a team leader and a statement that they “don’t waste time with the dumb” the end decision after a four-month process was “…we will not be moving forward with your application.” The Apple hiring process is seen as one of the most competitive in the world.



The rise of LEGO has been prolific, from a Danish company on the brink of bankruptcy a decade ago to the world’s most powerful brand in 2015. In January 2014, HR manager for LEGO Australia and New Zealand Kimberly Burton shed light on LEGO’s most crucial hiring process elements. Like many modern businesses, cultural fit is pushed to the forefront, with candidates who can think outside of the box and willing to speak up valued most. The initial application process is fairly open as candidates can either apply for a current job position or submit a CV to a candidate pool. Candidates are put through a ‘top secret activity’ involving LEGO bricks to find out if they are quick thinking and capable outside of their comfort zones. Another step is to put together a presentation to demonstrate their industry knowledge and their fit for a role. Job interviews at LEGO focus on values, competencies and brand framework alongside a general job description as a foundation for the overall process.

Red Bull

red bull

Forbes placed Red Bull as the third largest brand in the world in 2015. Like many of its operations, the Reb Bull hiring process is streamlined and efficient. When browsing for job opportunities for example, job seekers are first confronted with the statement: ‘We don’t have videos of smiling employees enjoying free lunches and bean bags in colourfully painted offices. Instead, please judge us by the quality and professionalism of what we produce across our many products and projects.’ The company now has a worldwide workforce of around 8,000 individuals and like Apple, the hiring process can take several months. Candidates are selected by personality and experience and, according to Kat Reilly, Field Marketing Specialist, Red Bull North America, networking with people in similar roles on LinkedIn can help the process move forward. A telephone interview is the first step followed by a case study task and finally three face interviews. Interview questions are based on previous experience, and a case study assessment.

Tips for success

While assessing how the likes of Apple and Red Bull do business may be interesting, a three or even four-month hiring process is not a viable option for many aspiring businesses. Here are five hiring tips that are used by CEOs to take note of.

  • Founder of the Spanx clothing company Sara Blakely revealed to Richard Branson that “The smartest thing [she] ever did in the early going was to hire to my weaknesses.”
  • CEO of FedEx Frederick Smith believes that a hiring process should mirror the principles of the business leader: “Leaders get out in front and stay there by raising the standards by which they judge themselves–and by which they are willing to be judged.”
  • Standard Oil founder and former CEO John D. Rockerfeller famously said: “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
  • Richard Branson’s view on hiring is to take a personal approach: “At Virgin, I have always insisted on being involved with senior-level hiring decisions at all of our companies.”
  • StumbleUpon CEO Mark Bartels values a more traditional approach: “Use interview templates. It standardizes the questions & the candidates. Always check references, and request an additional reference when talking to a reference.”


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