How to Answer the “Why Apple” Interview Question?
One of the FAANG companies, Apple, is a true flag-bearer of innovation. Receiving around 50 applications for each job per day, it is a much-coveted name among job-seekers and is one of the largest job creators in the US. Naturally, every software engineer who wishes to uplevel their tech career looks to Apple; as a result, the competition is fierce.
To crack an Apple interview, you need hard work, a strategic prep plan, and lots of practice. In this article, we’ll cover one of the most seemingly simple yet tricky questions asked at Apple’s behavioral interviews — why do you want to work at Apple?
We’ll discuss how you should approach the question so that your answer stands out from the rest. We’ll cover:
- A Sneak Peek into Apple Interviews
- Top 3 Apple Interview Questions
- Why Apple: The Thought Process Behind This Question
- The Right Way to Navigate the Question
- Some Sample Answers for Inspiration
- Things to Avoid When Answering This Question
- How to Prepare for Apple Software Engineering Interviews?
- A Closer Look at Apple Interview Questions
- FAQs on Apple Interview Questions
A Sneak Peek Into Apple Interviews
Generally, Apple starts hiring at the level of ICT2, which holds several positions for those with 0-2 years of experience. As an employee at this company, your growth track will end at ICT6.
Apple accepts only the best engineers in the field, and therefore, its hiring process differs significantly from other big tech firms.
Here are some insights on its interview process:
At this stage, the company assesses you based on your cover letter. Application for some roles also includes answering “motivational” questions, similar to the “Why do you want to work at Apple” interview question. For example:
- What motivated you to apply for a job at Apple?
- Why do you wish to undertake this role?
2. Phone Screen
This round of technical interviews with Apple is pretty standard. It consists of a short and informal conversation with a hiring manager who evaluates your background and interests. You can expect a phone interview to be something like this:
- Apple’s recruiter will provide you with a brief of their hiring process.
- In the first round of interviews, you will converse with an internal recruiter.
- A team lead will take your second round of technical interviews.
- You are expected to discuss your previous projects, professional as well as academic achievements.
3. Face Time Screening
Next up, you will face several short and one-on-one interviews. Apple conducts up to 5 rounds of these interviews, each of which is about 30 minutes long. Further, you should note that these interviews assess your behavioral and technical skills. Additionally, brace yourself for some probing questions that call for a great deal of introspection, such as:
- Have you ever made a mistake?
- What do you think was the best mistake you’ve made so far?
- What did you learn from it?
Software engineers, coding engineers, software developers, and other applicants can also be asked to attend Apple’s Assessment Centre. However, don’t let this news distress you – it is an incredible opportunity to network with existing employees.
Additionally, you will learn about the ins and outs of Apple while completing a few exercises, namely:
- Written exercise: includes case-study problems.
- Group exercise: requires you to solve the team-specific problems for the role you’re applying for.
- Role-play exercise: consists of questions aimed at assessing your public speaking skills.
5. On-site Interviews
Apple’s on-site interviews usually consist of 6 hours of back-to-back discussions. And here is when your coding skills, domain knowledge, and patience come into play. Each of these interviews is either 1:1 or 2:1 and lasts for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Moreover, Apple may take the interviews up a notch by inviting you to lunch. While you rejoice, you must remember that this lunch is an extension of an interview. It can turn out to be the most intense part of the process, as several team members will quiz you simultaneously.
As a software engineer candidate, you can expect technical questions on data structures and algorithms. Here, you will code on a whiteboard or a laptop, highlighting your grasp of system design.
Check out Apple Interview Process Guide 2021 for more details on Apple’s interview process.
Top 3 Apple Interview Questions
Interviewers at Apple ask different kinds of questions – ranging from behavioral to technical. However, there are a few questions that are the most critical and the most common during an interview. These are:
- Do you have a favorite Apple device? Explain why it is your favorite one.
- Tell us about a time in your life when you failed. How did you manage to bounce back from it?
- Why Apple?
The “Why Apple” interview question appears to be fairly simple at first glance, but here’s a word of caution: it is trickier than it seems!
Why Apple: The Thought Process Behind This Question
We tend to hear from candidates that they find this question useless and rather frustrating. But in reality, the “Why Apple?” interview questions and other related questions such as “Why are you interested in this job role?” and “Why Apple among other tech companies?” are critical.
Hiring managers at Apple use these questions to figure out if you are a perfect fit for the company. Moreover, they assess if your motivation and ambitions align with the company culture. Additionally, these questions give a glimpse into your long-term goals and tell them whether you’re in it for the long haul.
In a nutshell, this question shines a spotlight on the following aspects:
- Your career goals
- Priorities and preferences
- How the job role fits your plans
- Your interest in the job
- Motivation to take up the position
- Your depth of knowledge about Apple, the tech space, and the job role
Needless to say, these aspects paint a picture of your personality as well as your candidacy.
Why Apple: The Right Way to Navigate the Question
Given the weight of the “why Apple?” interview question, it is critical to present a solid answer. Here are a few pointers that will frame your answer:
Break It Down
We suggest that you approach each part of the “why work at Apple” interview question differently. Here is the formula for a concise yet crisp answer:
- Mention Apple’s significance
- Highlight your competency
Instead of jumping straight into your motivation and career goals, your answer should begin with your familiarity with Apple. The key here is to demonstrate a passion for Apple as well as its products.
Next, you should elaborate on your experience and skills, underscoring how they make you suitable for the job role.
Visit Apple’s Official Website
It sounds like an obvious approach, doesn’t it? However, candidates either overlook this step or do not invest enough time in it.
Apple’s website covers everything you need to know about the company – its mission statement, leadership, product lines, business segments, ethics, compliance, etc.
Further, you should scour the site for additional information. For instance, its Newsroom section will provide you with all the latest undertakings by Apple. You can read its Career Opportunities page and read through the Work at Apple and Life at Apple sections, both of which offer extensive information on the company’s work culture.
Study Apple’s Media Coverage
Although Apple’s website speaks volumes about the company, a broader Google search will expand your knowledge further. So, keep an eye out for its media mentions and the latest news articles covered by mainstream press and publications. This will help you keep track of Apple’s latest trends and its footprint in the industry.
Reach Out to Your Network
Your network or LinkedIn contacts can also be a valuable source of research. A quick search on LinkedIn will list out individuals in your network who work at Apple or know someone who does.
Why Apple: Sample Answers
Following are some sample responses which will help you chalk out the best answer:
I came across an article a few months back that talked about your outreach within the community. Giving back is a critical part of my core values, and I vividly remember being moved by this article. I was happy to see that a behemoth like Apple values our communities as much as I do. My excitement grew when I noticed a job opening for a software engineer. I applied for the position without a second thought, confident that I want to be a part of your company and that our work will make a difference.
I’ve used Apple products for years, and your innovation and development never fail to amaze me. As you say, you don’t just create products; you create something magical for the person using them, and that inspires me. Being a part of Apple will be an incredible opportunity to employ my skills as a software engineer for the groundbreaking work you do.
Apple consistently ranks as one of the top places to work. Over the last couple of months, I’ve read up on your employee testimonials, which speak volumes about your enthusiasm for an inclusive work culture that’s collaborative yet retains individuality. Therefore, I wish to join your innovative team and utilize my skills to continue your exceptional work. Also, this job role will help me acquire new skills, which are important for my progress within your company and my personal growth as a software engineer.
Why Apple: Things to Avoid When Answering This Question
We hope that by now, you've gained some clarity on how to answer the “Why Apple” interview question. So far, we’ve talked about what you should do to leave a mark at your Apple tech interview.
But there are a few things that you should keep at bay, such as the following:
Talking in Cliches
Statements like “I’m a team player" and “I’m a natural leader" may be true, but they are very generic. Besides, these are overused buzzwords at this point. Here, an easy way out is to use the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) approach to back up your claims with evidence.
Let’s take an example:
“I’m a great leader.” It doesn’t hold much weight.
"I'm a good leader. In fact, I managed and supervised a diverse team of 12 associates for two years." – Just right.
Making It All About You
There’s a fine line between putting your best foot forward and overselling yourself.
Remember: An interviewer’s aim is to assess how you can add value to the company. So, don’t go overboard with your answers.
Therefore, it is wise to lay out how you can help the company achieve its goal. Then, talk about your expectations from the job role, but keep them brief and concise.
Getting the Tone Wrong
Another sin is to downplay or overplay your language during the interview. To strike the right chord, pay close attention to the interviewer’s tone and body language and tailor yours accordingly. As they say, "When in Rome, do as the Romans."
Badmouthing the Previous Employer
The question is, ‘Why Apple?; Why not XYZ?.’ So, regardless of your experience, it is never a good idea to complain to an interviewer about your previous employee. By badmouthing a past employer, you appear mean-spirited, unprofessional, and hostile – all of which are undesirable qualities in a prospective employee.
FAQs on Apple’s Interview Process
- How long is the interview process at Apple?
You can expect the entire process, starting from the first contact to offer, to take approximately 1.5-2 months.
- When can you reapply for the same position at Apple?
In case you don’t receive an offer, you can wait the typical industry standard of about 3-6 months to apply again.
- How can I become a software engineer at Apple?
To join Apple as a software engineer, you must have a comprehensive understanding of core CS. This includes data structures, algorithms, distributed systems, operating systems, concurrent programming, and networking. Moreover, the company prefers candidates to have a minimum experience of 5 years in software engineering.
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