*Note: salaries shown here may have updated from the time of publication.
Do you dream of working at Apple?
Whether you’re a software engineer, graphic designer or data scientist, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to join the team and contribute to the future of Apple’s success.
But while Apple needs lots of talent to stay innovative, it isn’t easy to get hired. The interview process for Apple jobs remains one of most difficult in tech.
Interested in learning what it takes to land an Apple job? We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to teach you everything you’ll need to know to win at your Apple interview.
The Interview Process
As with most tech companies, the interview process for Apple jobs varies depending on the level and type of position. Senior software engineers – whose salaries average $311,000 at Apple – can expect a different process than those applying for an entry-level role as a retail specialist.
That said, there are a few universal steps in Apple’s process that everyone goes through when interviewing. Let’s explore each of them to highlight what you can expect and how you should prepare.
Phone Screen with a Recruiter
Whether you’ve applied to an open position or were contacted by a recruiter, the interview process for all Apple jobs kicks off with a 30-minute phone interview with a member of their talent acquisition team.
What Should I Expect?
According to a UX designer who interviewed with Apple in 2014, the first phone call is fairly simple and low-pressure. Recruiters are trained to gauge your interest in the opportunity and ensure you meet the baseline requirements required to move to the next step.
“Calls are 30 minute-long, informal,” the designer writes. “You’re explained how the process works and what to expect next.”
Expect questions that validate important information from your resume. Recruiters will want to confirm your work history, educational background and match “must-have” skills from the job description to your experience.
More than likely, they will not grill you on details or attempt to test your technical knowledge.
As Paul Slezak at RecruitLoop writes, the initial phone interview is meant “to determine whether a candidate might be suitable for a role and therefore whether or not they should qualify for a face-to-face interview.”
Recruiters may not dive deep into your skills and experience, but that’s no excuse to get complacent. Remember this: there’s no second chance to make a first impression.
The recruiter you speak with is the gatekeeper between you and the next step. Furthermore, they are the people responsible for scheduling each stage of the interview process. Needless to say, you want them to like you.
How Should I Prepare?
- Know your resume inside and out. Make sure you can confidently speak to each section of your resume and that there’s no fluff (recruiters are trained to sniff that stuff out).
- Practice giving simple, succinct summaries of the jobs you’ve held and the relevant experience gained while employed there. Don’t get too in the weeds on technical expertise: recruiters are looking for a simple “yes, I know Java” or “no, I have little experience with Java,” not an in-depth breakdown of your experience with Java across your 10-year career.
- In addition to your experience, prepare a brief “elevator pitch” of why you’d be a great fit for Apple from a cultural standpoint. Why do you want to work for Apple?
- Make sure you’ve found a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed (and have good phone service) to take the call. Don’t let your dog barking in the background or poor reception be your downfall!
FaceTime with a Team Leader
If you successfully pass the initial phone screen, the next stage in the interview process for most Apple jobs is a FaceTime interview with a member of the team you’d be joining.
What Should I Expect?
Here’s where things start to heat up. Each stage in Apple’s interview process requires your full attention and best effort, but this interview (or round of interviews, depending on the job) might just be the most important in the entire process.
Why? Because you’ll be meeting your future team for the first time and they aren’t going to take it easy on you. Take the experience of this front-end developer who interviewed with Apple in 2012:
“I was asked all sorts of questions. Things that tested my hard skills, soft skills, all sorts of things. I was asked questions you only learn the answers to after years of experience. I was asked questions you only know the answer to if you paid close attention in algorithm design class at university. I was asked questions I knew the answer to off the top of my head and questions I couldn’t answer at all, even questions they knew I couldn’t possibly answer, but they wanted to see how I approached them.”
Just remember: it’s not personal. A team is only as good as its weakest link and your future team will want to ensure there’s no chance you’re that weak link.
Additionally, your interviewers evaluate whether your personality meshes well with their existing team dynamic. Are you professional? Easy to talk to? Do you collaborate well?
How Should I Prepare?
- Brush up on the job’s must-have skills. If you made it past the initial recruiter, you’re likely qualified for the job, but now you’re going to be challenged to demonstrate it. Use
paysa.com to review the skills needed for a particular role. Then, spend some studying and preparing to answer questions based on those skills.
- Review your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. Knowing your interviewer’s background, experience and interests gives you a leg-up from the get-go. When it comes time for your questions, you’re going to sound prepared and professional when you ask your interviewer what they did to get promoted into leadership within two years of joining the company. Likewise, finding out that your interviewer went to a rival college or that the two of you have a LinkedIn connection in common makes a great conversation starter.
- Treat the interview as if you are there in-person. More and more companies are migrating toward FaceTime interviews, but etiquette for these not-quite face-to-face conversations is still a bit ambiguous. Rule of thumb: treat the interview as if your interviewer was sitting across from you. Dress as you would for an on-site interview, make eye contact and be sure Whiskers the Cat doesn’t walk across the keyboard.
What Questions Can I Expect?
Interview questions vary depending on the role, but according to articles from Business Insider and Entrepreneur.com, you should expect more than just technical questions. Here are some of the untraditional questions for Apple jobs:
“How many children are born every day?”
(for a global supply manager role)
“What was your best day in the last 4 years? What was your worst?”
(engineering project manager role)
“How would you test your favorite app?”
(software QA engineer role)
On-site Panel Interview
Should you find yourself talented (and lucky) enough to reach this stage of the interview process, you’ll be so close to Apple you can taste it (pun intended).
After your future teammates sign-off on you as a potentially good fit for their team, Apple will invite you to visit the mothership in Cupertino, all expenses paid.
What Should I Expect?
An endurance test. One Quora answer tallied up a total of nine interviews over six hours (that’s on top of the recruiter phone screen and FaceTime interviews). Louie Abreu, a UX designer who interviewed with Apple in 2014, confirms the six-hour on-site process, saying he met with a total of 12 people over the course of a series of interviews and lunch.
We’re sure you’re wondering: “what could I possibly be doing over the course of six hours?”
That will really depend on the position you’re interviewing for. One thing’s for certain, though: you’re going to be put to work.
For technical roles (like engineering and developer positions), here’s where you can expect some rigorous coding exercises. Interviewers are testing your coding knowledge, but are equally interested in observing the way you think.
For example, asking for help and trying to make the coding process collaborative between you and the interviewer is actually a good thing. Talking things out with a future colleague shows you’re willing to learn and able to take direction.
Deepak Shukla’s Quora answer to “How should I prepare for Apple onsite interview for software engineer new grad?” does a nice job of detailing both the technical and non-technical questions you may encounter for software engineering roles at Apple.
How Should I Prepare?
- Get some rest and eat well. We know the nerves may keep you up the night before, but do your best to relax, unwind and get a good night’s sleep before your interview. Have a healthy (yet filling) breakfast and drink plenty of water throughout. Remember: this is a marathon day – if you burn out in the first hour, you’re toast.
- Study. Be confident you know what you need to know, but spend some time in the days leading up to the interview giving yourself a refresher on all the important concepts you think might be thrown your way during the interview.
- Reflect on how cool this is. You’re about to interview with Apple. Take a moment to recognize what an incredible opportunity this is and remind yourself that no matter what happens, you should be proud for making it this far.
Interviewing for Apple jobs can be intense, emotional, challenging and for the real Apple geeks, even a little fun. The goal, of course, is to be lucky enough to receive one of these.
Paysa can help you get there. With salary data, skills and current open jobs, Paysa is your go-to resource for interview preparation for Apple jobs. Check out paysa.com today and continue to visit our blog for more top strategies and insights for tech talent.