Dear job seeker,
You can easily get a headache when trying to prepare for your job interview with Amazon.
The process seems incredibly complex for an outsider—screening interviews, phone interviews, video or face to face interviews, three, five, or even eight interviewers you will talk to during the hiring process.
And then come the buzzwords: Bar raiser, Amazon cheat sheet, Customer obsession, STAR method…
You will also find countless YouTube videos and blog articles from a variety of professionals (including some former Amazon employees) who try to give you an advice on how to succeed in the interviews.
I watched some of these videos, and read most of the articles, and ended up with one thing only: confusion. If I was a job seeker (luckily I am not), my head would grow twice as big as it is, and I would be more stressed out after watching and reading everything than I was at the beginning of my preparation for the interviews.
These people make things complicated on purpose. Because they want you to read yet another article, and watch yet another video (they make money from display ads anytime you do so), and at the end, they hope you’ll end up confused (which you likely will) and order a $250 or $500 one on one interview coaching session with them. That’s the business model.
I have a different perspective when it comes to interviewing for a job at Amazon. 90% of all things you read online, you do not really need to know. You do not need to complicate things.
Because it doesn’t really matter if you interview on the phone, with the help of Chime, or face to face. And it doesn’t matter if you talk to one recruiter only or ten of them, and whether the interview process takes a week or two months.
At the end of the day, everything is about your answers to their questions. Whether you do not remain silent, whether you have a situation ready for each behavioral question, and can convince them of right attitude to work, customers, and colleagues, attitude that resonates with their 14 leadership principles.
Everything else is just a form, a setting. And you aren’t fifteen years old to need someone else to tell you to keep an eye contact with your interviewers, or to talk to the point. This is basic and obvious stuff…
So here’s what I have for you:
In this eBook, you will find a short analysis (explaining what the interviewers try to find out with the question, and multiple (2 to 6) sample answers to the following:
- 10 screening questions, such as: “Why Amazon?”, “How do you imagine a typical day in this job”, “Why did you leave your last job?”, or “Which Amazon leadership principle do you resonate most with, and why?”
- 30 behavioral questions – this is the core of the eBook, the most “famous” questions, and you will for sure get many of them in your interviews. Questions such as: “Tell us about a time when you missed a deadline or productivity target.”, “What’s the most innovative idea that you have implemented?”, “Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service.”, or “Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.”
- 10 odd questions – not talked about often, but I heard of several cases when people dealt with them, unprepared. This selection includes questions like “What does quality mean to you?”, “Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know.”, or “If you were an animal, what would you be?”
Once you know what they expect to hear from you, and have an answer ready for each of these 50 questions, you will be ready to succeed and get the job with Amazon.
Everything else is just a secondary content, and you won’t find such in this eBook, because you do not need it…
Check a sample (a few questions & answers) to see how this eBook can help you:
Sample from the eBook
Q: How do you imagine a typical day in work?
Hint: The most important thing is to show realistic expectations. Amazon, in contrary to many other Fortune 500 companies, advertises most of their jobs in a clear way, one that is easy to understand for the candidates, and reflects the reality of the job.
Read the job description carefully, and head to Glassdoor to see what the “Amazonians” are saying, people who have the same (or similar) position as you try to get. You may find a lot of useful information.
Regardless of the job you try to get with Amazon, however, what you imagine should correspond with their leadership principles and working culture. That means:
- Say them that you expect to work a lot more than 40 hours a week. And you do not mind, because you love your profession, and you are committed to help them make big things happen.
- Ensure them that you have proactive approach to work. You won’t wait for someone else to always tell you what you should do, and won’t hesitate to challenge the opinion of your superior or supervisor—if you think they are wrong.
- You can also say that you imagine to try to achieve certain goals in job each day, because you love to have goals and exceed the expectations—of both the customers and of your employer.
- It is also nice to say that you want to have (or imagine having) plenty of interactions with your colleagues, creative discussions that help the entire team to move forward, to reach new heights.
– I like to be organized in work, and I will definitely try to make a schedule for each day, from morning to evening—because I expect to stay long here. The principal part of the day will be devoted to reviewing budget proposals from project and program managers—at least if I understand your job description correctly, please tell me if I don’t.
Of course one has to take care of the administrative work, monitoring of expenses, and we will surely have some meetings and consultations with the managers, and I want to bring my ideas onboard, and give them feedback. And I guess I may do some inspections directly onsite, in the premises of Amazon, mostly here in California.
Anyway, I understand that you try to maximize the results, and to be the leader of innovation. And I know this will reflect in long working hours, plenty of meetings, and also some tasks that will challenge me intellectually. But that’s exactly what I am looking for in this position.
-I imagine having my hands full almost each day. Working with existing employees and participating in orientation with new ones, explaining the main policies and regulations and ensuring that they understand them, will be just one of my core duties as a compliance officer.
Then we have monitoring of existing employees and daily inspections in the workplace, ensuring that everyone adheres to the rules. And there are always some documents to read and evaluate, new policies to think about, and I also need to devote part of my time to learning about new laws and regulations in the industry, and to brainstorming new ideas.
I definitely like to be busy and do not plan to sit in my office waiting for a problem to arise, so I can address it. I will do my best to prevent any problems, within my competence. Regular meetings with leading figures from various departments are also crucial. And I imagine working 50-60 hours a week, because that’s the norm here, and also one of the reasons why you beat your competitors. The level of commitment is unparalleled.
– I want to assure you of my strong working ethics. Though this is a work from home customer service job, you can be sure I won’t come to my computer five minutes late, wearing pajamas… I imagine turning the machine on 15 minutes earlier, to ensure everything works in the interface and I am ready to provide outstanding service to the customers right from the start of my shift.
The principal part of the day will be devoted to troubleshooting problems as they arise—and surely they will arise each day, in a company that has millions of customers.
Of course, we should also occupy ourselves in low times—when everything works, and nobody demands our attention on the call. That’s the time to study latest trends, or to read the conversations we had with customers, trying to think what we could have done better, or more efficiently, to please the customer even more. I imagine we may have also a regular meeting with our supervisor, or manager, either on a daily or weekly basis…
Q: Tell us about a time when you missed a deadline or productivity target?
Hint: Some hiring managers at Amazon are obsessed with failure—at least in the interviews. They will ask you several questions about failures and mistakes. Time when you failed to meet a deadline, when you made a big mistake, when you failed to reach your goal, etc.
Now, I personally do not consider this a sensible interviewing strategy. They aim to hire the best at Amazon, and it’s foolish to expect that the candidates have made several big mistakes in their career… Sensible or not, you should prepare for the questions.
Few things are particularly important when you narrate a situation from the past:
- To show them that you tried your best to meet the deadline or target.
- To identify the reason why you did not meet it, the lesson you learned.
- To take responsibility for the failure.
If you manage to address these three in your answer, they will be satisfied.
– In my last job in sales I once missed the productivity target terribly, reaching just 50% of the desired sales volume for the given month. It was a tough period for me, I struggled a bit with motivation and experienced some chaos in my personal life. And though I did not realize it for a long time, prospects could feel it in my tone of voice, in my words on the call. I didn’t have my usual energy, the enthusiasm for the product has vanished, my drive wasn’t there anymore.
Therefor even though I made the same number of calls that month, and followed the proven sales strategies, I missed my targets terribly. I took responsibility for the results, didn’t get any bonuses that month, and I also learned an important lesson. It is crucial to separate our work and our personal life, and if you aren’t mentally ready to make a sale, you won’t make it. Because customers perceive much more than just your words on the call…
– We were working on an XYZ feature of ABC product, and I was leading the project. Other teams were working on other product features simultaneously, and we had a deadline when we wanted to release the ABC product.
I thought I planned everything properly, and allocated sufficient resources to the team. But I underestimated the micro management, lost the daily contact with the developers, and did not notice early enough that they struggled with cooperation in the team and were behind with the schedule. As soon as I found out I allocated more programmers to the team, trying to catch up, and I also spent part of my time in work coding or checking the code. But it was too late, and we missed the deadline. Other teams had their features ready, we didn’t.
It was my mistake, I didn’t pay enough attention to the climate in the team, I wasn’t present in the daily meetings. I relied too much on initial calculations, and didn’t review the plan on the go… These are the reasons why I failed to meet the deadline, and I hope I won’t repeat the same mistakes again.
Q: Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
Hint: You will talk to a variety of people in any job you’d have with Amazon, and you will encounter all levels of intelligence and maturity in your meetings with the employees and stakeholders. A language that works in one meeting may not work in another one.
Can you handle that? Will people feel comfortable talking to you? Will they understand you?
Interviewers are eager to find the answers.
You can talk about a time when you explained a technical issue to one of the workers who lacked technical knowledge, or had to tell someone something difficult, something they did not want to hear, but you still had to tell them (dismissing someone, in a polite way, is a typical example of this situation).
Of course if you worked as a communications manager or in PR before, you can talk about direct examples from your job.
The key is to show the interviewers that you consider getting your message over your first priority, and are ready to adjust your language and method of communication to the intellectual abilities and expectations of the recipient.
And if you struggled to get the message over because you knew that the recipient would not like your words, you should say that you tried to convey your message in a most appropriate way, one that would not touch them personally.
– The question is always whether they really do not understand, or simply do not want to understand, because they do not like my message. Both situations happened to me in my last job in HR.
In the first scenario I explained the changes to a policy in a most simple way. I showed them real impact the changes would have on their schedule in job, their working duties, and their salary. At the end of the day, this is what interests the employees—they do not care about some terminology and HR jargon.
In the second scenario (when they did not want to understand the message, because they did not like it), I simply repeated it again. But I always tried to show some empathy in these conversations. We are workers, but first and foremost we are people. When I have to tell someone something they’d not like, I try to do it in a sensitive way.
– This is my first job application, so I have never experienced similar situation in work. But I understand it is crucial to get the message over. Employees have to understand why we do what we do, why we suggest something, or take certain action. And the same is true about other stakeholders in the company.
I plan to use comparisons and demonstration while talking to them, or practical examples, to ensure they would understand my message. To personalize the message is the key, and I will always adjust my language to the knowledge and intelligence of my audience.
I am patient in communication, and I believe I can handle this aspect of the job.
– In my last job of a communications specialist I dealt with this situation almost on a daily basis. We were struggling, owners tried to sell the company to one of our competitors, and it was realistically on the cards that we would bankrupt. And of course people say things, gossip, some information leaks, and so on.
I was a bearer of bad news, of things that people did not want to hear. And I had to explain them without revealing certain information, because if I revealed them, most employees might leave the company immediately.
It was a tricky situation. I always tried to combine bad news with some good news, and also to set a good timing for the announcements. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whether they wanted to hear the news or not. As a communications specialist, I had to deliver the news, and I was brave enough to do it… Eventually the company was sold, I lost my job, and here I am, interviewing for a job with you.
End of the sample
These are just three questions. You will find 50 in the eBook, questions that you will realistically face while interviewing for any job with Amazon.
And that’s it. I do not want to waste your time with lengthy sales pages, and imaginary last minute discounts, or fake reviews, just like most other people do, when trying to sell you various products & consultations to help you succeed in the interview with Amazon…
I can tell you a bit about myself, just so you know who you are buying the eBook from:
- I’ve been working in international recruitment since 2008. From 2008 to 2012 I had a specialized recruitment agency, since 2013 I work mainly as an interview coach and writer.
- I’m the founder of InterviewPenguin.com (the website you are browsing right now), which is one of the leading players in career & job interviews niche, and had more than 1 million visitors during the last twelve months…
- And while I never worked at Amazon (if I did work for them, I would not be able to publish this eBook, because you sign an NDA and cannot share publicly anything about their interviews and hiring process), I know enough people who worked and interviewed at Amazon, on both sides of the pacific… So you do not have to be afraid about the relevancy of the information.
Anyway, enough about me. I do not need to interview with Amazon… It’s your career that matters, so back to the eBook: You have read the samples, you know what the eBook is about, and surely you can tell whether it will help you.
I sincerely believe it will. And you can read it easily in two to four hours, it’s 29,000 words. Only things that truly matter, the 50 questions & answers, just like you saw in the samples.
Plus, of course, like with everything else we sell here on InterviewPenguin.com, you have a risk free sixty days money back guarantee. If you don’t like this eBook for any reason, or no reason at all, just let me know (email me at matthew[at]interviewpenguin[dot]com) within 60 days and we will give you a full refund.
- Brilliant answers to fifty questions you may get in your job interview with Amazon.
- Published in 2020, updated for 2022.
- Several sample answers to each question (2 to 6), so you can choose one that reflects your values and experience (including answers for people with no working experience).
- Instant download, .PDF format (you can read it on any device (mobile, kindle, PC), and you can easily print it).
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That’s it. Your interview with Amazon does not have to be stressful, or difficult. You can interview with confidence, and give brilliant answers to all tough questions. Download the guide today, and succeed in your interview.
Your personal job interview coach
P.S. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. I try my best to answer all messages within twelve hours (matthew[at]interviewpenguin[dot]com).