Business Insider team combed through posts on
Glassdoor to find some of the toughest interview questions candidates have
been asked. Some require solving tricky math problems, while others are simple
but vague enough to keep you on your toes.
"We have a cup of hot coffee and
a small cold milk out of the fridge. The room temperature is in between these
two. When should we add milk to coffee to get the coolest combination earliest
(at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end)?" —Product Design
"How does an airplane wing
work?" — Lead Systems Engineer candidate
"How much does the Empire State
Building weigh?" — Solutions Consultant candidate
"How do you check if a binary
tree is a mirror image on left and right sub-trees?" - Research scientist
"Explain what RAM is to a five
year old." — Apple Genius candidate
“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?”
"Describe an interesting problem
and how you solved it."
"You have a 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."
"Are you creative? What's
something creative that you can think of?"
"Have you ever disagreed with a
manager's decision, and how did you approach the disagreement? Give a specific
example and explain how you rectified this disagreement, what the final outcome
was, and how that individual would describe you today."
"What brings you here
"Given an iTunes type of app that
pulls down lots of images that get stale over time, what strategy would you use
to flush disused images over time?" — Software Engineer candidate
"Why do you want to join Apple
and what will you miss at your current work if Apple hired you?"
Engineering Manager Candidate
"Tell me something that you have
done in your life which you are particularly proud of."
"What are your failures, and how
have you learned from them?"
QA Engineer candidate
"How would you test a
"How would you test your favorite
"There are three boxes, one
contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples
and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled 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?"
"62-63=1; Changing only one
element (either digit or operand), make this statement true." — Software
Development Test Engineer candidate
Lead candidate at Apple
"If you are to go up the mountain
one day and come down the next day, leaving at the same time, will you ever be
at the same place at the same time of day?"
"If you're given a jar with a mix
of fair and unfair coins, and you pull one out and flip it 3 times, and get the
specific sequence heads tails, what are the chances that you pulled out a fair
or an unfair coin?"
"What was your best day in the
last 4 years? What was your worst?" — Engineering Project Manager
"Tell me about a time when you
failed. Not when you failed and learned or course corrected — actually totally
failed." — Senior Project Manager candidate
"Give me 5 ways of measuring how
much gasoline is in a car." — Hardware Engineering candidate
"How would you plan a hand
gliding trip for your colleagues to North Korea?" — Hardware Test Design
"Draw the inside architecture of
an iPhone" — Hardware Test Design Lead candidate
“How would you break down the cost of
this pen?” — Global Supply Manager candidate
"How many children are born every
day?" — Global Supply Manager candidate
"How do you create an efficient
supply chain model?" — WW Supply Demand Planner candidate.
"Explain to an 8 year old what a
modem/router is and its functions." — At-Home Advisor candidate
“A man calls in and has an older
computer that is essentially a brick. What do you do?” — Apple Care At-Home
"What's more important, fixing
the customer's problem or creating a good customer experience?" — Apple At
Home Advisor candidate
"Show me (role play) how you
would show a customer you're willing to help them by only using your
voice." — College At-Home Advisor candidate
"Describe a time when you hurt a
friend and how did you handle it?"
"What is your favorite Apple
device and why?"
"You seem pretty positive, what
types of things bring you down?" — Family Room Specialist candidate
“Are you smart?” — Build Engineer candidate
38. “You put a glass of water on a record turntable and begin slowly
increasing the speed. What happens first
"You sit on two air mattresses
pumped to the same pressure. One mattress is twice as tall as the other.
Explain why you felt that you sank deeper into the taller mattress. How much
further did you sink?" — Mechanical Design Engineer for Apple Watch
"Describe the stresses in the
spokes of a simplified bicycle tire"
"Scenario: You're dealing with an
angry customer who was waiting for help for the past 20 minutes and is causing
a commotion. She claims that she'll just walk over to Best Buy or the Microsoft
Store to get the computer she wants. Resolve this issue."
"What superhero would you be and
"Describe a humbling experience."
"Are you the type of person
people come to for technical issues?"
45. “Why did Apple change its name from Apple Computers Incorporated to Apple
"When you walk in the Apple Store
as a customer, what do you notice about the store/how do you feel when you
first walk in?"
"Tell me about a time that you
had more to do than you could possibly get done." — store manager
"What sort of data would you ask
for when looking to bring iPhone to a new market?" Finance candidate at
"What is your favorite ice
cream?" — Admin assistant