Amazon.com Interview Questions in Seattle, WA

Updated Sep 15, 2014
Updated Sep 15, 2014
1,625 Interview Reviews

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  1. 211 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. 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
  3.  

    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
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  5.  

    Software Development Engineer I Interview

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

    I took a test online with 3 coding questions within a 40 minute time frame. print out a program that calculates peoples grades. that's one of them, I don't remember the rest. I got through that and got an email saying they would fly me to Washington!

    They flew me down to Washington for an interview set up hotel and pretty much all the accommodations (i.e. food, taxi service), Apparently they have a lot of interviewees according to the taxi drivers. They look for the best of the crop.

    I went to the interview the next day. They took me through 5 rounds of interviews. Know your Big O notation, know how to sort through a relational database, algorithms and especially know your data structures( LinkedLists, trees, etc.) I can't remember the rest of the questions specifically...

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  6.  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

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

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

    Interview Details

    Applied online through their career website. Got an email from the recruiter the next day. She set up an online timed coding assessment. The questions were:

    1) Given an int number in bits, format it into exactly 3 digits (with a decimal) and add a G for gigs, M for megabytes K for kilobytes and B for bytes.
    2) Given two arrays of integers, create a third array with the element in each position in the first array multiplied by every element in the second array except for the element at the same index in the second array.

    Passed that. On to phone screen. Questions straight out of Cracking the Coding Interview (book):

    1) Rotate a 2D array 90 degrees clockwise, in-place without using a second 2D array
    2) Design a chat server

    Flew out to Amazon in Seattle:

    First Interview) Given an array of integers sorted in ascending order, return a list of all elements that have the difference of 2 (for example 2 and 4, or 5 and 7).
    Second Interview) Behavioral. Tell me about the most challenging task. Hardest bug.
    ...Lunch break
    Third Interview) Given a bitmap, find the largest size of adjacent 1's.
    Fourth Interview) Given a sorted array, return a set of all ranges in the array. For example [0,1,2,4,6,7,8] has ranges 0-2, 4-4, and 6-8.
    Fifth interview) Design a furniture store. (It was very hard to understand the girl interviewing me, not because she had bad english, but because she just wasn't able to articulate what she was asking. She was obviously new and nervous).
    Sixth interview) Design an airplane tracking system.

    Got an email the next week (Interview was Friday, got email following Wednesday) that I did well with the simple solutions and got everything right, but struggled with the more difficult solutions, which I should have gotten easily given my years of experience. So no offer.

    Interview Questions
    • Given a bitmap, find the largest size of adjacent 1's.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    Account Executive - Amazon Local 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.

    Interview Details

    Headhunter contacted me via email. Then came a phone interview that was pretty simple and painless. They flew me up to Seattle based on my experience. From there it was a two hour interview (a 30 minute round-robin interview with 4 different interviewers).

    Interview Questions
    • One of the sessions was a simulation. Expect the unexpected during this. They will test your sales skills. Do not take no for an answer.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8.  

    Inside Sales Account Executive- Amazon Local Interview

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

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2014.

    Interview Details

    I submitted my resume online several times over a few months and finally heard back the next day on one of them. I had a phone interview with the recruiter, then a phone interview with a peer, then I came in for a 5-round person interview in Seattle.

    Interview Questions
    • How many sales a week do you make with your current employer?   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Content Strategist Interview

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

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com.

    Interview Details

    I was recruited by a well-respected team member who I had worked with in another department. I submitted completed work samples they proposed, submitted a plan I initiated for a problem they described in their process. Then, I participated in two one-hour phone interviews with other team members. Exchanges all seemed very positive and the interviewers comments suggested an good fit.

    Interview Questions
    • The questions were all very appropriate and expected. None were difficult or unexpected.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10.  

    Software Development Interview

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

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

    Interview Details

    Through a friend's recommendation I was able to secure an interview for the position. Unfortunately they gave me only a day's notice to prepare for the interview, which made things a bit more stressful. I had two 45 minute technical interviews, back to back, with each interviewer asking several technical questions over the course of the interview. There was nothing unexpected, as many of the questions they asked were available on this site as well as others.

    Interview Questions
    • The most difficult may have been things regarding design patterns, mostly because I had not previously studied them in class and could not describe any.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  11.  

    Software Engineer II Interview

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

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    Did two phone interviews. The first was a pre-screening programming test in which they asked me to take a function that traverse through a list and point out all the flaws. Most of the flaws were related to lookup inefficiency, big O notation stuff.

    The second phone interview asked me to write a function that contacts an Amazon server and asks for the competitors prices and returns a list with the competitor prices and names. From there I had to find the the competitor with the lowest price efficiently. Also, afterwards they ask about big O notation and how data structures work behind the scenes.

    Interview Questions
    • They asked me what I should do to check if the call to the Amazon server to get the list of prices fails.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

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