Amazon Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Amazon Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Jun 20, 2017
174 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Amazon.

    Interview

    The whole process was a bit chaotic and feels very reflective of what working at the company would be like.

    I was initially referred by a friend who works there. Dealt with a number of different recruiters \ interview schedules until someone could actually schedule a phone screen. The phone screen was straight out of every interviewing book ever.

    Getting the onsite interview organized was a similar process. One recruiter initially, handed off to another recruiter, handed off to an interview co-ordinator, back to the recruiter.

    The interviews were all pretty much what you'd expect. The interviewer would come in to the room at exactly their slotted time and end the previous interview. They'd introduce themselves and talk about what they work on. They'd ask a few questions about your resume. Then either an algorithm question or a system design question. Then a behavioral ("tell me a time when...") question that is either about a specific Amazon Leadership Principle or about a reality of working at amazon (mostly dealing with being put into situations where there is more work than you can handle).

    Pros
    - the process was generally efficient. In spite of the fact that you have to deal with a bunch of recruiters and never really know who's going to contact you, they would reply quickly. I was finished exactly when I was told the day would be done. None of the questions were difficult to see the solution to.
    - the interviews are a strong reflection of the culture of the company; the people are smart, the problems are hard - but expect to be pushed to work hard and have to really commit to the culture.

    Cons
    - don't expect much of a conversation when it comes to the technical questions. The question is posed, and then the interviewer will sit there and just type whatever you say or write on the whiteboard.
    - don't expect to get a feel for your team or your co-workers. Everyone I interviewed was from various teams related to the team I was interviewing for but not direct co-workers
    - Expect the 'bar raiser' interview to pick something that's going to be tricky to write on a white board. Just because you understand graph theory and use it every day, it's a whole different ball game trying to create and traverse a graph on a whiteboard while someone is taking notes on everything you write.
    - everything ties back to their "leadership principles". If you really want to work at amazon, learn those, embrace them and come up ahed of time with a situation that lines up with each one so you're prepared when they ask it.

    Interview Questions

    • Design a simple service for scale and be prepared to defend your design. Data structures (graphs, trees). Behavioral questions that line up with the company values.   Answer Question

  2.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA).

    Interview

    Hiring manager reached out to me on LinkedIn and set up an informal chat where he explained about the team and role. The role sounded interesting, so I decided to give this a try. The hiring manager then referred me to a recruiter, who then contacted me to set up a phone screen. The phone screen went well and I was invited to an onsite. At the same time, I was contacted by another team in Amazon who was also interested in interviewing me. So, I set up a combined loop with both teams.
    The onsite had the following rounds:
    1. Coding/Algorithms
    2. System Design Interview
    3. Coding
    4. Lunch (informal, not an interview)
    5. Coding/Design
    6. Behavioral interview
    7. Resume deep dive

    Each interviewer (except for the lunch buddy) asks you some question which is related to Amazon's Leadership Principles. So read up about the Leadership Principles and come prepared with a list of examples where you demonstrated some competency related to the LP.

    I heard back positive news 2 days after the Phone interview and 4 days after the onsite.

    Interview Questions

    • 1. Simple backtracking question related to generating permutations
      2. LRU Cache
      3. System Design questions based on the product the team is building
      4. Lots of 'Tell me about a time when ...' types of questions  
      1 Answer

  3.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Interview

    I was given an online coding assessment. I ran into many technical difficulties, such as not being able to compile even a simple line of code and missing problem description. I asked Amazon for a retake, but they didn't even have the courtesy to respond.


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  5. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in March 2017.

    Interview

    Interview process was first technical interview, where a very low-experinced employee interviewed me on problem solving and solution thinking for 45 minutes. It included using the interactive whiteboard to discuss problems and do just a little simple coding for partial solutions (the problems were too big to solve in a few minutes in an accurate and tested manner).

    The issue I have with this process is that it is NOT a reasonable assessment of a senior candidate's experience and skills. When a 5 years or less 'person' interviews a very successful senior engineer with well over 20 years of real world experience, and then does not recommend further interest in the candidate due to lack of skills, well, something is wrong with the system! People think of solutions in different ways, and working together to collaborate on a best solution is what good engineering is about. A barely-out-of-being-junior engineer cannot come close to understanding what that is like in the world outside of Amazon.
    I would not work with such a person, even if they had made an offer.

    Interview Questions

    • Something about searching a string for sequences of characters and counts of them.   3 Answers

  6.  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Jose, CA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 5 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (San Jose, CA) in March 2017.

    Interview

    It was a 5 rounds of behavioral, Coding and System design question.
    Learn their Leadership skills, in every round, they ask you a question related to it, and spend about 20 mins deep diving into it!
    Interview as such was straight forward DS & Algos but these leadership skills play a vital role in selection

    Interview Questions

    • 1) About 8 different questions from Leadership skills   2 Answers
    • Design Question: Design Google docs   1 Answer
    • Coding: Binary Tree "expression" parser   Answer Question
    • HashMaps & Priority Queues based: How to retrieve recent 5 queries that was searched on AWS dashboard   1 Answer

  7. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    Attended many interviews by many companies. Amazon pride themselves with whole bunch of leadership principles and how they religiously follow them and expect those principles from interviewees. However, they lack that professionalism in extending basic courtesy to interviewees in letting them informed on the outcome of the interview. Be it negative or positive, they oughta convey it - because its Amazon!

    It started with a phone screen: half of time, on technical aspects of the resume or general concepts and other half with a collaborative coding question, which I cleared it.

    Though the position is near to where I live, they asked me to fly to Seattle - paid everything by Amazon. Six interviews during the day - one hour each.

    First interview was a coding question which I answered listing various trade-offs with each approach. We both agreed which is the right approach for the question and I went writing the code on white board. Then interviewer asked me algo for the other approaches, which I did. He then asked for a design question, it was very nice discussion, I did describe to the interviewer's satisfaction.

    Second interview was from a hardware engineer; he was nice. Asked me to explain couple of projects that I worked and he genuinely tried to understand. Then he asked me a design question in the hardware domain - again, invigorating discussion. He was happy with my answer.

    Third was with two engineers, they pretty much asked behavioral questions. Again, great discussion!

    Fourth was lunch outing with the engineer who I spoke during the phone screen. It was my chance to ask questions about the work culture and the company.

    Fifth was I think is bar raiser interview: its pure coding. First question, I aced it. He asked for an alternative approach even though it would not fetch any performance or memory improvements from the algorithm I used. The approach he wanted was skewed, I could not answer it; I gave up.
    He then asked for a question on trees. It was a difficult question; I came close with an approach; he helped with clues and finally I was able to answer it.

    The last was with hiring manager - full of behavioral questions. He was under the impression that the interview was for 45 minutes so, he rushed through with his questions; and winded up fast. Then, came back after realizing that he has fifteen more minutes, for the next fifteen minutes, we just chatted around. I think this may have contributed to outcome.

    The last was with HR/recruiter. She said she would get back to me with a decision EITHER Positive or negative by Monday or Tuesday (interview happened on Friday). She pretty much talked about ball park salary, possible positions! I thought I had it.

    Its end of Friday, I have not heard back from them. Sent a mail to the recruiter, no response! Guess they doesnt want to move forward with me. Fine!

    But, when they were so fanatic about leadership principles, they should stick to word given to interviewees which they didnt. Interviewers were very helpful, I really enjoyed the discussions but when they dont follow what they promised, I lose the respect.

    Interview Questions

    • Signed NDA so not appropriate to share. You gotta know your basics to succeed.   Answer Question

  8. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    This was a technical screen over the phone with use of Amazon's whiteboard web app.
    Started out asking me for a brief history of my career in the software industry. Then he asked me to describe a goal I've had and how I achieved it. We talked about that for a few minutes and then moved on to a theoretical technical question (no code, just verbal discussion). The final ~20 minutes were spent on the coding exercise.

    Interview Questions

    • You have a huge data file (gigabytes in size) full of URLs, one per line. There are many duplicates throughout the file. How would you process this data to produce an output file with one unique URL per line, followed by the number of occurrences?   1 Answer
    • Write a function/method with this signature:
      bool MyFunc(string term, string input) {}

      The method should return true if the search term is found in the input string, even when there are other characters in between.
      Examples:
      "aba", "bbbbabbxxxxxxbb" returns false
      "aba", "bbbbabbxxxxxxab" returns true
      Basically, do I see an 'a', then 'b', then another 'a' before I run off the end of the input string?  
      2 Answers

  9.  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Raleigh, NC) in January 2017.

    Interview

    I was contacted by Amazon recruiter, phone interview and then I was introduced to another senior recruiter.
    It was really a good experience with recruiter, she told me some tips about the interview and provide me preparation document.
    Then setup a 30 minute technical phone with a Sr developer.

    Interview Questions


  10. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in December 2016.

    Interview

    TL;DR: The interview process at Amazon is broken. Amazon favors those who are experts at interviewing and show aptitude for solving puzzle problems under pressure, on a white board and in an academic way under time constraints. The interview is structured in a way that completely obfuscates and diminishes real-world, pragmatic experience acquired over the years of writing software and focuses on how well you payed attention in class. It's a kin to a trauma surgeon with 15 years of battlefield experience being judged solely on how well he or she can suture a small cut on a pinky finger.

    The interview process started with a recruiter organizing a technical phone screen with a simple coding question much like every other company. The phone screen was easily passed and did not present much of a challenge.

    The next step was to interview all day on site with several individuals some of which were by remote video conference. Many of interviewers were from teams other than the team I was interviewing for and it was evident by their demeanor. They seemed to have been required to perform the interview and did not seem overly interested in the outcome. The words "robotic" and "forced" comes to mind when describing the interviewers.

    On a side note, you can easily infer the outcome of the interview by taking note of the recruiters attentiveness to you before and after the interview. In my case, the recruiter was responsive to my inquires and questions, answered the phone and went out of her way to be available to me before the interview. After the interview had taken place, she was unavailable and would not return calls as promptly thus indicating a negative outcome. If there is a rejection, you are dead wood to the recruiter who does not wish to waste precious time with you anymore.

    Interview Questions

    • Expect puzzle questions, some of which are found online. Amazon interviewers lack the brilliance to come up with anything unique or representative of real-world applications. Amazon! The 1990's called; they want their soft skill questions back!   1 Answer

  11.  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon in November 2016.

    Interview

    Got a call from AWS. 1st phone round with Hiring Manager. Just resume walk through. Next phone round with team member. Resume & coding questions. Got rejected after 4 days.

    Interview Questions

    • Asked to write code about editing a file using a specific function. When I did, he showed some edge cases where my code would fail & suggested using a state machine approach. I got a bit confused with that but I did end up modifying my code to fit the edge cases.   3 Answers

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