How do I get a job at Apple? And what qualifications do I need to work for Apple?
Having Apple on your CV is quite a coup, and it's no surprise that many people want to work for the world's best tech company.
Apple is famous for being secretive, and in some ways this even extends to what it's like to actually work for the company. However, as the company has expanded (it now has more than 100,000 employees) it's become easier to get a clear idea of what Apple is looking for.
The great thing about applying to work at Apple is that it's all done from one place - there's no need to search endless job sites hoping to find an open position. Once you head over to the Apple careers page, you can browse jobs in both Retail and Corporate. Do you want to know how to get a job at Apple? Well, read on.
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: Retail
An Apple Store can be one of the best places to work in retail. No sales targets and a fun, relaxed work environment means you can spend all your time concentrating on the customers' needs without having to push expensive products on them.
Apple doesn’t take just anyone, though; you need to be able to stand out from a crowd - especially since Apple goes through a lot of applicants to find the right person for the job. Apple tends to look for people that can deliver a great customer experience and really connect with people on a personal level. Qualifications-wise, Apple seems to welcome anyone and everyone as long as you prove that you have that seemingly indescribable Apple quality that the company is looking for.
We'll talk more about the interview process later in this article.
Read next: What's it really like working for Apple?
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: Corporate
Corporate Apple is where all the business-related action happens. For those of you that have the right experience in anything from design to human resources to sales, there's a career at Apple.
But what if you don't? After all, thousands of university students graduate every year with the knowledge to perform in corporate business but without the necessary experience to get their dream job. What's the alternative?
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: Internships
Internships can be a great way to get into the corporate Apple world without previous experience. Internships can be a unique opportunity, allowing you to get the experience that you need while being able to network and make connections.
For current students, there are internships available that can be taken as a placement year so that once you graduate, you have the crucial experience that sets you apart from the competition. Don't worry, graduates, there's hope for you yet - there are various internships that are only available to graduates (namely ones with a 2:1 or higher).
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: Research & development
Apple recruits hardware and software engineers to work on the latest Apple products but they're based mainly in the US and China, with a few others dotted around the world.
Not all is lost for UK applicants, though - in 2015 Apple purchased a building in Cambridge for office and R&D purposes, and has started recruiting.
An interesting subset of Apple's research operations concerns machine learning. This is one of the hottest areas of development in technology right now, with Microsoft, Google and others competing with Apple to secure the finest minds from a limited pool; and certain of Apple's corporate habits have until now given it some problems recruiting from academic circles where many of the best machine learning and AI specialists are to be found.
The problem is that Apple is still fundamentally a secretive company - an approach which is totally at odds with the ethos of academic research. It was understood for some time that researchers who worked in AI for Apple were contractually prevented from sharing the fruits of their research with the field at large. Which might sound sensible from a corporate point of view, but academics tend not to work that way.
But it appears that either this approach has changed, or we all misunderstood Apple's strategy. Because Apple's director of AI research has announced that Apple AI researchers are free to publish their findings. The announcement was noted by Twitter users attending the Neural Information Processing Systems conference.
Picture credit: Twitter user Hardmaru
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: Which career path should I take?
Dylan Adams was an Apple retail employee for three years. "Most Apple Retail employees are Specialists, your everyday grunts that deal with advising and selling to customers," he explains. "Creatives run workshops and one-on-one lessons on a range of topics, and usually have a speciality such as photography, video or audio. A Genius works at the Genius Bar, but these are the ones fixing Macs. If you're only fixing iPhones and iPads you're still considered a Specialist, although you do get the spiffy title of Family Room Specialist.
"I'd suggest applying for a Specialist role. Almost everyone starts here, and if you want to move to another section you just have to work towards it."
When it comes to Apple Corporate, there are many paths you can take. Deciding on what suits you best is important.
Hardware engineers work on all Apple products - from the Mac to the iPod and everything in between. Engineers create the product line up that millions of people around the world love and that’s not an easy job. You need to be innovative, creative, talented and have the drive to do well in hardware engineering. Well, that and knowledge of industrial engineering, silicon engineering, wireless engineering or specialised engineering.
Software engineers are the brains behind the beauty that is OS X/iOS. Without software engineers, we wouldn't have the revolutionary operating systems we have today and the apps like FaceTime, Safari and iTunes that we've come to love.
To thrive in software engineering, you have to be a self-motivated team player, smart and ambitious. It's a quickly evolving area and you need expertise in protocol stack development, wireless systems architecture, location technologies, telephony software engineering and mobile applications & frameworks engineering.
Without a meticulously planned out marketing plan, Apple wouldn't be the company that it is today. The Apple marketing department has been described as having a "passion for innovation" and an "uncompromising commitment". Do you have what it takes to join the team?
They look for people that go the extra mile and think both creatively and strategically. Got that? You can join the team that controls everything from product marketing to developer relations and public relations to marketing communications.
Design is one of the most important areas at Apple. Without the outstanding designs of everything from the iPod to the Apple Watch, Apple wouldn't be Apple. It doesn't stop there, though - designers also create the intuitive user interfaces that we all love. The design team is said to be one of the smartest, most dedicated teams of people on Earth! If you’ve got the skills to design hardware, packaging, communications or user interfaces then you might be able to join the elite.
Merchandising is another essential part of the success of Apple, namely its online and retail stores. The ingenuity of the team has lead to a fantastic place for customers to shop both physically and electronically.
Apple is looking for people that are passionate about tech, creative and skilled in merchandising - namely assortment selection, placement, pricing, promotion and visual standards. You also need experience as product or carrier merchants, retail demo managers or signs and visual field managers. Got that? Well, looks like merchandising might be for you!
Product managers are a critical part of Apple's global sales strategy and online presence. They're in charge of providing sites and apps with cutting-edge features and functionality by coordinating with teams of engineers, project managers, merchandisers and designers.
Product managers make sure that teams are building an online experience that Apple is happy to put its name on - no easy feat. To get a job in product management, you need to have a strong track record in online commerce and the ability to deliver great user experiences.
Customer Service and Support
Apple is famed for its high standards of customer service, product aftecare and support. The company has a global service network that includes repair centres, corporate retail support and dedicated call centres for AppleCare customers, to name a few. Key functions in this career include hardware and software troubleshooting, planning, procurement, training and customer care.
If you've got the technical ability and the customer service skills to match, you'll do well in customer service and support.
Well, someone needs to look after Apple's billions, don't they? The finance department manages all Apple's financial activities and is an important partner in all sides of business, from engineering to marketing. There are positions available in corporate accounting and financial planning and analysis as well as roles that support R&D, sales and retail.
Are you described as having integrity, personal accountability, excellence and a proactive thought process? Then you're exactly what Apple is looking for!
Have you got an eye for talent? HR might be the career for you. HR is responsible for hiring the talented people at Apple. They also help employees, assisting them in developing their skills and support them throughout their careers. From benefits to employee relations, HR covers it all to create a happy work environment that allows people to develop the products and experiences that we all love. You need people skills and experience in HR management, talent acquisition, training and development and salary to be a great candidate.
Information Systems & Technology
The IS&T team at Apple manages key business and technical infrastructure at Apple. They manage everything from online ordering to in store technology and processing sales; there are no arguments that the IS&T Team are an important part of Apple. To survive in the IS&T Team, you have to be a born problem solver that enjoys collaborating on the next big thing. To join the team, you need a wide knowledge in the fields of software development, network architecture and engineering, information security and systems engineering.
The Legal department helps Apple abide by the law around the world, confirming that every transaction is properly structured and all agreements are clear and effective. As a part of the team, you’ll find yourself working in a variety of disciplines from Internet services and marketing communications to worldwide government affairs. Candidates must be extremely detail-oriented and exhibit exceptional verbal and written communication skills.
The Operations team makes sure that Apple's products become industry leading, delivered on time and on spec. They support the development, manufacturing, procurement and fulfillment of all things Apple so that stock can be quickly and effectively replenished at the Apple Retail Stores. Hopeful applicants have to have analytical and negotiation skills, strategic and tactical thinking and the ability to adapt to fast moving situations.
Real Estate & Development
The Real Estate & Development team is responsible for securing the best locations for the company, worldwide. Once secure, they source the high quality materials that transform these ordinary spaces into Apple Retail Stores or corporate offices. Combined with the Facilities team that keeps the locations running with everything from shipping to food service, they provide the environment that Apple conducts all its business from! You’ll need experience in real estate and development to get through the door so keep that in mind.
Sales teams operate from corporate, retail or field locations to sell Apple products to a wide range of people from students to businesses. You need a combination of skills to consistently close deals to do well in Sales! Apple is looking for field, channel and enterprise sales leaders as well as strategy experts for their retail business solutions team.
Admin might not be the most glamorous of jobs but it keeps Apple’s huge workforce focused and organised. Apple describes its administrative career as one that's rewarding and challenging in an extremely fast paced environment, which explains why they want experienced candidates only. If you have experience as a receptionist, an executive or administrative assistant or a recruiting and project coordinator then you're what Apple is looking for.
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: The application form
It's important to believe in Apple, and in particular Apple's ability to help people.
"The absolute key thing to focus on is how much you believe in Apple's ability to help people," says Dylan. "Your knowledge of products is important, but I've known people get hired who have never even used an Apple product."
However, Apple isn't interested in fakes. "The photos of happy smiling employees on Apple's career website are real," Dylan adds. "They are not actors or models; they are genuine Apple employees. I have actually worked with some of these people on a day-to-day basis."
Assuming you're successful you'll receive a pack, outlining how awesome Apple is.
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: The interview
You won't be surprised to learn that Apple is incredibly selective in its interviews. Typically you'll have at least two interviews, sometimes Apple interviews people four times.
"My first interview was in the business suite of a swanky London hotel," says Dylan. When arrived you are put into a holding room with about other nervous-looking people. Dylan's first interview was a group experience, where he was interviewed with all the other applications.
Five people conducted the first interview, and they greet applicants with applause. "The atmosphere is infectious," Dylan told us.
You will be asked to introduce yourself, and it's best to have a good story about your life. In particular have interesting things to say about yourself, and what you do. "There are a huge variety of candidates; there are actors, programmers and salesmen," he tells us.
Apple is not interested in typical salespeople. 'I see the interviewers grimace as one guy introduces himself as Peckham’s top Carphone Warehouse salesman," says Dylan.
Talk about how you love Apple products and see them as a way to better people's technological lives. "Try to be smiley and enthusiastic," Dylan advises.
The main part of the interview will be roleplay. Each candidate must talk to a customer played by another candidate. "When it's my turn the role-playing customer asks for a top-spec MacBook Pro," says Dylan. "I ask what they're using it for and I'm told it's for word processing and internet browsing. I advise a more basic MacBook instead. That's it. Maybe two minutes and I'm done."
"I didn't know it at the time but this is what Apple Retail want," Dylan tells us. "People that will find out what's best for the customer rather than just taking the fastest route to a sale and getting them out of the door."
"If you want to work for Apple you have to focus on finding the right solution for the customer. Just be casual, relaxed and interesting enough to stand out and they’ll snap you up in a second.
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: The second interview
"Before the second interview I'm asked to fill in a form explaining a little about myself and my likes and dislikes," says Dylan. "There are eight people and this time we're being interviewed by the two store leaders in a meeting room above the store.
"We're asked competency-based questions. Name something you're proud of achieving. Tell us about a time you dealt with a difficult customer. What would you do if someone had a complaint?
"The last question is something Apple seems to ask all the time. Can you tell us something interesting about yourself? You would be amazed how many people this stumps. I like to have a few interesting facts around that I use in situations where this comes up.
"Finally we're asked if we have any questions," Dylan tells us. "A couple of the other candidates ask boring questions. I'm working on a photo a day project and ask if I can take a photo of the two store leaders. To my amazement they agree and pose for a shot.
"This actually seems to be the sort of thing they like, " advised Dylan. "Someone who's talkative and outgoing enough to take a risk, like taking a picture of their potential new Apple bosses for no particular reason.
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: Pay and benefits
Thanks to websites like Glassdoor, it's become easier to find out information on what roles and pay are like in Apple.
First of all, Apple gets a solid 4.0 rating on Glassdoor (out of 5). It's a respectable score, but by no means up there with the best. In general it's a great place to get training, and you do receive a lot of benefits. "There are bonuses of £80-90 every other month," says a Creative. "Also we get given £2,000-3,000 GBP of Apple stock each year."
You have to remember that it's just a job. "They make you think you've got an amazing career when really you're just a shop assistant," says the Specialist. "You get spoonfed a lot of corporate rubbish, and brainwashed."
It's also hard work, with few breaks and many reports complain of the work-life balance. Almost every review on Glassdoor lists "working hours" or "work life balance" as a con for Apple.
Glassdoor lists the following rates of pay reported by Apple staff:
- Specialist - £8.73 hourly
- Family Room Specialist - £9.03 hourly
- Creative - £24,469
- Mac Genius - £27,520 per year
How to work for Apple | How to get a job at Apple: The future of Apple
Apple is still growing - the company is currently in the process of building a new campus headquarters in the US, and it's a big one - measuring in at 2.8 million square foot (176 acres). Nicknamed the Spaceship, the new campus is more than a mile around and aims to house more than 13,000 employees. The building was due for completion by mid 2015 but there have been some setbacks. It should be ready for Apple's big product launches in 2017.
You can find out more about Apple's new home here: 52 facts about the new Apple spaceship HQ
Additional reporting by Lou Hattersley