Apple
3.9 of 5 3,438 reviews
www.apple.com Cupertino, CA 5000+ Employees

Apple Product Design Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated May 17, 2014
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Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Apple in April 2010.

Interview Details – I was contacted by a recruiter about the position. The interview process was long and involved 3 visits to the campus as well as couple phone screens. The last step of the interview process involved a " design project" that I had to present to a group of 10 engineers and managers. Quite a few of the people were very unpleasant during the interviews, but a number were nice. The HR folks were very organized and kept the process moving.

Interview Question – Lots of questions about mechanical design, materials (especially glass and aluminum/steel), and mechanics of materials. For the PDE interviews, you need to be VERY well versed on material properties.   Answer Question

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Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – first had an in person interview, then a design challenge. I was local so they brought me in instead of doing a phone interview. My design was not "satisfactory" so I did not make it to the next round of presentations. make sure you are very familiar with solidworks and have regular access to it before applying for this job.

Interview Question – A lot of material properties and buoyancy questions. I couldn't remember a lot of material properties and that's very important to them.   Answer Question

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Positive Experience

Average Interview

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – I had an initial phone interview with a recruiter, who talked to me for about 10 minutes about my resume and the open position, making sure I was a good fit. After that, he scheduled a phone interview with the hiring manager. He told me to be ready for some technical questions.

A few days later I had the call with the hiring manager, and it was mostly focused on explaining my previous experience and how I would fit in with the job requirements. We talked about some technical aspects of the job, but not very in depth. Most of the interview was actually a back-and-forth where I was asking questions about their engineering process, work culture, etc. It was a good discussion and I left it feeling pretty good about my prospects. The manager said he would be talking to a few more candidates and I would here back in about a week. He said the next steps would be to have me do a "design challenge", present it, and then take a trip to Cupertino to do a series of interviews.

However, two weeks went by and I did not hear anything. I contacted the recruiter to ask him about it, and he told me they had decided to hire someone with more experience.

Interview Question – No difficult questions in the two phone interviews I had.   Answer Question

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Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – HR communication was good.

Interview Question – Asked me about the frequency representation of a square wave. I think it is extremely ridiculous to ask an 8 year experienced person a direct text book question. These kind of questions are reserved for new graduates.   Answer Question

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Neutral Experience

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – Submitted application through university website. Got three phone interviews for different departments. I was then flown out for day of interviews about three weeks later.. Was scheduled to have 10 that day. Questions ranged from knowledge of the design process, brain teasers based on averages and displacement and basic physics.

Interview Question – Assorted beam bending problems   Answer Question

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Difficult Interview

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

I applied through college or university and interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Phone interview-40 minutes. All the questions are about the details of my resume. The hire manager also asked some basic mechanical questions for example how to design a gear. If you change the speed of the gears will the power transmitted to the next gear change. At first I don't answer some of the questions but the hire manager inspired me a lot.

Interview Question – Still technical questions.   Answer Question

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Neutral Experience

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – got referred by current employee, got an email setting up interview extremely fast. Had one 45 minute interview with someone who works in the group I applied for

Interview Question – What do you want to do with your life   Answer Question

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Difficult Interview

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – Was contacted by one of the recruiters and scheduled a phone interview with the hiring manager. The phone interview consisted a lot of technical questions.

Interview Question – Wat is the most complicated structure you designed   Answer Question

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12 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – I was contacted by an Apple recruiter letting me know that they were looking for mechanical engineers for their product development team. A phone interview was scheduled by another recruiter (this recruiter was assigned to be my contact). The person on the phone was very nice and asked very relevant questions that took place in the job description. The only downside of the phone interview was that he had to take a break in between because he was needed for an urgent meeting. We resumed the same day in half and hour or so.

I got an email a few days later from my assigned recruiter saying that the phone interview was success and I was invited for onsite interview. The travel and accommodation arrangements were handled through an online system.

1-2 weeks prior to the onsite interview, all candidates are asked to prepare a design challenge. My challenge was to create a 2 AA battery holder with a pop-open mechanism. The key aspects they wanted in the design was also noted on the problem description (FBDs, FMEA, Material Selection, etc).

I had 6 1-1 interviews, 45 mins each with a 1hr lunch break with another employee, adding to 7. I was asked questions related to:
- heat transfer (3x): know conduction, convection and thermodynamics basics as it relates to enclosure design.
- Injection molding: define key features, where gate was, how the mold worked.
- material selection: aluminum vs. steel, which one has higher UTS under a bending problem, looking at an existing part describe what material it is.
- statics: draw FBDs on the questions posed by the interviewee
- root cause analysis: describe where you'd start solving a problem
- design methodology: walk me through your thought process to design given question.

After the 1-1 meetings, I was asked to present my design challenge work to a group of product design engineers in a separate conference room. Most of the interviewees that I met throughout the day was there with the addition of a few more engineers. It was an interactive environment, expect to receive questions throughout the presentation and be ready to go on the board and explain everything you say. Be ready to defend all your design selections but also make room for criticism that you'll receive.

My experience didn't go very well, I didn't find enough time to get ready for my interview, so I advice you to think through before going in to the deteails of your presentation. Make sure that you design something that you're proud of and know all aspects of it.

Interview Question – Questions that popped out as I can remember.

1) A cube (1-1-1m) of ice in a room (50C) sitting on a wooden table. the ice is 1m away from the walls around it's 4 sides, except for 1 side is 30cm away. You're given 2 insulating blankets (1m by 1m) that can be used to cover the ice block. The goal is to keep the ice in solid form as long as possible. Where would you put the blankets?

2) 2 rectangular beams, one is Aluminum a by 2b cross-section one is Steel a by b cross-section. If you were to climb a mountain and find these two sticking out on a spot where you need to rest, which one would you latch on to?

3) Interviewee shows a plastic part and asks: How do you think I built this part? What other ways can you think of this part could have been done?
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Negative Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Product Design Engineer Interview

Product Design Engineer

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – I've interview twice for this position on two separate teams at Apple, each with the same basic two-round structure: First is a one hour interview with the hiring manager or team lead, and second is a full-day onsite interview (and by full day I mean 6-8 hours all day) Where it's simply a constant onslaught of technical questions.

In the second case between rounds there was a design project which required a presentation and accompanying analysis and documentation.

Interview Question – Please name 20 different ways to remove balloons from an apartment. (brainstorming/creativity question)   Answer Question

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