5 traits Tim Cook looks for in an Apple employee

Tim Cook

If you want to work for Apple, you'd better be a determined idealist.

That's according to Cook, who sat down for a rare question-and-answer session in Utah on Friday night as part of theUtah Tech Tour.

Cook, who took the helm of Apple in August 2011 in the wake of Steve Jobs' death, spoke with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and took questions from the audience.

He shared the five characteristics Apple looks for in new hires:

1. Brilliance. "We look for wicked smart people," said Cook. But being smart really isn't enough. "Put that aside for a second. There are a lot of wicked smart people." That's why he also looks for...

2. Determination. "We look for grit and determination," he said. It's that ability to stick with it and bounce back when you encounter obstacles.

3. Obsessive curiosity. "We look for people who are curious because, many times, you don't really know what to do, but you are curious enough to start pulling the string to see where it takes you," Cook said.

4. A team focus. "We look for people that are very collaborative because nobody — even somebody who has an S on their chest and a cape on their back — can do everything alone," he said. "So we look for people that believe that by working with others they can amplify what they do."

5. Agitated idealism. "We look for people who won't accept the status quo, people who aren't satisfied with the way things are, that really want to change the world and sort of put all of themselves into doing it," said Cook.