How Hard Is It to Get a Job at Apple? A Deep Dive.

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Even though getting hired at any of the Tech Giants is no easy task, it’s far from impossible when it comes to Apple. How hard can it be, you ask?

While it’s admittedly harder to get a job at Apple than most other tech companies out there, it’s not the most difficult company to get hired at. In addition, there are many jobs at Apple that have minimal requirements, such as Apple retail jobs, and a few jobs in other areas as well.

However, the requirements are only the first part. The other obstacle is the competition. The number of applicants for a typical Apple position is usually in the hundreds. Luckily most of them aren’t qualified, and you can stand out by crafting your resume and practicing for the interview.

Let’s take a look at the difficulty of getting hired at apple for various roles.

The difficulty of Getting a Job at Apple

The difficulty of getting hired by Apple depends on many factors, such as your skills, qualifications and degree, relevancy for the job, experience, whether you had a referral, and your interviewing skills.

Luckily, you can influence most of these factors, and increase your chances. Granted, getting a degree might not be as easy, but neither is acquiring the skills to do software engineering. The difficulty varies by the role as well.

At the Apple store

The difficulty of getting a job at the Apple store is a lot lower compared to most other jobs at Apple. Here’s what you’ll need in terms of requirements.

Most Apple retail jobs require only some communication skills and, if possible, some experience in retail. Genius positions may require a bit more, but entry-level positions are a bare minimum. Here are the Apple store skills required in more detail.

Degrees aren’t usually necessary for Apple retail, and your biggest obstacle here is the amount of competition you’ll get. The number of applicants for the Apple store is in the thousands. Getting noticed is no easy task, so optimizing your resume and working on your communication and presentation skills are critical.

As a software engineer

Requirements for a software engineer are a lot higher, and you’ll need to have good technical skills to stand out among the sea of candidates that apply at Apple. Luckily, the major factor is the interview, and if you take the time to study and practice for a few months, you can raise your chances a lot.

We’ve looked at hundreds of open positions at Apple, and found that, unsurprisingly, the majority of software jobs at Apple require some college degree as well, usually in a relevant technical field. A few years of industry experience is typically preferred as well. 

Exceptions are internships and a few jobs here and there, such as the Software Delivery Engineer job, where experience or formal degree isn’t required, or this Partner Engineering one, for which a degree isn’t required, and experience counts as a plus.

It’s very difficult to land a software engineering job at Apple, mostly because of the number of candidates who you’ll go against, but it’s far from impossible. Here are some of the common requirements to work at Apple as a software engineer.

As a hardware engineer

For most hardware job positions at Apple, you’ll almost certainly need a degree, usually in electrical or mechanical engineering, and some formal experience as well. Exceptions are internship roles, and a few roles here and there that allow for no degree but equivalent experience instead. Example: System Architecture EPM position.

However, for most hardware roles at Apple, you’ll need good technical skills, at least a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant technical field, several years of relevant experience, and the ability to do well in the interview.

Apple Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate will depend on the job position and the number of applicants. In general, the percentage of people who get hired for a moderately popular job position at Apple is usually below 0.5%, while the percentage of those who get to the interview stage is between 1 and 2%.

But keep in mind that your chances are usually higher than this, because a lot of people cold-apply without preparation, without crafting their resume specifically for the job position, and they’re often not qualified. Lots of these applicants get automatically pre-screened by the system and rejected.

You can also cold-apply, but you can prepare beforehand. Or, you can get a referral and go that road.

What percentage of Apple candidates get hired? (calculation)

Based on the input from several hiring managers at large tech companies, here’s how selection in the recruiting process usually goes.

[Calculation #1] For a moderately popular software engineering position at Apple, there will be at least several hundred applicants. Let’s say it’s about 750. Out of those 750, there will be a lot of those who either aren’t qualified, are irrelevant, or have questionable resumes. The system pre-screens those to about 10% (75 applicants).

These 75 are then shortlisted to about 20 to 30 highly relevant candidates. The hiring manager then picks about 10 to 15 (1-2%) of the best ones and the screening process starts. About 40-50% may pass the phone screening rounds, and we end up with 4 to 7 applicants to interview for one position (0.5-1%). 

The lucky candidates who get hired make up about 0.1 to 0.2% out of all who applied, in this case, 750 candidates.

woman and man sitting in front of monitor coding

[Calculation #2] We can also calculate this based on the number of applicants Apple gets every year, and the number of people Apple hires per year.

The actual number of applicants is difficult to know but is usually in the millions for FAANG companies. Let’s say 2 million (based on Google data), and Apple hires about 8,000 employees per year. That means the percentage of candidates who get hired at Apple is about 0.4%. Keep in mind lots of candidates are a bad fit, so your chances are typically a lot higher than this.

Can You Get a Job at Apple Without a Degree?

Some Apple jobs don’t require a degree (as per their job descriptions), such as Apple retail store jobs, some specific software and hardware jobs, as well as internships. You do need to dig a lot on the Apple career website to find these.

However, the chance exists, and you can check our other article for such examples of Apple jobs with minimal requirements. Usually, an equivalent relevant experience is required as a replacement for a degree.

It’s worth mentioning that Apple, given its vast and diversified array of roles, values diversity in skill sets. Candidates who possess a unique blend of technical and non-technical skills, or come from cross-disciplinary backgrounds, sometimes have an edge in less technical roles.

Can You Get Hired at Apple With No Experience?

Getting a job at Apple without experience is possible, but only for certain positions on the lowest, entry-level. Apple retail jobs, as well as some software and hardware jobs where a degree will be enough without formal experience in the industry.

Here are some of the Apple jobs currently open that, according to job descriptions, don’t require formal experience or require a Bachelor’s degree instead:

There are more examples on the Apple website

Interestingly, a few Apple insiders suggest that while credentials are important, having a genuine passion for Apple’s products and philosophy can significantly sway a hiring decision in your favor. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Apple’s mission and core values before applying.

Additionally, there are many more in the internship department where the experience at other internships is often preferred, but not always required. But you’ll still need to have some relevant experience in school projects and extracurricular projects.

How Hard Is It to Land an Apple Interview?

The difficulty of landing an Apple interview doesn’t seem to be the hardest out there, compared to other major tech players. Based on the Comparably study, most applicants go either through a referral or by applying online, while going through a recruiter seems to be the hardest option.

This suggests that it’s still possible to get hired by the old-fashioned online application and crack the interview.

Scoring an interview with Apple will depend on the requirements for the role and how much you satisfy those, as well as how well you crafted your resume, and whether you had a referral.

For example, a bachelor’s degree is the typical requirement for most software and hardware-related Apple jobs, but Apple retail doesn’t require degrees. As far as skills go, these will depend on your job role, and you can read more about the Apple degree requirements

Finally, optimizing your resume is important and can get you noticed. This includes everything from formatting to quantifying your bullet points, too many other small improvements which add to the readability and efficiency of your resume. Here is what is Apple looking for in a resume.

How Difficult Are the Actual Interviews at Apple?

Apple’s interview difficulty will depend on many factors. To understand the difficulty, we can use data from studies, such as a study from Comparably to compare the typical Apple interview difficulty to other FAANG companies.

This Comparably study used data from 6,463 current and former employees at Apple and other FAANG companies, to get data on the difficulty of the Apple interview process.

Data on the Apple interview difficulty looks like this:

DifficultyPercentage of people
Very difficult12%
Very Easy8%

This shows that the majority of the applicants rated the interview process as either average or hard (36% and 32 percent, respectively), while some even rated it as easy and very easy (12% and 8%, respectively). About 12% rated it as ‘very difficult’, which is about average for FAANG companies.

Overall, the apple interview difficulty is actually much easier compared to the difficulty of the Microsoft interviews, where nobody described the experience as ‘very easy’, and fewer people described it as ‘easy’.

An underemphasized aspect of the Apple acceptance rate is the importance of demonstrating soft skills. Apple places a premium on collaboration, problem-solving, and especially customer-centric thinking. Highlighting experiences where you’ve exemplified these can boost your standing.

What to Expect From Apple Interviews?

For the usual Apple interview experience, you can expect one or two phone interviews first, with various behavioral and technical questions. If that goes well, you can expect 4 to 6 rounds of in-person interviews with different team members lasting from a few hours up to a full day.

You’ll be evaluated not just by your technical competency and your problem-solving skills, but by your communication skills as well.

These days, it’s common to have a virtual interview over the app, where the first phase can sometimes be in a group. The app for the interview will depend on the hiring manager, but you should always test it and make sure it works beforehand.

The questions you’ll be asked during the Apple interview will depend on the hiring team. Behavioral questions are typically always the same:

  • Why Apple? 
  • Give examples of your job work relevant to the role
  • Give an example of when you dealt with a difficult customer (for an Apple store)
  • What’s your favorite Apple product and why?
  • How would you improve an Apple product? (software)
  • Various situational questions (examples when you solved a problem with minimal instructions, an example of when you had to overcome a challenging goal, etc)

The technical questions will vary on the role, and what the hiring team will focus on. These are usually:

  • Apple LeetCode questions: Two sum, 3Sum, LRU cache, Add two numbers, median of two sorted arrays, longest substring without repeating characters, etc.
  • string manipulation
  • linked list, stack, queue
  • Logic basics
  • system design questions
  • Debugging questions

Literally, anything relating to your position, so it’s impossible to list everything.

So for example for software positions, you may or may not get DS/algo questions, but you may get questions relating to multithreading, swift vs objective C, software design, system design, etc. For an Apple store or customer service position, it’s the usual customer experience questions, and for hardware positions, it can be anything about your resume and past experiences.

Remember, Apple isn’t just looking for problem solvers; they’re seeking innovators. If you’ve ever come up with a fresh solution to a common problem, especially one related to technology or user experience, be prepared to discuss it.

Before attending an Apple interview, doing a self-audit of your experiences with Apple products can prove invaluable. Have you provided constructive feedback on product forums, written a review, or even developed an app for the App Store? Sharing such personal interactions can show your genuine interest in the company.

While the Apple acceptance rate might seem daunting, candidates who actively seek feedback after unsuccessful applications and iteratively improve their approach often fare better in subsequent attempts. Apple appreciates persistence and resilience, provided it’s coupled with growth.

Your experience will also depend on the quality of Apple recruiters. Some recruiters are better than others. Some will ghost you, others will keep you informed. It’s a mixed bag, as usual. Some would say to interview by following a maxim: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

There is no way of telling what your experience will be, so your best bet is to follow the right guide to effectively prepare for an interview without wasting too much time. 

How Long Does It Take To Prepare for an Apple Interview?

Typically, Apple software engineering interviews will require one to three months to prepare, while the preparation for other positions should take less time depending on your skill for both the role you’re applying for and your interviewing skills.

By preparation, we mean studying for the behavioral and technical questions, practicing those questions, tailoring your resume, and learning how to communicate properly during the actual interview.

The time it takes to prepare for an Apple interview will depend on the role you’re applying for, your competency for that role, and how much you apply yourself during this preparation. 

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Alex is the founder of GoTechCareer, a platform dedicated to empowering job seekers with valuable insights and advice for navigating the tech industry. With years of experience transitioning between tech roles, Alex shares in-depth knowledge and personal learnings aimed at helping others secure their ideal position in the tech sector.