Amazon.com Interview Questions & Reviews
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Software Development Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in May 2013.
Interview Details – Called out of the blue, asked if I'd be interested in interviewing. Still not entirely sure how they got my name. Had first phone interview the next week, asked no personal questions, all technical in nature. Total of 3 phone interviews and an in-person trip out to Seattle.
Took about 4 months start to finish. The people in the in person interview were wonderful. Very smart, laid back, and understanding. Got lunch, small tour of campus, and learned what I'd be doing. Got the offer 2 business days after the in person interview.
Sadly, I signed a NDA and I respect the terms of that. As such, I can't give you any specific questions, but I'll gladly give you the best advice I have.
Phone Interviews :
Phone interviews are sucky by nature. Coordinating a call from west to east coast alone is painful, add the fact that phones just take away the benefits of body language, and just make it harder to hear, and you've got a recipe for disaster. But fear not! Here are some helpful hints, some of which are obvious, some of which are not.
1. Get ready ahead of time. I just mean, get to the area you'll be doing the interview beforehand. I'd recommend an hour or more, just to get your nerves ready. Breathe, get used to the surroundings, and get everything laid out ahead of time. Which brings me to...
2. I know it's a "programming" interview, but for the love of all things good, have a pen and paper ready and at your disposal. Bring a backup pen. Much like a printer, the pen will fail at the worst possible time. You may also need a laptop, as I was asked to do "on the fly" programming. But close anything and everything distracting. Speaking of...
3. Pick a spot where there are no distractions. You'll want your undivided attention on this interview. Don't have BookTweet or FaceSpace or MyGram or that crap open if you have a laptop. And I personally wouldn't pick a public space, you never know when an annoying parent will put their screaming child right beside you.
4. Breathe. Just breathe. Take a moment, stretch, and remember you got this. If you have trouble hearing, don't be afraid to ask again. Don't be afraid to say you don't know. Do as for clarifications, and state assumptions up front. Always re-state the problem as you understand it.
As for the content : For the love of God, know what a time complexity is, and how to determine it for any and all code you write. Know the time complexities of all sorts. Know all data structures, how to use them, and properties of each. (Insertion time, deletion, etc) Generally know what heck you're talking about. But don't talk too much. You don't want silence at any point really, but you certainly don't want to let the interviewer not get a word in. Know graph theory, tree theory, and all the fun stuff associated with more "complex" structures. Understand what your language does behind the scenes, as far as GC and compiling go. Know how your language use internal structures to manage the code/objects you write.
Negotiation Details – As a recent grad, there wasn't much room for negotiation.
Area Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in January 2014.
Interview Details – A compilation of all the behavioral questions on this website.
1. Tell me about yourself
4. Why Amazon?
5. How can you translate your skills towards Amazon?
6. What experiences do you have that separate you from the rest?
1. Tell me about a time when you were leading a group, were assigned a goal, and did not reach it
2. Tell me about a time when you had a group conflict and how did you overcome this conflict?
3. How did your actions in a leadership role increase productivity?
4. Tell me about a time when you dealt with an employee with poor performance
5. What is your take on leadership?
6. Tell me about a time when you had a group conflict and how you overcame this conflict?
7. What kind of roles have you done that were leadership roles?
Behavioral Leadership & Safety & Customer Service
1. Tell me about a time when you dealt with ambiguity?
2. How important is safety to you? Rank Customer Service, Quality, Safety
3. Do you go against a supervisor who made a decision that goes against corporate policy and is a potential safety issue for one of your employees
4. How would you handle an employee who showed up to work drunk? (not very relevant)
5. Name a time you had to convince someone to do something they did not want to do
6. Tell me about a situation where you directly impacted customer satisfaction
7. What type of leader are you? Explain your leadership style. What does it mean to be a leader?
8. How do you motivate people?
9. What did you admire most about one of your previous supervisors
1. Tell me about a time you failed and how you handled it?
2. Tell me about an ethical conflict with your boss and how you’ve handled it
3. How do you deal with stress?
4. Have you ever proposed an idea to a superior and were ignored despite knowing that it would produce a positive result? How did you handle it?
5. Explain a time when you had to deal with poor job performance
6. Name a time you screwed up
7. What frustrates you
Continuous Improvement/ Problem Fixing
1. Tell me about a time when you leaned out a process
2. Tell me about a time you had a difficult job to solve
3. Walk me through a different scenario of a process you invented or improved
4. Tell me about a time you attempted to refine a process and failed
5. Give an example of a time when you found a simple solution to a seemingly difficult problem
6. How has your past experiences included lean management, six sigma, kaizen
Interview Question – Tell me about yourself. Don't say something typical View Answer
Software Development Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2014.
Interview Details – I had been contacted by a recruiter from Amazon for a job I had applied to about 2 months earlier. She said a new position had opened up and asked if I was still interested. This was for a software development manager.
I had 2 phone screens (1 with the hiring manager, and 1 with a sr. software developer on the team). Nothing too out of the ordinary - some high level architecture questions and some open ended behavioral questions.
I didn't think anything would come from it, but shortly after the second phone screen, they asked if I could fly out to Seattle for in-person interviews (I live right outside of Washington DC). I set that up for the following week (they use a travel agency, so it's pretty straightforward).
The process was very well set up and everyone seemed pretty laid back and professional. The first person I talked for about 30 minutes was an hr manager. He explained that how Amazon interviews is different than most other companies. Instead of bringing in 3 or 4 candidates for a position then picking one, Amazon first wants to know if you're a good fit for the company. If you are, then they try and match you with a position that seems to be the best fit. So they are really hiring you for the company more than the specific position. And he also mentioned (as did a few of the other people I talked to), that it is pretty easy to move around within the company if you want a new or different challenge at some point.
The interview day is fairly intense - I met with 7 different people (1:1). The types of questions were similar to what I had experienced in the phone screens. A lot of behavioral type questions: "tell me about a time a project failed... got behind schedule... how did you handle it". They are really looking for how you deal with various situations. There were also some architecture and systems design questions.
My interview day was on Wednesday and they called the following day to offer my a position. Instead of a software development manager, they liked me for a technical program manager position. After looking at the job description, this really did make a lot of sense (I have managed software teams in the past, but also have a lot of project management experience). So I thought they did a good job of matching me to the right position (I talked a lot about project management processes, client management, planning, etc. during the interviews).
All in all, it was a positive experience. One thing I would have changed was the location of the hotel. The travel agent put me outside of city (This was not Amazon's fault). Not being familiar with Seattle, I didn't realize how inconvenient it would be to get around (and I stayed an extra day after the interview to check out the city). I would strongly recommend that if they offer to fly you out and put you up in a hotel, that you make sure to get a room in downtown Seattle. Minor detail - but worth noting.
Interview Question – There was not one question that stood out as being most difficult. I would say just be very prepared to talk about past projects and give specifics about your past experiences. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Negotiating the offer as I write this.
Warehouse Associate Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Amazon.com
Interview Details – Drug test and background test. There was also a questionare on the computer that had to be done. Human resources will then give you a call and let ypu know when you can come in for orientation.
Interview Question – Nothing really difficult or unexpected View Answer
Very Easy Interview
Warehouse Associate Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2014.
Interview Details – I applied online at Amazon.com. About two weeks later I got an email asking me if I wanted to set up an appointment online. It was a direct hire event for a new warehouse opening up in Moreno Valley. I set up an appointment that wasn't for another three weeks. I arrived at a hotel that had Amazon signs showing you where to go. When I went inside there was some amazon employees sitting at a few tables, and there was a line of people waiting to speak with them. When I finally sat down to speak with them, I expecting an interview but instead the employee asked for my ID and my diploma and told me there was no interview and then she gave me a contingency letter offer of employment. I got the job as long as I passed the background check and oral drug test. The lady sent me to another room with about 20 other people who got the job to take our oral drug test and watch a video about Amazon and what they had to offer to there new employees! It was by far the easiest interview I had ever been to in my life. Although it wasn't really an interview because they didn't ask me a single question.
Interview Question – No questions were asked. View Answer
Negotiation Details – No negotiation. Take what they give you, which is not bad considering it's a warehouse job.
Very Difficult Interview
Program Manager II Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in November 2012.
Interview Details – The interviewing process is very well organized. You will have your first contact with the HR representative, then you will have a screening interview with either the hiring manager or a senior peer. Then you'll be asked to submit samples of your work. You will be brought to the location you're supposed to work for an in-person interview. The team of interviewers consist of hiring manager, peers and a senior manager. You will be interviewed for about 4 hours and it's a behavioral interview based on the leadership principles of Amazon. Each interviewer usually interviews you based on 2 leadership principles. So, do your homework and research on the leadership skills. If will be evaluated based on your skills and if you will be able to raise the bar. The process is almost flawless and you need to be prepared with good examples and how you made an impact on the companies you worked for. And please don't wear a suit as people will find it very odd. Dress business casual for your interview as the environment is super casual.
Interview Question – If you are interviewing for a SDE position, you will be required to pass a programming test. Other teams also give candidates some sort of test related to the job you're applying. The questions are based on the STAR model, being Situation/Task/Actions/ Results. Here is a sample hard question: "Tell me about time you had to learn something outside your comfort zone in order to drive results for your organization or to adapt to a change in the market, organization or other catalyst." View Answer
Negotiation Details – Negotiate your vacation up front and see if you can get additional vacation time. Get as much money on your way in because once you start working, your raises will be miniscule.
Brand Ambassador Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
Interviewed at Amazon.com
Interview Details – I saw the job post and applied. I was then contacted probably 2 weeks later. I had a phone interview with a representative from Amazon, and it was pretty straight forward - nothing really unexpected. I received an offer about a week later.
Interview Question – Nothing really too unexpected. What are a few qualities that would be a good for a brand ambassador to have? What are some potential problems a brand ambassador could run into? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No
Area Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – I connected with a recruiter via email after a job fair. I was initially set up for a phone interview, which consisted of 4 questions, three behavioral and one math question. It was pretty straightforward. I don't believe the interviewer knew anything about me, probably didn't even have a copy of my resume. I was then contacted about an on-site interview, in about three weeks. I attended the "on-site interviews," which were actually at a hotel. There were around 15 other candidates. I was interviewed by four different people, each asking behavioral questions, except for one who went over a harder math problem. It was fairly straightforward, but a little nerve-racking. The interviewers ask more questions that drill down to the details of your answers.
Interview Question – The question that caught me off guard the most was "Describe a time where you did something unexpected to reach a solution." Answer Question
Software Development Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
Interviewed at Amazon.com
Interview Details – 2 phone interview, 1 on-campus. Phone interview are about 40 minutes each. After that I had a one to one on-campus interview which takes 40 minutes as well. Phone interviews are pretty easy, went over my resume and asked a few technical questions.
Interview Question – Not very hard, typical programming questions about data structures, like hash tables. Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
Operations Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in July 2013.
Interview Details – The process is very structured. It is a POD setting with managers from all over the network participating. You may or may not be meeting with the people that you will eventually work with. You will be in a room with other candidates, who will be interviewing at the same time.
Interview Question – You will be expected to provide detailed summaries of how you have solved problems in the past. You will be expected to solve a series of math problems. Answer Question
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