Working at Apple, one of the world’s largest companies in the world by revenue comes with unique perks. Besides the employee discounts and company beer bashes, you also get to work with really, really smart people. These people aced the profound and somewhat intimidating Apple interview questions.
According to Forbes, an average of 20 percent of applicants get an interview. You can bet that as one of the world’s largest technology companies, Apple has a much lower application-to-interview rate and a much more rigorous hiring process. Here are 9 sample Apple interview questions and how to answer them.
Apple Hiring Process
There are two principal types of jobs at Apple: retail and corporate. The entire interview process to secure a job at Apple may take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months.
You should expect to schedule a phone interview, FaceTime video calls, as well as in-person conversations.
Depending on what team or industry you are interviewing for, you may be required to apply online, answer technical questions, solve some mind-boggling puzzles, or even role-play customer service scenarios that you may face in a real Apple store.
However, whatever questions Apple may throw at you, you’ll need to answer them with confidence and clarity. Consider using a service like Interview School to help practice your answers and give you critical feedback that evaluates your response and tone to authentic Apple interview questions.
Practice Apple Interview Questions:
9 Sample Apple Interview Questions
What is something that you have done in your life that you are particularly proud of?
The way you answer this Apple interview question should ideally be related to your industry. For example, if you are trying to be a software engineer, you should use an example from your previous work experience.
Be sure to explain why you are proud of this accomplishment. What obstacle or challenge did you have to overcome in order to be successful?
Tell me about some of your failures. What did you learn from them?
This interview question is similar to the infamous “What is your greatest weakness” interview question. The trick is to turn your weakness into a strength by showing how you’ve learned from your mistakes.
First, explain your failure. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge how it impacted your work. This shows that you are self-aware.
Next, show how you overcame this limitation by identifying the tools and techniques that you used. By identifying this step in your story, you’ll demonstrate that you actively try to improve your skills.
Finally, talk about what you learned from this experience.
Have you ever disagreed with a supervisor? How did you address the situation?
Your interviewer does not expect you to be a robot and always agree with your boss. Disagreements happen. Your honest answer reveals how you deal with stressful situations, especially with people in authority.
An ideal candidate is respectful, communicates well, and knows how to diffuse a situation. Briefly explain the disagreement you had. The way you speak about your supervisor should be polite and only include the facts.
Stress the importance of communication and explain how you played an essential role in the resolution.
Explain to a 5-year-old what RAM is.
When an interviewer asks you to define something so a child can understand, he or she is testing your true understanding of the topic. Apple doesn’t want someone who can dictate a textbook’s answer.
Instead, when you are dealing with real people, like a 5-year-old who is not an expert in a subject, it’s important to keep things simple.
Children respond well to analogies or illustrations. RAM is on a computer. It is like play-dough because can be reshaped and changed to look like anything. RAM can be rewritten over and over again to make something new on a computer.
Explain what a modem/router is and its functions to an 8-year-old.
Similar to the RAM question, your answer should be simple and summarize the overall function without getting too technical.
An 8-year-old likely knows what the Internet is. A modem is a box that gets the Internet from the Internet company into your home. A “router” shares the Internet with more computers. Some routers have Wi-Fi, which lets other devices, such as tablets and cellphones, get Internet without a wire.
What brings you here today?
This question likely threw you for a curveball. Don’t you have an appointment? Doesn’t the interviewer know why you are there?
This question evaluates your goals. Mention why you want to work at that company, how excited you are, and how your skills are perfect for that position.
Where will you be 5 years from now?
This Apple interview question shows how invested you are in Apple. After all, Apple is a big-picture, look-to-the-future, tech company. So, what are your long-term goals at Apple? What are you looking for in this job?
If this is an entry-level position, but sure to mention how you want to move up and take on more responsibility. Remember, Apple carefully vets each candidate through multiple interviews, which usually involves months of recruiting. They want to know that the time that they’ve invested will be worth it for you and for them.
Now for a couple of strange interview questions that Apple loves to test your logic, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and math.
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?
You should open the box labeled “Apples and Oranges.” Since the labels are incorrect, you know that the box must contain either only apples or only oranges.
In other words, if you take out an orange from that box, you know that it is the “Oranges Only” box.
The remaining box that was labeled “Oranges Only” can only be mixed or have apples only. The remaining box that was labeled “Apples Only” can only be mixed or have oranges only.
However, since the first box that you picked from is the “Oranges Only” box, the “Apples Only” box must contain the “Apples and Oranges.”
With “Oranges Only” and “Apples and Oranges” eliminated, the last box, incorrectly labeled “Oranges Only,” must be “Apples Only.”
It is recommended to draw out a picture to explain your thought process and the process of elimination.
You have 100 coins laying flat on a table, each with a head side and a tail side. 10 of them are heads up, 90 are tails up. You can’t feel, see or in any other way, find out which side is up. Split the coins into two piles such that there are the same number of heads in each pile.
Take any ten coins and make a second pile. The first pile of 90 coins is called Pile A, and the 10 coins is called Pile B.
In Pile A, there are x heads, since we don’t know how many there are. Therefore, that would also mean that Pile A has 90-x tails.
In Pile B, there are 10-x heads, since we know that there are 10 heads in total and x of them are in Pile A. So, the rest, or 10-x, are in Pile B. To find out the number of tails in Pile B, we can solve 10 coins – (10-x) heads = x tails.
Algebra just showed that Pile A has x heads, and Pile B has x tails. So, if we flip all the coins in Pile B, there will be x heads in Pile B, making the same number in both piles.
These problem-solving math questions are not intended to be memorized. Plus, if the hiring manager sees that you’ve seen the problem before, they’ll likely be less than impressed when you solve them.
Instead, strive to demonstrate that your problem-solving skills are ideal for the job and don’t be afraid to ask for a pen and paper. Your experience and your talents make you the perfect candidate to get that cool job at Apple.