Apple is the most valuable company in the world, and the makers of the single most popular smartphone in the world. It’s not surprising to learn that getting a job there isn’t easy.
As of September, the Haberman family will be represented at Apple by not one, but two, 21-year-old college graduates. Cameron and Tyler Haberman, born one minute apart, have just graduated from the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business— and both landed jobs at Apple.
The brothers ended up at Apple through one of the company’s unique pipelines for young talent. The Financial Development Program (FDP) is a two-year rotational program within Apple that aims to expose employees to different, non-technical parts of the business, ranging from operations to retail to enterprise sales.
Most participants start out as undergraduate students, and after a 12-week internship, they may receive an invitation to return to Apple’s FDP full-time after graduation.
If twins joining Apple in the same week wasn’t surprising enough, Tyler said he showed up to his interview 10 minutes late because of traffic, while Cameron nearly bailed mid-interview after being stung by a bee. Now, they’re sharing their tips and tricks for acing any interview.
Tell a compelling story
The Habermans, whose story was first reported in Berkeley News, used to think they didn’t belong in high tech because of their working-class background. Now, they say owning your story can help you stand out in a job interview.
The Haberman twins grew up in Visalia, a blue-collar city in California’s Central Valley, the kind of place where families stay for generations. The Habermans said an education wasn’t considered a priority among their peers; they didn’t know what the SAT was until they were high school sophomores. In Visalia, guns, drugs, and gang-related crime are major issues.
They landed at UC Berkeley— a “reach school” — after visiting on a field trip for honors students. The twins said they were overcome by anxiety at first that they didn’t belong.
About 20% of their class was made up of students born outside the US; the Habermans had never been on a plane. Their peers had better test scores, higher GPAs, and more family money, it seemed. Their dad works as a computer technician, while their mom is a grocery store associate.
But the brothers excelled at Berkeley, and with their success, their confidence grew. They branched into extracurricular activities and research and found their place on campus. The duo discovered a passion for finance before entering the Haas School of Business as juniors.
Cameron — you can tell him apart because his nose turns up slightly after being broken three times — said the brothers readied for their Apple interviews by each preparing three stories from their upbringing. They thought about what the stories revealed about themselves.
“Don’t tell the story you think they want to hear. Tell your story. Because they actually want to hear that,” Cameron said.
Do your homework
After soaring through round one of interviews, the Habermans went into overdrive preparing for round two. Their best advice: There’s no such thing as too much preparation.
The brothers said they studied Apple’s website to better understand the company’s values and products. They also scoured job-search site Glassdoor, where people can submit questions they were asked during an interview at a specific company. The Habermans practiced their answers.
“I think we over-prepared for everything,” Cameron said.
Surprise them with a knockout question of your own
An interviewer almost always leaves time at the end of an interview for questions. The brothers say this is a candidate’s chance to show they’ve done their homework. And if they can hold a conversation without prompting, it also reveals some soft skills that an interviewer looks for.
Cameron has a personal favorite question for the interviewer: “I’ll ask, ‘What was your career plan before you got into this role, and how has that changed since you’ve been there?'”
If the interview is going well, Tyler tries to segue the conversation into friendlier topics. He might ask what the interviewer’s weekend plans are or whether or not they hang out with their colleagues outside of work. Tyler said his goal is to be human, not to give mechanical answers.
If they don’t ask for a cover letter, send one anyway
The Haberman brothers said some tech firms don’t require cover letters as part of their application. A candidate who’s serious about wanting the gig should send one anyway.
“It cannot hurt you,” Tyler said.
Sending a voluntary cover letter shows that the candidate went above and beyond to make an impression, and demonstrates they will put in the time and effort even when it’s unexpected.
The Haberman brothers start full-time at Apple in September.