Apple
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www.apple.com Cupertino, CA 5000+ Employees

Apple Hardware Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 16, 2014
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10 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Apple in November 2010.

Interview Details – The interview process begins with several 30 mins technical phone interviews first (No HR phone screen for my case), the phone interviews are just basic technical background review and simply text-book questions. Hours later, they invited me to do an on-site interview in Cupertino. It is much harder than I expected.
The on-site interview consisted of 15 people 1:1, each of them has 30mins, from 10am-6pm non-stop with a lunch interview in 12. Each interviewer has different backgrounds so their questions could be very hard at some time.

Just in my point of view,
1. Don't wing it. If you don't know just say no. You can imagine like 15 guys ask you question from every sides of technical background, you would probably need 3 phd to answer them all correctly. So just be honest and they will really appreciate that. I missed a lot of questions, and some of them I have totally no idea of, all I did is tell them I don't know and show the potential to learn.
2. Pay attention to detail. That's very important. Be well prepared for your presentation and materials if they interested. Try your best to show them how much you focused on details. Get yourself some extra copies of those printed materials and bind them neatly.
3. It is all about communications. The communication in an on-site interview is even important than technical part. They want to know who you really are and whether you are good to deal with in the future if they really want you. So when you past the 1st round interview already, be smart and ALWAYS show your good altitude. Keep smile at all time.
I got the unofficial offer hours later. The interview process overall is positive and all the interviewers are very nice. They shown their enthusiasm about their job during the interview.
Hope this helps and good luck.

Interview Question – Be well prepared for typical HR questions.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I have no other offers on hand, so accepted this offer with no conditions.

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4 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Apple in October 2011.

Interview Details – First phone interview, then a 24 hour assignment, then on-site interview with about 10 different managers. Received and accepted offer about a week after interview.
Interview questions were very technical and consisted of solving problems live on whiteboard.
Don't let a bad interview ruin your recruiting process: I believe I blew a couple of interviews but was pretty good on others. I felt like 5 good interviews versus 3 bad ones and I got the job. Just stay polite and answer the questions as good as you can. Tell the interviewers how you think, I believe that's more important than if you solve all the problems correctly. Think structured and pay attention to detail!

Interview Question – Why do you want to work for Apple?   Answer Question

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

The process took 2 days - interviewed at Apple in November 2011.

Interview Details – I was scheduled for an onsite interview on Oct 30th. After I have booked the hotel and flight, they told me the interviewers were not available for that day and they wanted me to do it the week after. In the next week, I was informed they wanted to change the schedule again. The interview finally happend 3 weeks later but the recruiter won't tell me in which building I will be interviewed until the night before the interview. You know what? No body showed up after 20mins of the scheduled time, and I got a calling saying they want to switch the interview to another building. Fine. I final see the first interviewer. After talking to him, I waited more than 40mins for the 2nd interviewer. No interviewer is on time and they are RUDE... Apple might be a good place for work but please be respectful to the interviewees.

Interview Question – Why apple?   View Answer

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer

I applied through other source and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Apple in July 2010.

Interview Details – Difficult interview process. Must know mid to advanced analog hardware. Fundamentals are key. Will be asked to draw circuits, explain operation, and solve simple analog hardware questions. Expect multiple people on interview panel.

Interview Question – Explain the operation of the wind-noise rejection filter. You may design as either a digital signal processing hw block, or as an analog hw component. Either method must include schematic with poles / zeros identified.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Easy

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4 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Had 2 technical phone interviews before getting flown out to Cupertino. Had 10 30-minute interviews lasting the whole day with mostly generic EE related technical questions. There was nothing tricky or behavioral that they asked. mainly just cut and dry solve this problem type. Although it was for a purely hardware job, I was still interviewed by the software manager with programming related questions.

Interview Question – Come up with an interview question and answer it yourself. (talk about a lazy interviewer lol)   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – After getting offer, I told my current company and they matched it. I then told Apple about the new salary I was getting and they bumped it up more, which I took.

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9 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied online and the process took 8 weeks - interviewed at Apple in September 2012.

Interview Details – The phone interview with the senior engineer and manager had several technical and supplier management questions. I answered every question even to my surprise with a 100% score. The senior engineer was so excited he said at the end of the conversation he was going to recommend me highly. A few days later I received a message requesting me come for an on-site interview.

The first on-site interview was mostly meeting with engineers, the manager, and one of the director level managers.

After my on-site interview a few days went by and then HR called and said they want me to work on a design presentation. There were 5 pages of typed technical questions, 2 design problems, and a third part requesting a portfolio of my past engineering work. I spent 4 long days preparing everything they wanted. After returning 30 pages the engineer scheduled a teleconference to go through the presentation. We went line by line (A is also for An#l). One question out of the five pages I did not get close enough even though I had a correct answer. On the design projects they were impressed with my out-of-the-box (his words) clear thought approach.

A few weeks went by and I did not hear anything. I thought I did everything they asked to at least 98% correct and had impressed them on my design ability. I sent the HR person an email asking if they had made a decision. I did not hear anything for another week, and then they said they wanted me to come for a second on-site interview with the upper management. I was excited.

On the second on-site interview, I remember walking up the stairs with the HR manager and saying to her that the Apple process is really different. She says “we try to explain well about the Apple interview process”. I wanted to say something at that point because I would like to know at what point did she ever explain anything about the interview process. In fact they will not confirm the interview plan until the day before the interview. They will not let you know who you will meet in the interview until you arrive for the interview. They will not even give the schedule for the day to have for reference.

OK now to the second on-site interview with upper management. First interviewer is 20 minutes late because he has to drop off his kids to school. I am thinking it is 9:30 when he was supposed to be there he should be able to make it on time especially for an interview. I spent a lot of time preparing and I got there early. Next interview is a VP with an attitude. He only has two questions one is why it took 3 years to get my master’s degree 20 years ago. I explain I was going part time since I was working as an engineer at the time. Wow I did not know that mattered that long ago. All the other questions were over his paranoia over whether I might be a security issue for Apple. Good work VP, you are really going to find creative people for new products with your approach.

The third interviewer also came late. Once he arrived sat there for a little while trying to think of questions to ask and then said he was filling in for another person who was supposed to be there. He spent the next 15 minutes texting the person that was supposed to be there. Then after a while the person he was texting showed up. That person then sat there trying to gather himself together and asked me two questions that must be a standard because previous interviewers had asked me the same exact questions. The remaining time I just tried to keep the conversation going.

Next interview was a director level and the first thing he asked was what the VP asked me. I went over the questions and he was proud to say the he and the VP think alike. All I could think was great here we go again. He had more questions at least, but spent a lot of time going over security concerns in Apple. One thing I did learn is that they don’t even let the IPod, IPad, and IPhone engineers interact to ensure secrecy and internal product competitiveness.

OK I finally think I am done and all there is to do is wait for a decision. A week goes by and no idea yes or no. Then I received an email saying that the person who had the replacement come in place of himself then came later to the interview and could not think of questions needed to interview me again. So I said fine schedule it as soon as possible. Another week went by and I did not hear anything. So I asked the HR person. Apparently that person is now in China getting ready for the IPhone 5 launch. Another 2 weeks went by. By this time I gave up on Apple. Then one day out of the blue they said they were going to offer me the job. I declined as I had another job offer at the management level, and I was annoyed with Apples interview process.

Interview Question – Actually all of the questions were standard interview questions that any company would ask. That is something that surprised me, I was expecting more brain power questions. The only challenge was the amount of people needed to interview and how unorganized the process was. The biggest challenge was all the waiting and the amount of work requested for design project. It was a horrific waste of time for both me and Apple.   View Answers (2)

Reason for Declining – I had another job offer that promoted me to a management position.

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer

I applied through college or university and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Master student - 1 round interview - after the university career fair.
I heard that Apple came to our university because of the career fair. After I submitted my resume, a week later, they send me an e-mail to schedule the "1vs1 interview". But, they want to hire verification engineer which is not match to my major. So, i didn't get the job offer.

Interview Question – They try to ask a lot of questions related verilog language.   Answer Question

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9 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Apple in March 2013.

Interview Details – Engaged via an unsolicited LinkedIn request for interview. While I'm happily employed already, I thought I'd see what they had to offer. The initial phone interview was somewhat technical, lasted about 50 minutes (scheduled for 30), with the first 25 being the interviewer asking questions about my experience and resume. Nothing tricky, just what I'd put on the resume. T This interviewer was an electrical engineer with an iPad / iPod team. There weren't any technical questions except those derived from my resume.

Next I did an in-person interview with 8 people, each for around 30 minutes, except for the lunch slot which was 1 hour (including a trip to the Apple cafeteria.) These interviews were highly technical, involved a lot of white-boarding, and are designed to see how a candidate thinks as well as what they know. It was clear that all the interviewers were very intelligent, and they came off as friendly and able to mentor other engineers. I would be please to work with them (except 1, who arrived late and was completely unprepared. He asked me for a paper copy of my resume (which I didn't have! Who brings paper to an interview these days? Every other interviewer carried an iPad and iPhone.) In summary, they will find the limit of your knowledge: be prepared for that, and answer their questions to the best of your abilities, but know your limits and state when you don't know an answer. Remember, they want to know how you THINK too. They will encourage you think and try and solve it on the spot given tidbits of knowledge.

There was also one really excellent "scenario" question. I've elected not to share it. However, the majority of questions were on technical concepts coming out of my resume (tradeoffs in synchronous buck regulator design, I2C pullup sizing, bandwidth constraints, DRAM estimation) and my ideas of product development (describe the product design flow.) I also whiteboarded the exact same block diagram of a previous design I'd built for 3 or 4 of the reviewers, each who asked their own questions about design decisions, implementation, tradeoffs, testing, etc.

In summary, I found the interview process challenging but enjoyable. I came away feeling like I could work with these guys and really learn something. However, I did get the impression that, without years of background in product development, one would be stuck at a "junior" level for several product development cycles.

Interview Question – Instead of hiring you to be a hardware engineer, we'd like you to build a house. Ask me all the questions you need in order to build me a house.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Durham, NC

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Initial "informal chat" that was actually an interview on campus. Asked a mix of technical questions (stress/strain diagram, necking, etc) and design questions based on an example in my resume (they asked me to redesign a project I'd worked on based on fake client feedback). And a brain teaser. Some discussion about finite element analysis work that I'd done after my freshman year and some in-depth questions on how FEA works.

Second interview was 30m phone interview with 2 hardware engineers. I expected technical questions but got none. The interview was all about how my design process works, and was rather ambiguous.

Interview Question – Advantages/disadvantages of tetrahedron and hexagonal FEA elements.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Vancouver, BC (Canada)

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Apple in October 2013.

Interview Details – Gave my resume and talking to an Engineer at my university's career fair. Was contacted
a couple weeks later for a phone interview.

Interview Question – Just really detailed questions on the hardware of Macs.   View Answer

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