Dylan Adams was an Apple retail employee in the UK for 3 years. Here he shares his tips for those looking to get a job working as an Apple Genius.
How I ended up working for Apple
My first experience of Apple was the iPod – the little white rectangle that could hold more content than I could ever imagine. It was the single thing that first got me interested in technology. Since that day I have been focused on Apple products. When I bought a laptop it was a MacBook; when I bought a smartphone it was an iPhone; and when I bought a tablet it was an iPad. It was inevitable I would apply for a job at Apple. Who wouldn’t want to work with such amazing products? The following is what happened when I applied.
How to get a job as an Apple Genius: apply
The photos of happy smiling employees on Apple’s career website are real. They are not actors or models; they are genuine Apple employees. I have actually worked with some of these people on a day-to-day basis. Most Apple Retail employees are ‘Specialists’, your everyday grunts that deal with advising and selling to customers. ‘Creatives’ run workshops and one-on-one lessons on a range of topics, and usually have a speciality such as photography, video or audio. A ‘Genius’ works at the ‘Genius Bar’, but these are the ones fixing Macs. If you’re only fixing iPhones and iPads you’re still considered a Specialist, although you do get the spiffy title of ‘Family Room Specialist’. I’d suggest applying for a Specialist role. Almost everyone starts here, and if you want to move to another section you just have to work towards it. In your application the absolute key thing to focus on is how much you believe in Apple’s ability to help people. Your knowledge of products is important, but I’ve known people get hired who have never even used an Apple product. My application looked a lot like the first section of this article, so that should give you an idea of what they expect. Assuming you’re successful you’ll receive a pack, outlining how awesome Apple is.
How to get a job as an Apple Genius: the interview(s)
For a simple job in retail I had two interviews, but I’ve heard of people having as many as four. CEOs for some companies don’t even interview this much. My first interview is in the business suite of a swanky London hotel. I’ve been told very little about the ‘hiring event’ and when I arrive I’m put into a holding room with about 30 other nervous-looking people. Two big double doors open and reveal a large room with a ring of chairs; we are all being interviewed together. We’re greeted with applause from the five people who will be conducting the interview. I have this overarching sense that I haven’t achieved anything other than finding the right room, but the atmosphere is infectious and before I sit down I realise I am clapping too.
How to get a job as an Apple Genius: compete
We go around the room and introduce ourselves. There are a huge variety of candidates; there are actors, programmers and salesmen. I see the interviewers grimace as one guy introduces himself as Peckham’s top Carphone Warehouse salesman. Taking note of their reactions, I talk about how I love Apple products and see them as a way to better people’s technological lives. I try to be smiley and enthusiastic – after all, there are 30 people here and I want to stand out. The main part of the interview is roleplay. Each candidate must talk to a ‘customer’ played by another candidate. Some ‘customers’ try to make it difficult for the other candidates. It’s a dog-eat-dog process. When it’s my turn, the ‘customer’ asks for a top-spec MacBook Pro. I ask what they’re using it for and I’m told it’s for word processing and internet browsing. I advise a more basic MacBook instead. That’s it. Maybe two minutes and I’m done. I didn’t know it at the time but this is what Apple Retail want. People that will find out what’s best for the customer rather than just taking the fastest route to a sale and getting them out of the door. If you want to work for Apple you have to focus on finding the right solution for the customer. Just be casual, relaxed and interesting enough to stand out and they’ll snap you up in a second.
How to get a job as an Apple Genius: stand out
Before the second interview I’m asked to fill in a form explaining a little about myself and my likes and dislikes. There are eight people and this time we’re being interviewed by the two store leaders in a meeting room above the store. We’re asked competency-based questions. Name something you’re proud of achieving. Tell us about a time you dealt with a difficult customer. What would you do if someone had a complaint? The last question is something Apple seems to ask all the time. Can you tell us something interesting about yourself? You would be amazed how many people this stumps. I like to have a few interesting facts around that I use in situations where this comes up. Finally we’re asked if we have any questions. A couple of the other candidates ask boring questions. I’m working on a photo a day project and ask if I can take a photo of the two store leaders. To my amazement they agree and pose a shot. This actually seems to be the sort of thing they like. Someone who’s talkative and outgoing enough to take a risk, like taking a picture of their potential new Apple bosses for no particular reason.