Why is this? Is it the iPhone/Android debate? Or is it something else?
I didn't apply to Apple - they found me. A year later, I'm still not sure how that happened, since I don't know anyone there. It could have been through a public talk about user experience that I gave (the position was for UX director of the Apple web site), it might have been through something I wrote, or it could have been as mundane as a LinkedIn search.
I went through a series of phone interviews in the usual ascending order. Everyone I spoke with was very sincere and conversational, there were no MS or Google-style "tests" to go through. We looked at work I'd done, I talked about my approach to UX, we got to know one another a bit.
Eventually, they flew me out to Cupertino (I live in NYC), and put me up at a nice hotel near the Apple campus. I spent a full day in an interview room, meeting various members of the team I would be working with, both above and below the position I was being considered for.
The only time we left the conference room where the interviews were happening was to take a stroll over to the cafe for lunch. I went with most of the team, and we talked about day to day life at Apple, what it's like working with tight security, the fancy Apple buses that take employees from SF and the East Bay to work, people's personal projects and hobbies, etc.
I got some insight into the way Apple works, and predictably, there was none of the corporate silliness that you'd find in a less confident company, none of the buzzwords or process for the sake of process. I could see that they all worked incredibly hard, but the fulfillment on everyone's faces made me want very much to be a part of it.
In the end, I didn't get the job - they ended up either not filling the position at all, changing their team structure, I'm not sure - they left me feeling very good about myself and the experience, probably the best way that I've ever not gotten a job.
The main impression I was left with was that I had just wandered back to a pre-dot com era where people worked incredibly hard to make great things, rather than to maximize profits or burn towards an IPO or whatever. It was one of the most human job interviews I'd ever been through.
1) Several phone interviews for an internship. They don't do fly outs for internships, if I remember correctly. I never finished this process because I took another position before the interviews were complete.
2) Phone interviews and fly out for a position about 1 year ago. The team had good things to say about me, but it wasn't a good fit for either myself or that team. I was referred to another part of Apple, where I started over.
3) Phone interviews and fly out for a different position just one week after #2. In a spat of horrible luck, I lost my contact lens at the hotel that morning. I decided that a makeshift eyepatch wouldn't look good, but having only 1 contact lens in gave me a splitting headache. As I struggled more than I should have, I felt them grow more cold. I was kindly told that the interviews were over about 3/4 of the way through.
Similar to jaysonelliot, I didn't sign an NDA and didn't leave the interview room except for lunch.
A few notable things about my interviews:
I was asked to code over the phone. That's much harder than white board coding, in my opinion. It was something fairly easy, though (atoi in c, or something like that).
I felt like I was judged on my Apple culture. When I revealed that I didn't know Objective C, that didn't seem to matter to much, but when I revealed that I didn't own an iPhone or a Mac, I did feel that my answers weren't what they were hoping.
The questions were very broad. Because I come from both a hardware and a software background, I was asked about everything from basic power dissipation to more traditional CS topics.
Honestly, I felt a much more happy and welcome atmosphere at Microsoft, which surprised me. It was kind of the opposite of the consumer perspectives of those companies.
I was asked about some problem solving I had to do at a previous internship and I talked about how setjmp/longjmp saved my skin once. The interviewer seemed more pleased in the fact that I was excited about the solution than the fact that I had one.
Unlike you, I found it refreshing. I got the impression that they cared more about passion than obscure technical answers. In the end, I took another offer instead but it was a difficult decision to make.
As for the process of interviewing: for a lot of the more interesting jobs at Apple, interviewing involves signing an NDA. Hence, whether or not they end up getting hired, they’re contractually prevented from talking about the interview process.
Having worked there in the past myself but not anymore, I can speak only _somewhat_ freely about it all. The interview process can be intense, taking up to several weeks and with a minimum of 4 interviews, but usually 7 or 8. Often, for practicality reasons (travel to Cupertino), all those interviews are done in a single day, and if it's more than 8 it'll be done across two+ days. As for the specifics of an average interview itself, I can’t really say anything.
And as for working there, my own experience was largely fantastic, but it wasn't for me in the end. Apple's campus is by far the nicest I've seen of all the major companies (and I've seen all the ones in Silicon Valley), and though there is always a constant pressure, stress and a major (and insane) deadline to make, working there is incredibly satisfying. Unless, perhaps, you're at MobileMe. But maybe that was just me.
The thing to remember about Apple is: it's really big. The interview process for an engineer working on Mac OS X could be completely different from that for an engineer working on iPhoto vs a product manager working on the iTunes store vs a finance person vs a supply chain person (et cetera). Generalizing is hard, and probably wrong.
Generally, we did a couple of rounds of phone screens, and brought someone in if we were convinced they had enough technical savvy. Once they were on campus, we'd evaluate competence (do they know what they're doing?) and personality/fit (can we work with this person?).
Given that our team was a bunch of generalists, we'd ask you about everything from pointers to dialog box design to HTML to database administration to shell scripting. We'd expect you to know a little bit about everything and be an expert on one or two things.
I guess they're worried about people gaming the system, but what stops someone from breaking the NDA to one individual going in for the interview and not online? Wouldn't that give the one individual a huge advantage?
(Though I got fingerprinted and background checked before I could even sit down for those interviews)
As for comments farther down, it's a case of curiosity like I said - corporate/company culture, not their products. I think that's relative no matter what the company size is.
... Apple interviewed a baseband engineer, nuclear physicist and a satellite communications engineer last month... This month they are asking for quotes for satellite launch... WTF is Apple up to?
I had a phone interview with a manager, and then a three-hour process at Apple HQ in which I was interviewed by three pairs of employees from the team I was applying to work with. I was very impressed that they devoted so much employee time to talking with me. They were very friendly people, and asked an interesting variety of questions, ranging from puzzles to how I'd handle various theoretical work scenarios to technical questions of various kinds.
The gent who recommended me told me that he had to apply six times before getting hired, so I'm planning to keep applying, for other positions.
There. Now someone has posted about interviewing at Apple. Happy? :)
During the Dark Ages, Apple leaked internal information badly. One of the first things that Steve did upon return was try to clamp down (and fire people if necessary). He even had one of those WW-II posters "Loose lips sink ships" tacked up. And there is a certain truth to that. Competition has heated up (esp in the mobile space). Anyone and everyone would love to know what Apple is working on now, and what they will announce next month. Witness the kerkuffle with gawker over the iphone 4 engineering test device.
So people at Apple learn to say nothing, or move on down the road.
"There's a PR department for that."
All that said, there are plenty of writers/bloggers who work at Apple. Randsinrepose.com is a personal favorite, and contains the writing work of Michael Lopp who may be an engineering manager at the fruit company. This policy of sorts goes much further back than iPhone/Android or any other blog-hyped non-competition.
User Story: My wifi wasn't working on my windows laptop the other day, I knew there was some nice "troubleshoot network" button, but I could not find it for the life of me every time i clicked on the wifi icon, causing me to go through the "network and sharing center" menu . 10 minutes later I finally realized right-clicking instantly brought up the troubleshoot menu.
except that in the Mac you can option-click, which is even more complicated than a right click. There is always a way to make features obscure, if you want to.
Emm, I think you missed his point. This is EXACTLY why the single button mouse forced software developers to make it work with a single click --because it made the "right click" equivalent more difficult for the user.
Well, at least that's what some bloggers write about  and I haven't heard about any counter-proofs.
Not what it cost, or what it was, but even that it existed.
I quickly changed the topic.
Having been invited multiple times by friends to Infinite Loop for lunch and dinner, and debated the quality of the food vs Google's with them (Google still wins on that front), I can safely say that nobody at Apple gives a shit if employees talk about the cafe.
The Gizmodo article is pretty much bullshit as well, my friends tell me. Unless there are groups at Apple that are more secretive than the UI team/iPhone/iPad are and actually enforce those rules on their own.
Unfortunately, I didn't make up my post. Your reply is just as interesting without peppering in a baseless accusation.
Your friend's reaction was just plain absurd, unless he/she was playing a joke on you.
This reminds me of a business case I read once about the difference between Mac Donalds and Burger King. That Mac Donalds uses a batch processing method that is faster but requires a higher skill level, whereas BK uses an assembly line, and that this affects their advertising. MacD's ads often double as recruiting ads, whereas BK tends to emphasize "have it your way" (easier to customize when you make burgers one at a time).
Maybe Google wants to interview more people than necessary, and subject them to an interview that leaves them thinking "man, you need to be at the top of your game to work there!" as a way of increasing the prestige of working there (and perhaps getting more top applicants?)
The thing is, I don't really see why this strategy would apply more to google than apple (unlike the MD vs BK thing...)
One thing is sure - devs are all aware of google's notorious interview process, but we (well, I should really just speak for myself, so I) never really hear these stories about apple.
I expect that brutal interviewing is no different.
Second-hand mention in: http://www.geek.com/articles/apple/unboxing-an-apple-job-off...
It depends on where you want to work. If it's in Cupertino I'm told it's a completely different story to the EMEIA office. Having worked there, I can vouch for there really being a culture of absolute secrecy. It's quite common for one team to not know what's going on in the other corner of the room with another team. Secrecy has gotten even more prevalent in the EMEIA office (the office being made up of project managers alone, it was formerly less secretive than Apple World Wide/Cupertino) since the Gizmodo iPhone 4 affair. As regards fear related to Apple's security paranoia? It was moreover regarded as an irritation.
Going back to the interview process at Apple EMEIA (I can't say for Apple WW), it depends entirely upon who interviews you, which team, for what role, and what level. There is no set pattern. There may be an NDA for the interview process, there may not. It depends on the role and the person you are seeing. I know some who've had only two interviews, some who've had nine. It depends.
Jonathan Ive is like OS X. Nobody knows how OS X actually works, but they know the name and that it is why their screen shows such pretty things.
We often get PHD students in to do research for us, and we compensate the hell out of them - because nothing they do ever leaves the walls. They sign a series of NDA and IP related contracts up front and don't get to use any external assets internally or vice versa.
The structure of the business itself is a mess of interwoven black box systems / IP and our own work, so it gets pretty aggressive / tight lipped whenever anyone is dealing with other people / companies, even internal branches.
I wouldn't know, though; I don't think I recall ever having been to Apple. No, not in a million years. I do find this Apple sweatshirt which I must've found at a thrift store to be especially comfy, however.
i think it's the culture, your work speaks for itself. he puts in long hours (on par with goog really) and has a great salary and perks.
If you want the job,
And you're smart,
You'll keep your goddamn mouth shut.
They email me a week later (post my interview) and tell me "that should work..." They really have a crappy set of recruiters working there. Ultimately, I needed to accept another job (ended up being at AMZN), and Apple never actually got back to me. I've heard some similar stories about recruiter ineptitude there.
And I dont mean to say that apple is out of one's league.
What's the point of this meta thread anyway? Are you planning to work at Apple? If so, why don't you just ask specific direct questions about that?
Flagged for zero content.
Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism.
I wonder if that's a symptom of HN's widening userbase, or if it's a sign of the times. Back in 2007, the startup market was very glutted, and a lot of people (including myself) were founding companies who probably should not have been. Now, it seems like every top developer's dream is to work for one of the Big 3. I wonder if that's a sign that it's time to start founding companies again.
I think for the most part that it is because they're simply leaving.
The question itself may not present any content but the discussion it has started has already created some.
Also, the thread currently has 70 points. Clearly, some people are interested in it, which I think, invalidates your assumption that the thread is pointless.
I really cannot see why you needed to flag it.
Also known as the 10% effect. See point 1: http://mattmaroon.com/2010/11/23/i-quit-hacker-news/
That's exactly the reason I flagged it. I don't want such stuff on the front page. It's extremely boring.
Lack of the ability to downvote definitely cripples the way to represent the opinion of the community about a specific thread. Considering that, your argument makes sense but my point is, flagging the thread will make absolutely no difference as long as there are a significant number of people who show interest in it.