Apple is renowned around the world for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. A job with the tech giant is highly coveted, but first, you’ll have to go through the infamously secretive Apple interview. If you’ve been lucky enough to receive an interview invite, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time for the famous Apple interview questions. Before we go into preparation specifics, we’ll first detail some of the company’s history and culture to build a foundation of understanding.
Table of Contents:
- Apple History & Culture
- Life at Apple
- Apple Interview
- Apple Interview Process
- Apple Software Engineer Interview Questions
- Apple Behavioral Interview Questions
Apple History & Culture
Apple Computer, Inc was founded in the late 1970s by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. It was the first company to launch a “PC”, or personal computer, for use by the average consumer. For three decades, it primarily produced personal computers, such as the Apple II and Macintosh. However, by the 1990s, competition in this market had intensified, and Apple’s market share had declined.
Its first reinvention was in the early 2000s. Having brought Steve Jobs back as CEO in the late 1990s (he had been forced out by the Board in 1985), a focus was placed on high tech but simple-to-use consumer products. In 1998, it launched the original iMac, and in 2001 it launched the breakthrough iPod. Of course, the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad all followed several years later, and eventually the Apple Watch, MacBook Air, and AirPods would appear as well.
In 2003, in launching the iTunes Music Store, the firm reinvented itself once again. Not only did iTunes provide a unique way to distribute music, it also created a new business model combining products and services. The more you became ingrained in the Apple ecosystem, the higher your switching costs became, and the more likely it would be that you would purchase Apple products for all of your needs (i.e., MP3 player, phone, headphones).
This theory has borne true in extraordinary fashion; Apple’s customers are some of the most loyal in the world, much to the chagrin of its competitors. Apple’s market capitalization is over $2T, making it one of the top 3 most valuable companies in the world on any given trading day.
Apple’s slogan is “think different.” It is a place where ideas and creativity are valued above all else. The company’s culture also places a high value on ease-of-use and simplicity. In addition, Apple is also famously secretive in its R&D and design processes as it pursues its next big breakthrough.
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Life at Apple
As a massive global firm, Apple recognizes the importance of diversity and has purposefully created an inclusive working environment. Apple employees are passionate about technology and innovation. They aren’t afraid to make creative suggestions, even ones that could be perceived as odd or too out-of-the-box.
Apple values learning and growth. Apple University offers classes, seminars, and other tools to empower employees to understand and engage in debates about Apple’s culture, organization, and role in the world. General business and software skills can be developed through online classes. In some cases, formal education related to advancing your career is reimbursed.
Compensation and benefits at Apple are competitive. The company offers many different healthcare options (including for mental health). Many Apple locations have onsite wellness centers, which include doctors, nurses, dietitians, chiropractors, massage therapists, yoga instruction, and impressive fitness centers.
Apple interviews are not cookie-cutter and will vary based on the role for which you are applying. But there are best practices that you can follow to give yourself the best chance of success.
In addition, read on for some specifics about Apple Software Engineer interview questions and the Apple Data Scientist interview. Finally, because most roles involve behavioral interviews, we’ll review common Apple behavioral interview questions.
Apple Interview Process
In line with the company’s culture, the Apple interview process is notoriously secretive. But based on insight from those who have gone through the Apple hiring process, there appear to be five steps:
- Submit an application
- Take part in a phone screen
- Participate in a FaceTime interview
- Take an assessment
- Engage in on-site interviews
Apple Software Engineer Interview Questions
Questions posed during the initial phone screen for the Apple Software Engineer position tend to be standard for corporate roles. Interest and general fit are being assessed. During the FaceTime interview, you’ll encounter more behavioral questions. For example, you might be asked to describe a time that you worked in a team to solve a difficult problem. There is more on how to answer Apple behavioral interview questions later in this article.
It is during the on-site interview that questions will become more specific to your role. Apple Software Engineer interview questions will focus on algorithms and data structures. You’ll be required to code on a laptop and whiteboard – make sure you are ready for this! In addition, you can expect to be asked about system design.
You may be asked questions such as:
- Math and statistics – Given a double, ‘x’, and an integer, ‘n’, write a function to calculate ‘x’ raised to the power ‘n’.
- Strings – How would you reverse the order of words in a given sentence?
- Dynamic programming – Given an array of positive numbers and a positive number ‘k’, find the maximum sum of any contiguous subarray of size ‘k.
Other technical questions for Apple Software Engineer interviews may cover backtracking, design, sorting, trees, linked lists, and more.
Apple Data Scientist Interview
Apple has been steadily building data science teams to analyze the unfathomable amounts of data it accumulates. The role varies based on your team, but you can expect to utilize analytics models and tools, dive into advanced statistics, engage with machine learning, and conduct general engineering.
The Apple Data Scientist interview will consist of a technical screen and an on-site interview. In the technical screen, expect python exercises, SQL questions, and general data reasoning. Example questions could include:
- Given an array of integers, find the index at which the sum of the right half is equal to the left half.
- How do you take hundreds of thousands of users with dozens of transactions each, amongst hundreds of products and group the users together in meaningful segments?
- Given a list of strings, write a function to return all the strings that are anagrams.
Apple Behavioral Interview Questions
Apple behavioral interview questions are a critical part of the Apple interview process for all roles. They’ll typically appear during the FaceTime portion of the interview process for technical roles. For less technical roles (ex: general management, marketing, sales and business development, finance, legal, or HR), behavioral questions are also heavily featured in on-site interviews.
Behavioral interviews questions require you to use past experiences to demonstrate a particular competency or character trait. Your responses to behavioral interview questions should provide the person interviewing you with clear evidence of your skills. Hit the ball out of the park by pairing your understanding of the role you are applying for with answers in story form that make it clear you are a great fit for the role.
Here are ten examples of common Apple behavioral interview questions:
- What skills did you learn in your current role that will help you succeed at Apple?
- How have you dealt with client or managerial rejection or objections?
- Can you tell me about a time you successfully went above and beyond for a client, colleague, or customer?
- Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment.
- Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it.
- What are some of the major ways you helped your last organization succeed?
- Describe a time when you successfully managed a very heavy workload?
- Who has inspired you in your life, and why?
- Can you describe your experiences being a part of or managing a team?
- Tell me about a stressful situation at work and how you managed through it?
While it’s difficult to know the exact questions you will face in an Apple interview, it’s helpful to understand best practices. In addition, your knowledge of the company’s history and culture will give you a leg up in the interview process. You can work with our expert team to help you prepare for Apple interviews. Learn more here.
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