Amazon Lab126 Software Development Test Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Amazon Lab126 Software Development Test Engineer Interview Questions

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Software Development Test Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sunnyvale, CA
Declined Offer
Negative Experience
Easy Interview

Application

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon Lab126 (Sunnyvale, CA) in May 2014.

Interview

I started off by talking with the hiring manager at a recruiting event. He's quite a nice guy, and we hit it off very well. The first interview was easy, we only spent a few minutes actually discussing technical problems, the remainder of the time I spent asking him questions.

Next was the hiring manager's supervisor. Again, a few technical questions, and then it was all discussions thereafter. No problem. Recruiter calls, and we schedule the on-site.

The on-site interview had me talking to five different people over about four hours. Each interview lasted roughly 45 minutes and really everyone was quite on time. What really got me, though, was the number of times that people mentioned the secret nature of the work that Lab 126 does. I've worked at facilities requiring SCI clearance before, and even though they are fairly tight-lipped around outsiders, they tend to be very open with one another--that's absolutely not the impression I got here.

In any case, each of the interviews consisted of a technical portion followed by a personality portion. Whiteboard coding was done--I think the interviewers actually transcribe your code into a computer and try to run it to see if it's correct, which is quite an interesting solution.

Lunchtime was scheduled at about halfway through the process. They actually do make employees pay for their own lunch, here; the corporate nature of this place is clearest in the cafeteria. Gives it a penny-pinching vibe that's tough to shake.

The HR person, though, was something else. All of the positive feelings I had towards the company to this point really just evaporated as soon as I started talking to her. She started off by telling me that Amazon wouldn't be able to offer me as much as I'm currently making, and then attempted to justify this by pointing out the fact that I hadn't held this specific position at some point in the past. When I pointed out that I had management experience, and intended to seek a promotion to a management role, she made it very clear that this was not going to happen, and that I should accept reduced compensation in exchange for the opportunity to work for Lab 126. Maybe that would have held water when I was fresh out of college, but I've got ten years experience now. I don't need an exciting opportunity to work with cutting edge technology; silicon valley is awash with such things.

I don't know what this place's problem is, but I know this: Amazon Lab 126 is looking for bargain basement prices on their talent. It'll work great for you if you're an intern, but if you've got real talent, go work for Google.

Interview Questions

  • I was asked a question about finding the longest palendrome in a string. I discovered a naive algorithm relatively quickly, and then was asked to handle all corner cases. Took about 10 minutes.   2 Answers

Reasons for Declining

Even though the HR person told me that I hit it out of the park, they failed to offer me competitive salary. The HR person was also very weird, and when I told her my current compensation figure, the whole tone of the conversation shifted--somewhere between jealousy and incredulity.

When I got the offer, not only was it not competitive with my current position, but it's also not competitive to another offer that I had outstanding, and neither is it competitive even to current industry norms. It's not like I'm getting kicked out of my job, either; it's comfortable, I could continue on, I'm just exploring other opportunities.

I mean, I'm not sure whether to be insulted or just baffled. I was completely up-front with the existence of another offer before the interview started, I even told them the dollar figure, and the first thing that the HR person says to me is that Amazon won't be able to match. Then she says that Amazon requires innovative people, and I lack the specific experience on my resume for the position I was applying--which is absolutely false, as I have senior level positions that involve everything from firmware to websites design.

This strikes me as a mediocre, weird place to work.

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