Because of its unparalleled success and general industry esteem, Apple is a desirable employer to many software engineers. It brags competitive salaries and benefits such as a discounted stock purchase program, tuition reimbursement, and $300 in monthly gym credits.
However, with talent vying to get in the door, Apple presents a competitive interview process. Whether you have already landed an interview at Apple or are hoping to get one, at Carrus, we will break down exactly what you can expect from the interview process and how to set yourself up for an offer.
The Process Explained
How long is the Apple Interview Process?
The first step in acing your Apple interview is understanding what to expect during the process. The process generally takes between 1.5 and 2 months depending on the position you are interviewing for.
Application or Initial Contact
The first part of the Apple interview process is the initial application or recruiter contact. At this stage, either you will be contacted by a recruiter (or contact one yourself), or apply on the careers page.
If you look great on paper, you will be asked to participate in a phone screening meant to gauge if you fit the build for the position. During this phase, you can expect to answer basic questions about your prior experience and why you are interested in working for Apple.
If the phone screening is a success, you will be asked to participate in a FaceTime call with the hiring manager. If you are interviewing for an engineering role, this call will be used primarily to gauge your technical knowledge and expertise.
Depending on the position you are interviewing for, you may have a take-home exercise to complete following successful completion of the FaceTime interview. What you can expect from the assessment largely depends on what role and team you are interviewing for.
Some candidates must complete the exercise in the Apple Assessment Center (this generally applies to new grads or corporate hires). Other candidates will be asked to participate in a group exercise or written test.
If you pass the assessment, you will be asked to come onsite to the Apple campus, where you will go through a 6-hour interview process where you will meet with 8 to 15 different people at the organization.
Apple Interview Questions and Example Answers
During your Apple interview, you can expect to be assessed on a series of core competencies. They are also known for assessing candidates on how they have handled prior experiences and challenges throughout their careers. For that reason, you should also be prepared to respond to various behavioral questions.
At Carrus, we recommend using the STAR method to respond to behavioral questions. If you are unfamiliar with this framework, it is an acronym for the suggested response format.
S - Situation: provide context on the situation
T - Task: Explain the task at hand
A - Action: What actions did you take to complete the task?
R - Results: What was the outcome of your action.
Tell Me About a Time You Dealt With Conflict Between Design & Development
This question is designed to assess how you work with other functional areas and resolve conflict when it arises. You should choose an example here where you took charge of the conflict resolution process, and it resulted in a better outcome.
S - My team was creating a new beta mobile application for our clients. When we received the prototype and design files, there was a feature that would be incredibly time-consuming and expensive to build from a development standpoint.
T - Implementing the requested feature would severely prolong the launch of the application and, in many ways, was not necessary for the initial beta. So, to ensure that things launched on time, I had to figure out what we could do differently for the beta product.
A - I suggested a feature that would offer a similar benefit to the design team’s proposed feature but require considerably fewer development resources to implement.
R - We proceeded with my suggested feature and uncovered that only 3% of users in the beta test even used it, indicating that there was not a need for the functionality. Had we implemented the initial design proposal, we would have spent twelve times the time and money on implementing the initial request to uncover that users would not use it.
Tell Me About the Biggest Challenge You Had in the Workplace and How You Solved It
This question is open-ended enough to allow you to brag on your biggest accomplishment or a project you are most proud of. Your response to this question should showcase your ability to come up with creative solutions to complex problems and execute them effectively.
S - In my position at Facebook, on the business platform team, we uncovered that business engagement on the app was declining. There had been a 4% decrease in total posts contributed from businesses year over year.
T - I was in charge of finding a way to increase business engagement on the platform.
A - I led the initiative to overhaul the business suite and create a seamless way for businesses to create content for their pages. I came up with the idea of implementing a feature for daily post suggestions based on national holidays and historical post-performance.
R - In the initial beta test, we uncovered that businesses that leveraged the new recommended post feature increased their total posts by 11% since the prior period. After rolling it out to all business users, the total number of posts from business users increased by 5%, counteracting the decrease and driving a lift in overall platform engagement.
Tell Me About a Time When You Showed Your Leadership Skills
Whether you are applying for a leadership position or the role has the potential to develop into one, you should be prepared to answer this question. Even in a contributor role, you probably have had opportunities to act as a leader, whether it be leading the charge on a product, delivering feedback to a teammate, or training an intern. This is an opportunity to brag on those examples.
If you have been in a leadership role before, you should highlight a specific example that you are most proud of. For example, this could be a time your team created something that drove incremental profit to the company or a time your team was recognized by the CEO.
S - Our team was growing quickly and we had new people being onboarded to the team just about every week. Training the new folks was time-intensive and took our core team away from their usual work.
T - I challenged myself to solve this problem and create a more efficient way to onboard our new team members.
A - I created an online training course with explanation videos, links to resources, technical documentation, and example projects for them to reference. The course also dynamically populated tech tickets based on where in the course they were and the complexity of the ticket. To make sure they were still receiving adequate support, I would conduct a one-on-one meeting with each new hire after they completed each section or received a new ticket to work on. I also had an open “office hour” every day where they could stop and ask questions.
R - Our overall team output increased by 25% versus the start of the onboarding period, and our new hires were able to accept complex tickets almost three weeks quicker than they were able to previously.
Tell Me About a Previous Project You Worked On
This question is another open-ended one that gives you the freedom to discuss any project that comes to mind. But, of course, we suggest choosing one that you are especially proud of.
We suggest choosing something that demonstrates the skills required by the position you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a technical project manager role, your answer may look something like this:
S - I was on a sprint team in charge of migrating our entire on-premise data infrastructure to AWS.
T - I was tasked with leading this initiative and completing it in only four weeks.
A - I staffed the team with seasoned architects and data scientists. I implemented a new project management tool, JIRA, and oversaw the timeline from start to finish by conducting a daily stand-up meeting, sprint planning, and sprint recap meetings.
R - We completed the migration in the 4-week timeline, drove a 30% increase to query run-time speed and increased analyst productivity by 11% as a result.
To prepare for your Apple interview:
- Prepare a few examples of your most proud work accomplishments that you can share when asked behavioral questions.
- If you are interviewing for a technical role, be prepared to answer specific technical questions and complete a test assessment to showcase your skills.
- Think in advance about the questions you want to ask your hiring manager.
- Consider hiring a career coach during the process by working with Carrus. We help job seekers just like you land their dream positions.
- Align your Apple interview strategy with 67 Competencies that Apple Uses to Test You in the Interview
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- Our in-depth 6 part series on using the STAR Interview Method to Nail Any Tech Interview
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