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Amazon.com Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 19, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

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Interview Experience  

51%
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Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
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1 person found this helpful

Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com.

Interview Details – I was contacted by Amazon.com recruiter, and decided to speak to him out of curiosity (I already had a job and was happy there). There was no phone interview per se, in person interview look was quickly arranged.
I had five 1:1 interviews, one of which was a lunch where I was the one asking questions. Of course, they all count, no matter if I am answering or asking questions. Each of the other four interviews included a programming question, and having read GlassDoor reviews in advance, I knew almost all would include some sort of hash table. Two were developers, three were managers.
I received a call the next day that they would extend the offer. But I did not receive the offer for three weeks. When I did, it was not to my satisfaction. Attempt to negotiate was not successful, so I declined.

Interview Question – One of the interviewers asked me to implement a file system. What was in particular frustrating is that he left is so open ended as to the level of detail required, yet expected a specific answer and was unhappy that I took a different approach.   View Answer

Reason for Declining – Financially, they were merely able to match what I currently make, and vacation and benefits were far inferior to my current company. I would not have accepted without a significant raise.


Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

Senior Software Development Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in May 2012.

Interview Details – I had initially applied to a position in their Cambridge office, but a recruiter from one of the Seattle offices found it and contacted me. We scheduled a phone interview for the next week.

The first phone interview involved coding. Specifically, there was an algorithm question that was followed by a design question. This interview felt like it went well. About an hour after the interview, I received an email asking for a second phone interview.

The second phone interview was much like the first. However, in addition to a design and algorithmic question, I was also posed a straightforward topology/architecture question. This interview also felt like it went well. The next day, they contacted to schedule an on-site interview.

Both phone interviews were conducted on a real-time text-sharing and -editing website (in addition to the phone).

I am not located in Seattle, so I was flown out about 10 days after the second phone interview. Amazon put me up at a nice hotel and covered all of the expenses for my trip, which ended up being three days and two nights.

My on-site interview consisted of seven back-to-back interviews. Five of them were technical and comprised of a good mix of algorithm and design questions with a bias towards algorithms. The majority of these interviews were 45 minutes and we used every last moment. In some of the interviews, I was given a couple minutes to ask questions. Some of my technical interviewers did not have a copy of my resume and did not seem interested in my work history. A few of the interviewers were not members of the hiring team. In additional to the technical interviews, I had lunch with the hiring manager, where I was given plenty of time to ask questions. The manager also took some time to ask me a few non-technical questions. Finally, there was a brief interview with an HR representative to discuss logistics.

Overall, I felt the interview went well.

I received an offer approximately two business days after the on-site interview.

Interview Question – Given a trie and a prefix, find the word (in the trie) that starts with some subsequence of the prefix and also has the longest such subsequence.   View Answers (2)

Reason for Declining – Amazon made an attractive offer, but I decided that moving to Seattle wasn't something I wanted to do.


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in December 2011.

Interview Details – I get three phone call, and asked about 5 question for each of it.

Interview Question – given a large array of int return the length of the longest increasing(non-necessarily-adjacent) sub-sequence   View Answers (3)


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in May 2012.

Interview Details – HR contacted me after I applied online, had forst phone interview, time ran out before completing the algorithm so the interviewer asked me to email it to him. Then, the next day got a call from HR to schedule another phone interview, this time I kinda screwed it up, I took the whole time to solve the problem, couldn't so interviewer asked me to send it in 40 min, I did manage to send it in 3 hours, but got rejected the next day :(

Interview Questions

  • Exaplain Hashtable. Explain polymorphism. Design a OOD for a system like Netflix.   Answer Question
  • In a binary tree where each node contains the number which says how many children the node have, now if that tree is traversed in inorder, find k-th element.   Answer Question
  • Given a matrix of MxN, find the components that are unique. It was more like, finding connected graph with DFS.   Answer Question


7 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2012.

Interview Details – A friend of mine working in Amazon forwarded me for a role in their Kindle division. That led to a phone interview where I was asked for an optimal search pattern in a binary tree.

Now here is where the problems begin. The interviewer did not seem to accept my answer "it depends on the data" and "I never write an algorithm myself without researching for an existing implementation first" and seemed to feel I was avoiding the question. My maxim is that the best coders always avoid writing new code - new code is buggy, and half your time goes on debugging, so maximising productivity equals trying to never write new code. Anyway I kept arguing, but after ten minutes I felt compelled to give him what he wanted so I told him "this will be a very poor answer" and I wrote out an O(N^2) answer.

The interviewer then wanted me to optimise it. Again, I argued that is impossible without knowing a lot more about the data. He then suggested a technique which involved traversing to the top of the tree from each node until the paths overlapped, which is a compsci textbook 101 answer but anyone experienced knows that that approach tramples all over the CPU and TLB caches if the binary tree is a linked list randomly spread over memory, which it usually is. In other words, it's a hidden scaling limit because it adds pressure to the memory bus, then you hit the memory wall sooner. Often, it can be better to use a O(N^2) or even a O(N^4) search adjacent to a node in order to improve data locality because the link pointers don't introduce as many read stalls.

Anyway, I digress. I repeatedly suggested to the interviewer to look at my resume rather than get hung up on compsci 101 algorithm questions. I am the author of a few well known and popular open source algorithm implementations which one would have thought would suffice. I also serve on ISO Programming Language standards committees. Either the interviewer did not know what those are, or it didn't matter to him.

Ultimately, it makes little difference to me - finding employment isn't hard for someone with my background. Glassdoor wanted a review to unlock my new account, so that's my review. In short, I think Amazon focuses far too heavily on elementary compsci questions in their recruitment process. What's far more important in an engineer is how good they are at finding an existing implementation and adapting it for purpose. The best engineers always avoid writing new code, and *especially* new algorithms whenever they possibly can. I think I've written no more than three new algorithm implementations in the past five years - each has gone on to be a roaring success as an open source library, which suggests I'm very good at it. But honestly, it's simply bad engineering to constantly reinvent the wheel. Recruitment shouldn't look for people who do!

Interview Question – Traverse nodes in a binary tree   View Answers (10)


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2012.

Interview Details – I got an email from a recruiter, went to an interview in the following week. It was an international recruite event. The interview went ok, really enjoyed meeting with those guys from amazon, both recruiter and interviewer. Received a call from hr a few days later, with an job offer for a position based in seattle.

Negotiation Details – Negotiated some increase in bonus but not too much.


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2011.

Interview Details – I went through 3 telephone interviews, the first was the typical HR phone screen, then a technical screen with the manager of the group, and another technical screen with a senior member of the group.

The questions were all fairly technical data structures / algorithms questions you can find anywhere... Some of the questions were unique to amazon, and dealing with large data sets.

Interview Question – Given an array and a sum, determine if any of the items add up to sum. Do a linear space solution and constant time solution.   View Answers (2)


Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2012.

Interview Details – 2 phone screen included, then go onsite to meet about 6 amazon engineers, one of them are hiring manager and had lunch together. During lunch, there isn't technical questions asked but rather background and interests.

Also, the other interviews are just coding, algorithm, design like any other interviews. one interview is more difficult than others.

Interview Question – a dynamic programming questions (can't disclose because of NDA)   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Amazon.com in January 2012.

Interview Details – I first passed two phone interviews, with standard algorithm and design questions, similar to ones posted on GlassDoor. I was flown to Seattle for interviews. The hotel was nice, but breakfast was not included. I interviewed with 9 people, some 1:1, but most 2:1, and one 3:1. Most interview questions can be found on GlassDoor, or are very similar. The final interview was with the "bar raiser", which I basically failed. I also had a hard time with an algorithm efficiency question since the interviewer misunderstood my code. In general, the people were smart and nice. Questions were pretty much the same as posted on this site. The bar raiser asked questions requiring familiarity with implementation of Reliability and Durability within a distributed messaging system architecture. I was surprised to learn that Amazon developers are periodically on call, and even more surprised to learn they can expect to be called when they are! I would say the interview questions were more difficult than average, but it is hard to maintain high energy and mental agility through so many interviews, so I rate the process Very Difficult.

Interview Question – How would you find if a list of strings, at least one is a prefix of another?   View Answer


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in October 2011.

Interview Details – It took 2 weeks to schedule the interview. There was 1 phone interview which was easy. Interviewer was friendly.
Was asked about basics of object oriented concepts, some data structure concepts and a couple of programming questions. They seem to concentrate on Data structures and object oriented concepts.

Interview Questions

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