Also, if you're looking for guidance on a specific role, read our Apple interview guides:
- Apple Product Manager Interview
- Apple Software Developer Interview
Of all the Big Tech companies, Apple is the most valuable by market capitalization. In fact, it is one of the most valuable companies in the world, period. Apple products are in the hands of nearly everyone.
Given the size of the company and the tens of thousands of employees within its ranks, acing the Apple interview process and receiving a job offer is no walk in the park.
Not only that, but the company is preparing to slow down its hiring efforts soon.
But this doesn't mean you must give up your dreams of working at Apple!
Table of Contents
- Why an Apple Referral Matters
- How to Find an Apple Referral
- How to Ask for a Referral at Apple
- After You've Gotten Your Apple Referral
Despite these difficulties, candidates can quickly get their resumes in the hands of recruiters with an Apple job referral.
Job referrals act as an internal vote of confidence. They can set your application apart from the thousands of other Apple recruiters receive yearly.
But how do you get one?
Why Referrals Matter at Apple
Recruiters at Apple have to sift through and evaluate thousands of applications annually.
Given the prestigious position that Apple, especially, occupies in popular culture, many of these applications are from qualified and talented candidates.
Needless to say, most of those candidates will likely not receive a phone call from a recruiter or hiring manager.
However, if you have an internal referral, your chances of hearing from a recruiter and being invited to an interview increase significantly.
Thanks to your Apple referral, your application won't just be another resume in the pile.
Having a member of the Apple team give your candidacy that vote of confidence will help you stand out, especially if you're early in your career.
Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that every Apple referral is created equal. When sourcing a referral from an Apple employee, you should try to find one that matches:
- Role: Your referral will carry significantly more weight from someone in the same or similar role you're hoping to get at the company. For example, receiving a referral from someone in the Sales Department wouldn't do you much good if you're a UX designer candidate.
- Seniority: The greater the seniority, the greater the referral. Recruiters, for obvious reasons, will respect the hiring advice of more senior staff compared to others at the company.
- Team: You're golden if you can source an Apple employee referral from someone in the same role and team you'd like to join. Hiring managers (of whom you'd work with if hired) will take note of this, especially.
- Familiarity: If possible, you should source an Apple referral from someone deeply familiar with you. This may not always be doable, but it will make your referral more effective.
- Quantity: The truth is, sourcing a referral to a company like Apple is not a one-and-done endeavor. The more referrals you can receive from Apple employees, the better your chances of being invited to an interview.
While referrals are great at getting your foot in the door, they can also help you during your interview process.
For many roles at Apple, candidates will be interviewed by several Apple employees and hiring managers to see if they're a good match for the team.
As we mentioned, if you're hired into your role, you will work with some of the hiring managers who interviewed you.
So, suppose other Apple employees, especially ones on the hiring managers' teams, recommend you work there. In that case, they'll undoubtedly be more receptive during your interview rounds.
So, getting a job referral sounds like a no-brainer, right?
How to Find an Apple Referral
First and foremost, the most straightforward way to find an Apple referral is to directly reach out to anyone in your immediate social networks that work there.
The more familiar someone is with you, the better their job referral will be.
So, before going further, reach out to any friends, family, friends-of-friends, etc., that you know work at Apple.
However, if no one in your immediate network works, don't worry!
There's a very powerful tool at your disposal you can use to quickly and reliably source referrals.
LinkedIn has several powerful search features that make tracking down Apple employees a breeze.
You can directly search for Apple employees in the exact roles you're applying to.
This is how you do it:
First, enter "Apple" into the search bar. Then, click the "Advanced Search" button. A menu like this should pop up:
Make sure that you are filtering by 1st or 2nd-degree connections already in your professional network. Doing so increases your chances of successfully sourcing employee referrals.
However, LinkedIn Search isn't the only thing you can leverage for Apple referrals. You should also capitalize on the social media features to help you.
All you need to do is publish a post informing your connections that you want to apply to Apple for your particular role and are hoping to find some job referrals.
Outside of LinkedIn, you can also try finding Apple employees within your university's alumni network.
Exponent Job Referrals
Alternatively, skip LinkedIn and use Exponent's job referral platform to connect with existing Apple employees and Exponent alumni.
Submit your resume and LinkedIn profile and get approved to join the network. Your profile is then sent out to our network of Apple employees and Exponent alumni to see if they can make the referral.
Despite all this, it is still possible for some candidates to struggle with sourcing Apple referrals.
We know this can feel disappointing and discouraging, but remember that it is still possible to be invited for an interview without a referral.
By no means should you not apply simply because you were unable to source a referral from someone at Apple.
How to Ask for an Referral at Apple
There's no way around it: asking for a job referral will always feel awkward, especially if you don't know the person very well.
However, Apple employees are much more willing to provide employee referrals than you'd expect.
The reason is that many Big Tech companies, Apple included, offer their employees incentives if someone they referred is hired into a role at the company.
You may not realize it, but like many Big Tech companies, Meta offers its employees an incentive for successful sourcing referrals.
This means that asking for a job referral isn't a one-way exchange; your referral could earn them hundreds of dollars.
Nevertheless, you may still be unsure how to reach out for an Apple referral.
Here are some cold email drafts you can use to help:
Asking a Close Connection for an Apple Referral
Of course, asking a close friend or connection for a job referral won't feel nerve-wracking.
You could say something along the lines of:
"Hey, Tony! I'm looking to apply for a few roles at Apple, including the Frontend Engineer role for Apple Cloud. I know that having a referral on record can boost my chances of getting an interview. Would you be willing to refer me? If so, I'd be happy to give you more details to make things as easy as possible!"
- This is a close connection or friend you're reaching out to. That means you don't need to, nor should you, be super formal with your request. Be casual and friendly.
- Always mention the role(s) you're applying to.
- It's best to reiterate that job referrals can help your chances, even though most people already know.
- Make things as effortless as possible for them. Offer to provide all the necessary context and details to make things very straightforward.
Asking a Less-close Connection for an Apple Referral
Requesting a job referral becomes a little more difficult when you don't know the person well or at all. But it can still be done.
For example, let's imagine that you're reaching out to someone from your college alumni network.
Your email could look something like this:
"Hey, Tony! I'm a fellow RISD alumn and am applying for an Apple Product Designer role this year. I saw that you currently work at Apple as a Product Designer on the iCloud team. I just want to say that becoming a member of the design team at Apple is my dream career, especially after my Computation, Technology, and Culture concentration at RISD.
I was hoping to get your advice on applying to the Apple Product Design position and hear about what your experiences at Apple have been like so far. If you feel I may be a good fit for the role, I'd love to ask you to refer me! I'm available on Mondays and Tuesdays if you want to talk more. Although, I can work around your schedule if necessary."
- If you have a mutual connection, such as going to the same school, mention it in your request.
- It's always good if you provide some details in your request that shows you did your homework. In this message, we mentioned that our RISD concentration aligns well with product design at Apple.
- Always be honest and to the point. You don't want to disguise or conceal the fact that you are requesting a job referral from them.
- Again, make it as easy as possible to say yes. In this message, we gave specific times we could talk further.
Asking a Close Connection to Ask Someone Else for an Apple Referral
You may find that you do not, personally, have a close connection in your own network that could provide an Apple referral. However, you may have a connection that does.
If so, you could ask them to ask for a referral or an introduction on your behalf.
"Hey, Tony! I'm applying for a few positions at Apple, including the Product Designer role. I know that having a job referral with your resume can really improve your chances of getting an interview.
I see you're connected to Trisha Spearin, a Senior Product Designer at Apple. I was thinking we could potentially have a productive connection considering we both have professional experience in product and user experience design. Would you be willing to reach out to them on my behalf? I would prepare the message for you to pass along to make things as smooth as possible."
- Always make it clear why this mutual connection would be a fruitful one. It makes it easier to accept the request to reach out on your behalf when there are authentic commonalities between you and the other connection.
- Telling the person that you would draft the message for them makes it easier to say yes because they wouldn't have to do much. As such, they'd be more willing to reach out.
After You've Gotten Your Apple Referral
So, you've sent your requests to potential referees. Best case scenario, some agree to provide you with some Apple referrals!
Great, but what now?
You should still apply to your desired positions on the Apple Careers page, even with a referral.
With your referrals in hand, you'll likely receive a call from a recruiter and be invited for an interview.
You should expect to answer questions about the referral during your interviews. For example, hiring managers will likely want to know how the referrer knows you and what position they have at the company.
Interviews at Big Tech companies can be very competitive and challenging. So, we recommend you prepare and practice as much as possible beforehand.
Here are some examples of interviews questions that an Apple hiring manager may ask you:
Apple Product Manager Interview Questions
- What is one feature in your phone that you would improve?
- What is a minimum viable product? How do you build one?
- How would you estimate the cost of developing new features for Apple Maps?
Apple Software Engineer Interview Questions
- Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.
- Sort a binary array in linear time.
- Partition an array into two sub-arrays with the same sum.
Apple Technical Program Management & Engineering Management Interview Questions
- How would you initiate a program from scratch? Watch a TPM answer this question here.
- Tell me about a time you dealt with a conflict with engineers. Read our example answers here.
- How do you manage the performance of your team? Watch an Engineering Manager answer this question here.
Apple Behavioral Interview Questions
- How do you deal with ambiguous situations?
- How did you persuade your team to set one price point versus another?
More Interview Prep Resources
We hope that this article was helpful in your endeavors to source a job referral for a position at Apple.
Even if this was the case, you'd still need some resources to seal the deal and get the offer:
Here at Exponent, we have dozens of different interview prep tools and resources to help you do just that:
👯♂️ Practice your behavioral and interviewing skills with our interview practice tool.