Amazon ranks high on the list of most popular employers in the world. The company receives dozens of applications for every vacancy they advertise (sometimes hundreds) and you have to prepare to compete with many other people for the job. Their typical interview process at Amazon consists in four stages:
- Screening interview, which is done over the phone. They do sometimes one, and sometimes even two sessions on a call (two are typical if you apply for a technical job).
- Behavioral interview (in the company, in one of their centers, or sometimes with one of the recruitment agencies that work for Amazon). During the pandemic, Chime interviews has replaced the majority of face to face interviews.
- Second face to face interview (consisting mostly in technical questions, or practical tests, and typical when you apply for a technical position).
- Amazon assessment test–optional (exact parts of the test depend on the position you are applying for; for managerial jobs you can expect “run your area” test, “manage your day” test, complex personality test, and others). For more information and a guide on how to prepare for all these tests (practicing them in advance), check the following Amazon assessment test preparation package, and choose the position you are applying for.
While the second face to face interview differs for every position at Amazon, the questions the interviewers ask in the first two stages of the hiring process are pretty similar, regardless of the job you try to get with the retail giant. I will try to walk you through the first two stages of their hiring process right now, and also give you some hints about the rest. Let’s start!
Screening interview over the phone
Everything starts with a short, screening interview. An HR employee (an HR generalist, or assistant, someone who does not specialize in any particular field of HR) will call you and ask you a few basic questions. To such belong:
- Why are you interested to work at Amazon?
- How do you imagine a typical day in this job?
- Tell me something about yourself.
- What motivates you in work?
- Which Amazon leadership principle resonates the most with you, and why?
- What do you like the most about Amazon? What do you do not like?
Their goal in a screening interview is to assess your communication skills, your motivation, and to understand your personality and attitude to work, whether it aligns with the 14 leadership principles they promote at Amazon.
A good HR worker can do that after a ten to twenty minute phone call with you–they can get a basic grasp of your personality and abilities. And how should you answer the questions? Let’s have a look at one of them.
Why do you want to work at Amazon?
In an ideal case, you should refer to two things in your answer. First one is explaining what you like about Amazon, something that makes the company special in your eyes. But you shouldn’t say just that they are the biggest online retailer or a leader in innovation, or that they placed second on the list of best employers in the States. Try to pick something specific that will make your answer stand out.
For example, a certain technology they have in place and you’d like to work with, or a certain product, software, platform you’d love to help develop, because you see the potential and value for the final customer.
Alternatively you can talk about your loyalty to their brand. You do your shopping with Amazon, you bought their stock when you had some cash, you are a customer of AWS, you self published a book on their platform, etc. Basically you see the huge positive impact Amazon as a company has on your life as a customer, and you’d love to work for such an organization, helping other customers to benefit from the services of the company.
The second thing you should refer to is your career plan. What role does the position you try to get with Amazon has in your life? Perhaps you did a similar job, but with the second best company—because everyone is second best to Amazon. And now you feel ready to work with the best.
Or you have a certain position on your mind, or a certain thing you’d like to work on in the future (ideally with Amazon), and the position you try to get with them right now will allow you to do so, either immediately, or in a few years time.
They should get an impression that you know exactly why you want to work for Amazon, and not for Google, or for another tech giant…
Second phone (or online) interview
The second interview is optional, and they do it mostly with people who apply for technical positions. This time they will give you a few technical questions, related to your field of expertise. It can be JAVA, it can be NET, it can be software testing–depends on the position you apply for.
The main goal of this second interview is to decide whether it is worth inviting you for the face to face meeting in the company. The questions are not super difficult at this stage, but they are difficult enough to test your readiness for the technical aspects of the job.
They may also let you to complete a simple online test, five to ten technical questions/short exercises, which is enough for them to assess your technical skills in a given programing language/software application.
Face to face interviews – behavioral part – the toughest nut to crack
Once they invite you for a in-person interview to Amazon (or the Chime alternative during the pandemic), you still have a lot of work to do.
The first session with them is a behavioral interview. It is led by a manager (or HR specialist) who represents the department where you will work (sales, marketing, testing, development, finance, warehouse, etc). Actually you may get a series of short interviews with up to 8 people!
In some cases you may also interview in front of a small panel, consisting of different people from the company.
One way or another, they will ask you about your behavior in various work-related situations, and this is the crucial part of the entire interview process. You can expect to hear some of the following questions:
- Describe a situation when you had a conflict with a colleague. Tell us who started the conflict, and how you tried to solve it.
- Give me an example of when you received criticism. How did you respond to the information?
- Tell us about a time when you missed a deadline or productivity target.
- Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work.
- Tell me about a time you had to work hard to please a client.
- Describe a time when you sacrificed short term goals for long term success.
- Tell me about a failure you experienced in your professional career or in your studies.
- If you are given two conflicting priorities from two separate managers, how do you figure out how to proceed?
(if you do not know how to answer these questions, please read on, because I have the answers for you, right after the next paragraph, or directly check out my eBook, the Amazon Interview Guide, which can help you get rid of interview headaches and streamline your preparation)
Second part of the face to face interview – technical questions and tests
During your in-person interviews with Amazon (or the Chime alternative), you will have to deal also with difficult technical questions, related mostly to your field of expertise. Practical case studies and computerized exams are nothing unusual.
You will have to demonstrate your creativity, and ability to solve problems of all kind. Not everyone will make it to this stage, and to prepare for it in advance is nearly impossible–unless you have a chance to talk to someone who interviewed for the very same position recently…
Your entire life, all your experiences and projects you have ever worked on, mark your preparation for this final stage of Amazon interviews. So I hope you are ready for it 🙂
Prepare in advance for the stages of the hiring process you can prepare for – answers to tricky behavioral questions
For the other three stages, however, you can prepare.
If you are running out of time, or feel anxious, or overwhelmed with the information, or have no idea how to answer the questions, have a look at a new eBook I wrote for you, the Amazon Interview Guide.
Multiple brilliant answers to 50 Amazon interview questions, including all tricky behavioral questions, will help you stand out (definitely needed considering the number of job candidates), impress the interviewers (telling them exactly what they want to hear from you), and sign an employment agreement with Amazon. You will find some questions & answers directly on the eBook page, so it makes sense to check it out even if you do not want to purchase anything…
Thank you for checking it out, and I wish you good luck in this difficult interview!
Amazon Assessment test – optional
One of the stages of the hiring process is the Amazon assessment test. You won’t always have to pass this test, but if you do, it will be the second most difficult part of the process, right after the behavioral interview. The name is a general name given to a variety of assessments, which differ depending on the position you are trying to get with Amazon, such as:
- The Amazon Maintenance Technician Test
- The Amazon Warehouse Assessment Test
- The Amazon Manager Assessment (Area Manager, Operations Manager, Tier 3, and MBA)
- The Amazon Work Style Assessment
- The Amazon Retail Assessment
We can talk for hours about these tests, but the best way to prepare for them is practice. If you are not sure how to pass the tests, and will have to pass them, I suggest you to check out the following amazon assessment test practice package, where you can comfortably practice all the tests in advance, before doing them for real on the big day.
Thank you for reading the entire page, and I wish you good luck in your interview with Amazon! You will need it 🙂
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling anxious? Time to get rid of stress and deliver your very best.
- Salary negotiation tips – You may get a chance to negotiate about your salary at Amazon. Learn how you can do it.