Apple Phone Interview Questions
In addition to its popular and innovative products, Apple is known for its tough tech interview process and secrecy. It’s clear that Apple doesn't want its candidates to hack the interview process. They are looking for people with strong fundamentals who can think on their feet and can come up with a smart approach within given time limits.
The secrecy surrounding the process can give rise to unverifiable speculations about what the process is really like. To avoid falling into such traps, you need to start with strong fundamentals and be fully prepared with everything they do tell you. Learn about what they value, and show them how you can bring that value to the company.
In this article, we’ll discuss Apple’s phone interview process — what it is, how you can prepare, and tips to help you during the interview:
- Apple Phone Interview Process
- The Apple Phone Screen Interview
- How to Prepare for Apple Phone Interview
- Tips for Apple Phone Interview
- Apple Phone Interview Questions and Sample Answers
- Practice Problems for Apple Phone Interview
- FAQs on Apple Phone Interview
Apple Phone Interview Process
Apple’s phone interview process typically involves two phone screens. Fortunately, Apple’s phone interview process is similar to the standard phone screens followed in most top tech companies. This is true for roles such as Software Engineer, Software Developer, Engineering Manager, and Tech Lead. However, Apple hires for teams — so in addition to an initial phone interview with the recruiters, be prepared for 1-2 additional technical and coding phone interviews with the team lead/senior team member of the team they’re hiring for.
To learn more about Apple’s interview process, read Apple Interview Process Guide 2021.
The Apple Phone Screen Interview
Apple phone screen interview process includes behavioral as well as technical and coding interviews. Be prepared for anything they might throw at you! This requires strong concepts, lots of practice, and getting all the credible information regarding the process.
Apple Behavioral Phone Interview
Your first phone interview will be with a technical recruiter for about 30 minutes.
You can expect behavioral questions and questions related to your resume. During this pre-screen, the recruiter will also brief you on the hiring process. This is the most credible information you’ll get about what your particular interview process is going to be like. So listen well and ask questions wherever needed or appropriate.
Expect a break of about a week between this interview and the tech interview.
Apple Technical Phone Interview
This tech interview could be with a team lead, a senior team member, or even multiple team members. It could last for upto 60 minutes.
Anything in your resume that makes you a good fit for the role could be discussed. You must be ready to elaborate on anything written in your resume, especially the content relevant to the role. You can expect questions about your previous projects and achievements.
Expect a break of 1-3 days between this tech interview and the coding interview (unless they are both merged into this one interview).
Apple Coding Phone Interview
Here, you’ll be asked to solve a coding question with a focus on data structures and algorithms.
The interview will again last about 60 minutes, with about 30 minutes for solving the coding question and some questions related to your resume.
The coding process will be administered through a shared editor like Codility. As mentioned earlier, this coding interview could also be combined with the technical phone interview instead of being scheduled separately. After this interview, you can expect about a 2 week break before your on-site interview.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Crack Apple’s On-site Interview to know more about Apple’s on-site interview process.
How to Prepare for Apple Phone Interview
Cracking Apple's phone screening is easier compared to the rounds that follow. However, it is important that you do well — after all, the screening process is all about differentiating yourself from candidates with similar resumes.
Recruiters use this round to narrow down the pool of candidates for on-site interviews by eliminating those who wouldn’t be a good fit for the role or the company. Let us look at some tips that can help you prepare for Apple’s phone interviews.
- Research about the requirements for the role. Read the job description and see how your skills make you a good fit for that role.
- Read about the company. Learn about their values and any major news related to it.
- Ask yourself when, where, and how you’ve demonstrated the values and for skills they seek. Express them concisely in STAR or CAR format.
STAR format: Describe the Situation, then the Task you needed to accomplish. Next, state what Action you took to resolve the situation and/or fulfill the task. And lastly, mention what was the Result of you taking that action and the impact it made.
CAR format: Start by establishing the Context. Essentially, the Situation and Task in the STAR format combined forms the Context in the CAR format. Next, describe the Action you took and the Result of that action, just like we did in the STAR format.
For more details on the STAR and CAR format, read Amazon Behavioral Interview Questions.
- Make preparatory notes, but don’t rely on reading from them. Prepare answers to all the previously asked phone interview questions you can find.
Do not memorize answers. Memorizing exact answers will increase the chances of you blanking out if you forget exactly what you had planned to say next. Preparing without memorizing will ensure you can adapt if the same question is framed differently.
- Maintain mental fortitude, especially when you’re preparing for something cognitively demanding.
While preparing, take regular, short breaks every 1-2 hrs. Get some sun during the breaks for some Vitamin D, which is vital for mental health. You can also do quick activities that relax you like meditation, breathing exercises, or anything else that feeds your “aliveness.”
- Pick up the same topic intermittently as opposed to doing it all at once and not touching it again for months. Spaced repetition spread over time boosts long term retention and will improve your confidence.
- Do mock interviews. Be ready with examples of when you handled a difficult situation/failure well, when you were a valuable team player.
- Have a good night’s sleep the night before the interview. Preparation doesn’t amount to much if you can’t perform on D-day. If it’s generally difficult for you to fall asleep before a big day, start winding down early in the evening:
Having early dinner and removing screens and other sources of blue light in the evening could help you in falling asleep on time. Also make sure that your laptop, headphones, camera, etc. are working properly, well in advance, so there’s enough time to fix any issues.
- On the day of the interview, make sure there are no distractions or noises and keep a notebook handy, as you may want to note down some of the information you get.
- Be punctual. If you have any issues and can’t make it on time, reschedule as soon as you know. Even after planning, things can go wrong. It’s important to have respect for the interviewer’s time and better to let them know beforehand. They wouldn’t like having to reschedule at the last moment.
Tips for Apple Phone Interview
Now that we’ve looked at how you can set yourself up for success, let us look at how you can really get the best out of your prep on the day of the interview.
During the Apple Phone Interview
- Pay attention when the recruiter is describing the interview process. Ask appropriate questions to get a better idea of what will follow. It is important you get the most from this, because given the secrecy, it’s the most reliable information about what your interview experience is going to be like. You should make sure you at least learn from them all that they’d happily tell you.
- Dress professionally. Even if they can’t see you, it’s important you dress in a way that’s comfortable, but also shows you respect an opportunity. This will also boost your confidence and set you up better for success.
- Be humble, but confident. This means that your answers must show that you can clearly express your competence and are aware of your worth, but are also grounded as a person.
- Give 1- to 2-minute answers that directly address the question. The answers should neither be short, as that might leave the interviewer unsatisfied, nor should they be long, as that might bore/exhaust them. Longer answers also leave less time for them to ask more questions you could have scored on.
- Speak at a moderate pace and watch your tone. You don’t want to be too meek or overconfident.
- Be smart about salary negotiations. If you’re not ready for salary-related discussions in the initial stages, state that you’d like to take some time and learn more about the job before you can give your input. Negotiations get a bad rep, as if, if one side wins means the other has to lose. As the most successful negotiators will tell you, that is not the case. It’s about creating win-win situations that build your credibility, trustworthiness, and reliability over time.
Salary negotiation is a must-have skill. Read The Ultimate Guide to Salary Negotiation at FAANG for Software Engineers to hone your negotiation skills and get an offer that matches your value.
- When talking about the team or company use “we” instead of “I,” unless you’re talking specifically about your contributions or opinions. Also try to include action words wherever appropriate.
- Be present. Not every question has to be based on what you’ve prepared, in fact, expect that it won’t be. And when it isn’t, give a direct, concise answer that further shows how you can be a good fit for the role.
- Show what makes you unique and how you’re a team player. For a better understanding of teamwork and employer expectations, check out this article: Best Common Teamwork Related Interview Questions and Answers.
- Your answers should also show that you’re adaptable. In these times, companies are open to a lot of different backgrounds when it comes to hiring. But the industry moves too fast to allow long-term success for anyone who can’t adapt. And there are often too many people who know how to do something adequately. To set yourself apart from them, there should be at least one thing you’ve excelled in significantly.
After the Apple Phone Interview
Follow up after a week of your first phone interview, if you haven’t heard from them. It’s not necessarily bad news. They could be stuck, although they could also be close to finalizing their preferred candidate.
Apple Phone Interview Questions and Sample Answers
Q. Explain RAM to an 8 year old.
Consider your room. It has all your stuff in it — your clothes, toys, books, and so on. The room makes it very easy for you to access all the things you need, for whatever task you choose to do in a day: Get ready for school, do your homework, or play with your toys.
Now, consider the storeroom that, among other things, has your old favorite clothes, toys, books, and other school supplies that you may not need right now, but might, in the future.
If the stuff in the storeroom was also put in your room, it would make a mess and make it difficult for you to find what you frequently use. Or, if the stuff you frequently use was in the storeroom, you’d have to go to the storeroom and get an item every time you needed it and put it back there once you were done. This would make things unnecessarily difficult and waste your time.
Your room here represents RAM, which is short-term memory the computer can easily access information from. Everything isn’t and shouldn’t be stored in the RAM; the information that is needed right now can be easily accessed and efficiently used. All other information is on the hard disk, which represents a computer’s storeroom. If the computer needs some information from it, it doesn’t use it directly from the hard disk. It brings the information from the hard disk, puts in the RAM, and then uses it — just like you only go to the store room to get toys or supplies you need. You bring it in your room to use them.
As you grow old, the clothes and toys you outgrow are disposed of, but your favourites are stored in the storeroom. Similarly, all the important information in RAM is stored on the hard disk for the future, and other information is discarded.
Q. Apple’s name was changed from Apple Computers Incorporated to Apple Inc. Do you know why that change was made?
Initially, Apple’s focus was on computers. With time the focus shifted to consumer electronics. So in 2007, Steve Jobs announced the change in the name, stating this change in focus as the reason for the change in name.
The following are a few more questions that you can use while preparing for your Apple Phone Interview.
Behavioral Phone Interview Questions:
- Why Apple?
- Talk about a time you experienced failure. How did you deal with it?
- What kind of things bring you down?
- Talk about a time when you had to make a decision based on a lot of ambiguity.
- You are in the elevator with the CEO, and you have one minute to convince him to hire you. What would you say?
- What’s your favourite Apple product or service? Why?
Problem-Solving Phone Interview Questions:
- Given 25 teams in a single elimination tournament, in how many rounds can we pick a winner?
- How many children are born every day?
- How would you survive on a desert island until rescue comes?
- If you were a monkey, what sort of zoo paddock would you find most disagreeable?
- You’re in a boat with a boulder and you drop that boulder into the lake. How does the water level change?
Technical Phone Interview Questions:
- How would you explain a modem/router to a child?
- How do you use a hashmap counter?
- Why can’t you use primitives in a hashmap?
- Tell me the complexity of various sorting algorithms.
- How does ARC work in Objective C and how is it different from garbage collection?
Coding Phone Interview Questions:
- Find the maximum sum of a subarray.
- Detect if there’s a circular loop present in a linked list.
- Collapse a binary search tree into a sorted list.
- Find the mode of all the elements stored in an integer array.
- Use two threads to print numbers from 1 to n.
FAQs on Apple Phone Interview
Q1. Can I apply for multiple roles at once at Apple?
Yes. In fact, Apple may itself consider you for multiple roles as they deem relevant or necessary. However, even for related roles, don’t expect two interviews to be the same. A tailored approach is required for each position you apply to.
Q2. How long do I have to wait before I can apply again after a rejection?
If you fail on-site, you’ll likely have to wait for 3-6 months to apply for the same position. However, sometimes, if they find you’re a fit for a different team/role, you don’t have to wait so long, they’ll set up the interviews for that team/role for you. You can also apply for different roles anytime at Apple as there’s no cool off period restriction if it isn’t the same job you got rejected for.
Q3. What is the maximum number of times I can interview for a job at Apple?
While there’s a cool off period after a rejection for the same position, there is no limit on the number of times you can apply for a position at Apple.
(All answers are based on our research at the time of writing. We recommend speaking to your recruiter or checking Apple’s career page for the latest information.)
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Article: By Tanya Shrivastava