Amazon Systems Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Amazon Systems Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Jul 29, 2017
45 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (5)  

Systems Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Herndon, VA
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at Amazon (Herndon, VA) in May 2017.

Interview

I initially approached an Amazon recruiter within LinkedIn. From there, he introduced me to another Amazon recruiter that handles the job opportunities within Amazon Web Services located at Herndon, VA. The recruiter reached out to me through email and introduced the position available. We set a time for him to call me. The first call was about 30 minutes, he did most of the talking about the job opening. He also emailed me a lot of information about the job description and responsibilities. After a week, I had my first phone interview. It lasted for 1.5 hours. Two people were in it; a systems engineer and a developer. I was asked about a combination of systems administration and scripting/developer questions. I honestly stated that I don't have developer experience so I was asked basic programming questions. The morning after the interview, I got an email from the recruiter that I got positive reviews and the team wanted to move forward with another technical phone interview. After a week, the second phone interview was set. This time it was with the Hiring Manager. He was the manager/team lead of the team I would be working with. The interview took another 1.5 hours to complete. It was very technical so it was really draining on the brain. After the interview, he mentioned that it might take a longer time for the result since it was a Friday and a long weekend. The following week, I received an email from the hiring coordinator that the team has decided to pursue other candidates at this time. They will, however, keep my resume on file for 12 months and will contact me if ever there are other positions that fit my qualifications and experience. They also asked me to apply for other open positions.

Overall, it was a good experience. The interviewers were all polite and professional.

Be prepared. Read a lot of online articles and explanation on how things work. They do ask practical questions but there were a lot of things that if you didn't read it, you wouldn't have an idea on how to explain it as some questions are really based on a lot of readings and understanding on how things work.

Interview Questions

  • Explain the Linux boot process.
    Explain the permissions on files and directories.
    Explain the OSI layers, be prepared to provide examples.
    How to set a list?
    What is the difference between an integer and a string?
    What is the difference between a for and a while loop?

    What happens when you enter amazon.com on a browser? Explain what goes through the OSI layer. How does routing and ARP work? What would be the most difficult thing that you have encountered at work and how did you resolve that issue? Tell me about a time where you recommended something that was entirely different from what the customer wanted.   1 Answer

Other Interview Reviews for Amazon

  1. Helpful (2)  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Falls Church, VA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Amazon (Falls Church, VA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    I was contacted by AWS for an interview and it was a technical interview with a hiring manager and an HR review. The HR portion was very short but the technical interview lasted almost 45 minutes. The questions were on file systems and related processes for Linux OS. It went very well and should hear later this week about the next step.

    Interview Questions

    • I was asked about the start-up process for a Linux OS   2 Answers

  2. Helpful (5)  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took a week. I interviewed at Amazon.

    Interview

    The technical interview was extremely structured but relatively easy from a technical standpoint. Due Amazon having to record via typing the whole interview for analysis later, it does help to slow down and explain technical terms if asked. Overall it was nice to have such a structure and how well it was managed.

    Interview Questions

  3. Helpful (1)  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Amazon in June 2016.

    Interview

    I really had a bad experience and I completely agree with the below reviews.The Process took 2 months to get the initial phone interview . I felt interviewer was not interested to interview me.. He called me 12 minutes late after I followed up with Recruiting Coordinator.

    He never introduced himself and directly jumped into the questions and scenarios which were not clear. I felt interviewer has no clue on how to interview people. I never expected this kind of interview from Amazon.

    Interview Questions


  4. Helpful (2)  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Herndon, VA
    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took a week. I interviewed at Amazon (Herndon, VA) in May 2016.

    Interview

    I had read other people's reviews on their negative experiences interviewing with AWS but I was not prepared for this:

    For a company with such "high customer service ratings" the interviewers are very rude, critical, and tactless. For my phone interview, I had to log into a Share Point type of environment and type the answers as I spoke them. The interviewer kept telling me to type faster and that I was wasting time on each question! When I would give him an answer he would respond with things like "that's one way of doing it, but not exactly what I was looking for." By the end of the one hour phone screen I felt like I had been strapped to a whipping post and mentally beaten down. Save yourself any professional integrity that you have and seek employment elsewhere. I have not heard back yet if I even passed the screening, as it's been only 24 hours since the phone interview. But I am going to decline any offers as I would not want to work with people who are so unprofessional and rude. What a horrible experience. It is the worst interview I have ever had in terms of how I was treated.

    Interview Questions

    • What is a Linux command to show if your CPU is having problems.   3 Answers

  5. Helpful (5)  

    Systems Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA).

    Interview

    This was one of the weirdest and worst interviews I've ever had. There were so many red flags. I wasn't made an offer, but I would have declined if I had. The initial phone screening was fine...all technical questions just to see if I had a pulse. I was notified that the hiring process would advance within 24 hours after the screening. I was shortly flown out to Seattle to face a day-long gauntlet. Half of the interviewers seemed very uncomfortable, and it was clear they had no interest in being there and were there as part of a rotation. None of them came close to my experience with the hiring manager, though. This was for a position at their Herndon, VA datacenter. I was asked by the hiring manager if I would be interested in relocating to Seattle, which I politely explained that I would like to stay on the East coast. After all, the position was in Herndon. He dug further asking why, and even asked if I was married and what my wife did. I refused to answer the second part, which resulted in his reply that I would "always be making more money than her" and that I "had no good reason to not want to relocate to Seattle." I was so happy to leave their offices after that and have declined every opportunity to come back since. One of the other interviewers admitted that the work/life balance was awful, and that most people don't stay longer than two years due to burnout. None of the technical interview questions were difficult...just basic Unix/Linux internals concepts.

    Interview Questions


  6.  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Amazon in December 2015.

    Interview

    Some coding problems on the white board, some Linux questions, some networking questions. Talked to four people and it was pretty straight forward. Everyone was friendly. It was a small room and I stayed while everyone came to me.

    Interview Questions


  7. Helpful (12)  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Reston, VA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 days. I interviewed at Amazon (Reston, VA) in July 2015.

    Interview

    This was a technical phone screen for Linux Systems Engineer in an AWS team with a member of the team. The recruiter for AWS scheduled the day and time and provided some URLs for material to review along with a collaborative pastebin.

    The engineer called the provided number at the specified time. After covering the basic details of the position and team, he asked a few easy unix and DNS questions and a couple of "interview" type questions.

    The collaborative pastebin was not needed and the review material was not relevant to the technical questions, contrary to the recruiter's claim.

    Interview Questions

    • Various basic unix questions including how to find processes, parent processes, large files, filesystem usage, resource limits and how to set kernel parameters.   2 Answers
    • In DNS, what is an A record, CNAME, TTL, negaive TTL, SOA.   1 Answer
    • Give an example of an occasion in which you determined a root cause of a problem.   1 Answer
  8.  

    Systems Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in March 2015.

    Interview

    Standard behavioral interview mixed with whiteboard coding exercises. Leadership principles are explored through resume review questions. Whiteboard coding challenges of varying degree of difficulty. Mostly the coding challenges were canned computer science graduate questions but clearly intended to be used to understand how the candidate thinks about a problem.

    Interview Questions

    • Because of the Non-disclosure agreement I was required to sign, I am unable to provide interview questions. These questions would not be informative anyway since every team has their own pet questions and the behavioral questions are well documented here and other places.   1 Answer

  9. Helpful (11)  

    Systems Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in February 2015.

    Interview

    I was contacted by an Amazon recruiter several months after submitting my resume. I went through a phone screen and then was flown to Seattle for a round of 5 in-person interviews. These were a mix of technical and HR type interviews, with mostly basic questions and a couple of programming exercises.

    Interview Questions

    • How would you go about constructing a list of all unique phone numbers in 300gb of text files?   Answer Question

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