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Apple Interview Process Guide 2021

Posted on 
March 21, 2021
Ashmita Roy

Apple, one of the biggest tech companies globally, is expanding its services, which has brought forward the need for reliable software engineers who can build and maintain technological solutions for the company. The tech giant, which has more than 80,000 employees, is hiring more software engineers than any other role. This comes as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for engineers who are Apple enthusiasts and wish to work at one of the most reputed tech companies in the world. Although the apple interview process may be a hard nut to crack, it doesn't stop engineers from trying their best to get in. The lucrative salary, employee benefits, and the chance of working with the most brilliant minds in the industry have made Apple one of the most popular employers. 

Let us understand the apple interview process in-depth to prepare the most efficient strategy for getting a job at the organization. 

The Apple interview process for software engineers

The apple interview process for software engineers comprises several steps that test the interviewee's technical expertise and determine if they would be a good fit for the company's culture. The process also tests their communication skills to assess their employability. 

  • Getting in touch: The first step of the apple job interview process is to connect with a recruiter. Either the recruiter will reach out to you, or you will have to reach out to them. You need to have an updated LinkedIn account. You will have to apply for the job on Apple's online career portal. It would help if you had the right connections to improve your chances of getting the interview. Around 27% of candidates who get called for an interview at Apple are referred by an existing employee.
  • Application: Next comes the process of filling out the application. In this step, the company wishes to discover your motivation to work for them. You have to demonstrate enthusiasm for Apple's products and services and tell them why you think you would turn out to be an ideal fit for the company. 
  • Screening: There are two rounds of screening of the candidate done over a thirty-minute informal phone call. The objective of the call is to brief the candidate about the hiring process. The first call is from the internal recruiter, followed by the team lead for the division that you applied to. They can also discuss your experience, academic achievements, and your interests. 
  • FaceTime interviews: There can be up to five rounds of FaceTime interviews that test your behavioral and technical skills. The interviews are one-on-one that lasts for about thirty minutes. The objective of the interview is to assess the character and technical knowledge of the candidate.
  • Assessment Centre: Some candidates are required to use the Apple Assessment Centre while completing their exercises. This offers them the opportunity to network with existing employees and learn more about the company's values. The candidates can be asked to perform roleplay exercises and be prepared to answer questions like, "Why do you want to work at Apple?" or "How do you overcome disagreements with teammates?"
  • Group exercises: These exercises are designed to test the candidate's ability to work in a team. The candidates are assessed on their ability to solve critical problems and persuade others to pay heed to their ideas. 
  • Written test: In this round of the apple interview process for software engineers, the candidate is provided a case study, and they have to come up with a written response for the prompt given to them. 
  • Apple onsite interviews: This round focuses on testing the technical knowledge of a candidate. The interview typically lasts for about six hours with back-to-back interviews. The unique model that is followed for onsite interviews at Apple involves a candidate interviewing with two people at a time. There are six to eight rounds in an onsite interview with various team leads that you will be working under. The technical interview focuses on testing the candidate's knowledge of coding, algorithm, data structure, and system design. 

The interviews are team-based, and the candidate may have to interview with more than one team that they will be working with, directly or indirectly. Lunch is considered to be an extension of the interview, and multiple employees ask questions to the candidate during that time. The success rate of Apple onsite interviews is considered to be around 10%. The onsite interview can be tiring with more than 6 hours of interviews, but you have to remain focused as it is a test of your patience and perseverance as well.

How is the Apple interview process different from other companies?

What sets Apple apart from other FAANG companies is its approach to interviewing candidates. The two-on-one approach where two employees interview a candidate is unique to Apple. The interviewee is also expected to be a user and enthusiast of Apple products. 

The Apple interview process timeline

The timeline varies for roles and individuals. There is no structured time frame for the interview process. Most candidates report that the whole process takes around one to four months. The process is not as standardized as other companies and varies based on the profile that one is applying to. 

Levels of software engineers at Apple

Apple has five levels of software engineers based on their seniority. There is no title based on the level, as is the case with other tech companies. Only the rank is added along with the title 'software engineer,' viz:

  • Software Engineer I
  • Software Engineer II
  • Software Engineer III
  • Software Engineer IV
  • Software Engineer V

Teams that Apple hires for

Apple has specific teams that you can choose to be a part of based on your skill seat. At Apple, no software engineer is hired centrally. The divisions that you can choose from include:

  • Apps and Framework
  • Cloud and Infrastructure
  • Core Operating Systems
  • DevOps and Site Reliability
  • Engineering Project Management
  • Information Systems and Technology
  • Machine Learning and AI
  • Security and Privacy
  • Software Quality, Automation, and Tools
  • Wireless Software

Depending on the team you apply to, you will be required to answer specific questions related to that field. You need to answer all the questions during the apple job interview process with clarity and confidence. All the candidates applying to the interview are asked some behavioral, problem-solving, and technical questions. Some of the most common of these questions are listed below. You can practice such questions well in advance to improve your performance in the interview.

Behavioral interview questions:

  • What is one of the personal achievements that you are particularly proud of?
  • What was a humbling experience for you?
  • What type of failure have you encountered in the past, and how did you get over it?
  • Where do you see five years from now?
  • Describe a situation where you had to adapt to something new quickly?
  • What makes Apple different from other companies?
  • What should be rewarded- performance or experience?
  • Tell me about a time you change someone's mind at work.
  • Why did/didn't you choose Apple products for yourself?
  • Describe the best workday you have had, along with the worst.
  • Problem-solving interview questions:
  • How many children are born daily?
  • How will you survive on a desert isle while waiting for rescue?
  • You get one minute with the CEO alone. How would you convince him to hire you?
  • What is the optimal solution for finding out the highest floor you can drop an egg from without breaking it?
  • If there is a single-elimination tournament with 25 teams, how many games are needed to pick out a winner?
  • You are in a boat along with a boulder. You drop it into the lake. How much will the water level change?
  • What approach do you usually take when trying to solve a problem?

Technical interview questions:

  • What is the meaning of asymptotic?
  • How is a hashmap counter used?
  • Explain what a router is to an eight-year-old. 
  • Why is it not possible to use primitives in a hashmap?
  • What is the difference between strong and weak pointers?
  • How would you go about when trying to build an iOS home screen user interface?
  • How does delegation work?
  • There's an iTunes type of app that pulls down images that get stale over time. How would you flush disused images?
  • Debug a hash table implementation.
  • How will you find the most frequent element in an integer array?

Things to know before your Apple Interview

Along with its countless benefits, working at Apple comes with its challenges. Be prepared that there is little work-life balance and you would be spending long hours working. The interviewer expects you to know this before coming in for the interview. Some other points that you need to keep in mind for the apple job interview process include:

  • You have to stay updated with the latest Apple products. 
  • Read up on competitors to know about the latest happenings in the tech industry.
  • Work on your coding skills.
  • Be an expert in whichever domain you have selected for your interview.

How to prepare for Apple interviews

Just like other FAANG companies, you need to have a solid grasp on topics like data structure and algorithms while preparing for the Apple interview. The recurrent topics in the interview include linked lists, array, system design, etc. 

You also need to have knowledge of Apple techniques if you wish to secure a job as a coding engineer here. The candidate appearing for the interview should have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of software engineering. Extensive knowledge of a programming language is also a must for applying to a software engineer position at Apple.

The general trend that is observed in the number of questions asked at an Apple interview can be understood from the table:

Tips to prepare for Apple interviews

  • You can eliminate any surprises on the final day by preparing well for any foreseeable situation. Find out about the type of questions that are generally asked for software developers in the apple interview process and prepare them well.
  • You need to have a good practice of coding questions to be able to perform well in the interview. Practice as many questions as possible to familiarize yourself with essential topics. 
  • You can also participate in mock interviews to get valuable feedback from real hiring managers. 
  • Manage interview anxiety by preparing well and using techniques like breathing exercises.
  • It is crucial to know about the company that you wish to work in. Read up on their latest products and achievements before you head into the interview. 
  • Start your preparation for the apple job interview process as early as you can. The more time you have on your hands, the better will you be able to prepare for the questions that are generally asked in an Apple interview.

"The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena."- Tim Cook.

Above all, you need to have trust in yourself. You can only ace the software developer interview with conviction. Have an effective preparation strategy in place and stick to it. You can get through the interview only with hard-work and adequate preparation.

We at Interview Kickstart offer training for your technical interviews. We help candidates in their interview prep by providing access to learning resources, quizzes, workshops, etc. All of these have been developed with the help of industry experts. Our comprehensive curriculum and a team of expert instructors can help you ace the Apple interview. Craft an effective interview preparation strategy with Interview Kickstart and get the chance to work at the world's leading tech companies. Register for free webinar.

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