Amazon.com Interview Questions & Reviews in Seattle, WA
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Software Development Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
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.
Negotiation Details – As a recent grad, there wasn't much room for negotiation.
Software Development Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2014.
Interview Details – I had been contacted by a recruiter from Amazon for a job I had applied to about 2 months earlier. She said a new position had opened up and asked if I was still interested. This was for a software development manager.
I had 2 phone screens (1 with the hiring manager, and 1 with a sr. software developer on the team). Nothing too out of the ordinary - some high level architecture questions and some open ended behavioral questions.
I didn't think anything would come from it, but shortly after the second phone screen, they asked if I could fly out to Seattle for in-person interviews (I live right outside of Washington DC). I set that up for the following week (they use a travel agency, so it's pretty straightforward).
The process was very well set up and everyone seemed pretty laid back and professional. The first person I talked for about 30 minutes was an hr manager. He explained that how Amazon interviews is different than most other companies. Instead of bringing in 3 or 4 candidates for a position then picking one, Amazon first wants to know if you're a good fit for the company. If you are, then they try and match you with a position that seems to be the best fit. So they are really hiring you for the company more than the specific position. And he also mentioned (as did a few of the other people I talked to), that it is pretty easy to move around within the company if you want a new or different challenge at some point.
The interview day is fairly intense - I met with 7 different people (1:1). The types of questions were similar to what I had experienced in the phone screens. A lot of behavioral type questions: "tell me about a time a project failed... got behind schedule... how did you handle it". They are really looking for how you deal with various situations. There were also some architecture and systems design questions.
My interview day was on Wednesday and they called the following day to offer my a position. Instead of a software development manager, they liked me for a technical program manager position. After looking at the job description, this really did make a lot of sense (I have managed software teams in the past, but also have a lot of project management experience). So I thought they did a good job of matching me to the right position (I talked a lot about project management processes, client management, planning, etc. during the interviews).
All in all, it was a positive experience. One thing I would have changed was the location of the hotel. The travel agent put me outside of city (This was not Amazon's fault). Not being familiar with Seattle, I didn't realize how inconvenient it would be to get around (and I stayed an extra day after the interview to check out the city). I would strongly recommend that if they offer to fly you out and put you up in a hotel, that you make sure to get a room in downtown Seattle. Minor detail - but worth noting.
Interview Question – There was not one question that stood out as being most difficult. I would say just be very prepared to talk about past projects and give specifics about your past experiences. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Negotiating the offer as I write this.
Very Difficult Interview
Amazon Instant Video Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – A recruiter reached out and we scheduled a phone interview the following week. This interview was very easy and we immediately scheduled next steps. Next I had an interview with the hiring manager. Every question was very behavioral based, and after each question, there were 2 or 3 follow up related questions. Overall I understand why Amazon chooses to interview this way, however I felt like the process made me more nervous than anything. I don't think I really was able to showcase who I am and how I work on a day to day basis. Both people I interviewed with (the recruiter and hiring manager) were very polite and respectful, however I felt that the whole interview was very impersonal and cold.
Interview Question – "Tell me about a time with you had to negotiate with a partner." Answer Question
Software Development Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2014.
Interview Details – I was contacted by an Amazon recruiter in a mass email, with a schedule to sign up for an interview on campus. I had the interview about 5 days later. Two back-to-back 45 minute interviews with just an Amazonian and I (in adjacent rooms, another student and I just swapped places. First one was pretty relaxed, talked about data structures, what he did at Amazon, he asked me a couple simple fast questions typical of a intro CS class exam, and an OO design question. Next person asked me a long question that took me about 40 minutes to complete, and we talked a bit about what she did.
I had another offer deadline imminent, so they got back to me with an offer on that Monday (the interview was Friday). Very fast and surprisingly simple process, I'm still surprised that there was really only one (kind of two) interviews. Good experience!
Interview Question – Finding out if there is a palindrome inside of a string I think? It's been a while, but I hadn't seen it before and the interviewer helped me out a bit. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiation, since it's an internship.
Seller Support Associate Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in July 2014.
Interview Details – After submitting a resume along with a cover letter, I received an email inviting me to take the next step in the interview process. They sent me a link that would assess my skills and capabilities for the position. They tested me on my knowledge of MS Office and customer solution strategy to see how well I would be able to handle certain issues. After the assessment they gave me a call to schedule me for an interview. The recruiter sent me lots of helpful information to prepare for the interview. When I got to there I was interviewed by two different Seller Support managers. The first one asked about my previous experience in customer service, the second asked about my goals with Amazon.
Interview Question – How have you been able to handle a difficult customer in your previous experience? View Answer
Quality Assurance Engineer I Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – I applied through the employee referral program. The recruiter contacted me to schedule an interview with a hiring manager. The interview consisted of basic technical interview. I was asked to write a method that checks for a palindrome.
Interview Question – How would you test the login page of Amazon website? Answer Question
Senior Marketing Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Amazon.com in July 2014.
Interview Details – Applied online and was contacted for a 30 minute informational session where I was asked a series of questions about my job duties at my previous position. The interviewer was very nice. I get the feeling they are more interested in finding out if you are good culture fit with the company as much as seeing if you are qualified. I had applied for over 20 positions at amazon using their outline applications which makes it very easy.
Interview Question – They gave me 6 different job duties (example includes meetings, managing employees, communications, strategy, etc) and had me break it down by percentage. Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
Program Manager II Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in November 2012.
Interview Details – The interviewing process is very well organized. You will have your first contact with the HR representative, then you will have a screening interview with either the hiring manager or a senior peer. Then you'll be asked to submit samples of your work. You will be brought to the location you're supposed to work for an in-person interview. The team of interviewers consist of hiring manager, peers and a senior manager. You will be interviewed for about 4 hours and it's a behavioral interview based on the leadership principles of Amazon. Each interviewer usually interviews you based on 2 leadership principles. So, do your homework and research on the leadership skills. If will be evaluated based on your skills and if you will be able to raise the bar. The process is almost flawless and you need to be prepared with good examples and how you made an impact on the companies you worked for. And please don't wear a suit as people will find it very odd. Dress business casual for your interview as the environment is super casual.
Interview Question – If you are interviewing for a SDE position, you will be required to pass a programming test. Other teams also give candidates some sort of test related to the job you're applying. The questions are based on the STAR model, being Situation/Task/Actions/ Results. Here is a sample hard question: "Tell me about time you had to learn something outside your comfort zone in order to drive results for your organization or to adapt to a change in the market, organization or other catalyst." View Answer
Negotiation Details – Negotiate your vacation up front and see if you can get additional vacation time. Get as much money on your way in because once you start working, your raises will be miniscule.
Senior Program Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2014.
Interview Details – Had three phone interviews, followed by invitation to campus interview in Seattle. My interview loop was with three junior team members who were reading questions off their computer, and i felt like i am talking to a robot. I was not impressed by the quality of the team i was interviewing with, and did not see myself working for this company. The culture seems to be a bit weird.
Interview Question – Nothing out of the ordinary. Answer Question
Software Development Engineer II Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in May 2014.
Interview Details – Applied online. Received an online questionnaire with 3 questions. Two questions were code questions and third was on design.
Answered all the questions in around 90 mins but still got called for the onsite interview. There was a telephonic round for behavioral questions prior to onsite interviews.
Company paid for 3 days hotel accommodation and all travel expenses.
There were 4 one to one rounds.
Results were communicated after after 2 days.
Interviews for Top Jobs at Amazon.com