Amazon.com Senior Technical Program Manager Interview Questions

Updated Apr 8, 2015
Updated Apr 8, 2015
21 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (3)  

Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 8 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA) in March 2015.

Interview

A recruiter reached out to me who had found my "profile" and asked if I'd be willing to interview for a Sr. Technical Program Manager role. She asked if she could set up a time to talk briefly the next day. When we talked she gave me some pointers on the first phone screen (which was with the hiring manager). Another recruiter actually scheduled the appointment for the following week. I thought that first interview went ok, but was not really expecting a return phone call. A couple of days later, to my surprise, the original recruiter reached out to me and was "excited" I was moving forward to another phone screen, this time with another Senior Technical Program Manager. That interview was scheduled for the following week, but I had to reschedule (last minute) because I was sick with the flu. The interview finally happened a week later and I thought it went well. A couple of days later the same recruiter reached out to me once again still "excited" that I would be moving on to the one-site interviews. At this point, she passed me on to another recruiter to coordinate.

A couple of days later the on-site interview coordinator reached out to me with a series of questions regarding my availability for the on-site interviews, salary expectations, references, etc. I responded and a few days after that the she scheduled the on-site interviews for a Friday about 2 1/2 weeks later. The on site interviews consisted of 5 45 minute interviews (1 was 2:1, the others were 1:1). There was also a 15 minute session with the recruiter confirming salary expectations, etc.

There were tons of questions regarding the Amazon leadership principles over the course of all the interviews. Sometimes the reference to the principle was subtle or asked as a "behavioral" question. It is clear the leadership principles are very important at Amazon. I thought I had answered most of these questions well as a very experienced program manager in my current job.

I was also asked to think through a number of designs for various problems from how a workflow would work for a hypothetical ecommerce ordering site for vehicles to how web services would work and deliver information to the Amazon website regarding the availability of a new hypothetical shipping option. I sensed a lot of questions on the scalability of my designs. I thought I answered these questions well, but there was very little information provided on how deep these designs needed to be, so I really don't know how well I did.

During the onsite interviews the recruiter said to expect a call from her, either way, on the following Wednesday. I felt the interviews went well, but not knowing how well everyone else who may have been interviewing for the same job did, I really didn't know what to expect. After an excruciating wait, the recruiter did call me shortly after 5pm on Wednesday, as promised, but the answer was an "unfortunately, we're not moving forward with you on this position" answer. She did mention the interviewers thought I'd be a "good fit" for Amazon, and that I could be considered for other positions if I was interested. At this point, we discussed some next steps.

Even though I did not get an offer from this experience, overall I was impressed with the process. The entire process was well guided and left me with a favorable impression of Amazon. I do wish Amazon could provide some feedback as to why I wasn't selected, but there is a corporate policy that prohibits this. Despite the glimmer of hope to possibly be hired in the future, I really have no idea why I wasn't chosen and what I should do differently the next time. A little bit of meaningful feedback would go a long way.

Interview Questions

  • Most of the questions were behavioral and within the context of the Amazon leadership principles. During three of the interviews, I was asked to design a solution to a given problem.   Answer Question

Other Interview Reviews for Amazon.com

  1. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA) in February 2015.

    Interview

    I'm a senior Project Manager. Amazon originally contacted me via LinkedIn for a Seattle position and I passed. Then I found out they have a place in Vancouver so I applied myself on their site. After that, they contacted me.

    In the first phone interview, it all went well - a TPM interviewed me and it seemed relevant to Project Management and my career goals. Quite positive.

    In the second phone interview - a month later after an administrative mess - a different TPM who was a last-minute substitute for the person who was supposed to interview me was very abrasive and frankly annoying throughout, wouldn't let me finish a single sentence without interruption and made it abundantly clear that this role is not remotely a Project or Program Management role. A complete mismatch for me, and a total waste of time for both of us.

    This is a technical implementer role for Developers/Solution Architects/Designers/Programmers and potentially BAs. They don't want project managers for this, they want do-it-all-on-your-own guys. The only part of "Technical Program Manager" that applies here is the "Technical" part.

    If you're a Project Manager who manages project teams built from several resources who are role-specialists, then ignore Amazon's TPM role. It's not for you.
    If you're an actual Program Manager (PMI definition), then doubly so!
    They don't seem to understand or value Project Management. Plus, their recruitment administrators don't answer phone calls or emails with questions - amateurish.

    Disappointed by the whole experience, I proactively withdrew my application.
    Bad show, Amazon - I expected better!

    Interview Questions

    • I was asked some pointless in-depth technical questions about diagnosing database query performance issues which I could answer but are completely irrelevant to the role of a project manager, which is what I thought this role was.   Answer Question
  2.  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com.

    Interview

    The first interview was with an HR recruiter, who passed me along to the hiring manager, who passed me along to a team member. Each interview was over an hour long. Then an all day on-site interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Nothing was very difficult. I had to explain a software enhancement from inception to delivery and all the processes in between.   Answer Question

    Reasons for Declining

    Relocation for my family was not great.

  3. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA) in November 2014.

    Interview

    I don't like their interviewing process. The recruiter from Seattle was less responsive and you had to keep follow up to check on the status. I met her in person during my onsite interview. She was not so friendly. Before they brought you onsite, they gave you good directions on how to get to their site and what to expect from the all day interviews. They did not give any names of the interviewers afraid you would search on their backgrounds and gave the reasons that they could swap people due to their schedules. it seems their employees are busy with day-to-day work and interview candidates. On the same day of my interview, they were busy with multiple interviews.

    Interview Questions

    • Some of the questions were not related to my experience and job description. It seems the interviewer didn't even read my resume but asked questions based on his own background. I had to refresh him of my background. He then went to get a sets of questions probably from provided scripts and asked more relevant questions. I think that was not professional and gave candidate bad impression about the company. I think they should be better prepared. It is more like talking to robots where they just follow a routine. Some of them asked the same questions. That didn't make the process and use of time efficiently. Even if I didn't get the offer, I am not sorry. I don't think I like to work in this kind of environment. It is a good learning to be onsite and see how their work environment is. That is also a decision point if you want to work for them.   Answer Question
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  5. Helpful (11)  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA).

    Interview

    Sent my CV to an ex-colleague and was contacted by a recruitment coordinator. The initial contact was very promising, including a detailed explanation of what to expect. The problem is that the process was not as described. The recruiter never got back to me within the expected 2 days after each interview and I had to repeatedly contact her for an update. The two phone interviews I had were weeks apart. Both were very similar, where I was asked to solve technical problems. The recruiter messed up agreed times, the interviewers called me up to 20 mins late and one interview was cancelled 5 mins beforehand. After many weeks, I was invited for a third phone interview, only it turned out to be a different person on a different team and for a different position! So I can only imagine I was unsuccessful with the first team. I will write another review about the interview process for the other position. The interviewers both seemed quite arrogant and although they asked predominantly technical questions, they both admitted that the role was mostly about feature prioritisation and program management, since the senior developers handle the technical stuff - go figure.

    Interview Questions

    • Based on a list of when buses entered & left for the day, design an algorithm for the bus depot manager to determine the resourcing requirements for tomorrow.   1 Answer
    • Design a system that captures when someone hovers or clicks on an ad and stores the information for later processing.   Answer Question
    • Design an ad server that returns relevant ads from a store of 100m unique ads. It must be fast and must scale across 1b different pages and 1b requests per day.   Answer Question
  6.  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA) in May 2014.

    Interview

    Contacted by a recruiter via linked in. Went through multiple phone interviews, which were separated by a week-couple weeks at a time. Then was invited for an interview day in Seattle; had 6 face-to-face interviews then - pretty rigorous process. Interview included technical component, program / project management and HR partner interview.

  7. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com in April 2014.

    Interview

    They searched my profile on LinkedIn and contacted me for this role. The recruiter asked for a time to talk. She asked me a few sample questions and told me the sample answer formats to it as well. Then she sent me a document with the leadership values for Amazon and said that the document gave a fair idea of what may be asked in the interview.

    In the first interview, the hiring manager called and asked the usual behavioral questions. However, what I didn't expect was him to ask me a dollar amount or impact for every statement in the resume and for every answer to the question. This became irritating after a certain time because it was evident that he was following a questionnaire template and wanted to fill answers in the template from the interview result. A manager should know that while most of the business situations are quantifiable, not all are. Also, when you are managing an account, there are some things that you do to build relationships and can also be a financial loss, but the value lies in the brand building and the relationship building.

    I didn't clear the interview which I gauged from the interview. When the process started with the recruiter I was quite impressed, but as the process moved ahead, the process wasn't impressive at all.

    Interview Questions

    • What was the dollar impact for every statement in the resume and for every example I gave   Answer Question
  8. Helpful (7)  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA).

    Interview

    Contact followed by telephone interviews (2 rounds) then on-site interviews with in-depth technical questions on specific aspects of software development, SOA, agile development before an offer was made a couple of weeks later. Questions ranged from narrative with questions to analytical to providing technical solutions (in some detail) to problems posed.

    Interview Questions

    • mas most surprised by questions on how I would design a financial software architecture to resolve a specific issue - can't give more details for confidentiality reasons.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    The offer was very good and there was a little room to move it up but not much - none on base salary - only on stock and bonus.

  9. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA) in August 2013.

    Interview

    I was solicited by an Amazon recruiter via Linked In for a Senior TPM role in Seattle. Following a couple of emails exchanged, had a 30 minute call with recruiter, following two 1 hour technical interviews with software directors. Though they ultimately passed on me, was a great learning experience.

    Interview Questions

    • Tell me what a critical section is used for in C++.   2 Answers
  10. Helpful (4)  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com (Seattle, WA) in June 2013.

    Interview

    I went through a recruiter. I had one phone interview which was standard interview questions. When going through the in person interview I was asked a situational question about EVERY leadership principal. AWS takes every leadership principal to heart so I recommend you have every leadership principal memorized. Also, I got lucky and was not put through a full 3 person loop but be prepared to have 3 memorable examples for each principal.

    Interview Questions

    • Tell me about a time you applied _____*insert Amazon leadership principal here*   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    typical

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