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Amazon.com Senior Technical Program Manager Interview Questions

Updated Feb 10, 2015
Updated Feb 10, 2015
19 Interview Reviews

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Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
Application Details

I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com in February 2015.

Interview Details

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
No Offer
Negative Experience
Average Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Amazon.com

  1.  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    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.

    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  2.  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Amazon.com in November 2014.

    Interview Details

    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
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  3. 9 people found this helpful  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Amazon.com.

    Interview Details

    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.   Answer Question
    • 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
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    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
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 17 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+ weeksinterviewed 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
  7. 5 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+ weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com.

    Interview Details

    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 Details
    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.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at Amazon.com in August 2013.

    Interview Details

    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
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 2 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 2 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com in June 2013.

    Interview Details

    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*   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    typical
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Senior Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com in May 2013.

    Interview Details

    A amazon recruiter contacted me and I was given the opportunity to take an online test. The test was very straight forward and pretty easy. About a month later I was given a phone interview, that took 2 weeks to set up. The questions were very straight forward and about my past experience. At this point he wanted to set up a second phone interview that would focus more on my technical experience. This interview happened about a month after the first phone interview. The interview was about an hour long and was comprised of about 5 questions. The questions were very long and somewhat complex, you had to keep a lot in your head and describe how you would solve a problem through an architecture. I don’t think the questions would have normally been difficult, but you could tell the interviewer was reading from a paper, on a speaker phone and had a thick accent. This made it VERY difficult to understand, keep track of, and design as he read the long scenarios. I had to continually ask him to repeat and clarify what he was asking. As I was explaining the design, he would dive deeper (as expected) which required me to ask him to repeat some of the other aspects I didn’t not completely hear. He was a very nice guy, but I knew at that point the interview did not go well.

    Interview Questions
    • I don't think the questions would have been difficult, there was just a language barrier over a speaker phone. From what I could make out of the last question, it was how would you deal with a project that was delayed for 4 months you had a month to complete it, you also have 3 other projects that were due at the same time, you were under staffed and could only get 1 additional developer. As I explained how I would approach it, he would keep adding complexity (i.e one of them is a high value customer).   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

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