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Amazon.com Senior Product Manager Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 27, 2014
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35 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager
Seattle, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 3+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in October 2013.

Interview Details – I applied to multiple positions at Amazon throughout my time in business school through the school's career management portal. I finally received an invite for a role within a fast growing division at the company.

1st Round: Hiring Manager (Director) discussed background and experience including prior roles at Amazon. Then transitioned to detailing current team and objective. This description was highly insightful and I recommend taking very detailed notes as it will help you prepare for later rounds. The interviewer then transitioned to describing the role (new position) they were hiring for and expectations for a successful candidate. Interviewer then opened for questions. This was followed by a competency based interview using the Adler "ONE QUESTION INTERVIEW METHOD" If you are not familiar with this format do yourself a favor and look it up. It is a variation of the typical Competency Behavioral Question, but requires a much deeper story than standard STAR response as it dives deep during follow-up questions. There was no typical walk me through your resume portion.

Initial Question: What do you consider your most impactful piece of work and why?

Follow-up Questions: How did you come to work on this particular project? How did you go about coming up with the initial analysis and recommendation? What was the project/product lifecycle? What were some interesting facts that you learned from the data? Who else was working with you on your team, what was your role? How did you present your findings to senior leadership? What was their response? How did you overcome initial pushback? What initiative did you take during the process? What was the result of the project?

Interview concluded with typical question and answer round followed by a brief description of candidacy process. 1 more phone round, plus on-site loop and possible written case. Received 2nd round telephone invite 2 days later, scheduling process was similar to 1st round.

2nd Round: Team member (Product Manager). The call had barely begun and the interviewer jumped into case interview. He had to pause and rewind to introduce himself when he realized he had just jumped in head first. The case was a very typical "interviewer-led" consulting case, where the business problem was based on actual Amazon problem. If you don't know what this is you desperately need to pick up either "Case in Point" or "Case Interview Secrets" by Victor Cheng. The case started was mixed (40/60) qualitative/quantitative where interviewer expected you to identify need to do market segmentation, sizing, and P&L estimation. There were -a lot- of numbers and towards the end of the case I tripped up several times inverting several numbers and also saying some pretty dumb sounding things. A full quant case is hard enough in person doing it while on the phone was exceptionally difficult. At the end of the case the interviewer wrapped up by asking for a recommendation. When I had made the recommendation which I knew was correct, he asked me "ok, but how are we going to do that?" After a few generic answers didn't satisfy him it was clear he was looking for a specific answer. I happened to nail it just as his patience seemed to be waning. Case took about 35-40 mins. The interview concluded with about 5 mins of Q&A.

After 2nd Round I though I was toast. I had tripped up towards the end of the case, and the only thing I could hope for was that I had earned enough points early on in the case to pass, but wasn't sure where the bar had been set. On a consulting case interview scale of (1-10) this case was at or above 8. Similar to late round McK & Co.

To my relief I was invited for on-site the following morning.

For the details on travel etc you can read up other on-site experiences on glassdoor.com, mine was close to identical.

On-site 5 Interview as follows: Hiring Manager, Non-Team Member (Senior Product Manager), Team Member (Sr. Product Manager), Team Member (Principal Product Manager), Team Member who first interviewed me (Senior Product Manager).

All the interviews were competency based interviews. Most, if not all followed previously mentioned Adler method. The principle product manager gave me what I guess would be considered bar raiser interview. It started off really friendly and then he started to turn up the heat. A lot of push back after my responses. How would you market yourself as a product?

Finished with brief meeting with recruiting manager to discuss feedback, go over salary expectations, relocation package, questions/concerns etc. Hiring manager gave me an exact date for when my evaluation meeting would take place and promised to contact me with a decision either that same day of the meeting or the next day.

Recruiting manager called on exact date as promised.

Interview Question – Adler style "One Question Interview", Full Quant Case Interview   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No Negotiation. Same offer as entire MBA class.


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager
Seattle, WA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in September 2010.

Interview Details – First contact was from an HR person asking for a phone interview. First phone interview led to a follow-up, which led to being brought out to Seatte for an all-day session. The focus was primarily on decisions I've made that were data-based. Also had *lots* of scenarios where they asked how you would approach the problem. Wanted to see problem solving skills, no correct answer. *Extremely* intense, and not realy anything you could prepare for with traditional interviewing methods.

Interview Questions

  • Asked what my aproach would be to a variety of product issues   View Answer
  • Asked about speciic pricing questions   View Answer


8 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Amazon.com in August 2012.

Interview Details – I have had two interviews separated by a couple of years for unrelated jobs. The first, about 3 years back, I think I applied online and got a call shortly thereafter. We arranged a face to face at the Cupertino location. Without really a phone screen. To me, that usually indicates some interest on their part.

The person I was meeting was a bit late, and didn't say anything about it. For some reason, she took me to a nearby cafe for the interview even though I had been checked in. I'm very informal so I didn't mind so much, but I do think interviewing in a coffee shop is kind of strange. Anyway, the interviewer was one of the coldest fish I've ever spoken with. No enthusiasm whatsoever. Made me wonder if she hated working at Amazon? Not inspiring.

Interview Question – This was pre-Kindle Fire and the questions were about if Amazon should compete with the iPad. Reasonable questions, but very kept very hypothetical. Most of my responses were trying to show the questions I'd look to answer before making a decision. When I said, for example that I'd want to understand Amazon's goals in releasing a new Kindle the reply was that was up to me. Though I may be in charge of a product, clearly Amazon's entire strategy including content (movies, books, music, general merchandise) is not up to a single Senior Product Manager. As much as I love to be given a lot of room to make decisions, launching a device is a big decision that should meet business objectives beyond the scope of a single PM. In my experience, there's always a bigger context.

I'm sure she felt my responses were too wishy washy because I was trying to show how I'd go about making the decision (if it were mine to make). When I interview people, I want to know how they think and how they would act. The specifics of the decisions are somewhat less important. I think I made clear how I would go about doing the research, how I'd go about trying to make a decision, etc. None of it seemed to satisfy her. She seemed to want, "this is what I'd do" . Mind you, this wasn't something I could have prepared for since this device was secret at the time. So it isn't like I could quote real numbers, etc. All I could do is talk about the process I'd use to come to a conclusion. The outcome would depend on what I learned and what the constraints were (objectives set for me, etc.) Even though I didn't have numbers to back me up, I did go down the path of, "based on what I know *now* i can see how X makes the most sense." Even that wasn't specific enough to impress.

That unceremoniously ended that set of discussions.

I was approached by an Amazon recruiter last week about another unannounced product. The recruiter was very nice and set up a phone call with the hiring manager. It was a slightly better tone, but still the manager was remarkably monotone. I tried to appreciate that this must be how Amazon managers are trained to interview and didn't take it personally but it is hard to have an enthusiastic demeanor when there is virtually no response on the other end from the start, no matter what you say. The manager also insisted on using a speaker phone during the call despite that initially I said it sounded like a very bad connection. Only toward the end did she pick up the phone so I could actually hear her well.

Without being able to tell me what the product was, the questions were similar. For an "imaginary" product, what would I do... Again I said my first step was to understand the overall goals or suggest them if none existed and get buy in as part of the concept. Everything from there hinges on that. Without some agreement on why we are doing something and how it fits the bigger context it is hard to know where to take the device. Features, priorities, etc. are all driven from what we hope to achieve. Look at the Kindle strategy itself vs say, Apple. Apple is selling the hardware essentially pure and simple. Amazon almost gives away Kindle to make sales of movies, music, and books. I said if that was the strategy here too, then I would do X.

Now people who know me know that I'm anything but wishy washy. While I can change my mind in light of new information or persuasion--I'm very decisive. But it rarely makes sense to make decisions without any information and describing the information I'd get before making a decision seemed like an unacceptable response.

I had a mixed feeling about the interview, but I was able to tell from LinkedIn that the manager had checked my profile. I read hers and then followed her on twitter and I think she followed be back. I thought this may be a good sign. Sure enough they arranged another round of phone interviews. Good! The next interview went very similarly. Same monotone, same unenthusiastic responses. Same hypothetical questions.

I should add that none of the of the hypotheticals were aided. For example, If I asked a question, there was nothing like, "assume X and go from there."

I understand the idea they are shooting for, but the combination of asking about hypothetical products without participating in a meaningful way.

Anyway, the whole thing is kind of disappointing as i think highly of Amazon as a customer and I could contribute a great deal.
  Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2010.

Interview Details – Hiring manager spoke with me. Flew me to Seattle, met with 9 people. Received an offer in 3 weeks.

Negotiation Details – Limited.


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager

The process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in December 2011.

Interview Details – 2 screen interviews back to back.
Small case type questions -

Interview Question – What things will you consider if we want to expand in Mexico?   Answer Question


Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in February 2012.

Interview Details – One site interview(final round), 4*45 mins back to back interview.

Interview Question – What product area you want to work for Amazon.   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in July 2012.

Interview Details – Applied online & contacted about a week later by a recruiting manager to set up a telephone interview. The first interview was conducted by someone who would be my peer, which I thought to be a bit odd, and launched straight into technical experience (though I have a good rapport with developers, I'm not a technical product manager, and the job description was not for a technical role). It contained *none* of the pro forma interview questions - strengths, weaknesses, etc - for which I was prepared. That threw things off and had absolutely no sense of how I did.

I was contacted a few days later to set up a second telephone interview with the person who would be my manager. From the start we were speaking at cross-purposes and I was asked technical questions that had little to do with my experience and indicated their focus really didn't match the advertised job description. He also seemed to have a bit of a god complex ("I try to encourage my team to be humble, because we're doing something that's never been done before" - What's that? Delivering goods that have been ordered online? It's a bit like claiming to be witty, if you say you're humble you're probably not.)

Overall I won't say it was a negative experience, but I was surprised at their narrow focus. I really wasn't given an opportunity to talk about my experiences and how they would benefit the company - as much as I tried to turn it around.

There was little attempt at building any kind of rapport, this was not an interview that was at all interested in my personal fit with the team - another reason I found it very difficult. That said, it was my first (non-internal) job interview in 12 years so I was pretty rusty and didn't perform well.

I was expecting to hear one way or the other within 3 days, but had to follow up a week later and at that point was told they'd look for someone else. The HR person managing the entire process was very responsive and good to deal with.

Interview Questions

  • How did you define UX for form factors & browsers?   View Answer
  • I was asked to take a position for/against a controversial decision to include display ads on the Amazon.com homepage. When I just picked one, I was then asked what as Product Manager I would consider when implementing it.   Answer Question


3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager

Interviewed at Amazon.com

Interview Details – Overall, the process was really long at 2.5 months but everyone that I worked with was friendly. Part of the delay was due to someone initially sending to the wrong email address (didn't check resume), but most was due to their schedules. I made it to the onsite interview in Seattle which seemed like an achievement. As a seasoned PM, I was not interviewing out of college but it seemed like it was geared toward that. I even obliged in submitting a writing sample (which I think only one person actually read).

All the questions were basically 'tell me about a time when...' with several follow-up questions like 'and then what happened' and 'what would've happened with the alternative', etc. I noticed that I had to repeat myself if I included the response to the follow-up in my original statement about the experience. It can through you off your train of thought at times. After about 5 solid hours of this, you've answered on more than a dozen experiences so it gets a little draining and feels over the top. Each person is tapping on their laptops recording your answers as you speak so it can feel a little impersonal too. I remember one person opening with a question meant for someone he was interviewing the next day. Yep, everyone's busy. ;)

Interview Question – It was unexpected to answer deep dive questions on everything and I expected more technical questions.   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager

I applied online and interviewed at Amazon.com.

Interview Details – I applied through Linkedin for the position of Senior Product Manager (AWS Mobile services). I received a screening phone call from the HR who referred me to the Product Director. During the call, I was asked many questions about my previous work experience. More questions about products that I like (IT or otherwise) and why. Customer orientation is a key during all interviews.
I was then referred to a product manager for a second interview. If you are not familiar with Case interviews, you should read "Case in Point". The interviewer asked about whether to invest in a service or discontinue it. The key is to show the line of though rather than an exact answer.
A third interview was set with another product manager. This time it was more specific about AWS products and what can be added to the line of products they offer and why. Another case was then brought forward "If you were to launch a back up cloud service, would you approve?"
I did not reach the next step of the interview process as I stumbled in my answer.

Interview Question – Do you recommend launching a cloud backup services?   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Product Manager Interview

Senior Product Manager
Seattle, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Amazon.com in January 2009.

Interview Details – Was contacted initially by HR. HR was very friendly and responded promptly to any of my inquiries during the interview process. I was asked some basic questions by HR, then had a phone interview scheduled with the hiring manager. Unfortunately my phone interview had to be rescheduled a couple of times over a month without much notice. After I had the interview, the hiring manager felt I was a better fit for another position, I was referred to another hiring manager. I had a phone interview with that hiring manager, and think they were looking for someone a little more technical.

Interview Question – Describe what do you write in a functional specification?   View Answers (2)

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