This has been traveling the internet: Time’s list of 33 questions that were asked at Apple job interviews.
I decided to answer them.
And since I answered them seriously, I guess we know why I’m a recluse writer and artist instead of an executive at Apple.
So without further ado…
“Explain to an 8-year-old what a modem/router is and its functions.” — At-Home Advisor candidate
It brings you the internet. More important would be to explain why they can’t leave it outside in the sandbox or drop it in the toilet.
“Who is your best friend?” — Family Room Specialist candidate
“If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?” — Software Engineer candidate
I wouldn’t waste the company’s time and resources performing such a pointless experiment. We know the egg is going to break; whoever had assigned me the task in the first place should have been fired. My solution would be to ask what it is they hope to learn from the experiment, and then design a better (and less wasteful) experiment that would provide more useful data.
“Describe an interesting problem and how you solved it.” — Software Engineer candidate
I gave birth to my son via c-section without anesthesia. The anesthesia failed. I used willpower.
“How many children are born every day?” — Global Supply Manager candidate
“You have a 100 coins laying flat on a table, each with a head side and a tail side. 10 of them are heads up, 90 are tails up. You can’t feel, see or in any other way find out which side is up. Split the coins into two piles such that there are the same number of heads in each pile.” — Software Engineer candidate
Describe yourself, what excites you?” — Software Engineer candidate
My own ideas.
“If we hired you, what do you want to work on?” — Senior Software Engineer candidate
My own ideas.
“There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?” — Software QA Engineer candidate
By labeling them “fruit.”
“Scenario: You’re dealing with an angry customer who was waiting for help for the past 20 minutes and is causing a commotion. She claims that she’ll just walk over to Best Buy or the Microsoft Store to get the computer she wants. Resolve this issue.” — Specialist candidate
I’d encourage her to purchase the computer she wants, and offer to discuss the pro’s and con’s of each with her. Tricking someone into buying a product they don’t want is a bogus long term sales strategy as you’ll only end up with a dissatisfied customer. A customer waiting to happen is far preferable to a customer who’ll never be a customer again, and who’ll Yelp about it until they day they die. Moreover, the hard sell is for snake oil salesmen; not people with integrity who are, hopefully, in their conduct, aiming to represent Apple as a brand that has integrity.
“How would you breakdown the cost of this pen?” — Global Supply Manager candidate
How much are people willing to pay for it?
“A man calls in and has an older computer that is essentially a brick. What do you do?” — Apple Care At-Home Consultant candidate
It depends on what he’s calling for help with.
“Are you smart?” — Build Engineer candidate
Compared to what?
“What are your failures, and how have you learned from them?” — Software Manager candidate
I’ve learned that failure is a frame of mind.
“Have you ever disagreed with a manager’s decision, and how did you approach the disagreement? Give a specific example and explain how you rectified this disagreement, what the final outcome was, and how that individual would describe you today.” — Software Engineer candidate
I’m looking for a new job, aren’t I?
“You put a glass of water on a record turntable and begin slowly increasing the speed. What happens first — does the glass slide off, tip over, or does the water splash out?” — Mechanical Engineer candidate
Depends on how much water is in the glass.
“Tell me something that you have done in your life which you are particularly proud of.” — Software Engineering Manager candidate
Marrying my husband.
“Why should we hire you?” — Senior Software Engineer candidate
Because you want to.
“Are you creative? What’s something creative that you can think of?” — Software Engineer candidate
“Describe a humbling experience.” — Apple Retail Specialist candidate
Being interviewed for a job.
“What’s more important, fixing the customer’s problem or creating a good customer experience?” — Apple At Home Advisor candidate
If you’re not doing both at the same time, then you’re a dumbass.
“Why did Apple change its name from Apple Computers Incorporated to Apple Inc.?” — Specialist candidate
“You seem pretty positive, what types of things bring you down?” — Family Room Specialist candidate
Mean people, dishonest people, and warm beer.
“Show me (role play) how you would show a customer you’re willing to help them by only using your voice.” — College At-Home Advisor candidate
Why would I be helping them with anything but my voice? What kind of job interview is this?
“What brings you here today?” — Software Engineer candidate
My desire to be gainfully employed.
“Given an iTunes type of app that pulls down lots of images that get stale over time, what strategy would you use to flush disused images over time?” — Software Engineer candidate
Qualify “disused.” What are we hoping that customers will be doing with the image in the first place?
“If you’re given a jar with a mix of fair and unfair coins, and you pull one out and flip it 3 times, and get the specific sequence heads heads tails, what are the chances that you pulled out a fair or an unfair coin?” — Lead Analyst candidate
Define the, in all cases highly subjective terms, fair and unfair.
“What was your best day in the last 4 years? What was your worst?” — Engineering Project Manager candidate
Sometimes the best days and the worst days are the same days. Every new day that I’m alive is the best day, and the day I’m not alive will be the worst day. Since I’m not dead yet, at least to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t had a worst day.
“When you walk in the Apple Store as a customer, what do you notice about the store/how do you feel when you first walk in?” — Specialist candidate
Like I want to buy something.
- “Why do you want to join Apple and what will you miss at your current work if Apple hired you?” — Software Engineer candidate
If I loved my current job, I wouldn’t be looking for a new one.
“How would you test your favorite app?” — Software QA Engineer candidate
By using it.
“What would you want to do 5 years from now?” — Software Engineer candidate
“How would you test a toaster?” — Software QA Engineer candidate
Depends on the kind of toaster.