Last updated on January 21st, 2019 at 07:39 am

Interviewers are having a good laugh in an interview, talking to a young job applicant. We can see three interviewers in the room, or watching the man as he tries to make a good impression. Amazon ranks high on the list of most popular employers in the world.

The company receives dozens of applications for every vacancy they advertise, and you have to prepare to compete with many other people for the job you try to get.

Their typical interview process at Amazon consists in three 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).
  • Second face to face interview (consisting mostly in technical questions, or practical tests, and typical when you apply for a technical position).

While the second face to face interview differs for every position at Amazon, the questions the interviewers ask in the first two stages are pretty similar, regardless of the job you try to get with them. We will walk you through the first two stages of their hiring process right now.


Screening interview over the phone

Girl on the telephone, illustration of a phone interview with Amazon. She makes notes with a pen.

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?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  • Tell me something about yourself.
  • What motivates you in job?
  • Can you tell me something more about your experience in the field?
  • What do you like the most about Amazon?

Their goal in a screening interview is to assess your communication skills, your motivation, and to understand your personality. A good HR worker can do that after a ten minute phone call with you–they can get a basic grasp of your personality and abilities. And what should you do to pass this stage of Amazon hiring process?

You should try to show good listening skills, you should talk to the point, show some enthusiasm and motivation for the job. Relevant experience and understanding for the role will surely help as well–but they have likely checked this on your resume already.

At the end of the day they should get a feeling that you have clear goals and plans, and are ready to work in an international corporation such as Amazon, on the position of your choice.


Second phone (or online) interview

Woman is completing an online test--one of the modern ways of interviewing people applied by AmazonThe 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.


Face to face interviews – behavioral part

Once they invite you for a in-person interview to Amazon, 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).

In some cases you will interview in front of a small panel, consisting of a manager, HR specialist and external recruiter. One way or another, they will ask you mostly about your behavior in various work-related situations. 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.
  • Describe a situation when you felt overwhelmed with work. How did you handle the pressure and tiredness?
  • Explain a time when you had to deal with poor job performance.
  • Walk me through a different scenario of a process you invented or improved.
  • Give an example of a time when you found a simple solution to a seemingly difficult problem.
  • What it means for you to be successful? Tell me about a point in your life when you felt successful.
  • Tell me about a failure you experienced in your professional career or in your studies.
  • Describe a time when you experienced a difficult situation in your personal life, and how it influenced you in work.


Second part of the face to face interview – technical questions and tests

interviewing in front of a panel, a typical final stage of Amazon interview process. We see three interviewers, two man and one woman, and one job candidateIn the second part of your in-person interview with Amazon, you will have to deal 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 final 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. This is the tie breaker, the time where one best candidate will be chosen. Only one. Will it be you?


Prepare in advance for the stages you can prepare for

For the other three stages, however, you can prepare (for the phone interview and the behavioral interview with Amazon). Read the following articles to continue  your preparation with Interview Penguin, your best job interview coach since 2011:

  • How to answer interview questions – Once you understand the emotions and attitudes you should present in a job interview, you will know how to answer the questions, and the right words may often come to your mouth without a need to think about them.
  • Interview Success Package – Running out of time? Interviewing for a job with Amazon in a few hours, or tomorrow? Have a look at our Interview Success Package, and in three hours from now you will be ready to answer each difficult question.
  • Phone interview tips – Phone interviews belongs to nearly every single interview process. Show the employer that you care, that the phone call with them matters to you.


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