When it comes to tech interviews- Apple's is definitely the hardest. This is the definitive guide on what it takes to pass the interview.
Even internally, employees on different teams don’t ask about each other’s work and some staffers report being forbidden to discuss projects with their spouse.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Apple also keeps its hiring process hush-hush, and employees rarely speak about what it’s like to work there, even anonymously on Glassdoor.
Back in 1977 when Apple was a one-building startup, there was a sign in the lobby that reportedly read: “Loose lips sink ships.”
As the world’s second-largest tech company by market valuation, Apple has its pick of illustrious candidates. The tech giant’s ‘Join Us. Be You.’ promotional recruitment video calls on “those unfamiliar with convention, unmoved by rules and reborn with every new discovery” to join its ranks.
With an average salary of $124,000, according to PayScale, reimbursements of up to $52,000 a year for continuing education, and the chance to work with some of the brightest minds in tech, Apple’s allure as an employer is undeniable. If you're a hiring manager at Apple, your biggest problem is volume: choosing between so many talented candidates to invite for a phone interview can be brutally hard.
Most employees say the interview process at Apple is unstructured (and unpredictable) compared to its peers Google and Microsoft, and the process varies significantly by role. In general, most Apple staffers report waiting 1-4 months between resume submission and receiving an offer, with very little feedback from recruiters in between interview rounds.
In lieu of requiring a cover letter, Apple asks motivational questions in the application for certain roles. Questions include:
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Demonstrate passion for the company and its products, elaborate on how your skills and past experience make you a perfect fit for the role, and how the role fits into your career trajectory. And yes, you can still work at Apple even if you’re an avid Android user who owns a PC. However, to sign into Apple’s career portal, you’ll need an Apple ID.
Phone screens for corporate roles at Apple are pretty standard: an informal, 30-minute conversation with a recruiter to assess interest and team fit.
Apple’s next round of 30-minute 1:1 interviews is designed to assess your technical and behavioral skills. Be prepared for probing questions that require a lot of introspection, such as:
One marketing manager who oversees new hires for Apple stores in the Southwest market asks this question of all prospective retail employees.
Some candidates report being asked to use Apple’s Assessment Center as part of the hiring process. It’s a chance to network with Apple employees and learn more about the company while completing exercises.
Unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple has not cut back on hiring during the coronavirus pandemic, save for a brief pause between March and April. It is unclear whether or not Apple has resumed onsite interviews. Apple announced in June it wanted employees back in the office and is offering COVID-19 nasal swab tests for staffers returning to work.
Lunch is considered an extension of the interview, and may in fact be the most intense part of the interview process, as the candidate gets quizzed by several team members at once. While little has been publicly shared about the interview process, current and former employees report on Quora that onsite interviews tend to focus on technical questions. Software engineer candidates will be asked typical questions about algorithms and data structures and be expected to code on a laptop and whiteboard, and show an understanding of system design.
Candidates invited for an onsite interview receive a link to Apple Travel and the freedom to book a return flight and three nights accommodation at a hotel near Apple HQ.
Apple employees are often expected to work long hours, or even pull all-nighters to meet deadlines, so be prepared to put work first. “I've been in meetings at 4 pm where a dozen people decide we are going to all work all night that night in the office on a problem,” one Quora user writes.
“No discussion about "hey, I have to pick up my kids" or "let me call home first" -- everyone nods and agrees, no hesitation.”
Apple corporate consists of 10 different teams, from Design to Marketing and Machine Learning & AI. You’ll need to determine upfront which team you want to join, explain why you chose that team and that particular role, and how you’re uniquely positioned to contribute to the team.
Whether you're a project manager, senior software engineer or even a family room specialist- everyone gets behavioral questions in their Apple interview.
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