Ready to impress at your Apple interview?

The late Steve Jobs followed through with his vision for Apple, making it one of the most well-known, innovative tech companies in the world. The launch of the first Apple iPhone in January 2007 forever changed the consumer tech landscape.

Apple's economic footprint is massive. As of 2018, the company supported 450,000 US jobs and is projected to directly contribute $350 billion to the US economy by 2023. And even non-tech lovers want to land a job at Apple! Apple employs individuals in several disciplines, including technology, marketing, administrative, retail, operations, and accounting.

If you're part of the group that would love working at Apple, you're probably not surprised to learn that the company's interview process can be quite grueling; the company is known for asking a combination of challenging puzzle-based and behavioral questions

How to answer Apple interview questions

When preparing for an Apply interview, you want to consider the position for which you're applying and tweak your answers appropriately. One great way to do this is to carefully review the job posting for clues about the types of questions you'll be asked. 

Regardless of the position,  the STAR method is an excellent tool for answering their behavioral-based interview questions: 

  • Describe the situation. 

  • Describe the task.

  • Describe the action(s) taken to handle the task.

  • Share the results achieved. 

Top 3 Apple interview questions 

Below are three of the most commonly asked Apple interview questions with sample answers.

1. What is your favorite Apple device? Why? 

On the surface, this question is straightforward. However, your response not only provides insight into how familiar you are with Apple products, but it also lets the interviewer know your level of enthusiasm for Apple and its products. Your answer can also provide insight into your knowledge of tech and how products function and work. 

I do love all of my Apple products. I love their functionality and privacy capability when compared to other tech products and software. Though, when asked to choose, I would have to say my favorite Apple device is my Apple Watch. 

It functions as my lifeline to my Mac and iPhone by letting me know when I might need to pull them out based on the real-time messages I receive without having to actually pull them out to check. I'm able to stay connected to my work and personal life with my watch, which also increases my efficiency and ability to effectively manage my time.   

Tell me about a time you completely failed. How did you bounce back from it?

A behavioral question like this is a perfect example of when to apply the STAR method to respond. The interviewer will be listening for your level of honesty, integrity, resilience, and creativity.  

Early on in my career, I was selected as one of the three tech liaisons to work with HR for a confidential layoff that was occurring within the IT and finance divisions of the company. Part of the management team conducting the layoffs was overseas, which required confidential transmission of information and documents. This was before cloud-sharing, so our communication was primarily by email. 

We were up against a tight deadline to provide the proper severance communication documents, and I was responsible for submitting the documents to the team. I inadvertently sent the documentation to a name on the severance list instead of the hiring manager of that individual. Obviously, that was a huge fail considering the confidential nature of the communication, the fact that the individual was on the layoff list — it would be a huge blow for him to receive the communication ahead of time and by email. 

Fortunately, I immediately realized what I had done as soon as I hit the “send” button, and I contacted my manager and the HR lead for the severance program. We were able to work with our IT network lead to retrieve the communication before the individual opened the email.

However, it was still a huge failure on my part, and I had to do the work to gain the trust of my team again. I took my time and practiced becoming more attentive from that point forward, and I did not make that mistake again. Eventually, I worked my way up and became a team lead for the IT department after a few years.  

Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager. How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

Your answer to this question can highlight your level of professionalism, conflict resolution skills, and creativity. 

I was working with my manager to select a new supply chain vendor for transporting our goods to and from our warehouses. We had narrowed our options down to three possible providers. My manager was largely focused on cost-cutting due to the pressure she was receiving from her manager. Thus, the lowest-priced vendor was her top pick. 

The vendor was a reputable vendor, but they had slower delivery times and a lower reliability rating compared to the other two vendors. My choice was to go with the vendor that had the fastest delivery times and highest reliability rating, though it was the most costly vendor when considering up-front costs. 

Based on delivery times and reliability, I worked up some numbers that highlighted how reliability and shorter delivery times actually increased our bottom line over a 24-month period when compared to slower delivery times. The higher reliability-rating also meant a lower risk of disgruntled or lost customers due to issues with timing and lost orders. 

My manager reviewed the data I had collected and decided to meet me in the middle. We went with the third vendor option, which was both of our second-ranked choices. It allowed for up-front cost-savings, as well as long-term savings due to shorter delivery times and increased customer satisfaction with their decent reliability rating. The company was still using that same vendor four years later, at the time I decided to move on from the organization. 

19 more interview questions from Apple 

Below are 19 more common Apple interview questions, broken down into categories. 

Behavioral/situational

  1. What is something you have done in this life that you are particularly proud of? Why?

  2. How have you dealt with a difficult customer?

  3. If you had to prioritize between fixing a customer's problem or creating a great customer experience, which would you choose? Which do you think is most important? Why?

  4. Share about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer. 

Leadership

  1. Tell me about a time you dealt with a situation where you had an employee give you push back on a suggestion, and how did you respond?  Describe an interesting problem you've faced. How did you solve it?

  2. Apple is known to be restrictive when it comes to listing apps in the App Store. Do you see this as a competitive advantage or a disadvantage, and why?

Technical/skills questions 

  1. Explain what a modem and router are to an 8-year-old. 

  2. Explain what RAM is to a 5-year-old.

  3. How would you derive a confidence interval from a series of coin tosses?

  4. There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?

  5. If a person called for tech support but had a dinosaur product, how would you handle it?

  6. How would you check to see if the left and right were mirror images of a binary tree?

  7. How would you test a toaster?

Company-specific 

  1. Why do you want to work for Apple?

  2. Apple changed its name from Apple Computers Incorporated to Apple Inc. Do you know why the change was made?

General competency-based

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  2. What is your favorite food/ice cream?

  3. If you accept a job at Apple, what will you miss most about where you currently work?

Questions to ask the interviewers

It is crucial that the candidate shows interest in the company and position during a job interview. Have your list of company-specific questions ready to ask the Apple interviewer. For example: 

  1. What do you love about working for Apple?

  2. What is a typical day like at Apple?

  3. What qualities are required to succeed in this position?

  4. Where do you see Apple in five and ten years?

  5. Are there any new or unique products the company is currently working on?

Conclusion 

Yes, Apple interviews are notoriously difficult. However, you landed the interview, which is challenging in itself. Pat yourself on the back, and keep that in mind if nerves pop up when anticipating your interview. 

With the right preparation using the info above, you can walk into and out of the interview confidently knowing you put your best foot forward. 

Want some professional help brushing up on your interviewing skills before the big day? Connect with an interview coach today.

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