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Amazon.com Systems Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Oct 27, 2014
Updated Oct 27, 2014
20 Interview Reviews

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Systems Engineer 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

2-3 phone screens, one grueling all day rotation designed to push you into areas you know nothing about. Interviewers, when asked whether or not they liked their jobs, they could not honestly say yes. Asked fermi questions, jogged to lunch (YES, REALLY). Ignored most of what I told them about myself.

  The engineers who interviewed me were not trained in how to interview - they repeated questions, were dismissive, abusive, and generally irritated that they had to interview me. They were not comfortable hearing "I don't know" and insisted on pressing issues until I was frustrated. I don't know if this is an effective interview technique, but it was certainly an effective way for me to screen a prospective employer!

Interview Questions
  • How many golf balls fit in a schoolbus?   View Answer
Reasons for Declining

Sub-par salary, and the interviewers seemed to hate their jobs.

Declined Offer
Negative Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Amazon.com

  1.  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    I applied online, couple days later an internal recruiter contacted me to setup a phone interview for the position I applied for.

    I had the phone interview, and it was very interesting. Typically for a position like this, you are going to be hammered with technical questions that are relevant to your day to day activities.

    Not this interview, the questions asked were not hard questions. But the scope of the questions were very broad and touched just about every part of working in IT. For example I was asked what NAT was. I thought it was interesting because this is something you ask a Network Engineer not a Systems Engineer. But easy enough question.... I know this.... So I answered it. Then they wanted me to go into detail about it. And I had to explain I am a Systems Engineer, I don't work with these things everyday. I can give you the 30,000 foot view, but going really in depth I can't do.

    A few questions like that. Not hard but you need to know all the details.

    Interview Questions
    • They asked me how does DHCP works. But they wanted the answer in a lot of detail.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2.  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Herndon, VA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Herndon, VA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Amazon.com.

    Interview Details

    Contacted by recruiter via email after applying online. A few days later I had a phone interview with a Systems Engineer that was mostly technical in nature. This phone interview was followed by another phone interview that was mostly behavioral based. A week later they flew me out to seattle for on site interviews which consisted of 5 separate interviews. Next week recruiter contacted me and told me they were passing me but recommended my for another position in the company which im currently pursuing.

    Interview Questions
    • Describe what happens when you type amazon.com into a browser.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3.  

    Systems Engineer 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.

    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 Questions
    • Use multiple ways to find out all the distinct IP Addresses.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Average Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  6.  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

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

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
  7.  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university – 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 Questions
    No Offer
  8.  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    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 Questions
    • I was asked to come up with some certain sorting algorithms.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    I received a better offer elsewhere.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    System Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied in-person – 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 Questions
    • Explain the process from start to finish of what happens when you type in a web address and press Enter.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Difficult Interview
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    • Not a lot of curve balls - so honestly no single question stood out.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

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