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Amazon Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

We want to hire people at Amazon who have the desire to lead others. How many people did you supervise at your last position?

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Amazon Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    We want to hire people at Amazon who have the desire to lead others. How many people did you supervise at your last position?

      Since there is endless room for growth at Amazon, the interviewer would like to know if it's of interest for you to lead and be a mentor to others as your tenure deepens. Discuss with the interviewer your level of responsibility in your current position. If you have managed larger teams than you currently are, you can also discuss that particular role from your work history.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Although I did not officially supervise anyone in my most recent position, I always had my eye out for opportunities to lead or mentor the more junior staff. I am a good example to others and would uphold Amazon's Leadership Principles every day."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Currently, I am supervising 12 employees with an overall portfolio responsibility of $2M. In my role, before this one, I managed 23 employees but with a smaller portfolio of $600,000. I can handle a large range of employees and would be very interested in leading others, as my tenure with Amazon grows."

  2. 2.

    This role with Amazon is highly technical. What is your understanding of this position and the responsibilities that come with it?

      Assure the interviewer that you bring a full understanding of the technical requirements attached to this particular job. It is essential that you research the role and thoroughly consume the information provided in the company's job posting/job description. Keep your answer to the point.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "From our previous conversation, understanding the job description, and researching the role online I feel that the job is best described as a project leader focused on algorithms, data structures, and object-oriented design. The technical requirements that you would like to see are Java and C/C++ in a Linux environment. I am well versed in the tasks and programs you are asking for and am confident that I meet the strict requirements to perform in this role successfully."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My understanding is that you seek a candidate with expert level skills in C/C++ and Java in a Linux environment who can train junior employees. I am an expert user in these areas. Do you have any questions about my technical expertise?"

  3. 3.

    Can you talk to me about your GPA during undergraduate/graduate school?

      The interviewer would like further details on your more significant successes as a post-secondary student. Are you satisfied with your GPA or would you change it if you could? Talk to the interviewer about your post-secondary experience. You can keep your answer brief and to the point.

      If you were satisfied with your post-secondary experience: 'I graduated top of my class and am very proud of my accomplishments during University. The experience taught me to study hard and set goals for myself.'

      If you were not satisfied with your post-secondary experience: "I feel that my GPA could have been higher; however, I was working full time while attending classes. All in all, I did learn a lot about discipline and commitment."

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I feel that my GPA could have been higher; however, I was working full time while attending classes. All in all, I did learn a lot about discipline and commitment."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I had a 3.8 GPA but did strive for a 4.0. I understand where I feel short, but I was able to achieve a spot on the football team, and earned two scholarships as well."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I had a 7.46 out of 10 for my bachelor's degree. Although I did strive for a higher grade, I'm satisfied overall because the cause was very demanding, and this grade is far more than the average. I also learned practical experience due to my internship. For my master, I'm also expecting a very good grade. I learned a lot of new things and push my self to put more effort into each coursework."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Great! You did a very good job defending your grade, and sound very confident. If you have information on what the average was, it would be great to include that information. I have provided a slight revision, below.

      "I had a 7.46 out of 10 for my bachelor's degree. Although I did strive for a higher grade, I'm satisfied overall because the cause was very demanding, and this grade is far more than the 6.57 average. I also learned practical experience during my internship at Company ABC. For my Masters', I'm also expecting an excellent grade. I learned a lot of new skills and pushed myself to put more effort into each coursework."

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  4. 4.

    What questions do you have for me?

      It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the queries you have are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers for from merely watching a video on their company site!

      Here are some sample questions:

      - When would you like to have this position filled?
      - How long has this role been vacant?
      - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
      - What is your favorite part about working here?
      - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
      - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
      - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
      - Is there any reason why you would not hire me?

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this executive assistant role?"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I appreciate you opening the floor for questions. I am wondering what your timeline is for a decision on this opening? Also, what was the biggest struggle the last developer encountered in this role?"

      Anonymous Answer

      "- You've been at this company for a while. What keeps you motivated? - How do you deliver negative feedback?"

      Rachelle's Answer

      These are very insightful questions! Great work.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  5. 5.

    Amazon has 14 leadership principles. Name me 3 of them and how you embody those.

      Amazon's leadership principles are the pillars on which Amazon stands. They visit these principles when they approach problems and tackle new ideas.

      The principles briefly are:

      1. Customer Obsession - Leaders start with the customers
      2. Ownership - Leaders are owners
      3. Invent & Simplify - Leaders expect innovation
      4. Are Right, A Lot - Leaders are right, a lot
      5. Learn & Be Curious - Leaders never stop learning
      6. Hire & Develop the Best - Leaders raise the bar
      7. Insist on the Highest Standards - Leaders have relentless standards
      8. Think Big - Leaders create bold direction
      9. Bias for Action - Leaders know that speed matters
      10. Frugality - Leaders accomplish more with less
      11. Earn Trust - Leaders treat others respectfully
      12. Deep Dive - Leaders stay connected to the details
      13. Have Backbone - Leaders respectfully challenge decisions
      14. Deliver Results - Leaders deliver, despite setbacks

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have read through Amazon's leadership principles, and the ones that resonated with me most were earning trust, having a backbone, and delivering results. I wholeheartedly agree that a good leader will treat others respectfully, despite a difference of opinion. I am sure to see setbacks as challenges versus roadblocks. Lastly, I am unafraid to challenge a decision, respectfully, if I feel passionate about it."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I was pleased to see that Amazon has such solid leadership principles, and so well laid out. Three that stood out to me the most were customer obsession, ownership, and frugality. As a former business owner, I understand the importance of working with tight resources, even if they are not. This practice can encourage a lot of creativity. Customers are everything, so being obsessed with earning their trust will always work out in your favor. Lastly, I agree that a leader should act as an owner, in every single way. Long-term thinking is important, as is jumping in wherever needed rather than acting as though it's not your job. Leaders are never above a task."

  6. 6.

    Tell me about a time that you have helped a co-worker accomplish an important goal.

      It is imperative to be goal-oriented and determined but even more critical is to support your coworkers in their professional endeavors openly. This support is how teams succeed! What do you do, outside of your own goals, to ensure that everyone on your team is successful? Assure the interviewer that you are always willing to keep the team, or company as a whole, in mind.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I enjoy seeing my coworkers succeed and will help them whenever possible. One way that I support my coworkers is to help them keep organized by making suggestions on new tools that I have discovered. I had one coworker with a brand new smartphone, and she wasn't sure all the ways it could be utilized to make her day better. I spent my lunch hour helping her set it up. She was golden, after that!"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "When a new hire starts, I have become the de-facto go-to for shadowing. I always make sure to introduce myself to new-hires immediately. I schedule time for them to sit down with me and shadow what I do and how I do it. I want to see everyone succeed and, since there is no real training program in our company, I feel I need to be the change maker in the organization."

      Anonymous Answer

      "In my previous job, I had some projects on my own. When a new colleague joined our team, she took on some of my projects because I was assigned to new tasks. Even though she had more experience in years than me, I knew the projects inside and out., so I offered my help. The plan was to train her for two weeks, but we did it in only one! I eventually learned new things from her too. I'm happy that we helped each other to accomplish our goals."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This example shows the interviewer that you are a team player, coach-able, and also able to coach others. Good work!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  7. 7.

    What would you consider your technical specialty?

      'Many of the problems we face have no textbook solution, and so we-happily-invent new ones.' - Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Do you have any particular areas of interest or ability? Talk to the interviewer about your strengths and be sure to highlight any specific skills that you excel in. It's a great idea, if you can, to highlight particular skills that may be listed on the company's job posting/job description. If there is a related area of interest where you'd like to expand your skills, you can mention those as well.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Algorithms, data structures, object-oriented design, and databases have always been solid areas for me. I have a big interest in how innovation within software engineering improves our daily lives and our overall business efficiency. I see that you are looking for team members who are experts in these areas, which is what caught my eye when I first saw your job posting."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have been focusing my career on becoming a cloud integration specialist although I do have cross-platform app development expertise as well."

  8. 8.

    Name 2 benefits of having an Amazon Prime account. Do you have a Prime account?

      The interviewer is asking this question to see just how familiar you are with the offerings at Amazon. Your response will show the interviewer how engaged you are in the process, and how deep of a dive you have taken regarding research and preparation. Let's face it- employers like to hire people who know their company well!

      Amazon Prime is a membership, about $100 per year, where members receive perks such as free two-day delivery, music streaming, and more. Amazon Prime has over 100 million members and counting.

      Briefly discuss the perks that you know and understand.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have been an Amazon Prime member for the past four months. I order a lot from Amazon, and the free shipping feature will save me a lot of money this year. I also listen to music a lot at home, so the music streaming service is fantastic, too."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Amazon Prime Video and also the Prime Reading feature are the two benefits that sold me on my membership last year. The fact that I can borrow books from the Prime Reading catalog and read them on my e-reader is so amazing. I am aware that there are dozens of benefits to a Prime membership; however, those two are the ones I use most."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I have been an Amazon Prime member for the past nine months. I order a lot from Amazon, from small daily stuff to new devices. The free next day shipping feature in the UK has saved me a lot of money and mostly time during these months. I have also used the Prime Wardrobe a couple of times. I'm a regular shopper, and I like the fact that I can try on any new item for my wardrobe at the convenience of my home and pay later only the items I will keep."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You certainly do have experience with Amazon Prime! Great answer. It's very helpful and genuine.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (0)
  9. 9.

    Working at Amazon, you will experience changes on a regular basis. When have you had to change a major component of your project due to new information being presented?

      Being able to swivel the focus of your project is a necessary skill for your success in most careers. Talk to the interviewer about a time when a significant change occurred on a project. How did you handle the implementation of the new information?

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I had a large project last month that was nearly complete when the client called to say that the specs provided were incorrect. Because of this, our team had to re-do the entire proposal. It took us an additional four days of work but, in the end, the client was delighted with our work, and it resulted in new opportunities with them."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I would say that being in the software and technology business means changing major components on projects on a very regular basis. I am very well accustomed to changing gears on a moment's notice and can adapt very well."

  10. 10.

    Tell me about the most interesting project you have worked on this year and the biggest thing you learned from it.

      Discuss with the interviewer one of your recent projects that particularly piqued your interest. Did it stretch you professionally? What was the biggest takeaway for you from that particular project?

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In my previous role we were working on a variety of projects with fingerprint recognition software. One of the most interesting projects was a fingerprint-based ATM system. It was a test project for a large banking institution. In addition to learning a great deal about fingerprint recognition, I was also able to learn a lot about the critical relationship between software and security."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I find the majority of the projects that I have been working on this past year to be very interesting. If I had to choose one, I would choose to work on the Uber app. Since I am still in my internship, I didn't have any major contributions; however, I learned a lot about on-demand apps and building a friendly user interface."

      Anonymous Answer

      "One of the most interesting group projects I had was on ML, where I had to work on two large datasets, do an explanatory analysis, and perform Supervised and Unsupervised learning methods to derive interesting results. This project was exciting because we didn’t have any guidelines, only the datasets. The biggest thing I learned from it is to be curious; then, you can dive deeper into the problem/challenge and discover new things that you have never imagined. You don't have to get instructions to do a task. You have to jump into it."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Curiosity is a very important quality that rarely gets enough attention in an interview. I love that you brought it up. Good response, overall.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  11. 11.

    We seek to hire highly ambitious people. Where would you like your career with Amazon to take you?

      Have you researched Amazon enough to know how their internal hierarchy works? Do they have a variety of departments and management levels, offering you choices when it comes to carving out your career path? Talk to the interviewer about your career ambitions specifically related to this role and their organization.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "One of the reasons I was so excited to interview with Amazon is because of the endless growth opportunities you appear to offer your high performing employees. My biggest ambition is to be awarded a management role in the next 3-5 years. I am happy to begin at the Tech U level and work my way up until your team believes that I am ready."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "What interests me most about your company is that there are so many options when it comes to career growth. Ideally, I would like to earn my way into a team lead role, then a division manager position in the software development department. Of course, I understand that this will take many years of dedication and hard work."

      Anonymous Answer

      "What interests me most about your company is that there are so many options when it comes to career growth. Ideally, I would like to earn my way into a software development manager role, then to a next level position in the software development department. Of course, I understand that this will take many years of dedication and hard work."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Good personalization! What will it take, specifically, for you to earn this promotion? (ie: additional coursework?)

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  12. 12.

    We consider research to be the backbone of what we do at Amazon. Do you think it's important to conduct research before beginning a project or would you rather jump right in?

      Talk to the interviewer about your work habits and the way in which you prefer to approach a new project. If you have a sense of how Amazon prefers to approach their work you should discuss that method. For instance, if the interviewer tells you that they prefer extensive research before beginning a project, that is your queue to talk about your excellent research skills.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I agree that research is the backbone of a strong project. Without it, important details are missed and much time is wasted. I like to research before starting a project so that I can lay out a plan and understand the potential hurdles as well."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Although there are some instances where jumping right it may be required, I always prefer to research before I being a project. Rest assured; I would always follow your preferred methods, should I be hired."

      Anonymous Answer

      "It depends on the situation. I believe if research is available, it's essential to start with what has been done before; however, no prior research shouldn't be a barrier to start. With no previous research, one should see the reversibility of the project and go based on this. If a project is easily reversible, there is little to no risk moving forward without much thought."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Your answer shows your ability to think critically and break down a projects' needs before diving in. Fantastic response!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I believe it is important to research before beginning or presenting a project. In my previous, job I realized that our location was shipping our records offsite and realized that there was no process in place. So, before presenting the process improvement project to management. I researched the storage company we were using, how it is determined to send out the records, whether we have a retention policy, and the cost. When I got all the information, I presented my findings and introduced the process improvement project."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Fantastic! In your situation, it was wise to do the research and then present your findings with data and information to support them.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  13. 13.

    Culture fit is important to us at Amazon. How would you describe your personality?

      Going back to Amazon's 14 Leadership Principles, we learn a lot about the culture and workplace expectations within the company. Amazon refers to themselves as 'peculiar' quite often, saying 'we don't mind being called peculiar. We have our own way of doing things. We're obsessed with customers, we see beauty in simplifying the complex, and we're comfortable with being misunderstood. That might sound unorthodox, but our unusual approach and our culture - focused on removing obstacles so builders can build...'

      Briefly discuss why your personality will work well with Amazon's principles and peculiarity.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I would describe myself as a customer-obsessed do-er. I like to give and receive feedback, which I implement immediately. I am adaptable and not stuck on particular rules. I believe in flexibility and creativity while remaining considerate to my employer and my coworkers."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I believe that my personality will fit well with the Amazon culture since I am an independent decision maker who widely accepts, and implements feedback."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Being curious, organized, and passionate about technology individual, I like to build ideas for the future and not for the present. I always think about what I'm doing right now and then scale it multiple times. My creativity helps me think out of the box, and to do that, I usually push my boundaries. I feel that I can bring my voice to your team and embrace its challenges."

      Rachelle's Answer

      The fact that you look at scaling multiple times is an excellent touch that a company like Amazon would certainly appreciate. You do a great job explaining why you are a fit for the Amazon culture!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  14. 14.

    We encourage innovation at Amazon. What does innovation mean to you?

      Amazon references innovation thoroughly in workplace culture documents which you can find online. Because innovation is an often misused word, with room for interpretation, it's essential to have a full understanding of what innovation means to them. In Amazon's 14 Leadership Principles, they include 'Invent and Simplify' which touches on the fact that true leaders should expect and require innovation and invention from their teams. Amazon believes that being innovative includes an awareness of new ideas and never be limited by the 'we don't do that here' mentality.

      Talk to the interviewer about how you have embodied this way of thinking, in the past.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In my previous role I was fortunate enough to introduce my company to the idea of a gold level service where, in addition to our general customer service, we added on service options. Our customer base responded very positively, and we kept the program running for a few years. To me, innovation is creating new products and services that are useful to customers and also help my company stand out further in their space."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I fully agree with Amazon that innovation means being someone who thrives on change and remains nimble in their work. Innovation can mean creating anew and powerful idea, and it can also mean simplifying an existing one."

  15. 15.

    Do you know anyone who works for Amazon?

      Did you know, according to Forbes, that people with a friend at work are 7x more likely to engage in their work fully? The interviewer would like to see if a friend referred you to this position, a former co-worker, or an industry acquaintance. This question is another way of the interviewer asking where you heard about the role, and if you have any connections from within. You can keep your answer brief and to the point.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I do not personally know anyone who works for Amazon; however, I am connected with a couple of your employees on LinkedIn due to common group interests. I look forward to getting to know your team!"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My former manager now works for Amazon, although in a different department. His name is James Smith. He's a great guy! I would be happy to fill out any referral paperwork if you wish."

  16. 16.

    Amazon believes in a diverse perspective. When have you worked with a diverse group of people?

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  17. 17.

    Amazon has over 300 million active customers. How do you think we can attract an even larger customer base?

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  18. 18.

    Have you ever had to contact Amazon customer support? If so, describe your experience.

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  19. 19.

    What is Amazon's company mission, and what does it mean to you?

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  20. 20.

    What was one question you didn't want me to ask today?

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  21. 21.

    How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

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  22. 22.

    What qualities do you feel make a leader successful?

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  23. 23.

    Amazon is a company of pioneers. In which ways are you a pioneer?

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  24. 24.

    Amazon is known for exceptional customer service. What does excellent customer service mean to you?

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  25. 25.

    What is the last thing you purchased on Amazon?

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  26. 26.

    Have you ever broken a confidentiality agreement?

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  27. 27.

    At Amazon, we seek to hire leaders. Tell me about a time when you took the initiative to improve work related procedures.

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  28. 28.

    Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.

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  29. 29.

    At Amazon, we take privacy and confidentiality very seriously. Are you willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement, if hired?

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  30. 30.

    In your opinion, what has been the biggest advancement in video streaming technology this past year?

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