There’s a lot of talk online about Amazon leadership principles, and what role they play in the hiring process of the company. Customer obsession, ownership, invent and simplify, you name it. Hiring managers are instructed to observe how your interview answers resonate with the principles, which should indicate whether you are the right fit for the working environment at Amazon, or should look for a job somewhere else.

I analyze 50 most common interview questions they ask at Amazon in a new eBook, the Amazon Interview Guide. You will find in it three to seven sample answers to each of the questions, answers that resonate with the 14 leadership principles.

When it comes to questions that refer directly to the principles, however, the hiring managers typically use just one such question, and we will look at it right now.

Which Amazon leadership principle do you resonate most with, and why?

In an ideal case you should pick something relevant for your job, and something that matches your personality. Let me give you an example: if you apply for a creative position with Amazon (something in software development, marketing,process engineering, etc), you can choose no. 3: Invent and simplify.

If you apply for any role in customer service, you should go for no. 1: customer obsession.
Alternatively you can opt for one of the less popular principles, such as no. 7: insist on the highest standards, ensuring the interviewers that you want to apply this principle not only in relation to your colleagues, but also in terms of expectations you have on yourself in work.

And if you apply for a position in a team or department that requires an ability to adapt to changes quickly, and to deliver new releases on a weekly basis, you can go for no. 9: bias for action. Let’s have a look at some sample answers:

  1. Number one, customer obsession, resonates with me the most. Look, I’ve been a customer of Amazon for years. I could feel this principle being materialized, in all experiences I have had with Amazon website, products, sales reps, or customer service assistants. It is a great experience, in my opinion your USP, and I’d love to deliver such experience myself, working as a customer service specialist here.
  2. “Learn to be curious” resonates the most with me, because that’s my attitude to life and work. I am never satisfied with the things I know. I always strive to learn something new, to improve my skills. But I like also the rest of the principles, and they are definitely one of the reasons why I want to work for Amazon.
  3. No. 13, have a backbone, disagree and commit, resonates with me the most. It’s something that wasn’t possible in my last job. We had a super strong line of hierarchy, and my superiors weren’t receptive to any feedback from their subordinates. I often disagreed with their suggestions, and I had my reasons, and many times it proved that I had been right, but it just wasn’t in the culture of the company to challenge the opinion of your superiors. Maybe that’s the reason why they are on a brink of bankruptcy now, while companies like Amazon, that value people who have a backbone, are thriving as the leaders of innovation…


A few things to keep on your mind

It’s not true that they may ask you to list all 14 principles while interviewing you for the job. Look, they aren’t trying to hire people who can memorize things… they have completely different goals in the interviews.

For sure, they want you to know something about Amazon and their working culture. Hence they may ask you about your favorite leadership principle, and you should be able to explain your choice.

What they expect from you, however, is that your interview answers resonate with the 14 principles. Answers to questions such as:

  • Give me an example of a time when you showed initiative.
  • Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
  • Tell me about a time when you coached someone.
  • and 27 other behavioral questions they commonly use while interviewing job applicants at Amazon.

If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions in a way that resonates with the 14 principles, have a look at the eBook I wrote for you, the Amazon Interview Guide.

Thank you, I wish you good luck in your interview with Amazon!


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Matthew Chulaw
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