Amazon Lab126 Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
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Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied through other source and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon Lab126.
Interview Details – contacted through linkedin, 1 phone interview with hiring manager, 1 on site (7 hours with 45min interview each hour), then offer sent within 3 days. The whole process is pretty fast. Then goes salary negotiation.
Interview Question – Why Amazon allow negative reviews online Answer Question
Senior Solution Architect Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon Lab126.
Interview Details – I interviewed for a software solution architect position Summer, 2014.
I started out with 3 phone interviews before being invited to Sunnyvale for the interview. Amazon prepaid for the flight and hotel, I had to pay for taxies and dinner, which was reimbursed.
The phone interview questions were very high level – mostly just going over my work history and the type of companies I have worked with in the past. Zero questions about my education, interests outside of work, long term goals, etc.
The in person interview took place over the course of an afternoon. Before the interviews start, you must sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). You are placed in a small conference room and various people are brought in to chat. Each person brought in their laptop and read off questions from a list. Because of the NDA I won’t list specific questions, but each person asked the same basic questions, just worded differently.
Overall, the people I met with were nice, but left me feeling like Lab 126 is a cold place to work. There wasn’t one offer for a drink or snack, and since the interview was almost 6 hours long, that would have been nice! Just like my phone interview, they didn’t ask one question about me personally – just about work history and specific use cases in my past.
I think what Lab 126 misses is that the interview process isn’t just Lab 126 interview you, It’s also about you interviewing them too. One my questions to them was about the average years experience of their developers. I was lead to believe it’s a very young team, with “turnover typical of silicon valley.” That answer and the lack of a competitive salary lead me to decline their offer.
Interview Question – No difficult or "silicon valley type" questions. Answer Question
Reason for Declining – I got the impression Lab 126 is a stepping stone job for people. When a senior manager makes a comment about staying at Amazon for several years would be a bad move for your career, if makes you wonder.
Software Development Engineer II Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Amazon Lab126 in December 2011.
Interview Details – Quick hiring process ... recruiter got in touch with me soon after I submitted my resume. I had an interview within a week and two days later an offer. I had only two more days to decide on the offer. It was generous compared to my previous job but average for Bay Area.
Interview Question – Is there a situation in your career with your colleagues that you would like to fix (if given the chance)? What is your greatest achievement? Some think big questions. How would you solve the Netflix challenge? View Answer
Negotiation Details – I was given just a two day window to accept or reject. It would be a good idea to stall the recruiter and/or get alternate offers ready (though timing everything will not be easy).
Software Development Engineer II Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon Lab126.
Interview Details – My interview was schedule at 11.00 AM but they called me in at 10.AM, actually the interview was for Level5 and they grilled with for Level6 position.
Lot of Data structure related question, algorithm complexity questions, no where you will use these solutions.
Interview Question – The Bar raiser kept on asking me what next, what next, after I told what I do in current position. Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Software Development Test Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon Lab126 in May 2014.
Interview Details – I started off by talking with the hiring manager at a recruiting event. He's quite a nice guy, and we hit it off very well. The first interview was easy, we only spent a few minutes actually discussing technical problems, the remainder of the time I spent asking him questions.
Next was the hiring manager's supervisor. Again, a few technical questions, and then it was all discussions thereafter. No problem. Recruiter calls, and we schedule the on-site.
The on-site interview had me talking to five different people over about four hours. Each interview lasted roughly 45 minutes and really everyone was quite on time. What really got me, though, was the number of times that people mentioned the secret nature of the work that Lab 126 does. I've worked at facilities requiring SCI clearance before, and even though they are fairly tight-lipped around outsiders, they tend to be very open with one another--that's absolutely not the impression I got here.
In any case, each of the interviews consisted of a technical portion followed by a personality portion. Whiteboard coding was done--I think the interviewers actually transcribe your code into a computer and try to run it to see if it's correct, which is quite an interesting solution.
Lunchtime was scheduled at about halfway through the process. They actually do make employees pay for their own lunch, here; the corporate nature of this place is clearest in the cafeteria. Gives it a penny-pinching vibe that's tough to shake.
The HR person, though, was something else. All of the positive feelings I had towards the company to this point really just evaporated as soon as I started talking to her. She started off by telling me that Amazon wouldn't be able to offer me as much as I'm currently making, and then attempted to justify this by pointing out the fact that I hadn't held this specific position at some point in the past. When I pointed out that I had management experience, and intended to seek a promotion to a management role, she made it very clear that this was not going to happen, and that I should accept reduced compensation in exchange for the opportunity to work for Lab 126. Maybe that would have held water when I was fresh out of college, but I've got ten years experience now. I don't need an exciting opportunity to work with cutting edge technology; silicon valley is awash with such things.
I don't know what this place's problem is, but I know this: Amazon Lab 126 is looking for bargain basement prices on their talent. It'll work great for you if you're an intern, but if you've got real talent, go work for Google.
Interview Question – I was asked a question about finding the longest palendrome in a string. I discovered a naive algorithm relatively quickly, and then was asked to handle all corner cases. Took about 10 minutes. View Answers (2)
Reason for Declining – Even though the HR person told me that I hit it out of the park, they failed to offer me competitive salary. The HR person was also very weird, and when I told her my current compensation figure, the whole tone of the conversation shifted--somewhere between jealousy and incredulity.
When I got the offer, not only was it not competitive with my current position, but it's also not competitive to another offer that I had outstanding, and neither is it competitive even to current industry norms. It's not like I'm getting kicked out of my job, either; it's comfortable, I could continue on, I'm just exploring other opportunities.
I mean, I'm not sure whether to be insulted or just baffled. I was completely up-front with the existence of another offer before the interview started, I even told them the dollar figure, and the first thing that the HR person says to me is that Amazon won't be able to match. Then she says that Amazon requires innovative people, and I lack the specific experience on my resume for the position I was applying--which is absolutely false, as I have senior level positions that involve everything from firmware to websites design.
This strikes me as a mediocre, weird place to work.
Software Development Engineer In Test Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon Lab126 in May 2014.
Interview Details – Questions about your previous job experience. Questions to know your disagreement with the Management on certain design or solution. How did you resolved the disagreement?
Log analysis program. Write a java program to find number of occurrences of a keyword in logs. Categorize count of ERROR/INFO, files etc differently.
Interview Question – Log analysis program. Write a java program to find number of occurrences of a keyword in logs. Categorize count of ERROR/INFO, files etc differently. View Answer
Very Difficult Interview
Senior Software Development Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon Lab126 in July 2010.
Interview Details – At least 1 phone interview about past experience and some coding interview questions.
One or two site interviews with about 4 engineers for technical questions and one bar raiser.
The bar raiser is an experienced one but sometime they are not from the same field that you are applying for. Questions can be anything. There are some interview guidelines, but most of the time engineers do not learn the guidelines.
The second onsite interview most of the time is to see the managers and directors level, but sometime also has some technical questions.
Interview Question – In my field, ask more about bit field, linked list and hardware debugging skill, like i2c spec, but the most difficult one is to find all errors in a function. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I was looking badly for the job, so there is no negotiation
Senior Software Development Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I interviewed at Amazon Lab126 in April 2014.
Interview Details – Initial communication was great, all in all a very good experience. Technical phone-screens were all as expected. The interview questions were much more heavily design-focused than algorithms focused, probably due to the nature of the position I was applying to. Most of the soft skill questions were reasonable, but some of them sounded like the interviewers were driving at particular answers they were expecting, and it was difficult to gauge what they looking for. The interview would have been rough back when I was younger, but was quite reasonable for a senior level position. All in all, though, it was as good an experience as one could ask for.
Interview Question – One of the interviewers asked me a design question that was very far afield of my expertise, and I winged it as best I could -- after doing my best with that question, I bowed out of further consideration for that, and he gave me a much more general design question that was a bit of a softball, and I asked him some pointed questions regarding Amazon's distributed design ethos. The fact that the initial question was so far afield of my resume makes one question if that is the point, or if Answer Question
Reason for Declining – I had more than one offer to consider, and gave notice while debating between the two: my current employer immediately made me a counter-offer I couldn't refuse (significant promotion & raise).
Product Design Intern Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Amazon Lab126.
Interview Details – met at a school fair, received an email and set up interview at their office in cupertino
Interview Question – Asked how to make sure two parts with holes would be aligned. Was a question about how to create reference points. Also asked how a kindle case is made. Answer Question
QA Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
Interviewed at Amazon Lab126
Interview Details – I had phone interview with the hiring manager in February. It's a half hour interview. The interview did not go so well as we could not hear each other so well. No good chemistry.
Interview Question – No difficult question. I was asked some behavior questions as well as some Java questions, tools that I am currently using for testing mobile devices. Answer Question
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