Apple’s Latest…

…intern. Yup. I’m going to intern with Apple in Cupertino this summer, working with the .Mac web team. If you know me, you know how excited I am. I haven’t mentioned it here on the blog for fear of jinxing it, but now that it’s official (well, just about official. They still have to do a background check on me. Hmmm, will that traffic violation come back to haunt me? Hope not!), I thought I’d write a little bit about the experience of interviewing for the position.

The first step was probably the easiest: submitting my resume. Midori (Admissions and Alumni coordinator for ITP) sent out an email a few weeks back saying that Apple was coming to ITP to interview candidates for a web design internship; interested parties should submit their resumes, then the recruiter would pick the ones that looked promising. After submitting mine, a few days later I learned that I had made the first cut, and that Apple would like to meet with me (I think about a 10 or 12 others from ITP made it into this first round; no idea how many applied).

Then came the first interview. I sat down with Mary–a producer for the .Mac group–who told me more about the position: a design internship with the .Mac team, designing web pages for the .Mac web site. I was excited to find out it was with .Mac, as I’m a subscriber and I’m well aware of both the benefits and the shortcomings of the service. I think this, along with my general obsession with all things Apple, helped me feel comfortable in the interview. I think I already had some insight into the work they do, so I could ask deeper questions than just “what’s a typical day like?” On the other hand, I had a couple of reservations about how my interview went.

One was the quality of my portfolio. I presented my portfolio DVD which I had created for my grad school applications; it was wide ranging, trying to show not just my design work but video, animation and other endeavors. Also, because I authored the DVD in standard definition, when viewing it on Mary’s PowerBook, the resolution seemed low and blurry. Not to mention the complications of DVD user interface design (memo to self: user test next dvd menus). Anyway, while I felt I had given a strong interview, we finished the session by looking at my portfolio, which I felt the least confident about. I left the interview not quite sure what to think, hoping that any technical flaws would be outweighed by the general quality of the designs, as well as my knowledge and enthusiasm for Apple.

Then it was a bit of a waiting game, but a week or so later, I got an email from the recruiter saying that Mary had recommended that the design director interview me, and that we should set up a phone interview. So that Friday, I spoke with Meg in more detail about the goals of the .Mac design group, and more about what the internship would entail.

I was much more nervous for this interview, and felt much less prepared. What kinds of questions should I ask? Should I repeat myself from my first interview? I was lucky that that week was an incredibly busy one at school, because I only had about 15 minutes before the interview to torture myself with these questions, and instead sat down and wrote a couple of things I wanted to be sure to mention.

If I was nervous at all, as soon as the conversation began, Meg put me right at ease. She was incredibly friendly and gracious, and seemed legitimately interested in what I had to offer. She asked what I wanted from the internship, and I was excited that she responded positively to my desire to not only be a designer, but to learn more about the development and user experience design sides of things.

Also, my familiarity with .Mac and Apple definitely gave me a leg up in the interview. Of course Apple wants to hire people who are passionate about their products, but I think having an intern come in who already is up to speed with the work the team is doing is attractive too.

Anyway, I felt incredibly positive about this follow up interview, both in terms of how I presented myself, but, more importantly, in how much the internship suited me. I was really excited, and when Meg said “I hope to talk to you again soon,” I took it as a good sign.

Four days later I got another email from the Apple recruiter wanting to discuss an intership offer! I spoke with her last night, and I told her that I would (barring some catastrophic event) gladly accept the official offer when it arrives, pending the aforementioned background check.

So that’s the long and short of it. Hopefully in the next week or so I’ll officially sign on. It’s a 12 week internship, starting in May. I’ll most likely be staying in Apple’s corporate housing, to alleviate the burden of trying to find my own place and commuting.


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