Amazon interview questions are notoriously tough. With the tremendous business analyst and post-consulting leadership jobs at Amazon, there’s a reason why. Named by Forbes as a recent Top 10 most reputable company, Amazon originally began as a bookworm’s dream come true. Now, the Seattle based company has changed the landscape of online retail.
Amazon History & Culture
Amazon.com, Inc. is a Fortune 100 company based in Seattle, WA. It was founded in 1994 and incorporated in 1996 by Jeff Bezos (still the Chairman, President, and CEO). Amazon has over 798,000 employees and generated revenues of over $280B in 2019.
Bezos named Amazon after the “exotic and different” Amazon, something he wanted his new company to be known for. Staying true to the original vision, Amazon has gone on to become a global force, market disruptor, major innovator, and a helluva lot more than just an online bookstore.
Today, Amazon sells everything under the sun. It has its own TV streaming service, has cornered the e-book market with Kindle, groceries with AmazonFresh, and knocked Black Friday off its perch with Prime Day- becoming the nation’s biggest shopping day.
Along the way, Amazon has been sued by some of the biggest names in the game, including Barnes & Noble and Walmart, but that hasn’t stopped the company from becoming a household name and one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.
Have you ever noticed that the arrow on the Amazon logo goes from the A to the Z? It’s a representation of the fact that Amazon carries every product from A-Z. How about the fact that the arrow is shaped like a smile? If you offer service with a smile, you’ll be successful. Amazon is simply Exhibit A of this principle.
Life At Amazon
In late August 2015, the New York Times ran a no-holds-barred article on life at Amazon. From grown men crying at their desks almost everyday, to employees being pushed further creatively than they ever thought possible, one word sums up life at Amazon – intense.
Working for a market leading, world dominating brand name is a dream for anyone who has even the slightest bit of ambition. But are you willing to give 110% all day, everyday? If not, don’t even think about trying to navigate Amazon interview questions.
However, if you can make it through the Amazon interview gauntlet, you’ll be more than richly rewarded. The company gives above industry average compensation and benefits.
Amazon Interview Tips & Tricks
Amazon hustles MBA programs from across the spectrum – not just the usual suspects – to fill strategy, operations, and product management roles as it seeks out the next Amazonian with a spirit of innovation.
The Amazon interview process is known to be extensive in duration (about 4 months start to finish). It’s also extensive in the number of interviews (multiple phone interviews and potentially 5 in-person interviews in a day). Finally, it’s extensive in the depth of interview questions. Life at Amazon is intense, and you are initiated into this culture via the interview process.
Amazon Behavioral Interview Questions
The Amazon interview is weighted heavily toward the behavioral side. You’ll be faced with Amazon behavioral questions encompassing the following 13 categories:
Are Right, A Lot
Amazon believes that leaders and managers are right, a lot. Expect questions about when you made a decision with incomplete data. Or, about a time you made a poor decision and what you learned about it.
Bias In Action
Speed of decision-making and execution matters to Amazon. Most business decisions are reversible – it’s better to make a decision and go back if necessary, instead of being paralyzed. You’ll face questions on how you have removed barriers for your team to execute quickly, and how you have quickly identified the work your teams should focus on.
Amazon pays more attention to its customers than it does its competitors. Be prepared to answer questions about how you have placed the customer above all else, and how you have exhibited excellent service.
Can you set and communicate the right goals for your team? Act and deliver in a timely fashion? You’ll answer questions on how you have identified and executed on the right inputs for your current business.
Amazon wants to ensure that you believe no task is beneath you. While the first four categories focus on your big-picture ability, this category probes into your ability to stay connected to all levels of an organization and project. Can you remain detail-oriented as a strategist? Audit your team’s performance consistently? Amazon wants to know you can dive deep.
Amazon hasn’t forgotten about its humble beginnings. Be prepared to demonstrate when you have done more with less, and exhibited your creativity in the process.
Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
You’ll be asked about a time challenged a leader’s decision when you disagreed; why did you hold to your conviction? Amazon wants to see your value for making the right decision over social cohesion. And then, finally, the company is interested in seeing that you can move past disagreements to commit to a course of actions once it has been decided.
Hire and Develop the Best
Have you developed leaders, coached others, and sourced exceptional talent? Be prepared to answer how you have developed people you’ve managed, as well as times you have identified talent where others may have missed it.
Insist On The Highest Standards
Do you have a track record of raising the bar? Finding permanent solutions to problems? Be prepared to talk about it.
Invent and Simplify
Amazon values those who don’t mind being misunderstood. In fact, innovation requires it. You’ll be asked to share stories about a time you sourced an idea from an unconventional place, and times you implemented inventive solutions to problems.
Learn and Be Curious
If you have encouraged risk-taking on your team, talk about how and what your learnings were. Amazon cares about how you arrive at results, not just the results themselves.
Despite its rapid growth, Amazon is playing the long game. Here, Amazon is looking for examples of times that you have valued long-term growth over short-term results. They’re also looking for times when you have made decisions in the best interests of the company, not just your own team.
Showcase when you have communicated bold vision to your teams and peers. How have you pushed the envelope of what your company/team/division could do?
During your Amazon interview preparation, be sure to prepare your stories in the STAR method, as this is the format Amazon requires you to answer in. We recommend spending at least 8 hours preparing, refining, and practicing your stories for the Amazon interview. Work with our expert coaches to get help refining your stories and pinpoint feedback on your delivery.
With a belief that everyone is a leader and “It’s Still Day One,” Amazon offers employees opportunities to be on the cutting edge of new and innovative developments.
As always, make sure your resume is top-notch and network, network, network to maximize your chances of success.