How to Ace the Store Leader Program Associate Interview at Apple?
Congratulations on getting an opportunity to interview for the position of Store Leader Program Associate at Apple. The bad news is that the interview process can be quite difficult. This blog article will list out a several tips and tricks to help you ace your upcoming interview.
1. Start by Studying the Interview Process at Apple for the Position of Store Leader Program Associate
Before going into your interview, it vital to understand the interview process at Apple. This will help you plan your strategy and you won't be surprised through the interview process.
The Apple Store Leader Program Associate interview process is as follows:
The interview process at Apple starts with a recruiter phone screen.
Right after the phone interview, the candidate will be either invited to an onsite interview or have another phone interview with the hiring manager.
The onsite interview is typically conducted by peers and managers on your future team. You will have at least 3 interviews.
The interview includes mostly behavioral and situational type questions focused around sales and customer service.
The interview process takes about 2-3 weeks to get an offer or a rejection from Apple, though sometimes it can be sooner.
2. Study the Computer Hardware and Software industry in detail.
Apple operates within the Computer Hardware and Software industry. So, it is vital to understand this industry in detail before going into the interview.
Here are industry details for the Computer Hardware and Software industry:
Industry Name: Computer Hardware and Software
How large is the industry and what is the projected growth rate of the industry?
Software: The Software Publishing industry, which comprises companies that design, develop and publish software, grew over the five years to 2018, as businesses and consumers increased their investments in software, computers and video games. Strengthening corporate profit stimulated demand from businesses while rising disposable incomes encouraged consumers to spend on software, including spending on discretionary downstream products such as video games. The rise of web-based solutions and the increasing popularity of mobile devices have triggered an explosion of mobile software applications.
The total global industry currently is at $238B, increasing +3.9% year over year. The 13,254 businesses in the industry employ about 552,000 people globally.
Note: Software publishers disseminate licenses to customers for the right to execute software on their own computers. Operators in this industry market and distribute software products and may also design the software, produce support materials and provide support services.
Hardware: The Global Computer Hardware Manufacturing industry produces a range of products, including desktop and laptop personal computers (PCs), computer peripherals and storage devices. Over the five years to 2018, competing trends have defined the industry's performance. Rising income levels throughout the world and the ubiquity of computer technology have increased demand for industry products, particularly in emerging markets. Portability has become a focal point for consumer choice in recent years, as next-generation wireless technology reaches maturity in developed markets and internet access spreads worldwide. Consequently, demand for traditional desktop computers has dissipated at a time when notebook and desktop prices have converged.
The total global industry currently is at $271B, decreasing -7.8% year over year. The 6000 businesses in the industry employ about 650,000 people globally.
Note: This industry manufactures and assembles desktop and laptop computers, computer storage devices and computer terminals, as well as computer peripheral devices, such as servers, modems and routers. Telecommunications equipment, such as cell phones, is excluded from this industry.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Lenovo Group Limited
Top opportunities and challenges for the industry: Software
Technological advancements are expected to expand the industry’s product offerings and potential markets
Software companies bolster profit through incremental development of products
Rapid technological change is expected to give rise to artificial intelligence software
The Software Publishing industry is highly labor-intensive; as a result, industry companies spend only $0.06 on capital investments for every $1.00 spent on labor. Most software companies require only limited capital goods, such as computers and office space. Software is an intangible product that requires highly skilled employees and a significant time investment.
Top opportunities and challenges for the industry: Hardware
Growing demand in emerging markets will provide the industry with a platform for growth
Computer hardware manufacturing activity in Asia is growing rapidly, due to cost benefits
Lower unit selling prices will bolster volume demand, but lower prices could affect revenue
This industry exhibits high barriers to entry, particularly with regard to competition and technological change. Some incumbents have built global operations, so competing on the basis of price will prove difficult for new entrants that lack economies of scale, supplier relationships, logistics infrastructure and established research and development (R&D) departments focused on ever-changing technologies. Brand owners usually spend more significant amounts on R&D to develop products, streamline production and tap new markets than contract manufacturers. As a result, these companies generally have higher profit margins, enabling them to dedicate more resources to R&D as well as marketing, further entrenching their dominance in the global market.
3. Study Apple in detail.
Next you must ensure you understand Apple in detail. You will be asked tons of questions regarding Apple, so it's best to be prepared. Here are company details for Apple that you must prepare for:
Target Company Name: Apple
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.”
“Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad."
Apple’s organizational culture is effective in supporting the firm’s leadership because of key features that fit the business. Different businesses have different requirements for their culture. In Apple’s case, the following characteristics are the most significant in its organizational culture: Top-notch excellence; Creativity; Innovation; Secrecy; and Moderate combativeness.
Apple Values – Accessibility; Education; Environment; Inclusion and Diversity; Privacy; and Supplier Responsibility
List of Products/Services:
Mac, iPad, iPhone, Watch, TV, Music
List one Favorite product and give 3 reasons why that product is good?
· Quick and regular iOS updates for the iPhone no matter what carrier they use.
· There are no extra carrier apps installed on the iPhone when you buy it. On many Android phones, there are a dozen carrier branded apps
· Apple offers an iPhone warranty for $99 to $129 that extends the manufacturer’s warranty to two years, adds two years of accidental damage coverage and support by phone or in store. This is AppleCare+ and it is a service that you need to buy, but it is something that most Android phones don’t come with.
List one disliked product and 3 reasons why it is bad.
· Sales of the Apple Watch have fallen by 90% (2016 data) since the initial surge in April
· Mixed reviews of the device combined with low interest from the general public
· It is considered to be priced higher than it should be
Target Customer Segments that Apple is targeting.
· Customers in US, Greater China and Europe are its main target areas. he company has nearly 500 Apple retail stores across the US, as well as in some 20 other countries; China and Canada are the largest retail store markets outside the US.
Target Customer Demographics for Apple.
Teenagers are considered one of Apple Inc.'s target markets. College and university students are also targeted by Apple Inc. These students use Apple Inc. products such as iPad's, MacBook's, iPhone's etc. Business people are very intrigued by almost all Apple devices (iPhone's, iPad's, and MacBook's)
What do customers like about their Products/Services?
AppleCare+ iPhone Warranty is Apple’s plus point and liked by customers
· The iPhone holds its value better than an Android phone. When you sell an older iPhone, it is easy to find offers of almost double the value of an Android phone that came out at the same time.
· With a Lightning cable, there is no wrong way to plug it in because there is not a top or bottom, making it easier for the users to charge it.
What do customers dislike about their Products/Services?
· Products are expensive
· The company has not updated its lineup of PCs, which has actually led to a decline in its PC sale
· Poor sound quality - iPod Hi-Fi was built with Apple's sleek design aesthetic but ultimately failed to deliver the sound quality that third-party competitors could offer.
Major competitors include Samsung, Lenovo, HP, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, among others
What do Competitors’ do better than Apple?
Most of the competitors price their products below that of products of Apple and they look to cater mass market.
What does Apple do better than Competitors?
Reliability, trust, and exclusivity of products from Apple differentiate itself from its competitors. Also, its service it much better than most of its competitors.
Management Team (CEO, COO etc.)
Tim Cook - CEO
Jonathan Ive - Chief Design Officer
Luca Maestri - Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Williams - Chief Operating Officer
Revenue this and last year: $21,5639M (2016) and $23,3715M (2015)
Gross Profit this and last year: $84,263M (2016) and $93,626M (2015)
Gross Margins this and last year: 39.08% (2016) and 40.06% (2015)
Net Profit this and last year: $45,687M (2016) and $53,394M (2015)
Net Margins this and last year: 21.19% (2016) and 22.85% (2015)
Growth Rate: -8% (2016) and 28% (2015)
Which products/services contribute to the most growth? Apple's mobile phone, the iPhone, accounts for nearly two-thirds of sales, with its tablet, the iPad, generating another 10%. Mac computer lineup each contribute another 10% of revenue.
Any other metrics e.g. Active Users: NA
Company’s Future Growth Plans (Where are they investing?)
· The Company believes ongoing investment in research and development (“R&D”), marketing and advertising is critical to the development and sale of innovative products and technologies.
· invested in programs to enhance reseller sales by placing high-quality Apple fixtures, merchandising materials and other resources within selected third-party reseller locations.
· Invested in manufacturing process equipment, much of which is held at certain of its outsourcing partners, and has made prepayments to certain of its suppliers associated with long-term supply agreements.
· Investment in new business strategies and acquisitions
APRIL 27, 2017, Apple opens store in Dubai Mall, the third Apple Store in the UAE
MARCH 21, 2017, Apple introduces iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition
OCTOBER 27, 2016, Apple releases significant update to Final Cut Pro X
OCTOBER 6, 2016, Apple opens first iOS Developer Academy in Naples
4. Study the Job Description for the Position of Store Leader Program Associate at Apple.
The job description is a vital piece of the interview process at Apple. The job description can be used as the language of the company. Here is what we recommend.
1. Print out the job description.
2. Highlight the key responsibilities within the job description.
3. Think about times in your career or personal life where you've shown or performed those responsibilities.
It is almost guaranteed that you will get questions related to these responsibilities, so why not prepare for them in advance.
You can practice with the job description below:
Note: This is a sample Apple Store Leader Program Associate position. Please get the appropriate JD for the position you’re interviewing for and conduct this exercise.
Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You’ll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on experience and mentoring. Working as part of a team, you’ll learn through collaboration with those around you. As an individual, you’ll further your personal development by making a real impact on the success of your store. If you’re a natural leader, the Apple Store Leader Program is your opportunity to shine.
- Experience in leadership — at work, in a team or in your community
- A strong desire to lead a team that runs a multimillion-dollar, industry-leading retail operation
In the first year of this unique 24-month program, you’ll rotate through various functions in our retail stores. During year two, you’ll focus on leadership roles, working with top-level managers as your mentors and coaches. You’ll learn as you work in each role, reflect on your experiences, apply your insights and share with your team. By offering your observations, you’ll foster positive change in your store and other stores around the world. When you’ve successfully completed the program and have demonstrated leadership potential, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a leadership position at a store in one of our key markets.
To qualify, you must have a degree from a university or college with one of the following: a record of success in your studies or equivalent professional experience.
• You must have a passion for technology and Apple.
• You’ll need to be fluent in English. Experience interacting with different cultures, time spent travelling abroad or familiarity with other languages is a plus.
• You’ll need to be flexible with your schedule. Your work hours will be based on business needs.
The deadline for applications is May 13, 2018. Submit your CV online along with a cover letter. Your cover letter should include the top three reasons why you would be a successful leader at one of our Apple Retail Stores.
5. Practice the Top Questions and Answers consistently asked.
Finally, you must practice the top questions that have been consistently asked as part of the Store Leader Program Associate interview at Apple. Here is a list that you should be prepared for:
What is a typical sales call according to you?
2. What do you think some of the most important parts of selling are?
What would you do to improve your presentation to clients?
How do you close a sale?
5. How do you go about building a relationship with a customer?
6. This is a tough territory. The last two guys here didn't make it. How will you be different?
7. How would you sell when you currently have no list of customers to contact?
8. How did you build your clientele at your previous job? Who do you consider a client?
9. Sell me this pen.
10. Would you be comfortable reaching out to customers and selling to them?
12. How would you convince your customer to upgrade his or her service or product?
13. How would you overcome the objection that our products are too expensive?
14. Paper Company A sells 8x8 White Standard Copy for $9, Paper Company B sells the same product for $5. Why in the world would someone pay Paper Company a $9 for a product they could get for $5?
16. How would you sell in a tough economy?
17. What would you do if you had to deal with an upset customer?
What would you do if a customer was very upset and when they got to you, took all their frustration and anger out on you?
How would you handle and customer who cursed you out for a mistake you made?
If a customer wants a refund from a bill she didn't pay, what is your response?
How would you handle the following situation: You have a customer calling and telling you they were over charged their account and demands a refund?
How would you interact with people that are on a much lower economic level than yourself?
What would you do if your customer was blind?
You have a customer looking for a small product that you are unfamiliar with and another customer comes up for help with a much larger and more expensive purchase. What do you do?
If a customer was to ask for my assistance in a department that was not my own, what would I do?
Describe a time you got bad customer service.
Hope this helps.
Till next time,
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