Unix Engineer phone interview

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by usaims, May 11, 2012.

  1. usaims macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2012
    Apple noticed my resume which I sent online about two weeks ago. They wanted to setup a phone interview in a few days. I called them. The hiring manager was nice and it was like more of a 'get to know you' interview and asked me about my resume like: Ah, I see you use this hardware, tell me about it, And I see you use this software, tell me about it, etc. So we started interacting how his team functions as compared to how my current team functions. We basically talked 'shop' for about 40 minutes.

    Then he hit me with one technical question which I didn't know the answer too? But he said if you don't know the answer, "don't worry about it".

    The interview ended with, "We'll will notify you in a couple of days and maybe fly you out to Cupertino for an in person interview". Then he concluded, "I enjoyed talking to you".

    What are my chances since I didn't answer that one technical question?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Slim. They're looking for the one person that can answer the technical question.
  3. shinobi-81 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    Now that'd be a waste of good 40 minutes.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Nobody knows except for the interviewer. So don't sweat it. But try to build some karma points. Good Luck.
  5. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    This is the answer.

    I would say 40 minutes is a long time to spend to set up one tricky question that's the payoff for the interviewer. But it's certainly a possibility.

    I'd also tend to think that they wouldn't have mentioned a possible trip to Cupertino had you not done at least reasonably well.

    How was the 40 minutes of shop talk before the tough question?
  6. RLesko macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    What was the question? I always enjoy a good tech question.
  7. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Wrong. Any technical interview will have a pool of questions that no one person will most likely be able to answer. These types of interviews are more about how you think and solve problems than answers to questions anyone can google.

    40 minutes for a phone interview is quite good. The OP probably has a decent chance of landing a face to face interview.
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Nope. I wouldn't expect you to know, but it's a pretty common weed-out tactic if the hiring company holds all the cards (like Apple).
  9. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Me too. I'd really like to know. And that way I'll have an answer prepared should Apple call me up after reading about my Unix experience.

    I'd also like to know how the OP answered the question. Was it just a "Uhm, I don't know...", or was an attempt made to discover the answer? Sometimes (or even many times), an interviewer will ask a seemingly impossible question, not because they expect an answer, but to hear how you'd go about solving it. I've certainly done this when I was asked to interview prospective hires.

    When I did it, I didn't set it up as a hypothetical, either, I just sprung it on 'em. So I wouldn't say "Suppose you had to find the answer to this question: <pose question here>. Describe to me how you'd go about it." Instead I'd just lead up to it in normal discussion, then drop it in like it's the next test. It's sort of a "live fire" test, too, to see how they'll respond if something unexpected comes up in a presentation or meeting.

    The other thing I've done is make fake obscure questions. That is, ones that I know have no answer. Then I see if the interviewee tries to fake their way through it, or whether they say "I don't know, but I can tell you how I'd find out." So sometimes, "Don't worry about it" is the good response from the interviewer, because the question itself is a setup.
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    You wonder why no one takes you seriously. Look at your posting history, you are nothing but nasty to anyone.

    And yes, you ARE wrong. But since you don't work with computers as obvious from previous discussions of ours you wouldn't know what a software engineering position interview entails.

    I know, I just had several of them and landed a new job, and I didn't know every single answer.
  11. usaims thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2012

    I'm not going to reveal the technical question because first of all it would be unfair to you, a possible interviewee, and Apple. And how do we know we don't have Apple employees reading these posts?

    If they were to find out that I was giving away technical questions they asked to the general public, then that would be betrayal. Loyality to Apple is has probably has a lot more weight then being super technical and knowing all the answers.

  12. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Well that's definitely a question you answered correctly!
  13. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    If it was intended to weed out potential candidates, it would be more than a single question unless it was considered something fundamental. Much of the time people do want to know how you respond to a question whether or not you have an immediate answer. You can't possibly think Apple would be that one dimensional.

    Edit: Also I think the OP is focusing too much on one aspect of the interview where they felt uncomfortable.
  14. Stella macrumors G3


    Apr 21, 2003
    I've interviewed people in the past that were technically very strong, but we didn't offer them a job. Why? Because they weren't a good fit for the project team or company, culture ( company culture) and personality wise.

    In several cases we have taken less technically strong people instead.

    There's more to being offered a job than your skills and knowledge.
  15. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I've also been an interviewer and I agree. I wouldn't have spent 40 minutes talking to someone I wasn't continually interested in.
  16. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    If you read this as a sarcastic response, it's actually the most insightful post in this whole thread.

    I got your sarcasm contrary to all the other posters, well played. ;)
  17. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I one landed an in-person interview when I told the phone recruiter I'd probably google something. He liked that I wasn't going to jerk him around and I knew my limits.

Share This Page