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.
Interview Question – In person interviews :
Day before :
If you've made it this far, first off, congrats. Take a step back and realize you're already among the best. Relatively few people actually make it this far, but you're not off the bat yet. You'll very probably be doing a 3 day/2 night stay. I had to fly across country, (E to W coast.) and that trip alone is enough to stress anyone out. But once you FINALLY get there, just get to your hotel. Public transit is pretty easy from the airport to downtown, but take a cab if you prefer.
Honestly, the best thing you can do this first day, is just get your bearings. Drop your stuff off in the hotel, and find just some normal (for you) food. Don't get all exotic and try something you've never had. Don't get alcohol. I sound probably like your mother. Sorry. But just try to find where you'll be interviewing. Get a feeling for how long it'll take to get there in the worst case scenario.
Once you've done all that, I'd hang out in the room, review some of the above stuff a bit, and try to hit the hay by 10 at the latest.
Breathe. I went for a nice little jog in the gym across the street. Helped to relax me a bit. Whatever helps you do that, find it and do it. Eat a light and again, KNOWN breakfast. If you've never eaten it before, DO NOT do it that day. I'd recommend something simple, toast, fruit etc. Dress well, not full out suit, but I wouldn't show up in a tank top and shorts. (Though, one of my interviewers was in shorts... so???) I just did khakis and tucked in button down with rolled up sleeves.
I walked there, it was about a 15 minute walk and showed up about 40 minutes early. I wouldn’t personally go any earlier than that, but there’s a starbucks downstairs, so that might be a good place to relax a bit before you go upstairs. The receptionist greeted me, and got me all checked in. Once you sit down, this is an **ideal** time to turn off your cell phone. And I mean off. Few things are more detrimental to an interview than having that random alarm you set go off in the interview. Just turn it off. All the way off. It’ll be OK, your texts will be there when you’re done I promise.
The first person I met with wasn’t an interviewer. She was just to talk to me a bit, walk me to the room I’d be in for the rest of the day, and chat with. Ask this person your questions. We got coffee, sat down for a bit and just chatted. She asked what I did, I asked what she did etc. She told me about who I’d be meeting with that day, and my general timeline after the interview. Super nice.
The next 5 hours were just random questions about CS in general. Be prepared to write a lot of code that day (on a whiteboard), and know your crap. You’ll be asked all kinds of fun questions, probably very specific to the domain of the team interviewing you. Know the same stuff from above.
In these interviews, it’s best to show your confidence, and show them your knowledge, but more importantly your potential. You’ll very probably know 75% to 80% of the content they ask right off the bat. The rest may require some thinking out loud and vocalizing your thought process. Don’t stare at the board blankly. Talk to them, ask questions, bounce ideas off them, and just be a normal person. Pretend you already have the job, and they’re just there as a code reviewer/fellow engineer. I promise, it’ll go quickly, and by the end, you won’t believe how much knowledge you were able to just spout out.
That being said, I’ll quote one of the engineers, “The best thing you can do is to just get something working.” And he’s right. Just get an implementation down. Don’t necessarily write the most naive approach or the brute force approach (as a general rule, anything with a O(n^2) or worse run time isn’t worth writing down), but the next best idea, just go with it. Don’t over engineer it at first, just start. And then yall can optimize together. They’re great people, and they just want to see how you think.
Finally, just be yourself. Show them you like coding, and it’s what you want to do with them. Don’t be afraid to interact with them like they’re just old coding buddies. Make them laugh, have fun, but not too much. Remember, they’re still ultimately responsible for your next job. Just be you, and be confident. You go this in the bag already.
Most importantly, go out and celebrate when you're done. :D View Answers (12)
Negotiation Details – As a recent grad, there wasn't much room for negotiation.
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
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2014.
Interview Details – I was selected for a phone interview, scheduled time away from my current job to fulfill a one hour time slot away from the office I drove to work 45 minutes away instead of busing so that I could leave for the interview mid-day. After 15 minutes of waiting for the call at a Starbucks, I emailed the person who scheduled the interview about the delay. an additional 30 minutes later, I called her and was informed that there was a last minute reason they had to postpone the interview and I would hear from them later that week. Despite my attempts to follow up, I never heard from them again.
I can understand not being selected, but I can't understand that they wouldn't let me know early enough for me to avoid wasting so much time.
Interview Question – The most difficult question was mine:
I can understand not being selected, but I can't understand that they wouldn't let me know early enough for me to avoid wasting so much time. Why would you schedule me for an interview, then lose interest in me and not even let me know but rather just not show up? If I did the same, I would probably be blacklisted by your company! Answer Question
Interviewed at Amazon.com
Interview Details – There is an hr interview to start. If you pass that (which if you are somewhat qualified you should), you'll have an initial interview based on the leadership principles. A second interview will follow where you have to do a case study. If you pass both, there will be an on campus interview with 5-7 people. Expect Amazon to follow a strict process (no surprise) and be on top of everything (you won't be left wondering whether or not you will move on to the next step and what happened)
Reason for Declining – Everyone was professional just had other offers that suited me better
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in April 2014.
Interview Details – I applied online to various positions in early March 2014. I did not know anyone who works in Amazon who could refer me. So I was actually unsure if I would get selected at all.
About 2 weeks later I received an email from a recruited inviting me for a phone interview to be scheduled 10 days later.
About 10 days after the phone interview I received an email from a different recruiter this time inviting me for in person interview in Seattle, scheduled for the week after.
They paid for 2 nights stay in a nice hotel and flight. They also gave me daily allowances for meals and taxi. The hotel had complimentary wifi connection, so I didn't need to worry about that.
One day prior to the in person interview, I spoke to yet another hiring manager who described in detail the benefits package, base salary, bonus and so on. The benefit package sounds pretty good to me, and I was excited hoping to ace the interview so that I could be part of the company. The manager said they should be able to come into decision by the next business day or two.
Day of in person interview.
I came in 15 minutes early. There were 4 other people waiting in the reception area also coming in for interviews, but they seem to be interviewing for different positions. I passed in the Non Disclosure Agreement that I signed earlier.
Met with various team members, from 9 AM to 1 PM, for approximately 45 minutes each.
Each interviewers introduced themselves, and explained that while they seemed to be typing in their laptop, they were actually not emailing or Facebooking, but rather typing in their feedback for the interview. Fair enough. But I felt none of my interviewers seem too friendly, basically none of them seem to be smiling.
At noon I had lunch with one of the managers, paid by Amazon, and it's also part of the interview, basically get to know you better. The manager asked questions about my current work, how do I deal with coworkers for different situations.
After the interview I felt unsure about the whole thing. There were parts of the interview where I feel stumped and unsure how to answer them, mostly technical question, eg why do implement this instead of that. Well my mistake, as I don't really know why. It was just the pattern that I've been following in my current company. I guess it shows that I didn't care much about my code, that I just wanted to get things done without trying to understand things? I really don't know.
Well anyways. It has been more than one week since the interview. I emailed recruited number 2 about my status, and was told to contact the hiring manager. Hiring manager did not respond to my email. I guess I didn't land a job. My application status in their online system still shows to be 'Under Review' but perhaps they just didn't bother updating it.
Thank you for reading, I hope you all interviewing with Amazon will have better experience than mine. Good luck.
Interview Question – Asked about challenges at work, how do you resolve conflict with coworkers, and what did you learn from the experience. Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2014.
Interview Details – The interview process was approx. 3 -4 weeks long. It involved 3 sets of phone interviews with different levels of recruiters. They also send over a questionnaire, approx. 16 questions long. The questions are all about your sales experience and technique. After finally getting through these 3 rounds, you visit their office and meet with sales managers, amazon employee in another dept, and a phone call to an amazon employee in a different office. The sales managers are looking to make sure you are a good fit for their team. The person on the phone is looking to see if you are compatible with the company. They are obsessed with their core values and want you to drink the amazon Kool-Aid. Be prepared to relate your experiences to several of their principles.
Interview Question – Have many examples ready of sales that went poorly, sales you loved, times you disagreed with a manager, if you could start any company, what would it be. Answer Question
I applied through college or university and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – Applied on college job site. Received an email to pick a date to have two 45 minute interviews at my college career center. First interview had a pretty common question. Second interview was more difficult, not types of question you would see in Cracking the Coding Interview. Overall, the interview was fair. Just practice writing out code on paper or a whiteboard if you have a face-to-face interview and brush up on basic algorithms! I interviewed on Thursday and received an email with offer on Monday.
Interview Question – Signed NDA Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiation for interns
I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2014.
Interview Details – 1st phone interview - Recruiter - March 24th
2nd phone interview - HR Regional Manager
3rd email - 2.5 weeks later/did not get it - April 17th
"Apologies for the delay in replying, I was awaiting confirmation about the position. I'm afraid we have now filled all of the HRBP roles unfortunately as we had three candidates who could make the interviews last week and I'm afraid all were successful.
We will keep your details on file, should the situation change for whatever reason.
Wishing you the very best in your ventures.
Interview Question – What would you suggest to make your work more fun? Answer Question
I applied through college or university and interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – Talked to two interviewers, each asked me a basic question about object oriented programming and scripting. I spent about 45 minutes with each interviewer. They were both nice and polite.
Interview Question – No unexpected questions Answer Question
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