Part Two: Get Hired At The Apple Retail Store: Questions Answered

St. Catherine Apple Store, Montreal Quebec Canada

St. Catherine Apple Store, Montreal Quebec Canada

To those of you who were promised another post ‘soon’, I apologize for the massive one year wait. For those of you who are reading this for the first time, I encourage you to read my original posting on ‘How To Get Hired At The Apple Retail Store‘.

I started this blog (without any real theme or direction other than to share my knowledge or opinions that I thought were useful to others), and the original post generates a lot of interest, so I wanted to follow up with another to answer a lot of the questions that were posed to me via e-mail or comments.

Keep in mind this will be extremely lengthy (and at points a little redundant); I want to answer as many questions as possible, and I hammer the important points home.

I want to make it clear that Apple retail is just glorified sales & support, nothing revolutionary going on, nothing spectacular that you’ll be contributing to apart from a sophisticated retail team. It’s a foot in the door if you ever want to work for corporate, or maybe move to California, but keep your expectations low, working for the Apple store isn’t glamorous, at all. Apple retail has been well trained and imposed upon by corporate that makes it one of the best retail experiences in the world, but in my opinion it’s the bare minimum that all retail operations should abide by. It is a lot of fun, and a really easy job for the pay, so if you get hired, have fun with it :) .

The first thing you need to do is just disconnect yourself from everything you know about Apple’s culture. Don’t put so much weight into it – you don’t need to be a good “Apple” candidate, you just need to be a good candidate. Don’t be a fanboy – be genuine.

Questions have been SLIGHTLY edited where necessary just to be more clear, most of them have been left as is – so if you see some awful english or stupid questions (I removed most of them), my apologies! In no particular order, here we go:

#1 “I’m applying for the Specialist position. I would like to ‘work my way up’ perhaps into management in time, maybe even corporate way down the road. Is Apple the type of corporate culture to develop from within and promote?”

Answer: Apple’s retail stores grow in a very calculated way. Over the course of time their sales and technical support appointments are analyzed and the need for more staff grows with the demand. When a new position for a Specialist (because the store is selling more) or a Creative/Genius (because the store is booking more technical support appointments) goes up, it’s first made available to the store internally. Those who want to apply are given a 5 day window (approximate, something short) to submit their candidacy, and then if the spot cannot be filled internally, then the listing goes public on http://cooljobs.apple.com.

The more direct answer to this question depends on the management. The best way to be promoted internally is to a) perform above average with the position you’re currently filling and b) make sure that you’re intimately familiar with the requirements for the position you’d like to fill.

You should know that ultimately it is the leadership team (usually the store’s general manager) that decides whether you’re fit for the position or not. Being a Creative or a Genius entails passing a technical test – even if you pass with flying colours, it will still be a political decision to be made by the management, so you need to be sure that you’re properly manipulating their perception of you. If they don’t like you, or if they see something they don’t like, it’s easy for them to just pass you up for no other good reason. I remember when I wanted to move into the genius position, my particular manager told me that my “team skills” had yet to develop to the point necessary, this wasn’t anywhere near the truth – she was just reaching.

#2 “This is probably an odd question but I’m curious; The casual dress code for the employees makes me a bit hesitant to go in flanked with a suit and tie. I’m certain jeans aren’t cool…but suit recommended, or business professional/casual?”


~

Answer: When I went for my interview I wore a white button down shirt, blue stripped tie, black pants and black shoes. I still presented myself as a ‘regular’ guy, and I didn’t change my behaviour or my attitude. When I first met the managers who setup my interview, I was wearing a ratty t-shirt and torn jeans, it didn’t matter. I’m sure that people have been hired before wearing jeans, and I’m sure that people have been dismissed because they looked sloppy – the point here is that the clothes are just icing on the cake, if you’re the right candidate it’s not going to make or break you. My advice to you is to dress as ‘professionally’ as possible. Pretend like you’re conducting the interview, and look at yourself without thinking anything about yourself as a person, do you look like someone who would get the job? When I was on the job, I wore sweatpants, jeans, sometimes even torn jeans – but I still performed excellently, customers saw the torn jeans initially, but after 2 minutes of speaking with them, they were practically in love, because I was honest, knowledgeable, and quite the charmer *WINK*. If you ask an authority at Apple what to wear, they’ll likely answer “business casual”.

#3 “I’ve researched, and compensation for this position [Specialist] listed from one extreme to another. If asked, do you have an ‘updated’ recommendation on what to say.”

Answer: I started at $13.50 CAD per hour, which is pretty good for a retail job – I know for a fact that if I had lied about having an undergraduate degree (I was 2 years in at that point) I would have started at $14.00 or $14.50, This was October 2009, when minimum wage in the province was $9.50. It’s going to float in this area, you’re not going to see a big jump. I can’t comment on how others countries handle it. I don’t know what they’re paid, and I don’t know how the conversions are taken into account.

#4 “Does your location make much difference because I live in the outer-northern city of Gosford, which is 1 hour’s train ride away from my local retail store (Sydney, NSW, Australia).”

Answer: I’m assuming this question was “does it matter that I live far away from the store?” No, I don’t think so, as long as management understands that the commute isn’t a problem for you, and that you’re punctual, you’ll have no problem getting hired, even if you live an hour away. The right candidate is the right candidate, they won’t hold it against you if you live far away.

#5 “After I applied, I received an email from Apple noting that they will review my qualifications and experiences, etc. I was wondering if this is traditional or if there is another kind of notification from Apple that can see one can get hired, such as different email content.. etc.”

Answer: Yes this e-mail notification you received is standard, everyone receives it after applying. If you’ve made prior contact with a manager (like I did), they will likely also email you personally (with their Apple email address usually) to make follow up arrangements for an interview, or anything else thereafter. These arrangements can also be made over the phone if you happen to make contact in that way.

Marc's CV

Marc's CV, click to download

#6 “I attached the edited version of my ‘Apple’ CV and resumé in Adobe PDF format for managers to review. I was going to attach as Microsoft Word 2007 format which is PC format, but I instantly thought if I did, they may not be able to review it due to file interruption or I just lose my first impression to them. Now, I’m a little concerned that I have attached it as Adobe PDF format, since iPhone has issues with Adobe flash player. I should have used iWork to attach it but I could not wait to apply. Will attaching my Cover Letter and Resume in Adobe PDF format can hurt my impression due to these facts? And which file format have you used to apply?”

Long Answer: This question personifies ‘over thinking’; you’re concentrating too much on the little details that are meaningless. Thinking too much of the theatrics and drama that doesn’t concern actual business people is just how you come across as neurotic and unstable. PDF is an industry standard that is wildly recognized that is natively viewable on a Mac – and that’s besides the point, Apple isn’t holding some childish grudge against Adobe as a whole – they’re saying “Flash isn’t good enough right now so we aren’t supporting it” – PDFs are still viewable on an iPhone.

P.S. a “Microsoft Word 2007″ document can be opened on a Mac or PC.

Short Answer: I submitted my CV as a PDF document; you MAY get brownie points for submitting your CV as a .pages document, but I seriously wouldn’t bank on it.

#7 “Do you think I should like modify my black and white version CV and resume to colorful, attention-grabbing look like Apple, which is like the extravaganza in designs? Also I was thinking about wearing a black shirt like Specialists but custom that to like “Hello, my name is Michael. How can I help you today?” and just kind of being “different” so I will be remembered. I’m worried that this may be appealed as ‘cocky’ or ‘emo’, ‘freakish’ person but I just want them to know that I have sense of humor and wittiness to show them I am ready to work and can build a great relationships with anyone in short time and try to appeal as “trusty” person which it is very important as Specialist.”

Answer: My B&W CV was suitable, but it wasn’t of much importance – I made a good first impression in an Apple store and was essentially recruited right on the spot (pending the formalities of the interview process). I’m sure you could score some creative points if you make a really unique looking CV – it might help you stand out when you’re just applying online without any additional influence to give you points. I believe that your CV should be icing on the cake, it shouldn’t operate on it’s own, statistically you won’t succeed – if you ask me, the CV is a formality, they read it for 2 minutes to learn a little about you, then you get a chance to communicate all those “words” and turn them into experiences and paint yourself as a great candidate… without some “extravaganza in design”. As for the rest of the rambling in your question, you’re over thinking, dial it down a notch.

#8 “Do you regret not negotiating your wage and just accepting what they offered you?”

Answer: It is my understanding that the Apple Retail has certain guidelines as far as to set starting wages. You get paid a little more if you have finished high-school, or if you have a post-secondary degree. If you have previous retail experience, or tech experience it may weigh in your favour – these are all at the discretion of the store’s manager.

Do I regret not negotiating? When I got the call saying I was hired, and that my pay was going to be $13.50 and a “How do you like the sound of that?” I responded with a charming and slightly joking “Well I would like it a little more if it was closer to $14 or $14.50”. In turn, I was told that the rate was very competitive and that this was starting pay for someone of my caliber.

“My caliber.” Well, the first thing I thought was this woman has no real idea of what my caliber is at all.

This sort of thing is really subjective – would you work the job if you weren’t paid a certain amount? My advice to you is (and not just for working at the Apple store) is to forget what you’re worth to yourself – it’s not about what you’re worth, it’s about what you can negotiate.

Let’s think for a second, do you think that the Apple store is desperate for employees? Do you bring something special to the table? Do you have something that is considerably valuable within you that you could apply to your position? Pitch it, and tell them what you think it’s worth. I think it would be really challenging (less than 5% occurrence, if even that… and I’m pulling a number out of the sky) to get an increase in wage over what you’re offered initially, before you even start working, but at that point, they’ve dismissed other candidates and offered you the position, they aren’t going to take it away from you just for asking.

Apple Corporate - 1 Infinite Loop in California

Apple Corporate - 1 Infinite Loop in California

#9 “Any info at all on getting an interview for corporate positions at Apple?”

Answer: I don’t have any special advice here – but I can tell you that Apple loves promoting from within. Retail positions that are posted on http://cooljobs.apple.com are first posted internally for consideration – I imagine that corporate positions follow suit. If you see Apple as part of your long-term plan, and you can’t find your way into a corporate position off the bat – it isn’t a bad idea to jump into retail to get your feet wet. However, this CAN work against you, if you perform poorly in the retail environment it will work against you when you’re applying for a corporate position thereafter. Make sure that you’re strengthening your candidature by being a team player, taking strong initiative when appropriate, and developing skills to stand out amongst your colleagues. Getting your foot in the door (by working retail) will not work if you happen to be an awful retail employee, or don’t get along with your superiors at work (when you’re applying for a greater position, your bosses will be weighing in with your interviewer).

#10 “How difficult or what does it take to go from Specialist to another position? I’m particularly interested in becoming a ‘Creative’.”

Answer: It’s not what I would call difficult, but it is time consuming – a lot of patience is involved.

You can’t be considered for a different position within your first three months of being newly hired (this is typical, it’s up to the managers obviously, but they’ll hide behind this guideline as an excuse not to consider you immediately, if they don’t want to).

You need to prove that you’re a good fit for their store – the Specialist position has more turnover than any other position – so they want to see if you’re committed or not – they don’t want you to just start doing it, not like it, and then quit. From my recollection, you’re also required to be ‘certified’ in two or three of Apple’s iLife apps (iMovie, iPhoto) and one of their pro apps (Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Logic). This needs to be verified, though, so don’t quote me on it, but it’ll be somewhat accurate.

What you should do is wait until you get some positive reviews, develop a positive rapport with your superiors, and then express your interest in the position, and tell them why you think you’d be good at it – being genuine is key here. Keep in mind that you can’t just be promoted to the position without there being a need for one. If a Creative quits or gets fired, expect a posting for it internally, and soon. Even if nobody is leaving, don’t sweat it, Apple store’s are growing constantly, and when the word comes down from corporate that they’ve been approved to hire more staff, they’ll inform everyone.

#11 “How many hours a week did you work there? I just got hired but they are taking so long to process everything and all I want to know is how often I’ll be working. I’m shocked by the large amount of employees they have.”

Answer: When I first started working I gave my managers a blank slate for my availability, and they were scheduling me for the full 44 hours a week. However, I was still just a part-time employee – so they were getting full time hours from an employee they weren’t paying benefits or a full-time wage – unethical, but I hadn’t made any complaints either. After 3 weeks, I restricted my availability to 4 days a week and my hours scaled back accordingly. I wasn’t the only part-time Specialist being worked 40+ hours a week either – they were still trying to hire many more people so a lot of us were being ‘taken advantage of’.

As far as the large amount of employees – Apple’s retail stores have 3 kinds of customers: 1) High maintenance people who have a billion questions and no direction 2) People who know exactly what’s going on and don’t need anyone 3) 10-17 year olds who go in there to waste their time on Photobooth and make me question humanity as a whole. As per Apple’s mantra, the customer is their most important asset, so the more Apple promoters/lovers they can create out of potential customers, the better. As a result, they need a lot of staff on the floor.

#12 “I applied for full time because I wanted to make some money to pay for school but they offered me part time and the same pay. What’s the norm? I thought the amount seemed pretty decent for a part time retail job in Toronto.”

Answer: It’s rare for Specialist applicants to jump directly into a full-time position, unless they’re older (this job is going to be a long-term commitment) or they have a connection with the managers. Full-time positions are given away to employees who are more valuable, and long-term committed employees are more valuable than younger employees/students who are MUCH more likely to jump ship when a better opportunity rolls around (and it almost usually does). However, you’re right, they offer GREAT pay for a part-time retail job, you’re unlikely to find better.

#13 “What is the average age of an Apple Retail Employee? I find myself very passionate about Apple generally and it would be my dream to work for the company itself but there is one snag, I’m 16. Is there any sort of age they prefer or past experience they require?”

Answer: They have no preference for age, above the regulatory legal requirements of your region. However, most 16 year olds aren’t developed enough to be tasked with all the responsibilities of an Apple store employee (above being a Concierge). Previous retail experience helps, but really, the only requirements are having adequate communication and social skills to handle the variety of customers that an Apple store handles daily. Apple’s ‘adequate’ sets the bar pretty high – and while there are many high-functioning idiots who staff their stores, the bar is constantly being raised because more and more people are applying, and fewer of that large pool are getting the job. You may find that you need further grooming before being worthy of a position they’re offering.

The late Steve Jobs, smiling

The late Steve Jobs, smiling. One of Marc's role models.

#14 “I have a driven passion for the company. Does this drive for the company help? I know you (Marc) said its more to do with the personality and outgoing trait of the candidate than the professional drive but could you reflect a bit more on the subject.”

Answer: I, personally, have a great passion for Apple as a company – but it’s only because I greatly admired (and continue to) the recently late Steve Jobs (Co-founder and C.E.O.) as a business man, and passionately driven entrepreneur. If Apple was a person, his name would be Steve Jobs. So naturally, my admiration for the man, carried over to the company. The iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, OS X, the aluminum MacBook Pros – all rockstar consumer products that other businesses are stupidly jealous of – and a lot of the credit belongs to Steve. I communicated this a lot in my interviews and my answers to questions. Not because I was sucking up, but because I really believed it. The iPod changed the game, a stale mp3 player market was transformed by the iPod and iTunes, the iPhone (and then the App store) was the first of it’s kind – the MacBook Pros (have been) and MacBook Airs (after some tweaking) are the best computers on the market – all revolutionary products – and without Steve, Apple would have almost surely fallen flat and failed miserably.

When asked why I wanted to work for Apple – I told them Steve Jobs knows what he’s doing and I want to be a part it, I couldn’t agree more with how he did business. His obsession with excellence, ruthless honesty, extreme attention to detail and perfection are rules that I model myself after, I respect him, I admire him, I want to learn more, I said.

This attitude coupled with my strong communication and people skills made me a very strong candidate for the position. My own technical experience helped also, and the fact that I used many Apple products probably did as well, but don’t let that hold you back. Don’t act all “Unfortunately I don’t know anything about Apple products”, instead “I’m actually looking forward to learning, I haven’t had much opportunity to look deeply into it, but I’m a quick study and I can’t wait to get started”.

#15 Question from the UK: “I’ve been trying to get a job now for 3 months but not heard much back from applications. Any help would be greatly appreciated!”

Answer: If you aren’t hearing back at all – investigate. Go into the stores you’re applying to and ask for feedback. Be respectful, professional, and probe as to what you could do to become a better candidate. Is there a reason you’re being overlooked? Or are there just too many people applying?

It’s difficult to stand out if you JUST apply online – you’re one of thousands of resumes they’re combing through, and maybe there’s somebody out there who’s better at formatting their online profile, or putting more lies (or not) up to attract the managers.

If you want to make an impression, you need to go into the store, shake someones hand, and communicate to them why you want the job, why you deserve a chance, and what you bring to the table that isn’t easy to come across. Simply “not hearing back” and continuing to wait for someone to bring you the job is the exact opposite of what Apple stands for. Nobody is handing you a job for free, work for it, earn it, or you don’t deserve it anyway.

#16 Is it common for Apple to hire people 55 and over? I’m looking to stay in corporate I.T. or trying to get into get into Apple retail but I have to admit I haven’t used a Mac for two years do you think this may hurt my chances? Is there any further advice you can give to an older candidate w/ a disability and the desire to succeed?

Answer: While I was attending core (Apple’s mandatory training before you start work), among our group was a 60 year old gentlemen who was heavily experienced in graphic design (he had his portfolio with him and everything!). As far as disability – it would really depend – I’m sure Apple is equal opportunity as far as employment, but it would need to be a handicap that doesn’t affect your job. For the record, I’ve never seen someone in a wheelchair or crutches working at the Apple store – I’m not sure of their policy in regards to this. Sorry.

#17 “Hey Marc, I really want to work for Apple but it seems no matter what I do I never get a call back. Can you please describe your prior work experience and if its no trouble a sample of your resume.”

Answer: A link to my resumé can be found here. In order, but not necessarily one at a time, I’ve been: a paper boy, a clerk at a coffee chain called Tim Hortons (very popular here in Canada), a computer specialist at a kids day camp (making stickers, playing games, simple stuff – we used Macs!), an I.T. consultant (schools, small business, private home clients), a baby sitter, a bartender, and then an Apple Specialist.

During my time as an I.T. consultant I was essentially a walking Genius bar techie, but also had to support the PC platform – it was just time spent learning about Apple products and computers in general – it prepared me well.

#18 “I was recently in a seminar with Apple, and it was so clear that with the exercises and the form they had us filled out that I knew what was required to flourish in Apple and I had the tools. Now given I may not have the Apple “look” (I’m a 6′5 black guy with tattoos) but still came to the seminar well dressed, smiled and all that razzmatazz but none the less I still got shafted the very next day via email. It just confirmed my feelings like I didn’t “belong” there no matter how tech-savvy or experienced I was/am.”

Answer: Well, looking at your comment I’m going to say your written english isn’t as strong as you think it is (if you thought it was). So maybe you’re filling out the forms and in your head you’re doing great, but you aren’t communicating your thoughts properly, and it’s hurting you. Apple doesn’t have a “look” – there are nerds, jocks, hippies, goth, black, white, yellow, purple, virgins, players, cool guys, losers, winners (and the list goes on) who work at the retail store, whether you have one or one hundred tattoos. That definitely isn’t it. You may be getting passed up because there are better candidates available, or because the hiring managers didn’t like you, or because you’re missing something. If you get the rejection e-mail, I encourage you to follow up with someone and get some feedback. Hopefully you left the seminar with some contact information or met a few people you could get in touch with.

#19 “I have applied literally over 1000 times in multiple positions, have gone to eight one-on-one interviews, had four phone interviews, attended three group seminars, and even submitted multiple personal pleas to Apple managers. This all has been futile because in the end I simply have been rejected. The larger insult is that I was nominated by three current employees to their managers and still was ignored. I am an emotional guy and am starting to take this personally even though I know it’s wrong. I just really would love to work for them so bad, I’m willing to sell my soul for them. Not only do I use an iPhone 4 and a MacBook Pro 17″ (unibody), I have successfully converted my entire family to Mac Users and iPhone users with accessories and protection plans throughout the product line. And yet, somehow, this is all insufficient for employment at Apple. I am going to attempt in full force once again following your advice to the letter. (Don’t worry, I won’t hold you accountable or anything!) I will let you know how it goes. I am currently studying Management Of Information Systems at the University Of Phoenix.”

Answer: Hey friend. I’m sorry to hear about your trouble. One thing you need to know is that while Apple is a company that’s ideally run by a set of rules, it’s retail operations are run by simple every day people – nothing very special about them. They could be biased, they could just not like you, they could just be having a bad day. They may see repeated attempts as incremental failures; they might be looking at your file and just not agreeing. You can’t at any point take this personally – either they’re doing the best they can, or they’re crappy at their job, or you might just be missing a piece of the puzzle… or they just may need a different candidate at the time being. It’s possible that the lengthiness of the process has worn on you and maybe you’re losing your spirit, or getting visibly frustrated.

If you still want the job, don’t give up – keep at it – but improve yourself, if you haven’t adjusted between rejection #2 and #3 then there’s nobody to blame but yourself – acquire feedback and build on top of it. If you’re passionate and you believe you deserve it, keep at it and you’ll eventually get it. I know I know, it’s easy for me to be all idealist and say it, but keep at it and I think you’ll be happy you did.

As for converting your family to Mac users… it’s not really relevant. Don’t focus on it, it’s fine to share that info with the crew who are interviewing you, but it’s not much of a selling point.

#20 “Thank you for the insightful article. Any tips on the dress code for these interviews? I ask because I see how the employees are dressed and it seems real laid back. I don’t imagine wearing a suit and tie to these interviews will help. It seems like jeans, a t-shirt and a comfortable pair of sneakers is the norm. Am I right?

Answer: Norm? I couldn’t say – I doubt it, but acceptable? Totally.

#21 I’m hoping my age (17) doesn’t entitle me to automatic rejection. I’ve been looking for a job since last year and have yet to find any luck. I’m hoping this guide will help me land a dream first job. Thanks for the help.

Answer: I know 16 and 17 year olds who work at Apple retail stores, it’s not incredibly common, but it happens. Hopefully you’re a special kid.

#22 “Do they give you a drug test?”

Answer: No, I don’t think they’re allowed to – I believe it would be discriminatory? Someone enlighten me.

#23 “I am trying to find out why I was not hired by Apple, IE why I was rejected. Every question they ask I answered not the technical ones but the ones considering customer service. Every answer I gave the questioners were nodding with approval but I did not make it past the second round. I would like to know why is there any way to find out.”

Answer: Perhaps there were applicants who were able to “answer every question they had been asked” INCLUDING technical ones. If you want to find out more, try getting in touch with the interviewers. This seems like a pretty simple question; If you don’t know how to get in touch with anyone, go to your local Apple retail store and ask for one of the team leaders (managers). Ask them for some contact information which would put you in touch with hiring managers or seminar managers.

#24 “I applied today for a retail position. I am not in school, and therefore I am not in the area. Any advice for me on how to make myself known to the staff there? I have electronic retail experience (I’ve worked at Best Buy). I know I have the personality for it.”

Answer: The stores staff doesn’t really need to know you, just one or two important people – the store’s head manager, the hiring manager, and perhaps a senior member of the store who would give you a good recommendation (don’t worry so much about the third, you’re not likely to just drop into that last one). The store manager isn’t going to have much time for you, so when/if you do make interactions with him/her, make sure they count. Be professional, courteous, and concise. Pretend you’re meeting your girlfriends parents for the first time and you want to make a good impression – within the first couple minutes they’re going to make their mind up about you. The hiring manager is someone you can allow yourself multiple interactions with – you want to show them your commitment, gentle persistence, and seriousness about your application.

“I’ve been thinking more and more about working here [the Apple Store], and it would really please me to be here. I think that enjoying your job is really important, and I know that I’d have fun here. I want to know what I can do to make myself a strong candidate – would you please share with me what you think is important?”
Let them answer.

“I understand, and I appreciate your help. I’ve put my resumé together and a cover letter explaining why I think I’d be a really good fit. Can I leave this with you? Are you currently hiring? I think I’d be a really good Specialist, I enjoy interacting with customers and have a lot of retail experience. I know that you’re very busy here, but would you mind if I followed up with you in a week?”

#25 “I’ve actually had to go to the Genius Bar at my local Apple store a few times in the past couple weeks (everything is working now though!). While there, I really got a feel for the place and realized that I would love to work there. I was always friendly with the employees and quite a few of them recognize me on sight now. Do you think this will influence my chances one way or the other? I’m not sure how involved current employees are in the hiring process, since it sounds like such an upper level management decision, but I’m curious. Alternatively, would it look bad that I had to take my computer in to the Genius Bar, and that I couldn’t figure it out on my own? (turns out I needed replacement parts, but it took about 5 trips to figure it out). I’m applying to be a Specialist so hopefully none of that will matter.”

Answer: Excellent questions, really – this stuff is important. I’ll answer the second question first. If it took you 5 trips to get everything figured out, then that’s a poor reflection on them, not on you. It could have been the sort of thing that needed time to get sorted out – but at the very least, looks bad on them, not you, so ignore it, especially since you’re applying for the Specialist position.

Getting to know the staff is almost always a bonus (it’s easy to make a good impression with a few minutes, and it’ll be the only impression if you don’t give them the chance for a second or third). There are senior staff who are allowed to weigh in on hirings, if it’s their place to. There are “leader” geniuses who are pseudo managers of their group. Creatives may also have this sort of employee as well, but it’s not confirmed. Ultimately, the hiring is really up to the hiring manager and above him/her, the store manager – these are the people you should be focusing on. You really won’t have spent enough time with random employees in the store for them to make strong recommendations or oppositions to your hiring – so again, don’t focus on it.

#26 “I couldn’t put my finger on it, and couldn’t figure out whether they’d call back all the over-achievers that spoke at every chance they got, or if they’d go for the middle 50% that were more timid but easier to mold.”

Answer: The MAJORITY of people speaking just for the sake of speaking aren’t going to get called back. Some phonies will get called back, and even hired (oh man, some of the people I worked with at the Apple store made me sick to my stomach) – but I made a fun game of mocking them from a distance with a few other employees who saw through their bullshit.

Part of this I just can’t answer – I don’t have their guidelines written out – but you could argue both sides – and I think that you could overcome regardless of what the rule was (if they were to have one). Speak as much as you want, but don’t hog the spotlight, and be genuine, that’s the most important thing in the world. Don’t be a liar, don’t be a cheat, don’t be a weasel. If you’re a good person, these sorts of things will haunt you, and you’ll definitely regret it when you’re being rejected because the interviewers see right through you – they almost always will. They’ll avoid people with bad habits, bad attitudes, closed minds.

#27 “Was the core and in-store training “paid training?” It’s been a long time since I worked in retail. Thanks for all the info, it was really helpful!”

Answer: Yes, two 8 hour days of paid training at your hired waged.

#28 “I just got hired at Apple quick question I’m going to be a part time specialist anyone know what the hours look like for part time specialists?”

Answer: Many variables here, how many hours are available, what you submit for availability, what time of year it is (summer, back to school, holiday, new product launches). When I was working there as part time with full availability, they gave me 40 hours (this was in the October/November period).

That’s it for now!

I hope that these questions answered will be of further help to you in your job hunt, I appreciate people commenting and reading and it motivates me to do more work on here (when I find the time for it). If you ended up getting hired because you took some advice here (and you feel that I was of valuable help), please consider making a donation, part of proceeds go to a local animal shelter near my house which feeds hungry cats & dogs :) . If you’d like to make a full donation to them on my behalf, contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the coordinator so you can contribute yourself.


Choose Amount




20 comments to Part Two: Get Hired At The Apple Retail Store: Questions Answered

  • Top post mate, had some well good comments in there didn’t you? Hope you’re alright, best to the kids.

    and oh yeah, me and Gary and doing donuts at the bowling alley parking lot tonight if you wanna head over and get down with us

    -Jonny

  • SH

    Hi Marc. Great post I have definitely learned quite a bit. However, I am a little frustrated at the moment. I understand the work environment Apple has created and know I will be a great fit. I have consistently been applying at two different locations in Toronto for the past 8 weeks and not getting anywhere. I really want to work for Apple retail and hopefully grow within the company. I took your advice and submitted my application once every morning and once again at night. Still getting nowhere. I honestly don’t know what to do. However, I am one persistent SOB so im not going to give up. Perhaps if you can take a look at my cover letter and resume and let me know if I’m doing too much or not enough or am just wrong. I would very much appreciated. Thanks.

  • Carlos

    Hi Marc,

    First of all thank you for all your comments, very useful article. Next week I have an interview by Face Time with Apple (at present I am living in China) for a Business Specialist position in Spain. My background includes an International MBA, experience as Key Account Manager here in China, and also previous experience in Marketing & Sales in Spain (managing Wholesale and Retail). Do you have any colleague with similar profile? any recommendation when talking about salary? thanks in advance

  • Carles

    This article was very informative. I have a simple question to ask. Does Apple ask their potential employees to submit to drug testing?

  • Sly

    After so much effort and time spent on applying for a position in Aople Retail I finally got an invitation to their Hiring Event in Toronto. Showed up to the event with roughly 12 other candidates. It went well…or at least I thought it did. I answered their questions with great honesty and with a great focus on customer service.Got the rejection email 5 hours after the seminar. Replied back with the “thanks for the opportunity & I will continue to be blah blah blah” nonsense. I didn’t even make it to the second round. Back in 2008, went to a similar event with 50+ ppl and I made it at least to the second round. Anyway, Im devastated. I know Apple is looking for the ‘personality’ and I do have that personality. I actually understand their culture and have a great deal of respect for their products and what they’re doing in retail. Apple is the only organization I’m really enthusiastic about. So I’m going to keep applying (different locations I guess). I just want to ask: is it possible to get invited to a hiring event for another location after already attending one. And usually how many hiring events do they have throughout the year?

    Your post is awesome btw. I learned quite a bit.

  • Tyler

    I’ve been invited to an Apple Seminar in NYC for the Business Specialist position. I’ve always wanted to work for Apple and could not be more excited about this opportunity. Here’s the issue – my current salary is $90k and after reading these 2 articles I guess I’m looking at a 50% pay cut? I know my expertise and experience is more suited for an Enterprise position, but those are harder to come by and I’m wondering if I should take whatever I can get just to get into the company.

    Do you really think they’d pay a Business Specialist less than $25 an hour? I was shocked to find out there was no commission!

  • Rachael

    Great article but I would like to say to the disability question – our local store has an employee working who is in a wheelchair (he doesn’t have legs from the knee down), AND has a service dog. So I don’t think they base anything on disability (as it is incredibly illegal, at least in the US).

  • Todd

    Hey Marc thank you so much for posting these articles. I’ve been studying them for the past couple weeks. I had an interview with the local Apple Store today in my area. The interview was with the store manager himself and I think it went pretty well. He asked me several things such as what kind of hours I’m looking for, what I might expect to make, what I hope to do, why i like Apple and what drove me to apply. We also talked about my previous work experience and how I might be able to apply that to the job. At the end he told me I’d know within five days and he would call me if he had a position for me. What do you think?? Any promising signs in this or does that sounds like a standard interview? Thanks again!

  • Adrienne

    Hey I am very glad that you have this blog and I have been considering applying at my local apple store to get me through my last year of school and a bit beyond. I live in Southern N. America, but the wage rate seems pretty consistent even with the exchange rate. I have had about 7-10 years of retail experience and 4 of those years have been as a supervisor, so I am sure that I will start at a decent rate.
    My question is what is the discount like? Is it on Apple products and/or services (like phone bills through wireless providers)?

    Thanks again for this Blog and your time and answers

  • JP

    Adrienne-

    The discount is (i believe)

    30% – once per year
    25% – twice per year
    15% – three times per year
    10% – unlimited per year

    This s what I’ve been told. Hope it helps!

  • Jim

    Hey Marc, Very nice info. I have been through the big room, many people, interviews with Apple several years ago. I am now semi retired. I am a long time Mac guy Mac + was my first and I think almost every Mac since. While my professorial life and business experience is strong, I feel like a part time position would work best for me. I enjoy helping people with all things Mac. I hear some people say apply online only. And was just recently told by a Apple store employee that the store manager does not take resumés in the store? You seem to be very confident one should talk directly to a store Mgr. Any suggestions, the Apple store in Palm Desert CA is where I have applied.

  • Leila

    What age do you have to be to become a specialist or a concierge?

  • Yvonne

    thanks for a great blog was very helpful I’m goin to the hiring event this mon in london so excited :D

  • ana

    Will Apple consider me if I have never been employed? What is the entry level position? I am interested in working for Apple. I have not done any volunteer work and I do not attend school, just saying because I do not know what to put on a resume…thanks

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  • Zkir

    im currently in HS
    i really do want to get hired at apple. i have good communications skills but you have to be 18….
    Does apple look for any specific retail experience if i want to get hired..

    -Soph

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