What Engineering Managers Can Learn from Steve Jobs When It Comes to Hiring

This advice by the former Apple CEO is simple yet profound.


When engineering managers have a role in hiring, they have to consider different factors before accepting employees into the company. One of the most common is the preference between emotional intelligence (EQ) or intelligence quotient (IQ).

If you ask Steve Jobs, he would choose an engineer with a high IQ and a relatively average EQ. And he has his own reason.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do,” he quipped.

This means that hiring managers should look for engineers who can bring something valuable to the table, especially if the company maintains a work environment wherein employees are free to share their ideas. There is no sense hiring brilliant engineers if their high IQ is not welcome.

While EQ is still an important trait of engineers, IQ is still the more prevalent one. There is a term for this kind of people who are even smarter than their company CEOs: knowledge workers.

Knowledge workers, which can be found in many levels of the organization, are people who capitalize in thinking for a living. First used by management expert Peter Drucker in 1959, it refers to people who work with their heads rather than their hands in planning, analyzing, organizing, testing, and searching among others.


Steve Jobs with his design team.

Engineering managers should look for engineers who are knowledge workers because of what they can offer. With the field being centered in analysis and critical thinking, they could use such skill in meeting goals and performing tasks.

Read more  Why Young Engineers Shouldn’t Please Everyone At Work

And in case they find such people, what can engineering managers do? Here are two things:

Give them a say in decisions

Because they are more than just the average employee, engineers who are knowledge workers should be made sure that their inputs have an impact in the decisions of the company. The boss should listen – and perhaps ask for more of their ideas and execute them if they are excellent.

Develop good working relationship with others

Focusing on the skills of those with high IQ does not mean to say the engineering manager will neglect the rest. No. Teamwork is still important in organizations. And the boss should make sure that there is enough support when the top talents work in teams.

Source: Inc ASEAN

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What Engineering Managers Can Learn from Steve Jobs When It Comes to Hiring

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