Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Amazon.com
- Software Development Engineer (872)
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- Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Amazon.com (Lexington, KY) in August 2012.
Interview process starts off with a phone screen. During this interview you are asked some basic behavioral questions to see how you fit the Amazon culture. During the in person interview you will have between 4-5 interviews at what is called a POD. A POD is a time where they have 5-20 applicants all come together for interviews all at the same location. During this time you will have 3 interviews that have behavioral based questions, 1 interview that is discussing a math flow problem, the other interview is considered a "bar raiser." The bar raiser interview looks to see how you meet the Amazon culture.
- Please describe a time you encountered a situation similar to ______ . Answer Question
- Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon.com (Lexington, KY) in June 2012.
4 one on one's math skills, three panel style behavioral based interviews.
Helpful (9)Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through college or university. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon.com (Lexington, KY) in March 2011.
My initial contact with amazon.com was at a career fair at my university in my final semester of my Senior Year. I talked to a current Area Manager with the company, and they were very engaging with me. I asked what types of jobs they were offering, and the main job they were recruiting for was Area Manager in a Fulfillment Center, they talked about the fast-paced environment where your never sitting down at a desk and your always moving around, engaging associates, and moving product in or out of the building in a 1 million+ square foot Fulfillment Center. I told them that was the exact environment I would like to work in and feel I would thrive in. I gave them my resume, and within a week I got a phone call for a "phone interview". At the end of this 15 minute phone call discussing a little more about the job and requirements and asking a few more questions about my personality, drive, and work ethic, they asked me to come to an in-person interview, and they flew me out to one of their Fulfillment Centers within 2 weeks. The in person interview was with 2 different operations managers, and lasted less than an hour between the 2. Then there was one more section where I worked on a "flow" problem and that lasted less than a half hour. After that, I did an hour tour of the site. In all, the interviews themselves lasted less than 1.5 hours. Within a week I received a job offer and began working with the company the summer after I graduated. For me personally, the interview process was very fun, and not very intimidating. If you go in and project your confidence in your ability to take on any challenge, work to continuously improve, and show an ability to lead people, you will be seen as great candidate as an Area Manager.
- I honestly can't recall a difficult or unexpected question. Very standard questions like "Where is an example where you lead groups of people?", "When did you fail and how did you learn or overcome it?", "How have you improved processes or been innovative?" 1 Answer
For college hires just graduating from a university, there is zero negotiation. Amazon's philosophy is that every college graduate has the same or very similar experience in regards to education and field experience, and your offer will be exactly the same as every other college hire with zero negotiation.
Helpful (18)Declined OfferNegative ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Amazon.com (Lexington, KY) in August 2010.
I was contacted via e-mail by an Amazon.com recruiter. I was already in the interview/hiring process with several other companies and agencies and decided to entertain the Amazon path as a secondary/tertiary option while completing a long federal hiring process. The process started with two separate phone interviews, one with a recruiter and the other with an operations manager at the site itself. The first interview with the recruiter had to be rescheduled once after I had arranged time off of work and awaited his call to no avail. He would later blame this mistake on me saying that I was supposed to call him, despite the fact that this had not been previously arranged and I wasn't provided with a number to call. All in all I felt the interview was positive and went really well. The second interview was initially scheduled with the facility GM. Like the first interview, I scheduled time away from work and no call came...not once, but on three occasions. Each time I would phone the contact I was given (basically a scheduling secretary), and explain to her that he hadn't called once again. She seemed genuinely shocked each time, and was quick to cover with a "something came up" kind of story. Before we go any further, it is safe to say that by this point I had serious reservations, specifically in regards to punctuality and professionalism. Granted, Amazon is not the military, although they admittedly recruit very heavily from the military, but this is simply not acceptable in the environment to which I am accustomed. After the third attempt with the GM, I was rescheduled with an operations manager. The interview with the operations manager went well enough. However, I was on speaker phone for the duration, and the interviewer was noticeably distracted. At one point I paused mid answer to ask him a question. The response I got was him practically gagging on food to answer my question. I was sure by this point that my disappointment and disinterest in the company was more than apparent in my tone of voice. It wasn't, probably due to the aforementioned distraction, and Amazon invited me out to the facility for a face to face. The on-site interview consisted of a math test, facility tour, and then two panel interviews. The math test was easy enough, although the instructions lacked specificity and left much to assumptions and implied tasks. I initially thought this was on purpose and was part of the test, but would later find out in the panel interviews that the vagueness was unintentional. The facility tour was the best part of the experience. The tour guide was an engineer who was intelligent and delightful, and perhaps the most remarkable employee I encountered at Amazon. The first panel interview was administered by two gentlemen who were completely unremarkable and I do not remember their positions. I noted that they were very uncomfortable fielding my questions regarding training and employee care. They were more interested in talking about reaching the goal (quota). Most of their questions for me were leadership vignettes. Their scenarios were a little awkward, unrealistic and plain wonky at times. Quite simply, for individuals so insistent on leadership themes...these men were not leaders. The last panel started with an HR individual who was later joined by the GM (his tardiness was not surprising considering our phone interview history). The HR gentlemen was very cordial and positive. However, sarcastic remarks here and there related to the company alluded to the possibility that his job satisfaction was not the highest. For example, I remarked in passing that the facility was "extremely efficient." He sarcastically replied, "yeah, it seems that way." When the GM finally joined, he naturally took over with the questions. His tone was condescending and he seemed to be grumpy (he did remark as he entered that he had to take care of something that required his immediate attention, so that was understandable). Most of his questions were also leadership-oriented. I was slightly uncomfortable with the tone and implications of his questions because he implied that the needs and satisfaction of the employees were a far second to the mission of meeting the daily quota. One of his questions referenced the issues of the employees that were "of little importance" in the grand scheme of meeting the goal. When I referenced his employees "trivial issues" and asserted that importance was oftentimes left to the mere perception of the employees, and that they were the very individuals allowing you to meet that goal, he seemed taken aback by my less than 100% endorsement of quota above all. The GM also told me that the Amazon job was a job that could "bring distinguished combat leaders and people with impressive resumes to their knees" and/or "make them hide in a corner."
Reasons for Declining
This route was a distant Plan B/C while fulfilling certain federal agency requirements. I was not interested in warehousing at the time of the interview, although I was intrigued and curious to see how it all worked. The facility tour was amazing and informative in that respect. Although the Lexington facility managers were unrelenting in stressing leadership, I saw no evidence of it. On an otherwise pleasant day in Lexington, the employees all seemed sullen and downtrodden as I walked through the facility. They shied away from management and looked at the managers with a mixture of contempt and apathy. Only the engineer seemed to get a positive response from the employees, and I don't think she was in a management role ( I could be wrong). One memorable quote at the end of the interview was when the GM told me that they weren't looking for "outside the box" thinkers. Well, why bother recruiting combat leaders that have been raised in a modern day counterinsurgency/diplomatic environment?
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