Apple interview questions range from the technical to the philosophical

A piece on how to land a job with the most desirable tech company in the world provides some interesting examples of Apple interview questions.

It outlines the soft skills the company looks for, warns what not to do on your resume, walks you through the interview stages, explains the STAR method for discussing your accomplishments, and provides examples of the sorts of questions you may be asked …

ZDNet says that of course Apple wants to hire people with top-notch technical abilities, but also looks for a number of soft skills:

  • Brilliance
  • Determination and grit
  • Obsessive curiosity
  • Team focus
  • Idealism

As an initial filtering stage, Apple uses automated software to scan for keywords in your resume – which means you need to take care to ensure it is fully machine-readable.

Resist showing off your creative side with graphic design elements or colors. This may make your resume unreadable by the Applicant Tracking System software. 

For coding jobs, Apple will expect to see a select coding portfolio of up to 10 projects on sites like GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket.

The interview process has three stages:

  • 15-minute phone interview
  • six-hour skill test or problem-solving session
  • Final interviews with different team members, which may span an entire day

When asked about your achievements, the site’s Hannah Riley recommends using the STAR structure:

  • Situation: Describe the situation you were in. 
  • Task: What was your responsibility in the situation? 
  • Action: Explain the actions you took to address it.
  • Result: Share the outcome of your actions. Be sure to take credit for your accomplishments.

She also provides examples of Apple interview questions – which can be extremely varied:

  • Tell me about an innovative project you led.
  • If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
  • How does tokenization work?
  • How are payment credentials saved on a device?
  • Explain a router to an 8-year-old. 
  • How do you prioritize competing priorities?
  • What type of failure have you encountered in the past, and how did you get over it?
  • What makes Apple different from other companies?
  • Which Apple product is your least favorite and why? 

(Presumably you fail the interview if you don’t answer “M2 MacBook Pro” to the last question.)

We’ve of course seen other advice on getting a job with Apple, which includes not being afraid to admit your mistakes.

There is one reason why Apple engineer Sabrina Paseman believes her interview likely stood out from the rest: She provided concrete evidence of her ability to think through mistakes and address problems.

Instead of just referencing past experiences, Paseman brought prototypes of a medical device that she had been working on the previous summer and walked through what she would have done differently. It’s this choice that Paseman said she believes “blew them away” and landed her the job.

“I said, ‘These are the things that I did, and this is what I would do differently,’” Paseman said. “And I showed them my thought process [and] iterations. And I think the fact that I brought tangible things to them and I was able to elaborate on what was good and what was bad about them, that itself made them want to hire me” […]

“Just showing that whenever you encounter a problem that you don’t necessarily know how to solve, you have a really open mindset of, ‘Okay, there’s something wrong here. Let’s try to dive down into details and figure out what’s wrong,’” Paseman said.

The full ZDNet piece is definitely worth reading if you have ambitions of working for Apple.

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