Amazon Operations Manager Interview Questions & Answers
Table of Contents
- 1. Accomplishment Questions
- 2. Ask The Interviewer Questions
- 3. Behavioral Questions
- 4. Career Goals Questions
- 5. Communication Questions
- 6. Compatibility Questions
- 7. Competency Questions
- 8. Diligence Questions
- 9. Direct Questions
- 10. Diversity And Inclusion Questions
- 11. Education Questions
- 12. Experience Questions
- 13. Leadership Questions
- 14. Management Questions
- 15. Problem Solving Questions
- 16. Salary Questions
- 17. Teamwork Questions
- 18. Tough Questions
1. Amazon looks for high-potential leaders who are ready to make an impact on our operations. Tell us about the most significant impact you've made in your current position.
How to Answer
Amazon is a company proud to be driven by innovation. They even say that innovation is part of their DNA! For this reason, there is a very high chance that your interviewer will ask questions to reveal whether you are an innovative thinker, ready to make an impact for Amazon.
It can be a challenge to brag about your accomplishments in a job interview. For that reason, many candidates choose to talk about a team accomplishment. However, for this question, it's best to highlight an independent professional accomplishment. Although you are a leader of people, it's important to be proud of your individual contributions, too.
Talk to the interviewer about the most significant accomplishment you have achieved in your current or most recent position. You can deliver this answer by providing a story-based example using the STAR answer method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Be sure to outline your contribution clearly, then make a connection to how your past success will ensure a positive contribution to Amazon in the future.
"(Situation) At Company XYZ, we had some issues with newly hired warehouse associates quitting after just a few shifts. (Task) As the Warehouse Manager responsible for helping our Floor Manager lead a group of 200 employees, I have a unique opportunity to coach people in-the-moment to help them succeed. (Action) I approached our Senior Operations Manager and asked if I could jump in with additional formal training sessions when I saw some of our newer team members struggling with their tasks. She agreed, so I spent time analyzing the primary reasons employees were quitting. I created a list of the top 10 struggles new hires were facing and brought my findings to the Senior Operations Manager. Together, we met with the Human Resources department and requested that new hires receive further training and support in those 10 areas during their onboarding and first 30 days of employment. (Result) HR agreed to put these efforts into place. Since that time, our employee turnover rates have decreased by nearly 25%. This experience taught me to keep an eye on patterns and how important it is to use data when problem-solving and making recommendations for change. When Amazon hires me for this Operations Manager position, I will commit to caring for the success of our new and tenured employees, ensuring that everyone feels empowered to succeed in their tasks."
Ask The Interviewer
2. What questions do you have for me about the team of Area Managers and Associates you would be leading?
How to Answer
Enter your interview ready to ask questions that are compelling and unique. If you ask the same questions that other candidates ask, you will not stand out as a critical thinker and can quickly put yourself in the same box as your competition. Take your time to craft engaging questions that are custom to Amazon. Ask meaningful questions regarding how the existing team of Area Managers and Associates prefer to be led. You will also want to know what challenges their most recent Operations Manager faced. Ask yourself what issues Amazon wants you to solve as their new Operations Manager, and direct your questions from those starting points.
"Thank you for asking. While preparing for this interview and performing extensive research on the organization, I thought of a few questions that I look forward to discussing. First, could you share the biggest challenge the most recent Operations Manager faced while leading this team of Area Managers and Associates? Can you describe the existing team's preferred leadership style? Last, what professional development opportunities are made available for Amazon's hardworking Area Managers and Associates?"
3. Tell me about a manager you had in the past and how you have modeled your behavior after them.
How to Answer
Most of us have had managers that we appreciate more than others. Discuss with the interviewer one particular manager from your past that stood out to you as a true leader. Talk about what made them a memorable influence in your professional life. Talk about what you learned from this person and any leadership methods you have applied to your management career.
Keep your response positive. This question is not the time to pick anyone apart or complain about past leaders. The primary purpose of this question is for the interviewer to understand how your mentors have helped influence your leadership style and how this style will ensure your success as an Operations Manager with Amazon.
"My first job was a part-time warehouse position I took during university. My manager was a flexible person who trusted his team to do the right thing. He trained me thoroughly, asked engaging questions that made me think on a deeper level regarding my career path and my options for a long-term career in logistics. I appreciate the time this manager took to engage in my future because he showed me that leadership is more than managing people. Leadership is also about investing in people. I have taken his influence with me my entire career. Today, as an experienced leader, I show my team members trust and give them clear direction and the autonomy they deserve. I show interest in their goals and genuinely enjoy investing in their future."
4. We believe that the best managers have more than the ability to manage. They also have a genuine passion for leadership. Why do you want to be our next Operations Manager and lead a team of Area Managers and Associates?
How to Answer
Management focuses on bringing order to a situation (the ability), and leadership is about bringing meaning and conviction to a situation (passion). The interviewer wants assurance that you will bring a blend of ability and passion to your work as an Operations Manager with Amazon.
First, carve out what you believe to be characteristics of a passionate leader, and be prepared to discuss the characteristics you genuinely emulate. When you have a passion for leading, you will likely:
- Bring contagious excitement and enthusiasm to your team members.
- Make decisions with integrity, always choosing to do the right thing, not the easiest thing.
- Think ahead in most situations, ready to guide your team into their next win.
- Love to explore options, scenarios, and new ways of approaching your work and the work of your team.
Discuss what you believe to be the difference between managing and possessing a passion for leadership. Then, provide evidence that you possess the passion required to be an impactful leader.
"I agree wholeheartedly that the best managers have a genuine passion for leadership. I have invested a lot of time learning how to manage others; however, what differentiates me is my passion for helping people achieve their goals. Passionate leadership matters because, with this passion, I will bring enthusiasm and vision to my team of Area Managers and Associates. My desire to lead others is driven by my pull to influence and build an inspired workforce. Whether the goal is to speed up our performance or improve safety records, I know that the passion I bring to my leadership activities will influence the people I lead and make a difference in many ways. When I pass this energetic enthusiasm onto my team members, they have more drive, set clearer goals, and help their fellow team members to succeed."
5. Amazon looks for proactive leaders. What steps will you take to share best practices consistently across all 100+ people you will be leading?
How to Answer
Amazon places a lot of attention on building a communicative work environment. As an Operations Manager, the interviewer wants to see evidence that you will be a level-headed, consistent communicator who remains respectful in your communication style, no matter the discussion you are heading. Discuss what you know about great communication in the workplace and outline the measurable action steps you take to ensure consistency.
"I studied Communications while attending university, and I learned about communication in business. I follow the 3 Cs of communication: correct, consistent, and constant. With correct communication, I am giving the best and most accurate, reliable information possible. I remain pragmatic when relaying information to my team members to avoid placing my own opinion or bias on the matter. To be consistent means that I deliver information the same way every day. If I start the day with an email that communicates expectations and I end the day with a recap of our successes, I commit to doing this every day. Constant information stems from the idea of consistency. With this approach, my team knows what to expect from me and when. If hired to be Amazon's next Operations Manager, I will ensure that my team and I communicate using these 3 Cs. It will never be a surprise when they hear from me, and I will communicate all news rather than just the high points or the low points."
6. As an Amazon Operations Manager, you will measure the performance of your Area Managers and provide them with feedback. How do you approach giving feedback to your direct reports?
How to Answer
Providing proper feedback to your direct reports is a critical skill for any Operations Manager to possess. You should continually improve this skill; however, the interviewer wants to see that you place value on this specific management responsibility. Perhaps you have an effective framework that you follow when providing feedback. One example of a feedback framework is:
1) Ask for permission. Once you have the person's permission to offer constructive criticism, they are much more likely to listen to you and absorb the conversation.
2) Balance the feedback. When providing constructive criticism, also provide positive feedback to balance the conversation. This approach prevents the recipient from feeling under attack.
3) Be specific. It's important to be as detailed as possible. This way, the person receiving your feedback knows exactly which actions need improvement and why.
4) Set a time-based goal. Once you have given feedback to someone, they must understand that they need to repair the situation. Provide specific expectations for improvement and attach a timeline to those expectations.
Walk the interviewer through your method of providing feedback. If possible, give a story-based example of a time when you successfully offered feedback to a direct report while helping them to implement positive change.
"I believe it's essential to provide feedback promptly. If I witness a situation where feedback is required, I will address the situation as soon as possible. Also, it's important to be firm yet kind. I do not expect perfection, so when I approach a person with feedback, I do so with empathy and an open understanding. Even if the mistake is hard to fathom, I will go into a constructive conversation under the assumption that the person did not make the error on purpose. Every feedback-based conversation is a training opportunity. First, I ask the person's permission to offer the feedback. Then, I will be highly detailed regarding what I saw them do incorrectly while balancing that out with what I have seen them do right. To end the conversation, I like to brainstorm a solution with the other person. I want to hear their input regarding the change they believe they can make and then attach that action to a timeline. As an example, I recently encountered a warehouse associate operating a forklift unsafely. I pulled the person aside for a private conversation and asked, 'May I talk to you about what just happened?' This person agreed, and I moved on to say, 'I have seen you operate a forklift for many months now and appreciate that you are usually very mindful of safety. Do you recall what you learned in your recent forklift re-certification class?' The person then pointed out the error that occurred and admitted that it was a careless error. We talked about what they could have done instead and agreed that safety always comes before speed in a warehouse environment. As per company policy, I had to write them up and revoke their forklift access until they took the next scheduled safety training. However, we agreed that if there were no more safety issues in the next 30 days, I would return their forklift responsibilities. This associate appreciated my approach and thanked me for being on top of the feedback while offering a fair consequence and workable solution."
7. We seek an Operations Manager who is energetic, organized, and a self-starter ready to succeed for themselves and motivate others in a deadline-driven environment. How will you emulate these qualities and meet these goals if hired?
How to Answer
Amazon uses strong discretion in its hiring decisions. They know precisely the type of person who is a match for the role of Operations Manager, both in personality and in work ethic. Talk to the interviewer about how you emulate the qualities of being a self-driven, energetic, and organized person. Be sure to outline how you motivate others through your character and actions. It's a good idea to provide measurable examples of how you plan to emulate these qualities if you are hired as Amazon's next Operations Manager.
Some ways that you can demonstrate energy in the workplace:
- Take the initiative on projects.
- Maintain a positive outlook.
- Help your team members keep a healthy mindset.
- View obstacles and challenges as exciting opportunities to problem-solve.
Some ways that you can demonstrate organization in the workplace:
- Have clear goals set for your day.
- Set goals that reach past one day. Focus on your week, month, and business quarter.
- Create a doable routine for yourself and your team.
- Ensure your workspace works for you and the flow of your day.
Some ways that you can demonstrate being a self-starter in the workplace:
- React to challenges by embracing them and staying goal-focused.
- Set high expectations for yourself and work hard to meet them every day.
- Show accountability for your results, even when they aren't what you were hoping for.
- Be confident and show that you trust your intuition.
"If I am chosen for the Operations Manager role, I will bring a contagious energy to my team by taking the initiative on projects and encouraging a positive mindset no matter the challenges we face. I have worked hard to become an organized person and find that I maintain organization by creating and sticking to a routine while setting short-term and long-term goals. Last, as a self-starter, I will bring confidence in my decisions and accountability for my work. I will teach my team members the importance of setting high expectations for themselves and trusting their ability to do the best job for themselves, their teammates, and the company as a whole."
8. Amazon Operations Managers have significant financial accountabilities. Describe your budgetary experience and responsibilities.
How to Answer
As an Operations Manager, you will be expected to understand how to formulate strategies around people, products, and other important resources. Having budgetary responsibilities means working with resources to improve and procure the best resources at the best prices. Budgetary accountabilities might include designing budgets for your department, analyzing financial information such as revenue and expenditures, managing cash, ensuring the operations you oversee are within budget, and perhaps presenting your budget to senior managers.
Talk to the interviewer about your current and previous budgetary responsibilities. Walk them through your related education and training if applicable. Also, be sure to include any financial or budget-related accomplishments you have had in your career. Show the interviewer that you are highly capable of being responsible and accountable with Amazon's budget and resources.
"I have been responsible for budget planning, financial analysis, and budget presentations for approximately eight years. As an Operations Manager for Company XYZ, I oversee financials for my entire department which includes approximately $19M in inventory and payroll for 80 employees. I am educated in financial and budget management. While completing my MBA, I excelled in the Management Accounting Information for Strategic Development course. In this course, I learned how to solve complex issues around business accounting and analysis. The course material covered topics such as cost analysis and making decisions around accounting data. We were also given cases, an excellent hands-on practice that taught me skills I bring to the job every day. I am very confident in my ability to handle the significant financial accountabilities given to me as an Operations Manager with Amazon."
9. Six Sigma knowledge is a significant asset to the success of Amazon's Operations Managers. Are you trained in Six Sigma methodologies or Lean tools and techniques?
How to Answer
People who are trained in Six Sigma and Lean methodologies often make great managers. This is because these methodologies focus on process improvements. Everything is a process, and when we look at distribution and fulfillment environments, it's easy to see how stringent processes would be vital.
Amazon sees Six Sigma and Lean certification as a significant asset to your candidacy for an Operation Manager position. There are many levels to Six Sigma starting from White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, and Master Black Belt. Each level takes dedication to achieve. If you are certified, be prepared to discuss the levels you have completed and how your Six Sigma knowledge will help you succeed as an Operations Manager for Amazon. If you do not have Six Sigma certification, express your desire and willingness to earn this certification.
"I am currently Green Belt certified in Six Sigma through The Council for Six Sigma Certification. Through these levels, I have become better at communication and issue resolution. When assessing issues and processes, I know to first define the goal. Then, I measure the goal. Next, I work to explore all of the available options to help my team reach the goal. The following step is developing and setting up a plan to ensure that the team is equipped to follow the new system. Finally, I work to implement the plan and test the processes to ensure everything works as anticipated. I am proud of my Six Sigma knowledge and am confident it will add value to my role as the next Operations Manager position. Now that I have successfully passed the official CSSC Green Belt exam, I look forward to earning my Black Belt."
10. As an Amazon Operations Manager, you will help us to establish and maintain quality control standards. What do you believe will be an essential first step to ensuring high-quality deliverables from your team of Area Managers and Associates?
How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know the one factor that you believe is the most essential for ensuring that your team delivers high-quality work. Express an interest in maintaining Amazon's firm standards for quality control and efficiency. Discuss what you think is the most critical first step to ensuring high-quality deliverables from your team, and support your response with an explanation of why you believe this factor is the most important.
"During my ten years working in a warehouse environment, I have learned many helpful tips from Senior Operations Managers to ensure high-quality work is delivered consistently. These tips include having visible front-line leadership, cross-training warehouse employees, and providing clear standard operating procedures. Above all, I believe that an essential first step is to prioritize safety in the workplace. When we make safety a priority in a fulfillment environment, team members will be more prepared to make smart choices and avoid errors that lead to accidents, profit loss, and other costly mistakes. I look forward to being a contributing member to Amazon's leadership team and guiding my team of Area Managers and Associates to deliver success every shift."
11. Amazon is defining the future of online retail. How will you contribute to this mission as an Operations Manager?
How to Answer
Amazon has dramatically changed the way people shop. So much so that experts often refer to 'The Amazon Effect,' which is the impact that Amazon has created in the eCommerce and digital marketplace. The company defines online retail by influencing customer expectations, changing how we shop online, and dominating the competition.
The interviewer wants to see that you have enthusiasm for how Amazon is redefining online retail and that you have identified how you can contribute to this mission when you are hired. When you respond, be as specific as possible, allowing the interviewer to visualize you as a contributing senior leader.
"Amazon has defined online retail in many incredible ways, and I am excited to join the organization and add value to these efforts. As an Operations Manager, my mission will be to contribute to Amazon's desire to delight its customers and make their lives easier. I will ensure that my team works efficiently, allowing customers to receive their items as fast as possible. The fulfillment center team is at the heart of Amazon customers' seamless online shopping experience. The more efficiently we work in the FC, the happier customers will be, and the more they will continue to shop online. Essentially, the better our team works, the more we can impact customer shopping behaviors and continue growing Amazon's competitive position in the retail marketplace."
12. Amazon Operations Manager must be flexible to work any shift, 7 days per week, 24 hours per day, including holidays. Are there any restrictions to your schedule that we should know?
How to Answer
Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the company's expectations. Luckily, in the Operations Manager job posting, Amazon is very clear about its expectations. If you aren't entirely sure which shifts you'd be required to work, consider asking for more details around the scheduling expectations.
You must be honest in your job interview at all times, and answers to scheduling questions are no exception! The hours and expectations in Amazon's 24/7 fulfillment environment are demanding, and you must be 100% sure that you can meet these demands before committing. If there are shifts that you absolutely cannot work, be clear about that while also highlighting all of the times that you are available.
"I am accustomed to working long shifts including nights, weekends, and holidays. I am flexible to work most days and nights, weekdays or weekends, alike. I have one minor restriction in my schedule that is Tuesday evenings when I attend Judo classes with my daughter. It's our time together, and it's important to me that I maintain that commitment. Do you have an example schedule that you could share with me so that I could have a visual idea of the expectations for this Operations Manager position?"
Diversity And Inclusion
13. Amazon is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace. How will you support these efforts if hired as an Operations Manager?
How to Answer
Amazon has firm diversity and inclusion efforts in place to protect its employees. The company strongly believes that diverse identities help to define who they are. You can find details of Amazon's approach to D&I on their website. They provide many informative details, including this statement: 'Our diverse perspectives are enriched by many dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, culture, language, and education, as well as professional and life experience. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and leveraging our unique perspectives to scale our impact and grow.'
The interviewer wants to see that you will openly and actively support Amazon's statements and policies. Talk about the efforts that you plan to make, should you be hired.
"I plan to support your anti-discrimination policies in a variety of ways. I promise to quickly identify and expose any instances of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. I will genuinely embrace everyone in the organization and treat everyone with the utmost respect. I will show cultural understanding and help every team member to build an understanding and acceptance of others. I also plan to support Amazon's anti-discrimination policies by continually educating myself on emerging inclusion programs and practices."
14. Amazon gives preference to management candidates with a bachelor's degree or an MBA. Please walk us through your education and describe how it will lend to your success as our next Operations Manager.
How to Answer
Amazon Operations Managers are expected to possess post-secondary education. Amazon specifically asks that candidates have completed post-secondary education in the job description, specifically a bachelor's degree or an MBA.
While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned at your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work. Some of these skills could include:
- Operational Strategy
- Budgeting and Finance
- Resource Optimization
- Dynamic Leadership
Be sure to comb the job description for keywords so that you can match your post-secondary experiences with the skills for which they are seeking. When discussing your education, it's important to connect what you learned and how you plan to apply those things on the job as an Amazon Operations Manager. Discuss some of your key takeaways from your post-secondary education while showing enthusiasm for continued growth and learning.
"My bachelor's degree is in Economics and International Studies, which taught me not only the theoretics behind business operations but also interpersonal relations across cultures and nations. I also learned a lot about delivering presentations, public speaking, and working in a collaborative environment. All of these skills have been an asset to my career to date, and I know they will greatly benefit me as an Amazon Operations Manager, since I will lead team meetings with confidence while quickly grasping the company's unique fulfillment business model."
15. Discuss your experience creating staffing schedules in a 24/7, 365 environment.
How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know how skilled you are working with shift patterns in an environment where team members work 24 hours a day and 365 days per week. There are various rotating shift patterns used for employee scheduling where 24/7 coverage is required:
- DuPont Shift Schedule
- Pitman Shift Schedule
- 24-48 Shift Schedule
- 48-96 Shift Schedule
- 4-3, Ten Hour, Rotating Shift Schedule
- 6-4 6-4 6-4 Ten Hour Rotating Shift Schedule
- 5-3 5-4 5-3 Ten Hour Rotating Shift Schedule
- 4-2 4-3 4-3 Ten Hour Rotating Shift Schedule
- 2-2 3-2 2-3 Rotating Shift Schedule
Some of these shift schedules are more commonly used than others in a fulfillment or distribution environment. Typically, Amazon mentions 12-hour shifts in its warehouse working job postings; however, do as much research as you can regarding Amazon's preferred schedules for its Associates and be prepared to discuss your related experience.
"In my current position, we run a 4-3, Ten Hour Rotating Shift schedule to ensure 24-hour coverage.
I lead six crews with three overlapping 10-hour shifts. When I do the scheduling, it consists of a three-week cycle so my teams know what to expect over the coming weeks. Could you share with me the shift pattern used in this fulfillment center? If I am not familiar, I am happy to take the time to learn the approach to ensure that I pick it up quickly."
16. Do you have experience in corrective discipline and terminations?
How to Answer
As an Operations Manager with Amazon, you will be overseeing approximately 100 employees. With this large amount of human resource responsibilities, you will likely need to lead corrective discipline initiatives or contribute to employee terminations. These measures can be tough to lead but, with experience, they do become more comfortable. Talk to the interviewer about the extent of your experience with terminations and discipline.
"Yes, I do have experience with corrective discipline and terminations. As a Warehouse Manager for Company XYZ, I lead a team of approximately 60 full-time employees and a range of temporary laborers. More often than not, the terminations are related to performance from our temp crew; however, I have been involved in a few terminations of permanent employees. During these instances, I am mindful of playing a support role to our Director of HR. To help reduce the energy that we spend on terminations, I recently came up with a stronger temp interview process that has helped reduce our previously poor onboarding choices. I would love to share my strategy with you sometime. I am dedicated to making this responsibility easier and smoother, so when the book 'Fix Them or Fire Them' was recommended to me, I picked it up immediately. The book has taught me how to manage underperforming employees by offering practical help and strategies for real-life situations. The book made me much more comfortable with employee terminations and performance reviews."
17. Tell us about your operations management experience in a manufacturing, production, or distribution environment.
How to Answer
Operations Managers are experienced leaders who have many responsibilities that focus on leading people, creating and maintaining efficiencies, promoting safety, and ensuring the financial health of their department. The interviewer wants to know that you will come to the role equipped to succeed in a distribution warehouse environment.
Discuss your overall experience working in a distribution or fulfillment environment. Walk the interviewer through your related responsibilities and showcase the most significant accountabilities as they relate to this role with Amazon.
"At the beginning of my logistics career, I was a warehouse worker for a pharmaceutical distribution center. The work was perfect for me as I was a student, and the hours were primarily evenings and weekends. Over those 4 years, I learned about accurate unit picking and how to perform proper order audits for quality assurance. After completing my bachelor's degree in transportation and logistics, I was promoted to floor lead. I held that position for two years, working hard to ensure safety and compliance among a team of 50 warehouse workers. Five years ago, I was promoted to Safety Manager, where I coach on occupational health and safety and work with team members to gain their forklift certifications. If I am hired to be an Operations Manager for Amazon, I will contribute nearly 12 years of related experience. I plan to apply the same leadership approaches, safety principles, and stringent product loss methods that I learned working in a pharmaceutical distribution environment."
18. If I were to interview those who report to you, what would they say is one strength, and one weakness of yours, as a leader?
How to Answer
This question is a different way of asking about your strengths and weaknesses. The interviewer wants to know about your best traits and areas for improvement from the perspective of your current or most recent team. Think of a time when you asked for feedback on your leadership style. Also, consider your past performance reviews with your leadership team. When you mention your weakness, be sure to express what you have been doing to improve. When you think of your strengths, you should relate them to the needs of Amazon and tailor them to the Operations Manager role.
Here are some examples of unique strengths and weaknesses:
- Ability to be objective or to take feedback
- Disciplined and able to meet the most stringent deadlines
- Proven ability to make smart hiring decisions
- Internalized perfectionism (being too tough on yourself)
- Basic user-level in a particular software program
- Trying always to find solutions that make everyone happy (impossible!)
"If asked, I believe that my team would say that I am a bit tough when it comes to the expectation level that I put on myself. I can be a perfectionist, but I am relaxing this habit by letting smaller, unimportant details go and focusing on the bigger picture. My strength is in my knowledge of my team. I take the time to get to know every one of them, resulting in an excellent teamwork environment where we are enthusiastic about reaching our collective goals."
19. Our Operations Managers are expected to develop their team members. How will you approach professional development with your direct reports?
How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know how you approach mentoring, coaching, and developing the people you lead. True leaders see the importance of nurturing others and recognizing each person's potential. If you have one, consider giving an example from your work history that showcases your methodology to developing others. Last, be sure to tie your response to the characteristics and approach that Amazon is seeking in their next Operations Manager.
"I describe my approach to coaching, managing, and developing others as diligent, tenacious, and highly communicative. I am diligent in the sense that I follow company policy and lead by example. When it comes to tenacity in leadership, I am a consistent source of help and information to my other team members. I communicate like a leader because I make myself available to teach and also to learn. From my research, I understand that these are core characteristics of your existing leadership team, which makes me believe that my leadership qualities will be a natural fit for the culture Amazon has worked so hard to create in its fulfillment and distribution environments."
20. A primary focus of this role is motivating, mentoring, and managing your team. Do you consider yourself a 'servant leader?'
How to Answer
Servant leadership is a philosophy of serving those you lead instead of focusing mainly on the company's profitability. Amazon mentions the importance of being a servant leader in their job postings to attract management candidates who put their people first. Show the interviewer that, as a servant leader, you focus on your team members' well-being, success, and growth by motivating and mentoring them. If you want to take your candidacy to the next level, consider enrolling in a certification program such as the ones offered by the Servant Leadership Academy.
"I wholeheartedly consider myself to be a servant leader. This year, to strengthen my leadership abilities, I enrolled in a self-directed Servant Leadership Certification course. I learned invaluable skills, including what the servant-leader philosophy, core concepts, and principles truly mean. Throughout the course, I performed helpful self-discovery and self-awareness exercises that helped me carve out my own authentic leadership style. The program changed my mindset and truly transformed how I communicate and build interpersonal relationships. I received so much value from this certification that I plan to take the next level and learn about agile people leadership, another skill that I believe will greatly benefit me, my team, and Amazon."
21. Amazon places a significant focus on listening to the thoughts of our Area Managers. How do you approach sourcing and nurturing the ideas of your team members?
How to Answer
As an Amazon Operations Manager, you must be ready to nurture your team members and giving them the tools to succeed. The individuals who report to you deserve to have a manager that invests in them and listens to their ideas. The Amazon way is inclusive and encouraging, and the interviewer needs to see evidence that you fit this culture. Talk about your approach to encouraging participation and idea generation from your team members. If you have a specific example of a time when you nurtured the idea of one of your team members, this question presents a great opportunity to tell a story.
"I have a 3 Cs approach to nurturing my team. This approach draws out ideas in others and brings the natural leaders on my team to the top. These Cs are Connect, Coach, and Challenge. I connect with my team members by showing them that I am interested in what they have to say, and I value their contribution. I coach my team members by helping them when I see an opportunity to reach a goal or learn a new skill. Then, I challenge my team members to participate and give back to their team by standing out with their ideas and actively participating when we need to problem-solve or overcome a roadblock. I am very interested in what my team members have to say because they are bright individuals, and they have a different perspective than I do which can generate some very unique ideas and solutions."
22. If hired to be Amazon's next Operations Manager, how will you approach building positive relationships with the people you will be leading?
How to Answer
Amazon relies on its team members to deliver the best work every day to delight their customers and continue bringing innovation to the future of retail. As an Operations Manager responsible for 100 or more people, the interviewer wants to know that you will be an engaging and respected leader. Discuss how you plan to build positive relationships with your team members. Show enthusiasm for leadership and give specific and measurable ways to generate uplifting relationships with those you lead.
"Amazon is a customer-centric organization, and I consider myself a people-centric leader. I will approach building positive relationships with the people I am leading by communicating clearly and openly, ensuring that everyone understands the purpose behind our tasks. I will also look at my team members as people, not as production drivers only there to do the work. Being a people-centric leader also knowing who the top performers are and showing them that they are valued. Being a good manager is more challenging than it initially sounds. As a people-centric leader, it's also my responsibility to continually invest in my own training and professional development. Using these approaches, I can create positive relationships built on engagement, trust, and accountability."
23. How will you coach and mentor your team members to ensure they meet performance objectives?
How to Answer
The outcome of your work will heavily rely on your ability to lead your team to achieve important goals. The interviewer wants to know that you understand the importance of encouraging strong performance as a tool to ensure success. An Amazon fulfillment center is a bustling place! It is easy for an unorganized Operations Manager to feel swarmed in everyday tasks and forget about the big-picture and long-term targets. Express to the interviewer that you are ready to communicate goals and encourage team performance to help drive your team to success.
"I believe that employee goal setting is a significant responsibility for any manager, and I come prepared to develop and encourage clear goals and objectives. First, I will ensure that all targets align with Amazon's company goals, the primary ones being customer satisfaction and employee safety. Once I have communicated our goals as a team, I will invite team members to set individual achievements they would like to reach. I will emphasize attainable targets that help us to break off pieces of our larger goals, making them feel less overwhelming to reach. Also, I plan to work closely with team members who seem to struggle with meeting their targets, and I will praise the great work that I see along the way, ensuring that motivation levels are maintained."
24. As an Operations Manager, you will be responsible for at least 100 employees. Do you have experience leading a large team?
How to Answer
Larger teams require different leadership approaches. As an Amazon Operations Manager, you will be accountable for a significant number of employees, and the interviewer wants assurance that you are up for the challenge. If you have led a team of this size in the past, tell the interviewer how many people you have managed and include their job titles to provide a snapshot of the level of teams you are accustomed to leading. If you have leadership experience but not at this scale, talk about the teams you have led and why you believe these experiences have prepared you for this greater responsibility. Then, be prepared to discuss how you will adapt your approach to ensure ultimate effectiveness in this Amazon Operations Manager role.
"I have 5 years of experience leading a team of Floor Managers and Warehouse Supervisors at Company XYZ. My team consists of 50 permanent, full-time employees and then increases seasonally as we hire approximately 30 temporary warehouse laborers. So, depending on the season, I am accountable for managing 50 to 80 individuals. I feel confident that I have the tools required to capture and maintain the attention of 100+ employees, and I am ready to adapt my management style to fit. For instance, with double the permanent, full-time employees and many of them being Associates, I will be moving from 100% direct leadership to a blend of direct and indirect management. I will directly lead Amazon's Area Managers and indirectly influence the Associates reporting to these Area Managers. I will be responsible for the outcomes of everyone's work, and to ensure I do this well while utilizing my time most effectively, I will focus on empowering each team member to lean on their own knowledge, intuition and embrace their personal agency. Managing at scale is certainly a challenge; however, I believe that success comes from finding a balance between managing and trusting the team enough to step back and make the best choices based on the influence I bring as a leader. I look forward to meeting these team members and building mutual trust with them to create the best outcomes possible for Amazon."
25. If an Area Manager or Associate was not maintaining compliance or consistency, what corrective action would you deem appropriate?
How to Answer
Amazon Operations Managers are responsible for managing dozens upon dozens of employees. With this responsibility will come the need for corrective action from time to time. When approaching questions around corrective action, it's important to show that you understand the difference between being assertive when you catch an error and acting aggressively towards the employee who made the error. The interviewer wants to see evidence that you would not emotionally railroad a team member who made a mistake. They also want to know that you would be appropriately assertive. Assertiveness in this situation would mean effectively communicating the error while maintaining respect for the team member and using the situation as a teachable moment. Show the interviewer that you will balance empathy and professional assertiveness to this Operations Manager position. If you have some leadership experience, provide an example of when you have had to give corrective action.
"Maintaining compliance is a safety issue, especially when we are talking about an Associate in a distribution warehouse and fulfillment environment. I would take the issue seriously because a situation like this could impact the employee's safety, that of their team members and be a costly mistake for Amazon. I recently learned a 7-step process for corrective action that I feel is appropriate in all situations. First, I seek out the personnel responsible for the situation. Second, I work to understand the person's actions. Third, I investigate the issue. Fourth, I document the situation. Fifth, I create a corrective action plan according to my findings and company policy. The sixth step is to re-train the employees involved. The seventh and final step is to evaluate the results of the corrective action and training. If these steps fail, more serious action may be required, such as termination. However, at that point, the Human Resources department would lead those discussions and actions."
26. When you encounter a personnel issue, how do you address the situation?
How to Answer
The interviewer wants to learn about your leadership style when it comes to personnel issues. Perhaps you have a system in place for handling recurring behavioral issues. Confirm with the interviewer that you are capable of approaching a situation like this head-on, but professionally. Perhaps you could mention that you involve the human resources department when necessary or that you put a strong emphasis on your documentation and reporting when it comes to tracking problematic behavior.
"I have addressed many behavioral issues in the workplace throughout my experience as a manager. The most severe was when I had an employee stealing from the company. I could not prove the infraction right away and involved the human resources department to ensure that my approach did not infringe on any employee rights. I was able to put a stop to the theft and gather enough proof to terminate the employee. It was a challenge, but I believe that following process in these types of situations makes handling them a lot easier."
27. Tell us about the most recent quality or process change initiative you led in the workplace. What was the pain point you wanted to address, and what results did your idea generate?
How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know if you are the type of leader who would be proactive if you noticed an opportunity for positive change. Think of the ways you have made a positive impact on your employer in the past.
When the interviewer asks you to 'tell them about a time when...' it's an indicator they are looking for a specific story-based example. Provide an example that shows you have a high level of engagement and the confidence to recommend a change when you see the chance. To deliver this example, the STAR answer method is helpful. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result, and it can help you form a complete and engaging story when answering this style of interview question.
"(Situation) In my most recent position, I was alerted to a decline in profits, which may result in the cut back of hours and staff. (Task) As the General Manager, my first instinct was to help the company while also creating a fair solution for my team. (Action) After reading a few industry-related case studies of other companies and their successful approaches, I suggested implementing a work-share program. Our corporate head office agreed, and we implemented a 12-week work share program. (Result) This solution was the answer to pending layoffs, and although it temporarily cut hours back for our warehouse staff, it saved us from having to make permanent layoffs."
28. We provide a base salary plus additional potential perks such as stocks and a range of medical and financial benefits. What does your ideal compensation package include?
How to Answer
Talking about compensation can be intimidating. However, by developing a solid compensation ask, you can make salary questions much more comfortable to approach. You should always know what you are asking for, why you are asking for it, and how you will ask for it when the time comes to negotiate your pay structure.
Your overall compensation package includes far more than your annual salary. It can also include factors such as:
- Overtime pay
- Bonuses whether they be monthly, quarterly, or annually
- Recognition-based bonuses or awards from contests
- Stock options
- Vacation pay
- Benefits packages
- Health benefits
- Non-cash benefits
One of the best ways to approach compensation conversations is to have a clear idea of the following points:
- What you want to make
- What you need to make
- What your minimum threshold is
- What the market is telling you about your job title and industry in your region
Comparably.com tells us that the average base salary for an Amazon Operations Manager is $105K/year. Data also shows that bonuses are available, making the average annual pay around $146K/year. Also included in Amazon's compensation package will be a range of medical and other benefits. If you have some idea of the compensation range but are not entirely sure of the full offering, consider turning the question into an opportunity for a conversation.
"I am very interested in learning more about the details of this Operations Manager role and the compensation offering provided. I understand that similar positions in the area pay a base salary between $100,000 and $110,000 per year with the opportunity for a 10-15% annual bonus. With my skills, education, experience, and achievements, I would expect an offer in that range. I am also interested in discussing the overall compensation offering, such as bonuses, benefits, and vacation time. Could you share more details with me, please?"
29. We are looking for an Operations Manager with a collaborative leadership style. Describe what this means to you.
How to Answer
Amazon's Operation Managers are people leaders with accountability for 100+ team members. In this role, you will be expected to invest in your team and work with them collaboratively. People leadership is a significant component of this role, and the interviewer wants to know that you understand what it means to bring a collaborative leadership style to the workplace.
A collaborative leadership style might include:
- Showing your team that everyone can work creatively together
- Believing that a team works best when it comes together to solve problems
- Focusing on your influence more than your authority
- Spending time engaging your team members to perform to the best of their ability
- Creating an environment built on respect, shared goals, and trust
- Focusing on collective goals that benefit everyone on the team
- Collectively creating plans that everyone can feel passionate about
- Encouraging accountability across the entire team
"I believe that collaborative leadership means leading with influence rather than authority. As a collaborative leader, I will create a culture of enthusiasm, shared goals, and mutual respect for everyone. If I am chosen for this Operations Manager position, I will create and communicate goals, targets, and plans that every team member will feel passionate about, regardless of their seniority. I will encourage everyone to be accountable for their work and the success of others."
30. Operations Managers work closely with the HR Manager, Financial Manager, Facilities Manager, S&LP Manager, IT Manager, and other Senior Ops Managers. What do you believe will be your unique contribution to this leadership team?
How to Answer
This particular question presents two thoughts. First, as an Operations Manager with Amazon, you will be working in a cross-functional/cross-departmental environment where you must be ready to collaborate. Second, the interviewer wants to know exactly how hiring you will positively impact the team and Amazon as a whole. In essence, the interviewer is asking why they should hire you. When it comes to hiring decisions, Amazon will choose the person they believe can help them solve a pain point, grow the business, and generate positive results. Be prepared to highlight the unique value that you bring to this position.
"I understand that you are looking for an experienced Operations Manager who can lead a large team of more than 100 Area Managers and Associates while collaborating with numerous departments and senior leaders. In my current position, I lead a team of 80 full-time permanent employees and numerous temporary employees. It has been a great experience learning how to merge such large teams by working alongside other department leaders to ensure that deadlines are met by bringing these individuals together to work hard toward the same goal. This year, I was awarded 'Operations Manager of the Year' after being nominated by my peers, leadership team, and direct reports. I earned this recognition because I am a person who genuinely loves to lead others and nurture people to achieve their greatness. If you choose to hire me, I will bring tenacity and dedication, leading your team to optimum performance and success while also engaging them and nurturing them to pursue career growth within Amazon."