Tuesday, January 19, 2016

that whole Apple twenty tough interview question thing

hi there

so, look you see, this gem has surfaced once again. it would seem to get rejuvenated or resurrected once every 18 months or so, normally when there is absolutely nothing better available to post on news sites in the form of virtually assured of success "click bait". 

you may well have come here in that regard - i guess i have some guilt, then, but as i don't make a single one coin of money off this blog, it doesn't really matter much.

it is alledged or claimed that the following questions are the "toughest" Apple ask of prospective employees. most nod and agree that they do this so that they can access only the best of the best for jobs with them. in truth, there is no evidence that Apple has ever asked any of these questions, none of them are particularly "brutal" or difficult, and they most decidedly would not allow for answers that somehow game Apple access to uber-great staff.

here are the 20 questions that someone called Glassdoor gave as being the ones they claim candidates said that Apple asked them. it seems that every newssite and their pet of choice has reproduced them, so i guess it is ok for me to do so. my off the cuff, unresearched answers are given to each. perhaps my answers will show why i don't presently work for Apple or, who knows, show that Apple have missed a trick by not signing me up.

1) If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?

well, optimal solution for who? from a finance position the optimal solution would be to do the tests with no eggs; for the research and development team optimal would be the two eggs then an unlimited supply of more to test, test, thrice test and test again and again and again.

my answer would be to use common sense - if we take it as these are raw, standard eggs, they would break from any height dropped. just assume this is the case, and build whatever design it is you need to around that.

2) You put a glass of water on a record turntable and begin slowly increasing the speed. What happens first – does the glass slide off, tip over, or does the water splash out?

again, so many variables. it doesn't say if the glass is full or not, it doesn't say what make of turntable, it doesn't say what speed it starts off at, it doesn't say if the glass is on the inside or outside of the turntable. as most turntables have a fairly cushioned / rubberised surface, so as to hold the vibes in place, i will go ahead and suggest that the glass will probably stay in place, so splashes first.

3) How would you test a toaster?

by putting bread in it and making toast. whilst there are other used for a toaster - toasting tea cakes, crumpets, etc - around 9 times out of 10 a toaster is going to be bought for use in making toast. testing it any other way would not give you any important information relevant to the target market.

 4) Please show me your phone – why isn’t it an Apple product?

because Apple do not presently make a phone which does what i want. i want a phone that has buttons, that i can add and remove files on as and when i want with ease, that i can update as and when i want to, that i can charge with a standard USB and that i can change the battery in. when Apple makes a phone like this, i am there bud.

5) What was your worst day in the past four years?

quite a few to pick, and far too personal in nature to give as an answer to something as trivial as a job interview. in general terms, any day that i have had to say goodbye, farewell or similar to anyone for the last ever time has been the worst day of the past four years / lifetime.

6) You have 100 coins laying flat on a table, each with a head side and a tail side. 10 of them are heads up, 90 are tails up.

You can’t feel, see or in any other way find out which side is up. Split the coins into two piles such that there are the same number of heads in each pile.

 if we assume that there is some semblance of logic hidden in the way that the information has been given, the first ten will be heads up, so take 5 each of them and 45 each of the remainder. or is it meant to be as obvious as, looking at the wording, each coin actually has a head, whether it is face up or no, so just split them any way you like to get the result.

7) How would you break down the cost of this pen?

this smart Harrods pen was the only one i could picture that i had the cost of.

the price was £8.95, but it was part of a buy 3 for the price of 2 deal. if we take that as a 33% discount, at least 45% of the face value of the pen would be reserved for profit and to absorb this. depending on where other costs - staff, premises rental, etc - come from (profit or product costing), you've got about £4 - £4.50 to play with in terms of design, materials for casing, ink, branding, production, etc.

8) Show me (role play) how you would show a customer you’re willing to help them by only using your voice.

good morning / afternoon, how are you today? how can i help you? something like that, i suppose, in a slightly altruistic, partially optimistic and mostly positive way.

what's that picture doing here? nothing, really. just giving you a bit of a break from all of this what you are reading to see a long running issue i have with a Scrabble based game on that facebook thing.

9) Explain to a 8-year-old what a modem/router is and its functions.

a modem is a way that allows your computer to "talk" to another computer through the telephone lines, just how you use a phone connected to the telephone lines to talk to another person with a phone. a router does the same thing, but without the need for wires as it transmits the "talking" in an invisible way through the air.

going on my experiences of them, 6 - 10 year olds are a good deal brighter in this regard than us oldies might assume them to be.

10) Are you creative? What’s something creative that you can think of?

anything i think of is creative. if it isn't, then it is a memory or an experience i have recalled. as "creative" in Apple terms means to remove buttons off devices, or to change the charger connection, it's kind of hard to gauge what they would want here.

11) There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges.

The boxes have been incorrectly labelled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels.

Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit.

By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?

what exactly is the barrier that stops one from looking at all three boxes? i am sure there is some clever answer to this, but i would rather be sure and so would simply inspect all three boxes and make sure they were all labelled correctly.

also, by virtue of the fact that this is an interview for, or if you like with, Apple, there is a school of thought that it would be quite correct to label them all "Apple" for they are surely "Apple" products, no?

12) Do you think iPad is missing a lot of features (like USB and a camera?)

to the best of my knowledge one of them iPad things does have a camera on it, so this question makes little sense. yes, however, a proper USB port is the one thing lacking on every single Apple product. Also not being able to remove or replace the battery, no keyboard or buttons, no way to expand the memory or storage, no easy way to just drag and drop files you want.

13) What would you say to your future self?

cool, nice one, i make it through this interview alive, then. don't tell me the rest, i will work it out as i go along.

14) Who is your best friend?

what is this, a job interview or whether or not i am a member of the Hilton or Kardashian family? i consider all of my friends dear and important, and i certainly do not rank or rate them. if i had to pick one name for you then it would be my (considerably) better half for her dedication to sticking with me day and night; something i am not at all sure i would do with me.

15) Are you smart?

in what sense? dress smart most certainly not. i like to think i can work things out and know some stuff, but sure, i can be fooled or tricked just like anyone else. also, though i may act like it from time to time, i certainly know that i don't know it all.

16) You seem pretty positive, what types of things bring you down?

random thoughts come to mind that bring me down. i get distressed at the thought of people being lonely or abandoned, mostly, the idea of people suffering and being hurt through no fault or reason of their own. life shouldn't be like that. if you play with matches you get burned, but if you don't then you shouldn't.

17) How many children are born every day?

where? the answer is lots, and is impossible to give a specific on. there are so many unrecorded, unregistered births - both in the first and the third world - that anyone who tries to give a specific, definitive answer is bluffing, and the number would change from day to day anyway. you could also say that 0 (zero) children are born each day, but many babies are.

18) Describe a humbling experience.

what, in general terms, or one that happened to me? any time someone compliments or praises something i did, i suppose, any time someone says something that suggests i am a worthwhile person.

19) What’s more important, fixing the customer’s problem or creating a good customer experience?

i don't see a case where it would have to be either/or. surely fixing a customer's problem means that the customer did not, at the least, have an entirely bad experience? likewise, if you don't fix their problem, or do all you can to fix it, then how is it that they could have had a good experience?

20) Why did Apple change its name from Apple Computers Incorporated to Apple Inc.?

mostly because some sort of deal was done in which The Beatles allowed Apple to use the name Apple, despite earlier promises never ever to be in the music business being broken. the fancy answer here, of course, is because now there's so much more to Apple that just computers, it's a brand that is an immersive experience, a way of life, an aspiration, etc.

whether or not the above are right or wrong answers in terms of a job with Apple is academic. there is no way that i could or would end up working for Apple for the following reasons :

i am many things, but i am not cheap Chinese child labour

i am not a Californian hipster

i have no designs or qualifications in IT

Apple "doesn't do" non-major cities and certainly not towns - they will never have vacancies where i am

i have, and never have had, any interest in working for Apple

beyond that, these questions - and the answers - are meaningless. they may seem hip, "blue sky" and all about out of the box thinking. in truth they're academic, and are just used as a means to give an interviewer time to decide whether or not they want to hire you "just because". unless, of course, Apple or anyone else are really serious about trying to hire someone able to identify what fruit is in a box from the most limited of information.

i will, if only in my mind, one day write a book about all this sort of thing. for now, let it be said that this form of interviewing is intended only to give the illusion that companies like Apple are a break from tradition and the "old way of doing things", with the intention being to create an image of the business being hip, with it, progressive, forward thinking, open and any trendy term you can think of that makes them popular in reality, every job - any job - is broken down to a process and eventually becomes a factory production line. it's just all the more depressing when it happens at companies like Apple which try and pretend that's not what happens to every job - any job - that they have on offer.

if it's your dream, or you "aspire", to work at Apple, then sincerely - may you get to do that. this i would say to anyone with ambition or targets; my lack of them does not in itself preclude me from wishing others success. i, however, probably and most decidedly would not use the answers i have given above; i doubt this is the sort of thing they want to hear.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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