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Apple Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 10, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

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Interview Experience  

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Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
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3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

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

Interview Details – I was contacted via linkedin, after I responded I talked to an HR person about what kind of position I would be interested in (10 minutes), then a week later a technical interview with with a hiring manager (30 minutes). That started off with a couple basic technical questions (how is a map implemented) then went into brain teaser/logic problems.

Interview Question – Ants are at the corners of an equilateral triangle labelled 1, 2, and 3, each ant starts moving towards the next one (1 towards 2, 2 towards 3, 3 towards 1) at the same constant speed. How long until they meet ?   View Answers (6)


2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

I applied through college or university and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Got a phone call from the recruiter and then followed by 2 phone interviews. They flew my in to cupertino for onsite interview, which was pretty professional and smooth. Interviewers were super friendly and helpful.

Interview Question – Nothing really difficult.   Answer Question


No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied online and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Had to write many hours of code just for the phone interview! Went to onsite and spoke with about 5-6 guys, mostly managers. The questions required lengthy whiteboard coding. To be fair, I did not get the answer to one of these in a timely manner, and this is likely why I did not receive an offer. I did formulate an answer waiting for my plane later, and forwarded it to the mgr.

The general feel I got was that I was not a possibly valued asset, but a new cog for their machine. There was a pervasive lack of respect in the most of the interviewers' demeanor. I think it's an Apple culture thing, based on other posts I've read on Glassdoor. As soon as I left the building, I knew I could not work here. On the upside, it indicates extreme confidence in the company's ability to attract talent if they can speak to applicants this way.

Interview Question – Writing 8-9 hours of code from the phone interview assignment was a bit much. It probably took longer because I wanted to polish it. But it was not a simple problem by any means. I worked all night to have it ready. The onsite interviewers didn't seem particularly impressed with these efforts, and it gave me insight into how I'd be treated full time.   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – Applied for the job on apple.com. Got contacted by a recruiter and proceeded to two rounds of phone screening. Both of the interviewers are from the team that's hiring.

Interview Question – How to speed up a database query?   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – Meet with the technical recruiter in the morning. He actually went over who I'd be talking to, and at approximately what time I would be meeting them. Lunch was included. The schedule indicated we'd end about 3-4pm.

All the interviews were technical. One of the interview slots was attended by 3 people, so it was like a panel.

All of the interviews involved coding questions. Lunch was with the potential future team.

Interview Question – I got asked an interesting strstr question: implement strstr using a linked list of linked lists. This is actually quite difficult, and I spent about 70% of the time designing an iterator to walk through the LL of LL's. With the iterator in place, strstr became pretty easy.

The guy interviewing me said that I produced the best answer he's ever seen.

This is actually quite a difficult question, and I've begun to use the first part (design an iterator over a LL of LL's) as one of my standard questions.
  Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Apple in February 2012.

Interview Details – Good experience with good experience

Interview Question – Nothing difficult   View Answer


3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – It was a very professional process. The recruiters and interviewers were detail oriented and asked many questions about my background and area of expertise

Interview Question – collapse a binary search tree into a sorted list   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

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

Interview Details – 1 Telephonic interview with recruiter and 1 with hiring manager,then onsite interview for a day with 5 people.

Interview Question – based on resume and couple of in depth technical questions   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – do we really need to negotiate at Apple? do not think so.


18 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Apple in February 2013.

Interview Details – I interviewed for multiple positions over a span of an year before we settled on a position. The "process took" timeframe below is for the latest interview cycle which resulted in an offer being made. Without identifying the group / team by name, all I can say is that this division deals within a specific domain and as such, the talent pool is limited to recruit from.
Mid-'12. The first interview (on phone), as always with Apple, was with the Hiring Manager. The interviewer was very pleasant and the questioning mainly revolved around my background and skills. Even though the interview as scheduled for 30 minutes, the Manager cut it short and told me he will follow up with me within a day. The second interview (on site) ran for about five hours and consisted 1:1 interview sessions with various Managers, Senior Analysts & Engineers and the Recruiter. The Managers, Analysts and Engineers who interviewed me were pretty professional and represented different departments. The questioning, like the phone interview, focused on problem solving abilities and approach rather than the solution itself. The Hiring Manager hosted a Lunch Interview. The last session for the day was with the Recruiter who asked me about my salary expectations and the usual HR stuff.
The following day the Recruiter reached out to me and let me know that they were not interested in considering me further at that point of time. The whole process took about three weeks.
Late-'12. The Recruiter reached out to me about a new position that would be a good fit to my skill sets. The first interview (on phone) was the customary Hiring Manager interview. The second interview (on site) was slightly shorter (four hours) than my last visit to Apple Campus. The interview consisted 1:1 interview sessions with various Managers and Analysts & Engineers. The questions were domain specific and revolved around problems and challenges that are typically encountered by someone working in these areas of expertise. The next day, I was told that the feedback was extremely positive and I was scheduled to speak with the Director. Since this was around the Holidays, my 1:1 with the Group Director got delayed. The third and last interview (on phone) was with the Director and mainly revolved around why I wanted to work for Apple and how do I think that I am good position. The Director had considerable domain knowledge. Unlike most Director-level interviews, this interview was fairly technical.
Within couple of days, the Recruiter reached back to me to let me know that, as of then, they would not be able to make an offer and they would have to hold off on hiring me. While no specific reason was attributed, I was let known that the group was impressed with my skills and the process would resume soon. This time around the whole process took about six weeks.
Early-'13. After waiting for couple of months, I reached back to Apple about resuming the previous process. I also let them know my keen interest in couple of positions that had opened up recently. The Recruiter followed up with a Coding Homework to regauge my technical skills. Once I was done solving, the Recruiter promptly scheduled an 1:1 interview with the Hiring Manager. The first interview (on phone) was soon followed second and last interview (on site). The on site Lunch Interview was just with the Hiring Manager. They skipped over technical rounds based on the homework solutions and my past interview feedbacks. By the time the final interview was scheduled, the group had, more or less, made up their minds about hiring me. The final session was basically about what they envisioned for the position they were hiring and if I am truly interested in joining them.
The Recruiter emailed me the following business day and let me know that they were ready to make an offer. This was followed couple of email and phone calls to finalize the offer & package.
Here are couple of tips based on my experience and from what I have heard from folks who have undergone the same process.
* Never "wing" it. I realized it the hard way. Engineers questioning you know their stuff and can easily make out if you know things or if you are just guessing.
* The on site interviews are exhausting. Make sure you are hydrated and well rested. Interviewers, as a matter of process, will not offer you a water / restroom break unless you ask for it.
* For a technology giant, some of the processes are still "old-style". No t-shirts or jeans for the interviews. Candidates are expected to show up in business casuals.
* Like most things Apple, the Managers, Analysts and Engineers are very secretive. They'll never tell you what they are working on and the expectation is for you to illustrate solutions based on your current job.
* On a lighter note, the food available in Caffe Macs are gourmet, personalized and highly economical. Apple will provide you with a "Food Coupon" which will be more than sufficient to cover your lunch, twice over.

Interview Questions

  • Tell me about an interesting research project that you conducted or were involved with.   View Answer
  • What brings you here today?   View Answer
  • Can you optimize this code?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Standard negotiation practice. I was offered a base + benefits + RSU package that was, overall, above the market / industry level. Even though the base was slightly below my expectation, they were willing provide generous stock bonus. Base salary, vacations and other benefits are not negotiable. If you are walking away from substantial financial incentives like Retention Bonuses and Stock Grants, then the company will match it in form of Sign-on Bonus.


25 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software 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 asking if I'd be interested in a specific engineering position. After a technical phone interview with the hiring manager, I was invited on-site for a full day of interviews.

A trip coordinator at Apple sent me a link to their booking intranet that allowed me to book my flights, hotel, and rental car. This was great because it allowed me to tweak the travel exactly how I liked it.

On the day of the interview, the recruiter met with me to give me an overview of the process and explain the benefits.

The on-site interviews consisted of six back-to-back technical interviews that involved whiteboard coding exercises ranging from traversing binary search trees to software architecture and everything in between.

The interviewers were all very bright and courteous. They asked great questions and when I got stuck, they gave me small bits of information that helped me get to the final solution. Though there were a couple questions that I really struggled with, I was able to arrive at a solution for every problem.

Lunch was with my future manager and in the Apple cafeteria---paid for by Apple. The cafeteria is really impressive. They have several ethnicities represented with food served just as beautifully as their products. The lunch interview consisted mainly of resume clarifications, general behavioral questions, and a chance for me to ask the questions that I had.

After the final interview, I said goodbye to the recruiter and the hiring manager and left for home.

I was contacted the next day by the recruiter letting me know that the interview feedback was very positive and that they'd like to send me an offer. Once the details were ironed out, I accepted immediately.

Here are some pointers to potential interviewees:

1. Make sure you know basic algorithms and data structures. You should be familiar with hash tables, linked lists, binary search trees, etc. You should also know how to search and traverse each data structure.

2. You should know Apple. Show your love and enthusiasm for the brand.

3. Don't spout off about things that you aren't fully knowledgeable about. You'll get asked clarifying questions and will look like a fool if you were just talking to look good. Make sure you can back any opinions you give with factual evidence.

4. Rehearse the typical behavioral questions. You should be prepared to answer things like "why do you want to work for Apple?" or "Have you ever had an experience where x happened?".

5. Your attitude should be one of humility and eagerness to learn. You'll quickly realize that you're not the smartest person in the room. Be polite and humble.

Interview Question – Implement an iterator for a binary search tree that will iterate the nodes by value in ascending order.   View Answers (2)

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