Amazon Interview Questions - Vetted by Day One Careers

amazon interview questions Nov 25, 2020
Amazon Interview Questions - Vetted by Day One Careers

After leaving Amazon, where I spent three years as a commercial lead, a hiring manager and an interviewer, I started helping candidates prepare for competency-based interviews with coaching and training (Amazon Interview Bootcamp and D1C STAR Master). All to help them understand how to answer Amazon interview questions.

Through this experience, I happened to get an insight into what prep resources candidates were using in addition to those that I have built. While I knew that there were some excellent and genuine resources out there, I have also discovered - to my horror - a lot of junk.

A particular category of junk interview prep has to do with Amazon interview questions that are, supposedly, asked during competency-based Amazon interviews. There are plenty of fake questions and question banks out there, which were assembled by folks who never worked in the business and never interviewed for Amazon.

These fake Amazon interview questions are straightforward to spot if you know what you are doing, but if you’ve never been through an Amazon on-site loop, you may not be able to.

So I will correct this issue here. Say hello to Amazon Interview Questions  - Vetted by Day One Careers.

What is Amazon Interview Questions - Vetted by Day One Careers?

It’s a list of questions that you can expect to be asked in a competency-based interview at Amazon. These questions aim to evaluate candidate’s previously demonstrated behaviours against the bar set for every one of the 14 Amazon Leadership Principles.

Is this an exhaustive list of questions?

NO. There cannot be and will never be any such thing as an exhaustive list of Amazon interview questions. Yes, Amazon interviewers do have access to a question bank (in fact, all tech companies seem to have interview question banks of their own), but they can and often do improvise.

How can I tell fake Amazon interview questions from a real ones when I see them posted elsewhere on the Internet?

In an on-site loop setting (and in most Phone Screens), Amazon interviewers will be asking behavioural questions. These questions are looking for evidence from your past behaviours as a way to make a judgment on whether you are likely to raise the bar against a particular Leadership Principle. Therefore, a real onsite Amazon interview question will ALWAYS ask you to tell a story about you taking action in a particular situation in the past, and will NEVER ask you anything else (save and except follow-ups). You will never be asked hypothetical questions or brain teasers. All Amazon interview questions will start with something akin to “Tell me about a time when you {desired action}”.

Where are these questions coming from?

These questions are coming from a few public sources. One of them is Glassdoor. They are also coming from our Discord community who kindly volunteered these questions after their interview experiences.

How can you tell that these questions are likely to appear in an Amazon interview?

After spending three years in the business and having interviewed extensively, I can easily identify Amazon interview questions that correspond to various LP themes. To learn more about LP themes, you can take this training and do it ourself. You can also take this training to become a pro at structuring behavioural interview answers using STAR technique.

OK, I got it. Just give me the interview questions already.

I thought you’d never ask! Here you go. This is a live list, which I will keep updated as I get more inputs.

Customer Obsession

  • Tell me about a time you obsessed over giving very high-quality service to a customer.
  • Can you describe a difficult interaction you’ve had with a customer? How did you deal with it? Thinking back, what would you do differently?
  • Can you provide an example of when you asked a customer for feedback? How did you use that feedback to drive innovation or improvement?
  • Sometimes customers make unreasonable requests, can you tell me about a time you pushed back or said no to a customer? What did you do in response to that request?

Invent & Simplify

  • Tell me about a time when you gave a simple solution to a complex problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you invented something.
  • Please walk me through a different scenario of a process you invented or improved.
  • What’s the most innovative new idea that you have implemented?

Dive Deep

  • Give me an example of when you used data to make a decision/solve a problem.
  • Tell me about the most complex problem you’ve ever worked on
  • Tell me about a problem you had to solve that required in-depth thought and analysis. How did you know you were focusing on the right things?
  • Tell me about a time you were trying to understand a problem on your team, and you had to go down several layers to figure it out. Who did you talk with and what info proved most valuable? How did you use that info to help solve the problem?

Frugality

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited time or resources (D1C: technically, the “limited time” element fits more under Deliver Results, which is why I don’t believe that this would have been the precise question that was asked)
  • Describe a time when you had to manage a budget (or manage time/money/resources/etc.). Were you able to get more out of less?
  • Tell me about a time where you thought of a new way to save money for the company.

Ownership

  • Give me two examples of when you did more than what was required in any job experience (*D1C*: I don’t know why the interviewer asked for two situations)
  • Tell me about a time when you took on something significant outside your area of responsibility, and why was that important?
  • Describe a time you didn’t think you were going to meet a commitment you promised?

Earn Trust

  • Tell me about a critical piece of feedback you received
  • Tell me about a time when you saw your team member was struggling.
  • Building trust with teams can be difficult to achieve sometimes. Can you give me an example of how you effectively built trusting working relationships with others?
  • Can you describe a time you needed the cooperation of a resistant peer? What was the situation, and how did you handle that?

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

  • Tell me about a time when you took an unpopular stance in a meeting with peers and your leader, and you were the outlier.
  • Tell me about a time when do you decide to go along with the group decision even if you disagree.
  • Tell me about a time that you strongly disagreed with your manager on something you deemed to be very important to the business. What was it about, and how did you handle it?

Hire and Develop The Best

  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with an employee with poor performance.
  • Tell me about a time when you coached someone into outstanding performance.
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve built a team for a specific project.


Bias for Action

  • Can you give me an example of a calculated risk you have taken where speed was critical? What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
  • Describe a situation where you made an important business decision without consulting your manager

Deliver Results

  • Tell me about a time when you were leading a group, were assigned a goal, and did not reach it.
  • Tell me about a time where you not only met a goal but considerably exceeded expectations.
  • Tell me about a time when you were able to deliver an important project under a tight deadline.
  • Tell me about a time where you did not effectively manage your project, and something did not get completed on time?


Insist on the Highest Standards

  • Tell me about a time when you have been unsatisfied with the status quo. What did you do to change it? Were you successful?
  • Tell me about a time when you were dissatisfied with the quality of something at work and went out of your way to improve it.


Learn and be Curious

  • What’s the coolest thing that you’ve learned on your own that you’ve then been able to apply in your job and to perform your job further?
  • Tell me about a time where someone openly challenged you. How did you handle this feedback? (D1C: The way this question is phrased makes it sound like Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit. In reality, this is probably a Learn & Be Curious question)

Think Big

  • Tell me about a time you were working on an initiative or goal and saw an opportunity to do something much bigger than the initial focus.
  • Tell me about a time when very senior people adopted your vision across the organisation.

Are Right A Lot

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with incomplete data or information (or can you think of a time when you had to make a decision but you didn’t have enough data to be sure you were making the right decision? What did you do and how did it work out?)
  • Can you think of a time you made a bad professional decision? What was the impact of the decision? What did you learn?

Other useful resources

Amazon Interview: Your Ultimate Preparation Guide

Amazon Interview Tips from a Hiring Manager

 

Fancy taking your Amazon interview preparation to the next level? Check out Amazon Interview Bootcamp, a comprehensive course developed by an ex-Amazon Hiring Manager and interviewer.

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