The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Real Reason Apple Is Failing …
March 22, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

No, this is not going to be a rant about their supposed lack of innovation.

How they seem to be obsessed creating products based on their eco-system, which means everything ends up being a derivative of the iPhone.

Nor will I talk about how Kickstarter seemingly is the place to go to witness glimpses of the future rather than

I’m not going to mention any of that because:

1. Too many unqualified people have said these sorts of thing already.

2. Apple are still doing incredibly well, thank-you-very-much.

3. Most companies would sell their grandmother in the blink of an eye to be as innovative & as successful as them.

4. I still buy their products in the bucketload.

5. My ex-colleague, Baz, is there and he’s ridiculously smart and he wouldn’t let things go on like that if they were truly that bad.

[Did you like how I used the Sir Martin Sorrell technique of saying what you’re not going to say so you can say it?]

No … what I’m going to do is explain why Apple are [allegedly] losing their momentum because of something entirely different.

Bad choice of partners.

Yes, I’ve said it … Apple’s taste in partners is going downhill.

OK … OK … I know they never let these things go too far down the road to end up hurting them, but the time, effort and cost that occurs because of choosing the wrong partner must have some negative commercial implications at some point.

What the hell am I going on about?

Well a few days ago I received an email from a recruitment company called Multimage.

This is what it said:


Hi Rob

This is XXXXXX from Multimage, a headhunter.

Our company is expertise in sourcing high quality personnel for large multination corporation to fill in their executive and managerial positions.

This position from: Apple, based in Beijing, China.

Waiting your feedback and CV.

Any question let me know.


Now putting aside the terrible grammar [which I sort-of can accept because they’re based in China], the obvious ‘cut & paste’ element of the note and the overall clinical coldness of the correspondence, it gets worse.

Much, much worse.


Because the actual job they wanted to fill was for a ‘Cross Functional Producer’.


At what point did this person think I would be appropriate?

I don’t even know what a cross functional producer is or does.

In addition, when I looked at the ‘job requirements’, it said this:

+ Bachelors degree, MBA a plus.

+ Ability to work both at a strategic and executional level, often within the same hour.

+ Fluency in Mandarin and English is required, both spoken and written.

Fucking hell.

Apart from the fact I don’t have many O levels, let alone a degree and my level of English proficiency is only mildly better than my Mandarin, who the fuck ‘sells’ a job by saying you have to be strategic and executional – often within the same hour.

What the hell is going on at Apple?

Are they actually complicit in this sort of rubbish or simply a victim of choosing a bad recruitment firm?

Given the fact Apple are micro-managers of the highest order, I can only assume they approved this rubbish.


But all that aside – which is almost impossible to do – the recruitment firm in question needs to take a long hard look at itself.

I don’t just mean for the bad impression they are giving about themselves [let alone their client], but for the utterly terrible process they have seemingly adopted to identify possible candidates … a process that clients are paying for because they’re under the impression this recruitment firm is ‘diligent and professional’ in their quest to identify the best possible talent for whatever specialised role they’re endeavouring to fill.


Seriously, based on this first impression, I don’t think I’d respond to an email from Multimage even if they were talking about a job as Angelina Jolie & Megan Fox’s vibrator so for their sake, I hope this is an isolated incident that they can learn from because if it isn’t, the implications and ramifications are scary. Not just for them, but for every client and candidate they deal with.

Now while I’m sure Apple would never see anyone put forward by Multimage unless they had the right credentials, they need to stop their partners getting away with this sort of shit because to me – not only is it terrible business practice [both in terms of cash and efficiency] it makes me question the quality and standards they are currently living by.

Over to you Baz.

36 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I don’t know if I’ve ever sworn on this blog but fucking hell.

Comment by Pete

I should explain my previous comment was in relation to the power of this post, the unprofessionalism of the recruiter and the craziness of that job description.

This must come from Apple China, not Apple Cupertino, surely? But like you mentioned, Apple HQ are relentless in their control so who knows what is happening. Baz is going to flip out.

Comment by Pete

I gave him a heads up a few days ago – there’s no way I’d let him find out from this post.

Comment by Rob

What do you expect from recruitment – the worst industry in the world.

Comment by Duncan

Robert brought this to my attention the moment it happened. We are looking into it as a matter of urgency. Unfortunately that’s all I can say right now.

Comment by Bazza

I know you’ll sort it out mate.

Comment by Rob

Well that’s you off multimages christmas card list. I hate most of the posts on here but this one was awesome.

Comment by Billy Whizz

fuck that, hes going to be off the apple free shit list. didnt think that through did he and he calls himself a fucking planner.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

“I don’t think I’d respond to an email from Multimage even if they were talking about a job as Angelina Jolie & Megan Fox’s vibrator.”

Best. Line. Ever.

Comment by Billy Whizz

And what’s wrong with being strategic and executional in an hour? That’s the normal time we get anyway. 2 minutes for strategy, 58 minutes for execution. Easy.

Comment by Billy Whizz

good point billy but in job ads, like realtor ads, honesty isnt the best fucking policy until youve for some bastard sniffing around. and yes, i do speak from experience. moneypit in vancouver anyone? no, i thought not. selfish bastards.

Comment by andy@cynic

That is a very good point actually Billy … but as Andy said, who would say that in their recruitment ad? I admire the honesty, but laugh at the standards they are saying they’ll be happy with.

If you have to ‘plan & execute’ within the hour on a consistent basis, it’s not strategy, it’s tactics.

Comment by Rob

Or it’s a war zone.

Comment by Rob

We all make mistakes but judging by this post, Multimage and Apple made quite a few of them all at the same time.

I find this story really disappointing. It’s a reflection of poor standards and training more than anything else.

I know this post will probably upset Apple/Baz and Multimage, but they should look at it as an early warning alarm before things are allowed to get so bad they might find it difficult to turn around. I’m sure 2 of the 3 parties involved will.

Comment by Pete

the recruitment firm shit is to be expected, 99% of those bastard are fucking cowboys whether theyre working for apple or dons fucking fruit and veg truck.

the apple shit made me fucking laugh. strat and execution in the same hour. thats fucking gold. if you listen carefully you can hear jobs spinning in his fucking grave.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is shocking. Yes, people make mistakes but this story goes way beyond that, this is a total lack of due care and diligence.
Recruitment companies are paid to do more than just identity candidates, they are also expected to investigate and filter them. Unfortunately, that attitude seems to have been replaced by a view that quantity is more important than quality. They’re wrong. They deserved to be named and shamed Robert.

Comment by George

I like this blog a lot better when someone has fucked you off.

Comment by DH

Stop complaining Rob, a cross functional producer is a step up from being offered a job as a fork lift driver.

Comment by DH

Funnily enough, I met someone from Johnson Controls last week. Unfortunately for W+K, it was by accident rather than in an interview situation.

Comment by Rob

Has your iphone been shut down yet?

Comment by Billy Whizz

The problem with the recruitment industry is that LinkedIn made them lazy and gullible. Thank god there are still some brilliant people and companies out there because otherwise, the whole industry could collapse.

Though, to be honest, that would only happen if a lot of companies also changed their attitude towards employees from ‘hiring the cheapest’ to ‘hiring the most qualified’.

Comment by Rob

Great comment Robert.

Comment by George

Didn’t you once say Linkedin has more fiction than a library? When you marry to the recruitment consultants who think “typing key words in a search box” is a legitimate approach to talent acquisition, it’s not surprising things like this happen.

I checked out Multimage and they say they’re IT specialist recruiters which makes this even more shameful. I’ll be checking we don’t use them first thing in the morning.

Comment by Pete

Before we all get twitchy trigger fingers – let’s remember this might be an isolated mistake.

It’s not excusable because it either reflects low standards or bad training [good point Pete] but that doesn’t mean the whole company operates this way. [For their sake, I hope it doesn’t]

I know that sounds a bit rich given I’ve just written a post utterly slagging them – and to a certain degree, Apple – off, but let’s just focus on the bad experience rather than tarring everyone with the same brush.

Comment by Rob

I doubt the recruitment firm was actually employed by Apple, and if they are, then shame on them for using cheap. What’s the saying about paying monkeys peanuts…

Comment by Jean-Michel

Hello mate … you’re probably right though the ‘job details’ that was attached to the email was on Apple headed paper which means that bit about “strategy & execution within the same hour” came from Mr Jobs mob. Or at least – and I expect – the Beijing office rather than the head office.

PS: Hello! After this debacle, I think you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize or something.

Comment by Rob

As I am sitting here watching the movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ I can only think this is so apropos for the issue you raise about Apple. My comments aren’t directed to recruitment, but to the broader point that Apple is beginning to show signs of failure as a brand. This certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t successful – as sales continue to soar. As a brand, I believe they are beginning to falter.

Case in point #1 – your example. This is certainly a brand touchpoint – and one that wasn’t very positive, or representative of the Apple we’ve grown to love over the years.

Case in point #2 – Apple iPhone in the U.S. used to have select distribution (i.e., only certain cellular carriers offered their device). Not the case any more. You can go to many different carriers now and find an iPhone. This rapid expansion of distribution adds to the profit coffers, but takes away from the distinctness of the brand. Add to this that you can find an Apple laptop at any Best Buy around. Sure they’ve created their own beautiful space – the Apple Store – within Best Buy. However, once again they’ve sacrificed a bit of what Apple was about to do this. In other words, I used to have to make the effort to seek out Apple products, and was proud when I purchased them and could display them with honor in meetings. Now anyone can get them almost on any street corner.

Rob, your point is part of a growing denigration of the brand overall. I’m sure the Apple gods will not look favorably upon me – and certainly wouldn’t agree with me since they are enjoying the continual rings of registers around the world. However, to me, these are danger signs for the future of this brand.

Comment by Ben DiSanti

Apple always understood the devil is in the detail. I hope this has not been lost in the transition of leadership and financial dominance.

Comment by Lee Hill

I call them ‘Humour Resources’ because they’re a complete fucking joke.

Comment by Ian Gee

Funny, I once thought HR stood for ‘Human Remains’.

Comment by Rob

Remember when human resources managers’ job was to find good people for their company? Now their job is to cut, cut and cut some more … maybe offer packages. A 180 degree turn.

Just when you thought criticism of advertising had reached a low, along comes this campaign regarding the GEICO pig and bestiality!

Comment by dcmontreal

HR used to be – and thankfully, still is in some companies – a force that ensured corporate management understood the needs of their staff [both interms of pay & development] and fought on their behalf. Nowadays, they are mainly the corporate enforcers who are about keeping people down rather than lifting them up.

Talking of bringing people down, that Geico ad managed it with just one viewing.

Comment by Rob

I agree!

Comment by dcmontreal

My wife’s new Samsung phone is rather good you know

Comment by northern

Yeah, kick Baz when he’s down.

Comment by Rob

Leave a Reply