We lack original ideas. Most of us do not try to create something new. We tend to copy other’s ideas, make few changes and sell it. The copy culture is infectious; it is in our fashion, in language, music, movies, food, religion you name it. I think it is deep rooted within our education system. It never promoted or entertained original valuable ideas. They taught us to memorise everything and throw up them on answer papers and students who scored more were considered intelligent and creativity or beautiful thoughts had no room in our education system. They injected the students with other’s ideas and concepts and told us not to question them. This has become a disaster.
Successful people converts their ideas into reality; they make cool stuffs out of ether. They change lives. They influence others; They are not afraid of failure. I believe, you don’t need any functional/industrial expertise to be successful. All you need is a mindset to welcome failure and try again. Many youngsters get into ‘building-own-company’ just because of the coolness and popularity that they get among their friends. However, there are people with pure passion and courageous minds who really want to make a difference. Do not discourage them, let them learn from their failures. Teach them not to give up. I reckon people over exaggerate the word “entrepreneur”. Lets call them believers.
As an International Student in United Kingdom, I was forced to search jobs because of expensive cost of living in UK. I was unemployed for a year. I was nearing to my graduation. I haven’t tried applying on local supermarkets or old age homes. Since, I am a post-graduate student in Information Technology; I set my dreams higher. Mean while, I was becoming a hardcore Apple Lover. Since, I already owned a Macbook Pro and iPhone 4, I decided to work with Apple Store. I was extremely confident about the job with Apple. I opened up Apple’s beautiful career website. The website itself is a charm which attracts anyone work for Apple. Apple has showcased an enthusiastic retail video on their career site. I was very much inspired watching the video which even gave me goose bumps. I took long breath, I crossed my fingers and started filling up the form. Since, I was living in Leicester, I set my location of preference to Leicester; I selected Milton Keynes as my second preference. I examined the application form carefully. Finally, I applied for the vacancy of Apple Store retail Specialist. I stayed and enjoyed being in Apple career site for a while. I started playing the inspiring video again for another half an hour. I visualised myself dealing customers with the mighty blue Apple T-shirts on. Those T-shirts were very attractive, simple and elegant. I really admired it. Blue round neck T-shirt with White Apple Logo. It is more than enough to standout from the crowd.
Days passed; I was not even aware about the application that I have sent. It was November 2011; the world was chilling on winter. I loved winter. Temperature was hitting almost zero degree. I woke up from my long dead sleep. I used to enjoy my day-time sleep during winter. I opened up my MacBook. First thing I always do is, check my Facebook notifications. So, I did few comments and likes on my fb and my eyes fell on Mail client; it was showing new mail notifications. I opened it up quickly. I was surprised to see mail from firstname.lastname@example.org. My heart started beating than usual. Hooray!!! It was mail from the apple recruiter saying that I am considered for the role at Apple Store in Milton Keynes. My heart started bouncing with Joy like my heart is on a trampoline. I felt proud being myself. The mail informed me that Apple will let me know about the recruitment event and asked me to stay tuned. After a day or two; I received another mail from Apple. This time it wasnt just a plain text. It was with glorious Apple logo. It looked professional. Apple provided me details of recruitment event such as location and time of recruitment event. Apple requested me to respond and book seat as soon as possible. Without wasting any time, I clicked on the RSVP link, I logged in with my AppleID and reserved my seat for the recruitment event. Once I reserved my seat, I received a confirmation mail. This time mail provided me a few bonus details such as “reach 15 mins before the event” and “Feel free to wear business casual”. A business casual? I stuck for a minute thinking what the heck is a business casual? Is that polo and trouser ? Similar to what they dress while playing golf? Alright, I thought for a while and I decided not to wear a suit. I decided to wear formal shirt and trouser.
I had to wait for a week for the big day. Since the event starts at 9Am in Milton Keynes, I found it hard to travel in the morning on freezing cold weather. So, I rang my uncle who is living in Shefford and asked his suggestion. He said, he has work and can’t drop me to Milton Keynes early morning. However, he promised me he would drop me to the bus station in Bedford. Alright, So everything is set. I treated myself with new pair of shiny black formal shoes. I travelled Shefford; to my Uncles place. A beautiful village in England. I reached a day before the big day. I explained family about the opportunity at Apple. I watched the Apple retail video again, like another 5 more hits. I was so excited and tensed as well. I couldn’t sleep peacefully that night. However, I woke up early morning. I took quick shower and I dressed professional. My Uncle dropped me to Bedford early morning 6am. He wished me good luck. I thanked him and I started my journey. It was freezing cold. I waited for X5, from Cambridge to Oxford. X5 is one of the best bus services in UK. I know it’s the right bus. I’ve been to Buckingham and Milton Keynes before. I reached early morning in Milton Keynes around quarter past seven. I rang my friend Virat, who is living Milton Keynes; I have already informed him about the interview. Since he has morning lectures, he couldn’t show up. So I had to find Jury Inn hotel by myself. That is where Apple Event is supposed to take place. It was tiring to walk around the streets of Milton Keynes in freezing cold weather. It was windy and rain was dripping. I took my iPhone out and I looked for temperature. It’s almost near to freezing point. I ignored the weather thinking about the wonderful opportunity and excitement about the Apple Event. Finally, at the end of a street, I found Jury Inn Hotel. Since it was early morning, reception was empty. I decided to move in, to enquire about the event. I walked towards reception. Receptionist welcomed with huge smile on her face, like she already knew that I was coming. I asked “Hey, you alright?”. She replied “Yes I am good, and you?. I continued “Yes I am alright, Could you tell me on which floor is the Apple recruitment event?” She paused for a while; and she quickly went through the reservations list on her PC. She asked me to wait and went towards her supervisor and enquired. She came back to me and asked “Are you from Apple? You the one who is doing it?”. Since I am very early she would have thought I am from apple. But I am not wearing Apple Tees though. However, I enjoyed that question. I replied “Oh, No. I am here for Interview”. She replied, ” Apple recruitment event is on 1st floor at 9AM, you are early”. She smiled and showed me the stairs to first floor. I replied smiling “Yeah I know am early, Cheers. Have a nice day”. She wished me the same. I walked towards the stairs.
First floor was empty and pitch silent. Floors were dressed with red carpet. I walked to washroom to rehearse my charm. I looked at the mirror and I prepared my tuck in. I made it look excellent. I looked at myself on the mirror and I whispered “You got this”. I took a few snaps on my iPhone. I went back to the floor and waited in visitors Lounge. After a while, some people popped in. But they did not look like they are from Apple. It was another recruitment event for a private bank. I waited patiently. Eventually people started showing up. Those were class of people aging between 30-50. I reckoned, that they were not here for Apple store interview. I sat relaxed on the sofa staring at the road, which I can see from the first floor through the big window. Rain was dripping. Even before the interview, all my thoughts were on relocating to Milton Keynes; one of the newest city in England. More people started showing up including some teenage geeks, I realised, this is going to be a tough challenge to get through. But, I never wanted to give up my hopes. I made myself believe, that I am the best. At least, I can speak 4 languages fluently. Milton Keynes is populated with south Indians. So, I have preference, I have good academic background plus I recently tweaked an Apple Store app and put up a video in YouTube. I started stating reasons why I am good for the position. All of these boosted my confidence to a higher level and I believed, that it could be only me. After a while, Apple team showed up in their blue t-shirts and half trousers with an Apple Cinema, MacBook Pro and an iPad. “Alright, there they are”, I whispered. They were charming and inspiring. They went inside the event room waving their hands at us, to prepare the process. There were two guys ageing 30-40 sitting across me. They started sipping hot coffee and kicked off a conversation. They suggested me to try coffee pointing towards the desk. I smiled at them; and replied that am fine. We talked for a while about the interview. We had a happy chat. Soon, they’ve been asked to shift to another room and we wished good luck to each other. After a while, Apple recruitment team came towards us with name tags and asked us to wear it. They asked us to fill a form as well. Now, only Apple invitees remained on the floor. We all got names pinned to our chest so that we get to know each others name. Some mates came to me and introduced themselves and started talking about apple hiring event and their experiences in apple interviews. Some were already experienced with Apple events. If you are not hired, then you can’t apply for next 6 months in Apple; that’s how apple rolls. They called us up. Okay, now its the party time.
We walked towards the room. Apple recruitment team were cheering up with standing ovation, while we entered into the event room. I was privileged. I noticed, chairs arranged in a circle. I figured out, that It would be for making the event more real and social. We sat on the chairs. All I noticed was, the inspiring and ambitious team of Apple retail. I looked around; I saw 27′ inch Apple Cinema connected to MacBook Pro on mini port. I looked at other people around me. I was surprised to see, that I was the only Asian in the house. However, with extreme confidence I looked at Apple recruiter, who was on his half trousers and Apple Tees. He told, how excited himself and his team is today morning to see all of us there. He started his presentation talking about Apple’s achievements. He showed Apple’s best stores around the world on Apple Cinema. He was throwing some random questions on us about Apple all the time. Some of us replied with real enthusiasm. Even though, I knew about Apple; I remained silent thinking, that I would perform on face to face interview. The recruiter introduced his team members who has shown up with him for the event. Later, He started explaining about Apple’s product line. He started asking questions like “Who own a Macbook or iMac?”; I raised my hand along with some other people. Then he asked “who has an iPod or iPhone?” I raised my hand; my heart pumped up with joy. He asked about opinions and favorite applications on both devices. Some raised their hand and started boasting off about Apple. Even though,I know much more than them I remained silent waiting for my turn on face to face interview. Everyone started raising hands except me. I thought of giving a try on this interactive session. I raised my hand. I talked about how enthusiastic I am, about Apple. I said I get goosebumps when I watch Apple videos. I talked about some apps like iPhoto, Airplay on mac and iOS. I admitted, that’s the best for now. Recruiter continued saying next round would be group discussion. I was surprised to hear that. I was on a recruitment process? What the heck? I thought that’s just an introduction. I would have impressed them boasting off about Apple. I was waiting for the interview. I realised, that there is no face to face interviews. They grouped us into a team of four and asked us to discover something innovative in apple store which can attract more customers into the Store. Teams split up and moved to each corners in the room. There were around 5-6 teams of 4 members each. We came up with some cool ideas on discussion. We wrote it down to a white sheet which is provided by the team. After 5 minutes we were asked to present our innovative Idea.We discussed our idea with other team members as well. Later, they grouped us again randomly. This time, they gave us a scenario for a customer; and asked us to suggest the suitable Apple product for him according to his career and needs plus they asked us how we would convince the customer to buy the product. Each of us has to present it for 2-3 mins. We planned our presentation very carefully and presented confidently. I was very confident in front of classy Apple geeks and I was the one who ended the presentation. Some showed their skills on planning and brain mapping, that they learned from their schools All went well. So that’s the end of our tests. We had few more chat and recruiter informed us about, how would they let us know the outcomes of the interview. He asked us to keep tuned to our mails. I went towards one of the recruiter and thanked him for calling me up. I knew that I messed it up. All the time, I was waiting for a face to face experience. We cheered again applauding at each other. We all wished best for each other and walked away thinking that each one of us outperformed the other.
After a week or two. Apple informed me, that they decided to move on with other candidates because of large number of qualified candidates. Even though it was a tear-dropper, I counted that on my experiences list. I had fun being a part of the event.
How to prepare for Apple Specialist interviews?
My experience suggests to,
- Go through all the product lines of Apple. Learn about configurations and positive sides of the product. Learn how it stands out from other products in market.
- Learn about Apple’s Apps in AppStores.
- Keep yourself up-to date with new Apple technologies – iPad’s retina display, iCloud, photo stream etc.
- Accelerate your confidence.
- Make sure you can present a keynote in front of apple geeks. Try to rehearse it few times.Write down some key points about Apple.
- Boast about Apple. That’s what you going to do as an Apple Specialist anyways.
- Be enthusiastic and charming.
- Be friendly towards people around you and communicate well.
- Raise your hands whenever recruiter throws a question and keep the attention of recruiter always on you.
- While doing presentations or group discussions make sure you outperformed others in your same group.
It’s all about attention I believe. Good Luck. !!!