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’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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Problem-Solving Phone Interview Questions:
Technical Phone Interview Questions:
Coding Phone Interview Questions:
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