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.
Operations Manager Interview Questions
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.
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.
"(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."
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?
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."
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?
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."
If hired to be Amazon's next Operations Manager, how will you approach building positive relationships with the people you will be leading?
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."
Tell me about a manager you had in the past and how you have modeled your behavior after them.
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."
Amazon looks for proactive leaders. What steps will you take to share best practices consistently across all 100+ people you will be leading?
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."
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.
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."
As an Operations Manager, you will be responsible for at least 100 employees. Do you have experience leading a large team?
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."
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?
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."
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?
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?"
Amazon Operations Managers have significant financial accountabilities. Describe your budgetary experience and responsibilities.
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."
Our Operations Managers are expected to develop their team members. How will you approach professional development with your direct reports?
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."
Amazon is defining the future of online retail. How will you contribute to this mission as an Operations Manager?
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."
Do you have experience in corrective discipline and terminations?
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."
How will you coach and mentor your team members to ensure they meet performance objectives?
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."
Discuss your experience creating staffing schedules in a 24/7, 365 environment.
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?
If an Area Manager or Associate was not maintaining compliance or consistency, what corrective action would you deem appropriate?
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?
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?
A primary focus of this role is motivating, mentoring, and managing your team. Do you consider yourself a 'servant leader?'
When you encounter a personnel issue, how do you address the situation?
Tell us about your operations management experience in a manufacturing, production, or distribution environment.
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?
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?
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?
We are looking for an Operations Manager with a collaborative leadership style. Describe what this means to you.
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?
Amazon is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace. How will you support these efforts if hired as an Operations Manager?
What questions do you have for me about the team of Area Managers and Associates you would be leading?