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 2 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in December 2013.
Interview Details – I applied twice, once in early October and once in late October, and I talked to them at a career fair in between those two dates. I did not get an email until the night of December 3rd, which invited me to interview on December 5th. Usually companies will invite you to choose a specific date that fit your schedule so I found it a little rude for them to schedule an interview less than 48 hours away. Luckily I was free at that time, but I did not have a positive image of the process. The two interviews were going to be back to back 45 min phone interviews that started on the hour, so 15 min break in between.
The first interviewer was very friendly and easy to talk to. There was a small chat about my resume and the technical question (through collabedit) was to write a function that takes in an int and returns a string that would be how one would say that number (ex: 123 -> one hundred twenty three; 50019 -> five thousand nineteen). At the end I asked her a couple questions about her work and then prepared myself for the next interview.
The second interviewer was even friendlier and nicer and asked more conceptual questions, but they were much easier than I expected. First question was tell me what you know about recursion. Then he asked me to code a function that returned the max integer in an array (no joke). Then a couple questions on sorting algorithms and how I would keep track of duplicates in an array, and how I would keep track of the indeces of duplicates in an array (hashset, hashmap).
Side note: the interviewers will take screenshots of your code as you type to track your progress.
After the interviews, I heard back 2.5 weeks later saying I had gotten the offer. I believe the your interviewers are from the teams that you are interviewing for. Overall, I was happy with my interviews, but very displeased with the recruiters. My recruiter still takes forever to respond to my emails.
Interview Question – write a function that takes in an int and returns a string that would be how one would say that number (ex: 123 -> one hundred twenty three; 50019 -> five thousand nineteen). Answer Question
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 Answer Question
I interviewed at Amazon.com in January 2014.
Interview Details – 2 Hour phone interview. 2 rounds of 45 mins each in those 2 hours. Result after 10 days.
- Merge 2 sorted arrays without having duplicates.
- Find all the possible permutations of a given string.
- One simple question on hashmap.
- Hashing concept in detail.
- Complexity of all the codes.
- A few questions based on resume.
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2014.
Interview Details – Two back-to-back interview, each has 45 minutes.
Interview Question – (1) two sums : given a list of numbers, return the indexes of two values whose sum is a given value. (2) Revers a string list View Answer
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2014.
Interview Details – Contact by hr through email, set up the interview date(which is the next day...), which I asked for a reschedule, put off for an week.
Two back to back phone interview, each 45 minutes. 15m break between the two round interview. Each round: basic data structure, then 2-3 coding problem, then chat
Get the decision in one week.
Interview Question – 1. Two different interviewer asked the same coding question(two sum problem), change for another after I point out.
2. Implement a generic get sum of array class for certain class (e.g <T extends XXX>), which I almost forget. Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2014.
Interview Details – I received a referral from a current employee who is a fellow alumni of my alma mater. I had a roughly one hour phone interview. The interviewer was very friendly and chatted about my personal history a bit before diving into questions. As others have mentioned, the amazon interviews are intense. Instead of asking a string of questions, they'll ask one seemingly standard behavioral question like "tell me about a project you've been involved with." and then continue to ask follow up questions, digging deeper into your response. Choose your initial response/story very carefully. Make sure it's something you can back up and talk about for 15-20 minutes. My interview consisted of just two behavioral questions (with follow-ups) and one case question. Doesn't give you much time to talk about various aspects of your background.
Interview Question – "Tell me about any process you're familiar with and what you'd do to improve it." Answer Question
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2014.
Interview Details – Recruiter reached out to me - possibly based on my LinkedIn profile. Talked to me for about 45 mins via phone. Followed by email from recruiting coordinator to setup in person call with hiring manager. I thought the call went fantastic, but got an email saying they are going with other people. And they could not provide more details on why the decision was made due to legal issues.
Interview Question – None really. Several posts on Glassdoor provide the questions - describe most difficult decision, talk about Amazon values, working with teams etc Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2014.
Interview Details – 2 rounds of phone interview. Decision in 2.5 weeks.
Interview Question – Implement a stack that supports push, pop and mode(the one from statistics) operation. Gave an O(log n ) push and pop and O(1) mode operation.Another good question was implement atoi function. I assumed it as base 10 but was asked to support from binary to any base numbers(even base 50). Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in January 2014.
Interview Details – got 1 initial phone screening for about 45 mins.
Interview Question – mostly questions on AWS Answer Question
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