Amazon.com Interview Questions

Updated Sep 16, 2014
Updated Sep 16, 2014
4,883 Interview Reviews

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  1. 213 people found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. 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.

    **Continued below**

    Negotiation Details
    As a recent grad, there wasn't much room for negotiation.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 94 people found this helpful  

    Area Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. 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
    2. Strengths
    3. Weaknesses
    4. Why Amazon?
    5. How can you translate your skills towards Amazon?
    6. What experiences do you have that separate you from the rest?

    Groups/ Leadership
    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

    Negativity
    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 Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 9 people found this helpful  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in December 2013.

    Interview Details

    Amazon recruiters contacted me after finding my LinkedIn profile, and asked me to interview for a Principal TPM position. I wasn't really intending on considering the position (as I lived in Boston) but I figured it would be good to get the experience. She arranged for a phone screen with another principal TPM a week later.

    The first phone screen was primarily a discussion of my background. The interviewer had me walk him through my career, focusing on responsibilities, challenges faced, and how I handled situations. The interviewer said another phone screen would follow up a week later.

    The second phone screen was also with a Principal TPM. This time we focused on lots of "how would you handle this situation" type of questions, and then requests to relate it to previous work experiences. At the conclusion the interviewer stated he would like me to come to Seattle to take an in-person interview. This was right around Christmas, so I asked for a few weeks to figure out my holiday schedule.

    Before my in-person interview, another recruiter called and informed me that there is a writing assignment I would need to complete before the in-person interview. He emailed me with instructions and three scenarios from which to choose to write a 2-4 page paper. The options were all "tell us about a time where..." situational questions. The actual answer to the question is only used to seed follow-up questions in-person; the real intent of the assignment is to assess your ability to organize and communicate thoughts clearly and concisely.

    I flew in the week before Christmas, arriving Sunday night/Monday morning around 1am. They put me up at a hotel a few blocks from the interview site. I wore a suit (don't bother, it's casual... slacks and a polo is plenty dressed), and arrived at 9.45 for a 10am interview.

    The first interviewer came and got me promptly at 10. She introduced herself (a TPM), and then took me to a conference room where we had a more-or-less typical situational-style interview. "Tell me about a time where..." questions, nothing too tough.

    The second interviewer was a manager of product managers, and he focused on questions about how to recognize and recover from situations where plans have gotten off track. This was another interview where

    The third interviewer was a software development manager, and his interview was definitely the most unexpected and surreal of the day. He started by asking me what business Amazon should invest in next. Based on my answer, we spent the next hour exploring every aspect of my answer... why that particular idea, how to implement it (down to the nuts & bolts), business considerations, etc. The style was very confrontational. This interview was designed to see how quickly I could think on my feet, how rational my answers would be, and how I would handle direct challenges and refutation.

    The fourth interviewer was a product manager. He took me down to the cafe where we grabbed lunch and ate during the interview (hate that). We primarily discussed the proper metrics to gather and correct ways to analyze data in different situations with regards to making business decisions. I think the goal of this interview was to assess critical thinking skills and business acumen.

    The fifth interviewer was a Principal TPM (whom I later found out was the hiring manager, and who is now my boss). This interview was all about technology -- how to design distributed systems, problems that become emergent at massive scale, REST principles, etc. This interview was designed to smoke out folks who don't have a deep understanding of (and passion for) technology.

    The sixth interviewer wasn't really an interview, it was the recruiter who coordinated my process. She checked in to see how I was doing, did I have any of the standard process questions, etc. Short conversation.

    The seventh (final) interviewer turned out to be the VP who later made me an offer of employment. This was more of a philosophical conversation than an interview, where we discussed Amazon principles and culture. He clearly wanted to ensure I knew what Amazon is like, and to make sure I would be a good cultural fit (a lot of people aren't).

    Since the interview lasted all day Amazon gave me a second night in the hotel room, where I was able to shower and grab a few drinks before flying back to Boston at 11pm. By the time I got back in my car on the east coast the next morning the recruiter called with a provisional offer. The VP (final interviewer) called me a few days later with compensation and relocation details. I was given a week to make my decision.

    I accepted the offer, and the VP explained that I would have to start by 6 January (less than 2 weeks away, and right after the holiday season) in order to qualify for the yearly stock grant (very important). So, they allowed me to fly out to orientation and then return to gather my things a few weeks later.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    Negotiate up on salary and signing bonus.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2014.

    Interview Details

    I was called for an onsite day long interview in Seattle. The interview was a group/team coding exercise. In the morning after a tour of the amazon campus in Seattle, we were divided into groups of 3 and given a laptop to work on. You could select an OS and IDE of your preference to work on. We were given a problem which had 3 tasks and each of us had to take on of them. The coding started around 11 in the morning and lasted till 4:30 in the evening. In the duration I had 2 one on one interviews, the 1st one 30 mins into the exercise and the 2nd one an hour before the turning in of our codes.
    The interviews focused on the approach I had decided on to solve the problems. Which data structure, any optimizations I could think of if I had more time.

    Interview Questions
    • Why have you decided to use this data structures. What would be the complexities?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6. 8 people found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online - interviewed at Amazon.com.

    Interview Details

    Two phone screens. Cleared first one. Didn't move forward after second phone screen. First phone screen was just pure coding excersice. Second phone scree started with talking about resume, current projects, why change blah..blah. Then there were three coding exercises which were quite simple. After that I was thrown a random design question, on which I spent quite a bit of time and as it was open ended, there was no clear answer. Didn't move forward for onsite after second phone screen.

    Interview Questions
    • // You are on a team that is creating a program to model stress on furniture.
      // Your task is to model the behavior of furniture under abuse such as
      // excessive weight or application of fire. There exists a prototype that
      // defines the following:

      class Furniture {

          /**
           * Furniture becomes unusable if enough weight is applied; the
           * algorithm depends on shape of furniture, the strength of material, and
           * the location where the weight is applied
           */
          void applyWeight(double x, double y, double weight, double seconds);

          /**
           * Furniture becomes unusable if it is made of wood, and fire is applied
           * long enough; wood will change from brown to black if it is burnt
           * (whether or not the furniture becomes unusable)
           */
          void applyFire(double x, double y, double fireStrength, double seconds);

          /**
           * possible values: Gray, Brown, Black, etc
           */
          Color getColor();

          /**
           * possible values: OK, UNUSABLE
           */
          FurnitureState getState();
      }

      class WoodChair extends Furniture {...}
      class SteelChair extends Furniture {...}
      class WoodTable extends Furniture {...}
      class SteelTable extends Furniture {...}
      class RubbrCouch

      // We will need to start adding other furniture like couches, beds, bookcases, and desks, and also new materials such as plastic, cloth, rubber, etc. Try to improve the class design - you are free to modify it however you wish since it is only a prototype.
        View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  7.  

    Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a staffing agency. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2013.

    Interview Details

    4-5 rounds of interview to assess individual on the desired skill set. amazon leadership principles are often used as benchmark against how questions are framed, Questions are asked around ownership, bias for action, deepdive, you are expected to provide examples from your exp on how you have demonstrated these traits

    Interview Questions
    • the most un expected fact was that no personal questions were asked to understand the persons background   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    i did accepted with out negotiation
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in September 2014.

    Interview Details

    Applied online. contacted by recruiter to schedule technical phone screen. during the phone interview few basic CS questions about hash tables, searching algorithm and data structures. then moved to coding piece which was about implementing binary search

    Interview Questions
    • Designing a stack like data structure(push, pop) and a min() function which operates in constant time   Answer Question
    • You have two large 1GB plain text files stored in two computers connected by a slow connection. Most of the files is the same or they could be the same, how would you quickly determine if the files are the same and if they are different where are they different?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 3 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in January 2014.

    Interview Details

    Applied on college career fair. Received the interview email like 2 months after submitting my resume. One screening and 1 week later got the invitation of on-site interview. The on-site interview last a whole day from noon to 4pm, including 6 panel interviews by amazon engineers from different departments.

    Interview Questions
    • how to sort a very big bunch of data like 1 million items   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Devops Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online - interviewed at Amazon.com in September 2014.

    Interview Details

    I received call from Amazon internal recruiter out of blue. I don't even remember when and what position I applied. I went to my job portal, seems that the jobs I applied I am not selected. But for a position they looked in their internal database and called me.
    Hiring manager called, He did say there are few others in the call. But haven't heard any one or no one asked any questions. Interview had lots n lots of technical questions on Linux, Linux administration, networking, database, web and hadoop. He did say he will ask 20 mins of general questions on linux/java. Next on hadoop. He seem to not know most of the answers for questions he asked. Because when I asked him more questions to understand correctly, he was not sure what to say.
    What is iNode on linux. and more details on that
    How do you check physical memory on Linux.
    How do you copy a local file to HDFS?
    What steps happen when a copy from local file to HDFS run?
    Explain the steps/channels When user accesses a url via a browser.
    What is distributed cache in hadoop?
    How do you measure network packet?
    If there are no cookies how do you make your application work?
    How did you make your application work with out cookies?
    How do you make your database work for high number of requests at peak hours?
    How do you make a background process run?
    How do you optimize database?
    How do you know how much memory your java application is taking on Linux?
    Tell me about garbage collection programming.

    Interview Questions
    • How do you know how much memory your java application is taking on Linux?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11.  

    Quality Assurance Engineer II Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took 1 week - interviewed at Amazon.com.

    Interview Details

    The phone screen for the position was good. The discussion with the hiring manager went well (both on phone and in person).

    The in person inteview was a bit odd at times. One interviewer cancelled and some had not even read my resume. Most of the interviewers were great to talk to. One interviewer however had been up late working the night before and seemed a bit off. He asked me what programming language I was strongest in and then proceeded to ask a question in another language.

    The lunch interview with the hiring manager was good. They were easy to talk with and exciting about the project.

    Recruiting at Amazon seems a bit unorganized. Granted the people felt bad about their mistakes though...

    Interview Questions
    • Reverse a linked list using pointers (C programming language)   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

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