Apple’s Make vs. Buy Decision

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For certain businesses, especially those in the technology field, there have been questions asserted on the model of rather to run the business on a Make or a Buy decision.  This same debate is held for the Apple Company.  Apple has to make the choice on rather to acquire new employees from outside sources, such as from recruiters or applicants from different companies or outside employment or if the company should promote and train from inside.  To this means, Apple would refine the skill set of its employees that are already under employment so that they could meet the challenges of the positions that they would be moved to so as to effectively be able to operate in such a way as to maintain a profitable business effort.  The decision facing Apple basically comes down to how the company will most efficiently implement a recruiting strategy and the means by which they put that strategy into effect in terms of evaluating the traits necessary of potential employees and the way in which they would fit into the company’s business model already in place.  This important business function has a great deal of impact upon the company’s future operation and should be given considerable thought and effort to the implementation in order to correctly identify and handle the challenges that face the company in an ever-shifting business world.

The classic definition of a ‘make-or-buy decision’ is when a company must make a choice between either manufacturing a product in-house (as they do with the iPad tablet), or within the company by its own means, or to simply purchase the product from an external source, meaning that the company would buy up the parts necessary for the creation of a product.  In terms of the Apple Company, this situation is applicable to the acquisition and retention of its employees, namely with the concern about the hiring of positions that become available within the company.  Apple is faced with the dilemma: should open positions be filled from external employees that are well suited for the job responsibilities or should the company promote internally and fill the positions with employees that are already a part of the company?  Each option presents a unique set of outcomes and has its advantages and disadvantages, but for Apple, the best-suited strategy is to find employees that will best fit the available positions in-house first and then externally if the cost of training those already employed would be too great.

It is important for Apple to build its own credibility by showing that it will promote internally when at all possible.  Recruitment should be based around finding individuals that best suit the company’s needs on entry-level positions for the most part.  These individuals for the lower-level positions in the company should be examined from a long-term sense so as to evaluate their potential effectiveness in the upper-level positions that eventually can become available to them.  As data shows, there are specified times when a company, “should hire from outside and when they should develop within,” (Campbell, 2005), however the human resource department of Apple should be structured in such a way that it will first look for promoting its already hired employees before it looks for qualified positions externally so as to promote the concept that hard work and dedication from its employees leads to advancement and growth within the company.

Based upon this notion of internal advancement placed over external recruiting whenever possible, the recruiter and HR resources have a distinct means of implementation for the benefit of the company and cost of implementation.  First, the company should place the greater portion of its recruiting budget and efforts into finding qualified individuals that can fill the entry-level positions in the company. A look at their financials will tell you how much is in their budget for this. By doing this, the company will build its foundational positions with quality employees that will be much better suited for eventually taking on the positions that become available over time within the company as new positions open up.  This will showcase how Apple promotes internally and will create a positive image on the company’s employee relations and will give the notion that the company treats its employees fair and with great respect (Leinwand, 2012).  Second, the company can implement a strategy of identifying qualified individuals for opening positions that are from an external source only as a sort of last resort.  The importance of this function is that it creates a concept that the company cares about its employees internally the most, but is willing to field the most qualified candidate for a position so as to better the company’s employee base over time.  With this scenario, the time and cost of training are reduced, as employees that are hired are already qualified, however the cost of searching for and hiring a new, external candidate is more expensive and taxing upon company resources than promoting internally.   Finally, the company could implement a strategy of providing an all-encompassing training program to all of its new employees initially.  This strategy would prepare those that are hired for the company to better receive and deal with the possibility of being positioned in a job title they may not have originally thought to be placed within, and thusly save the company time and resources in searching for a new employee to fill vacant positions, however the cost of this measure would be higher as new employees would all need new, more time-consuming training while some of them would not necessarily need to utilize the skills that were trained for in their jobs initially. 

As noted, the benefits of hiring qualified employees for positions that are available, especially in lower-level positions and then promoting internally, has direct benefits to the forecasting models that can be implemented and utilized within the company.  With the correct assessment and forecasting of skills and traits for its potential employees, Apple will be able to hire a staff that is capable and able to handle the potential issues that any technology company will face such as the research and development of innovative ideas for new technologies or the implementation of an effective marketing campaign.  What is most important is for Apple to recall and continue to run a strategy in which the longevity of the business is taken into account and handled in the best possible long-term scenario.  

For any Human Resource resource planning, it is of the utmost importance to remember that the company’s long-term plan must be accounted for.  It is for these reasons that the implementation of the above-mentioned strategies on the make vs. buy decision is important for Apple to consider and implement.  Such endeavors are crucial and are a necessary first step for a company such as Apple and should be thoroughly analyzed and examined before anything is fully strategized and implemented.  The correct implementation of a business strategy will continue to place Apple in front of the technology world and give the company a competitive advantage over its competition.  Having a strong employee base is a top concern for any technology company and Apple must place itself in a position to have the strongest, most qualified employees in order to remain a dominant force in the business world.    


Campbell, B. (2005, Nov 02). The hiring dilemma for high-tech firms: 'make vs. buy’. Wharton University of Pennsylvania, Retrieved from

Leinwand, P. (2012, May 14). Make vs. buy is not the question to ask. Bloomberg Business Week, Retrieved from