Amazon Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 16, 2020
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Amazon helps millions of people find everything they need, from kitchen appliances to accessories. As the largest e-commerce retailer, there are opportunities at all levels to help millions of customers find what they need and add it to their home.

To keep all of their customers satisfied, Amazon employs a vast team of people to help with everything from managing their colossal database to delivering packages on time. No matter what your skill set is, there’s a job for you at Amazon.

This is especially true as people continue to stay indoors and have the world delivered to them. There are more opportunities than ever to get a job with Amazon if you know what to look for and how to impress a recruiter.

We’re going to take a look at how Amazon finds and hires new employees, plus give you some tips on how to navigate the hiring process at the e-commerce giant. Follow our guide, and you’ll be ready for an interview with Amazon in no time.

Interview Process at Amazon

Amazon usually takes a five-step approach to hiring new employees. We’re going to break down the process, so you know what to expect when you get approached by a recruiter. Keep in mind that the process may be different depending on which job you’re applying for. Technical positions like engineers or software developers might need to take technical tests to prove their skills at some point in the process, but other candidates might not need to take any assessments.

First, a quick note on how to apply for a job at Amazon: while the company does list open positions on their website, Amazon recruiters tend to prefer reaching out to you through networks like LinkedIn. You might want to do some digging and connect with recruiters on networking sites when applying for a job with Amazon. Often, people who get hired by Amazon are actually approached by the company first, so make sure you’re active on professional sites.

  1. Apply or get contacted. The first step in Amazon’s process is to get in touch with the company. Whether that means you apply for a job posting on their site, or a recruiter reaches out to you, you need to establish contact with the company. Be sure to have your updated resume ready for this step since you’ll need it to apply or send over to the recruiter.

  2. Phone interview. The next step is usually a phone screen or a quick phone interview. These are meant to make sure your skills fit the position, and it gives you a chance to make sure the position is what you’re really looking for.

    Be prepared to highlight your skills that are relevant to the job description and give the recruiter your salary expectations if they ask. Don’t forget to ask about the next steps so you can send over any additional materials (like references or a portfolio) and have some idea of what the hiring timeline is.

  3. Video interview. If you make it past the phone screen, you’ll be invited to do a video interview and meet more people at the company to talk in-depth about your skills and experience.

    This is when you’ll show off your specific knowledge, like your technical expertise if you applied for a software engineer position or your strategy approaches for a project management job.

  4. Onsite interviews. If you make it past the first two rounds of interviews, you may be invited to an onsite interview at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. These interviews are typically for corporate jobs, so if you’re looking at a delivery position or something similar, you probably won’t have to travel to Seattle.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

    This interview is more of a visit where you get to spend a few days with an Amazon employee whose job is similar to the one you’re applying to. They’ll evaluate you on how you behave, what questions you ask, and how you fit in with the company culture.

  5. Job offer. After you’ve made it through all of Amazon’s steps in the hiring process, your recruiter or the hiring manager will let you know if you got the job. A hiring committee makes the decision and creates the job offer, but you can negotiate terms if you want.

    If you didn’t get the job, don’t worry about it. Amazon always has new jobs opening up, and you can always try again now that you know the hiring process’s ins and outs.

Interview Questions at Amazon

To ace your interview, you should do some research before talking to a recruiter at any stage. Some of the research you’ll want to do is about the questions recruiters commonly ask and the company’s core values.

Knowing both of these things can help you better prepare your answers and relate your responses to Amazon’s values. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions in Amazon interviews that can come up at any point in their interview and hiring process:

  • Why do you want to work for Amazon?

  • Can you tell me who the CEO of Amazon is?

  • Explain a time when you were given criticism and how you responded.

  • Can you tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager and how you resolved it?

  • What metrics do you consider important for growth?

  • What has been your most difficult experience with a tough customer?

  • Can you give me a quick pitch for [product or service you’ll be working with in the position]?

  • Have you had to take on a project that was outside of your expertise or job description? How did you handle it?

  • Can you tell me about a time you had to make a decision without all of the data or options in front of you?

  • How would you handle a situation where you saw another employee stealing?

  • If one of your colleagues wasn’t contributing their share to your work, how would you handle the situation?

  • Can you tell me about a time you had to abandon a project or change directions midway through your work?

  • Which Amazon leadership principle speaks to you the most?

  • How did you handle the most difficult professional situation in your life?

  • How do you go about persuading people?

  • Tell me about a time you created a poor customer experience and how you fixed it.

  • Can you explain a time when you made a decision you felt ambiguous about?

  • How do you prioritize customer experience?

  • Imagine you’re given conflicting directions from two different managers. How would you approach the situation?

  • Have you dealt with a hostile customer? How did you handle it?

  • What would you do if you saw one of your coworkers being unsafe at work?

  • Explain how you would solve a problem if you were from Mars.

  • What is the worst mistake you ever made, and how did you fix it?

Tips for Interviewing With Amazon

Before getting on the phone or meeting with an interviewer, you should do some prep work and go over these tips.

  • Know the company’s values. Make sure you know what Amazon values and how that will reflect in your job and your work. Get familiar with their leadership principles and find a way to tie those into your interview responses. It will help you stand out as a potential employee who aligns with the company and show you did your research.

  • Update your resume. Having a resume tailored for the job you’re applying for will make you look like the perfect match. It’s also an excellent way to get familiar with the job description and make sure you know what you’re applying for.

  • Know the company culture. Amazon hires based on skills, but company culture fit is just as important in the final decision. Learn more about the company culture and how you could be a great fit and contribute to the work environment.

  • Show your creativity. One thing that sets Amazon recruitment apart is that they’re constantly looking for creative people and pioneers who will bring innovation to the company. No matter what position you’re applying for, highlight your creative and problem-solving skills and how you can be an asset to the company.

  • Get comfortable with the “bar raiser.” Amazon uses a “bar raiser” in their interview process, which is someone who acts as the final say on your candidacy after interviewing you. You should know what their role is and get familiar with them to really wow them. Knowing who to impress will give you an advantage when it comes time to meet them.

  • Practice behavioral questions. Many of Amazon’s most used interview questions are behavioral questions. This means that they’ll ask you questions looking for examples of times you overcame obstacles.

    Doing a little prep and getting answers ready before your interview can help you really wow your interviewer and show up prepared. Think about ways to answer these questions with the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Results) to get the most thorough answer possible.

  • Be prepared for a long process. Amazon prides itself on only hiring the best candidates, so get ready to undergo a long process. While the hiring process can be long, it’s a good opportunity to get to know the company, the role, and your potential coworkers. Use the interview process to check your interest in the position and the company, so you don’t accept a job you don’t love.

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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