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Amazon.com Systems Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 3, 2014
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Interview Experience 

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Interview Difficulty 

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer
Seattle, WA

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

Interview Details – One round phone interview:
1. Talk about yourself
2. Given a system log, only two fields: ip address and status code. How to find out all the distinct ip addresses.
3. Describe Hashmap.
4. I mentioned MapReduce, he let me describe MapReduce.

Interview Question – Use multiple ways to find out all the distinct IP Addresses.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer
Redmond, WA

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in April 2014.

Interview Details – I was contacted by an HR who said they wanted to schedule a phone interview with me for the Systems Engineer position. I had applied on the Amazon website. Around a week later I got a call at the scheduled time from a woman who asked me basic Linux and networking questions such as what is the process ID of init, explain TCP etc. I told her I didn't have much scripting knowledge but she suggested I go ahead with the next round anyway. That was to be a 45 minute technical phone interview, which was scheduled for a couple of weeks later. I was told to keep a paper and computer ready and expected questions on bash but was asked all oral questions. I wasn't given any idea of what they would ask me, so I went by what I was quizzed on in the previous interview. Questions ranged widely from basic networking questions (what is a particular class of IP addresses used for?) to problem solving (how would you find a process that was utilizing too much disk space?) and theoretical (what does the bootloader do?) questions on Linux. I was also asked non-technical questions about my previous projects and working in a team. The interview lasted around 30 minutes.

Interview Question – Systems engineering is not my strength and I didn't know what to expect in the interview. I spent most of the prep time I got studying bash but instead got theoretical questions.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2012.

Interview Details – The interview process was the most professional that I have ever had! From the manner in which each step was taken (e.g. initial phone screens, scheduling of the face-to-face, and the final interview), it was obvious that Amazon only wanted to hire quality staff to join their highly intelligent, good humored, friendly, and casually attired team.

Interview Question – Based upon given programming language(s), there were questions for which a person had to read some code, debug the algorithm, and provide a correction. This was used to test a person's proficiency with the language as well as their thought process on the problem.   View Answer

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer

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

Interview Details – I received the email from HR, set up a phone interview regarding my resume, no response after that.

Interview Question – some Unix server   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer

I applied through college or university and interviewed at Amazon.com.

Interview Details – Apply through school. 3 rounds of phone interview. The manager was late and asked a question that was logically wrong.

Interview Question – Write up a modeling problem   Answer Question

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer

Interviewed at Amazon.com

Interview Details – I first contact them by sending them an email to their recruiting email page. I was followed up by their recruitment staff who scheduled 2 over the phone technical interviews. After completing those technical interviews I was asked to come on-site for an in-person interview. They put me up in a very nice hotel near the office for 2 nights. I had the interview the following morning, and it was basically an all day affair, with multiple people.

Interview Question – I was asked to come up with some certain sorting algorithms.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – I received a better offer elsewhere.

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

System Engineer Interview

System Engineer

I applied in-person and interviewed at Amazon.com.

Interview Details – My interview process involved three rounds of interviews. The questions were appeared to be geared to finding out more about my character and how i thought than my technical knowledge. The interviewers wanted specific details as what you did, why you did what you did, who did it affect. After the interview, I was mentally exhausted, but must state it was one of the better interviews I've ever had.

Interview Question – Explain the process from start to finish of what happens when you type in a web address and press Enter.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer
Seattle, WA

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2013.

Interview Details – Amazon's interview process was the most drawn-out, poorly organized, poorly communicated interview I've ever had, but I'd still suggest interviewing there. I won't go into too many details about myself, but I've interviewed with two other large tech firms, both of which treated me very professionally. Amazon's recruiter seemed extremely over-worked - a side you will come to find out Amazon seems to value in its DNA.

For whatever reason it took the recruiter a month to just schedule the first interview. The first phone interview was prompt, and relatively straight forward - UNIX internals, some networking, etc. At the end, they gave a take-home test with coding and such that was due in 24 hours. The next interview, they said, would be scheduled soon and use that.

Again the recruiter asked me for my availability and I gave him my schedule. Two or three weeks passed and I followed up with the recruiter about the interview. They didn't admit it, but I got the feeling it was a "oh crap - I forgot to schedule you" type reply. The second (which was supposed to be shortly after the first) was then scheduled.

The second interviewer was again timely and courteous and, just like the first, knowledgeable. However, since it had been some time since I did the test, I had to spend a decent amount of time remembering what I'd done on it. They seemed frustrated that it had been so long since the first interview.

After the second, I was offered to fly to Seattle to interview on-site, an offer I was humbled by. A large tech company of Amazon's stature wanted to invest in me to see if I was of their mettle. That's immensely cool.

Again - they asked me of my availability and scheduled the date for the interview. The travel company, they noted, would be contacting me shortly.

Four days later I still had not heard from the travel company so pinged my recruiter. I got their auto-reply that they were on vacation until the following week. This irritated me since one would think that if they have candidates about to fly across the country, they'd inform them of a scheduled vacation to be sure that the candidate didn't feel left out. You'd also think that the recruiter should ensure loose ends were tied down - small details like travel plans less than a week before the interview. Now concerned, I contacted their e-mail replacement who assured me that it would be handled. The next day I received travel plans - but it must have cost them dearly because it was only 4-5 days before the interview and I was flying across the country.

After that point, everything was perfectly smooth. I arrived in Seattle to a cold, rainy evening and spent the evening in my hotel reviewing and studying. The next day, I got a large carb-rich breakfast with good coffee and walked to the Amazon building. Seattle is freaking amazing. Love it there.

The on-site loop was the usual tech affair - 6-7 hours of 5-6 interviews with a lunch in between. The folks I interviewed with all took notes on my answers, and it was clear there was somewhat of a script for their questions - which makes sense. None of it was terribly challenging, but I fumbled a few cupcake questions (and ironically, I felt, did well on the deeper ones) so I wasn't surprised when they later told me I wasn't selected.

Over all, when compared to other large tech firms I've interviewed with, Amazon's recruitment process seems incredibly disorganized. Its employees were impressive and smart, but I actually considered calling the interview off before accepting the travel plans just because of how badly disorganized the recruiter was. In the end I figured I had nothing to lose and gave it my best.

However - I would have taken the job if offered. Their offices are quite nice but without many of the perks silicon valley firms have like free food. Their operations seemed impressive from what I saw, and the people were bright and kind. The work sounded challenging and demanding (good things). This is a great place to work, but I get the feeling they also exact a large toll on your life outside of work just simply due to the workload you get. Time and time I was told that they didn't feel pressure to work extra hours - that they just worked long hours because they loved it. However, that seemed a little hollow when held in comparison to the poor organization the recruiter seemed to exhibit.

You'd be silly not to interview with them if they offer you one - but definitely investigate if work/life balance is important to you. Maybe I just got spooked by a recruiter with poor time management, but I'm usually good at reading between the lines so my spidey sense is telling me that Amazon's drive for frugality extends to being very careful about hiring - which as we all know can translate to huge workloads. A good thing for someone wishing to improve their career, for sure!

Interview Question – Not a lot of curve balls - so honestly no single question stood out.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer
Seattle, WA

The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in November 2009.

Interview Details – The interview process started with roundsof phone interviews. First came a general interview from someone in Dublin, Ireland. There were the standard programming/intelligence questions, followed up by language specific questions. Next was a second round of intervoews where OS/Hardware.networking questions were asked. Then there was another phone intervoew where I was asked what if problem solving questions. In all, there were 5 phone interviews, before they flew me in for a day long interview process with about 8 people -- all these interviews, as well as the 5 phone interviews, were an hour long. The interview questions were often on-trivial, but usually fun. I mostly flunked on the kernel virtual memory questions I only knew two of the buits in the virtual memory page table, and I was weak on kernel process data structures.

Interview Question – Suppose you have been asked to setup a new company that was going to do what netflix does. How would you go about setting up the network/databases/software?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Salary, and the ability to continue to work on free software on my own dime.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Engineer Interview

Systems Engineer
Poznań, Greater Poland (Poland)

I applied online - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2014.

Interview Details – Applied Online for a position advertised in October 2013. I was contacted by Amazon in the beginning of March 2014 to schedule telephone interview. Telephone interview lasted around 40 minutes and was conducted by Systems Engineer. Questions covered: windows os troubleshooting and networking (how to check ip address, how to promote a DC, how to join a pc to domain, how to query AD for info, troubleshooting scenario); cisco (theoretical questions about OSI model and which device works on what level, routing protocols, IOS commands how to add port to vlan, what is VPN, spanning tree, cdp command) and linux (how to navigate file structure, how to configure and troubleshoot networking, where are the logs and how to get info from them).
I was asked to come for a in person interview and I was meeting 4 people individually for 45 minute sessions. 2 persons were from operations background (operations manager and regional operations manager) and two It (IT manager and regional IT manager) The sessions were more of a "get the feeling of the person" and only IT manager (not from the Polish site) was asking technical questions. He went deep into the IOS and network design (switch stacking, spanning tree protocol, routing protocols IOS commands) Operations guy wanted me to describe how i would implement a change on the shop flop of a fulfilment centre.

I was told i would be hearing from Amazon within 2 weeks. After 2 weeks a lady called me to walk me through my interview process for junior IT. I told her that I have already conducted interviews and she apologized for an apparent "error in the system" Than she asked me how much i would like to earn (even though she called me with regards to another position) I told her 9k gross PLN. She told me someone would contact me with feedback regarding my application. Next day i got an online survey regarding my interview experience and that was the last thing i heard from Amazon. The posicion was since then advertised again so I assume I did not get the job. The lack of feedback was suprising to me I would expect Amazon to be more serious.

TL;DR:
+ no HR BS you talk only with tech people
+ interesting questions and interviewers know what are they talking about

- the length of the process
- absolutely no feedback

Interview Question – swich stacking; details of routing protocols   Answer Question

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