Amazon Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Amazon Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Nov 21, 2017
125 Interview Reviews

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Senior Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Ottawa, ON (Canada)
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Amazon (Ottawa, ON (Canada)) in November 2016.

Interview

Screening was done online by solving a coding problem within 2 hours. If you are successful at that then you will be contacted by a recruiter for a quick telephone interview. You will then be invited to a half day interview where you will be interviewed by four individuals. All of the interviews will be technical in nature and you will have to write code showing how you will solve the problem proposed to you by the interviewer.

Interview Questions

  • How would you determine if a person is a friend of another person on a social networking application?   1 Answer

Other Interview Reviews for Amazon

  1. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 days. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in January 2012.

    Interview

    I first passed two phone interviews, with standard algorithm and design questions, similar to ones posted on GlassDoor. I was flown to Seattle for interviews. The hotel was nice, but breakfast was not included. I interviewed with 9 people, some 1:1, but most 2:1, and one 3:1. Most interview questions can be found on GlassDoor, or are very similar. The final interview was with the "bar raiser", which I basically failed. I also had a hard time with an algorithm efficiency question since the interviewer misunderstood my code. In general, the people were smart and nice. Questions were pretty much the same as posted on this site. The bar raiser asked questions requiring familiarity with implementation of Reliability and Durability within a distributed messaging system architecture. I was surprised to learn that Amazon developers are periodically on call, and even more surprised to learn they can expect to be called when they are! I would say the interview questions were more difficult than average, but it is hard to maintain high energy and mental agility through so many interviews, so I rate the process Very Difficult.

    Interview Questions

    • How would you find if a list of strings, at least one is a prefix of another?   1 Answer

  2.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in April 2011.

    Interview

    Passed Phone Screen since they basically asked OOP ("What is encapsulation?") and Algorithms ("Name an O(n log n) Sort")-kind of questions. They love Bucket Sort, so understand it. Breezed right through.

    I took time off my current job and flew to Seattle. Got in late on puddle jumpers. The job I was interviewing for had advertised they wanted J2EE, Oracle DB's, XML, standard stuff for a Senior Java guy. However, I was asked about none of that. Instead we emarked on a masturbatory exercise whereby developers one after another propsed what Einstein called "Gedanken Experiments", all of which had to be coded by hand on a whiteboard resulting in compilable code. You are allowed to ask questions of the interviewer and have 60 mins to solve.

    Here are my questions:

    1.) "Given an NxM matrix, with some cells black and some cells white, code an algorithm to find all the black cells."
    2.) (This one was from one of the senior developers, an older gentlemen who had been pretty much since the founding). "A road has a traffic counter on it and results in an array of durations since the sampling began. Code and algorithm to find out how many cars have passed, keeping in mind that there may be 18 wheelers, cars towing trailers, pickup trucks and passenger vehicles"
    3.) "Given two arrays of floats, not necessarily of the same size, write an algorithm to merge them in ascending order." This was the only one I got completed and correct.
    4.) "Given a log file spanning multiple days, and given a page transition A -> B -> C, find all the unique users who made this page transition in the logs"

    Needless to say, I spent a great deal of time preparing, reading Bertrand's Object Oriented Software Construction and Lafore's "Data Structures and Algorithms in Java". It didn't matter. Could have went in cold and done almost as well. The people were pleasant, but the experience wasn't good.

    Interview Questions

    • (This one was from one of the senior developers, an older gentlemen who had been pretty much since the founding). "A road has a traffic counter on it and results in an array of durations since the sampling began. Code and algorithm to find out how many cars have passed, keeping in mind that there may be 18 wheelers, cars towing trailers, pickup trucks and passenger vehicles"   1 Answer
    • "Given a log file spanning multiple days, and given a page transition A -> B -> C, find all the unique users who made this page transition in the logs"   3 Answers
  3.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Herzliya (Israel)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Herzliya (Israel)) in September 2017.

    Interview

    This was the most humiliating experience I could ever imagine.
    It doesn't begin and end with the hiring event that took place, it starts at the very initial recruitment phase.
    1. no one actually talks with you. You receive mails from a recruiter that cannot even tell you the type of job you are interviewing for. I wanted to make sure that I was being interviewed for a senior developer position, but the recruiter just told me "We'll see after the interviews".
    Everything was in emails. An email before an online test. Emails after the test. Emails that contain many links to sites (I actually have to pay for) that could help me pass the interview.
    There was no one I could talk to. The best I could do, on that one day I was sick and wanted to postpone my test, was to write her a mail and hope that she responds within the next 24 hours.
    2. the moment I reached the hiring event, I was in for a surprise. The parking lot is not free. Even though we were told specifically in the mail that all candidates will have free access to the parking lot. I paid of course.
    3. I entered the WeWork offices. There was no one to talk to. There were a bunch of employees from different companies making coffee, but none of them knew anything about any recruitment).
    It just so happened there was this one guy with a laptop that understood what we came for, and so he mumbled "Go up two floors" and meet whatshername.
    We went up. The recruiter then tells me that they've been having truoble with that parking lot for some reason. It was only then that I realized that this was not the first interviewing day. They've been having this parking lot issue for 4 days in a row now, but no one thought about solving it(!!). The recruiter promised us that we'd give her the receipt at the end of the day and that we'd get paid back.
    At this point, we were separated to different rooms. Even that was not handled well.
    I was led to a room without being offered a drink, and then she closed the door behind her. You needed to find your own way to the kitchen (lucky me, it was right in front of my room). The recruiter told me to call her if I needed anything (like even using the restrooms - which required a special card). I asked her for her phone number so that I could call, but she said "No, just send me an email".
    4. You are not brought in for an interview at Amazon. You come for 4 interviews in a row in one day . This means you must lose half a day's work in order to participate in those interviews, where even if you have failed the first one, you don't go home, you'd still need to continue with the other 3.
    5. for 4 hours I had interviewers coming in and out of my room without a break. I was told there would be a 10 minute break between interviews, but since my first interviewer was late, I didn't even have the privilege of having one. There was this one time I asked one of my interviewers that had just arrived, if I could make myself some tea. I had no alone time. Not even to eat (and of course I couldn't eat during the interview)
    The last hour I spent there was with a splitting headache and shivering.
    Sixth, when I finished my interviews, weak and worn out and the last of the interviewers had left the room, I really felt violated. I was not even escorted to the door, or the stair case, or (heaven forbids) the entrance. I had to find my own way out.
    Once I came out, it suddenly hit me that no one had paid for my parking lot and that I'd have to pay it from my own pocket. But never mind – this is Amazon!
    7. the crème de la crème for me, actually took place after the hiring event.
    A few days later (that was pretty fast) I received a mail telling me I didn't get hired.
    I started contemplating about my interviews, trying to figure out what I did wrong.
    Other companies I didn't get into also gave me feedback telling me my weaknesses or why (the hell) I was not accepted. However, in recruiter's mail it said that she was very sorry, but she can't give any feedback at the moment.
    I figured, what have I got to lose? I won't be working for Amazon anyway, at least maybe I could learn something about myself, something I could improve in my future interviews.
    So I sent her a mail, telling her I would really appreciate if she could try give me a few remarks/tips from my interviewers anyway.
    Till this day (about a month after), I haven't received any response (although in the mail I received from Amazon it said I could contact her in case I had any questions).
    I remember actually telling myself after the interviews: "why did you kill yourself over this? Why did I spend so much time and effort trying to be accepted to this company? Look at how this whole recruitment process is managed!". I didn't even see that from the beginning. I played along. I was so interested in the brand, that I forgot to look sideways and see this crazy mess. Why would I even consider working on such a place?

    Interview Questions


  4.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in London, England (UK)
    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Amazon (London, England (UK)) in September 2017.

    Interview

    Difficult to answer, But they were expecting tough candidates and also looking for ones who had experience in big companies and projects. But the questions are too hard and they were expecting to answer using the most efficinet logic.

    Interview Questions

    • How do you rate your performance in the project?   1 Answer

  5. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Santa Monica, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at Amazon (Santa Monica, CA) in July 2017.

    Interview

    Had a phone screen and then onsite interview all day. Onsite interview session was grueling. There were 2 interviews in the morning, then lunch and 3 more in the afternoon. All the people I talked to were pretty nice and gave me hints if I was stuck in a question.
    Lot of behavioral interview questions. Technical interviews were not too difficult. If you are fairly good with algorithms and data structures, you should do fine. Two system design questions. These were pretty standard too.
    Overall I thought i did ok, but looking back, it was a waste of time as I did not get the offer.
    Read up on the Amazon leadership principles and have some solid answers ready for behavioral interview questions describing the situation, action, results of your experiences/projects.
    Same questions might be asked in different interviews. you can have the same answers as long as your story is consistent.

    Interview Questions

    • System design questions - design URL shortener , design music streaming service.
      Describe a situation where you disagreed with your manager.
      Describe a time when you worked on a project where you had insufficient data.
      Describe a time when you worked on something you did not have prior experience in, limited domain knowledge etc.   Answer Question

  6. Helpful (3)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in May 2017.

    Interview

    I was contacted by a recruiter through a Job search website for a full time position.
    The response after each interview was super quick (relative to interviews in other companies)
    Once they reject you, seems like the recruiter don't respond to your mail anymore. Pretty rude and unexpected.
    1st phone call was with the recruiter. A 20 minutes conversation. Later he scheduled a day for phone interview.
    1st round was a 45 minute technical phone interview. It went well. The interviewer was supportive and knowledgeable. I enjoyed the interview.
    In couple of days I was told that they want to go ahead with onsite interview. I was thrilled and set a date for 3 weeks later.
    I hated the onsite interview process. I liked that they paid for my travel(from California) and the stay at downtown. The onsite interview was of 4 hours - 5 rounds and NO BREAK for me in between. Why no break? Because the interview started 15 - 20 minutes late and that's why every next interview got overlapped and the interviewee had to suffer. It was utterly exhausting for me and frustrating after 2.5 rounds. I was interviewing after 9 long years and that's why I was uncomfortable, I guess, to ask for breaks in between. But if you are reading this and face similar situation please ask for breaks after every interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Phone rounds:
      1. Odd/Even number of occurrence of integers in an array
      2. Given an organization structure as a file, print out the employee names and its corresponding reportees in a structured format.   1 Answer
    • Onsite:
      Round 1: Mostly behavioral
      - Any technical challenge I have faced in past? How did I resolve it?
      Any big impact to any of your recent projects?
      How would you convince your manager(reasons/factors) to changing an implementation(a big modification) in a product which is in production currently?

      Round 2: Technical
      - Implement merge sort.
      - Graph problem

      Round 3: Technical
      - A method to count number of occurrence of words in a file. The objective was to write a clean code rather than an optimized code.

      Round 4: Behavioral and Architecture
      - Past project experience
      - Design a messaging app

      Round 5: Design/Coding
      - Ideas about implementing a search suggester
      - How will you implement it?   Answer Question

  7.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at Amazon (San Jose, CA) in May 2013.

    Interview

    Recruiter emailed me, and after exchanging emails and talked over the phone, I had Phone screening, the interview was too long, the question was too complicated, and the end result, I did not make it for the next stage.

    Interview Questions

    • * Takes a list of strings representing either operators or operands and returns
       * the result of a reverse-polish notation calculation on them
       * Sample output:
       * {"4", "1", "+", "2", "*"} -> ((4 + 1) * 2) -> 10
       * {"5", "8", "4", "/", "+"} -> (5 + (8 / 4)) -> 7
       * Supported operators are +, -, *, and /
       * @param ops the series of operators and operands to operate on
       * @return a Double equal to the result of the calculation
       * @throws IllegalArgumentException if ops does not represent a well-formed RPN expression
       * @throws ArithmeticException if the expression generates an arithmetic error, such as dividing by zero
       */   2 Answers
  8. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in October 2016.

    Interview

    Phone screen with recruitor, tech screen, architecture questions. Fly up onsite all day. They sort of want you to read this book on Amazon values because your interviews will all be basically 30 minutes of "tell me about a time when" related to their "core value" and you need to give a specific example. Like being frugal or whatever. You need to show you can drink their kool aid. Then you get an algorithm whiteboard coding.

    Overall, I haven't done Java in 15 years, yet they kept asking me about object oriented design questions. With the recruitor, with the hiring manager on the phone, I emphasized I had spent the last *decade* doing functional programming and haven't touched java. "That's fine, you've done it", etc. Well, turns out, I nailed the core values, I nailed all the whiteboard stuff, but one guy "OO opinion" didn't like my OO design of a "Chess Game" . His linked in background has him with 5 total years experience and 3 doing Java at Amazon. Well, it was a Collabedit session and I kept the Code, b/c he was IN SF so we did it over Video. During me working on CollabEdit I could see him typing/working on his laptop on other things, seemingly distracted when I'd ask him to clarify something. He didn't say a word or guide me in any direction, just kept saying, 'yeah, good, okay, yeah"....

    Got the call, no dice, didn't like my Chess game. Bwah bwah....so, I asked the recruiter, who said I didn't get the job because of my OO design, if she would guide me on what the design should have been, because my design, which I kept matches what is on many websites, and even reviewed by my friend at Google who came up with a few adjustments but nothing he said he wouldn't hire someone who obviously is rusty in Java over.

    Either way, an enormous waste of my time, interviewing with a company that is more like the UPS of Software Developers anyway. At the end of it, you get some very low salary and padded with "cash bonuses" that run out and loaded up on Stock that you'll need to exercise to even survive at the salary they offer. (basically 50% of what I'm making now).

    Interview Questions

    • Lots of basic stuff you can stuff on leetcode or wherever. Design a Chess Board OO   2 Answers

  9. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Jose, San Jose (Costa Rica)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (San Jose, San Jose (Costa Rica)) in January 2017.

    Interview

    I had one online English Test, One Technical Interview, then I passed successfully and next step was 5 interviews in one day, from 10am to 4pm, I faced algorithm issues, I successfully done them, I assure to have a good attitude, I even accept improvements to the solutions I have implemented, I ask if they were better solutions than the ones I've provided, and with no feedback or reason at all, I was rejected !!!!!!!!

    I accept that I could say something wrong or something that could misunderstood, I'm not perfect, but why I didn't received any feedback at all...

    My guess is some of the interviews doesn't like me, as i knew a couple of them, if it's the case what a professional company this is...

    Interview Questions

    • Experiences in the past that thought me good lessons...
      Challenge Experiences...
      Problems faced..   1 Answer

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