Why is it so hard to get an interview with Amazon?

a woman interviewing the man sitting in front of her

Background

Amazon hires its employees from a variety of sources across hiring events and college campuses around the world. The reason why it is very hard to get an interview with Amazon as highlighted by many candidates over the years is because Amazon has a very high quality criteria and benchmark for its candidates. There is a rigorous and extensive hiring process only after which a candidate can get to be a part of this reputed organization. In this article, we will walk through what are the different preparatory steps that you as a candidate can take to prepare yourself to be a part of Amazon, and how and where you can apply at Amazon in the different jobs and profiles. In the Amazon job portal, you will need to create your profile to begin an application.

At the time of creating your Amazon job profile, you can either choose to use your LinkedIn page as an option to upload your details and experience, or you can also use our traditional resume or CV option. Amazon accepts only one resume per application, hence it is important to make sure that you choose the right option that is best fit for you. It is usually not necessary to include any work samples like writing, coding, or designing when you upload your CV or resume. However, if you have a blog or a portfolio that you can share publicly in a website for example, then you are encouraged to include the links of these in your resume directly. The interviewer will then be able to check your work along with your resume in the public domains.

Read more: Odds of getting hired at Amazon »

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Amazon Application Progress

Amazon provides the ability to its candidates who have applied to check the status of their application in the Amazon job portal. Candidates can expect to get contacted by Amazon if they're selected. This is because Amazon will only contact those associates whom they want to interview after going through their resume and skill sets. You can check the status of the different applications that you have completed at Amazon for the variety of roles in the Amazon job portal, under your application profile. If you see one of your applications is marked as active, that means that a final decision has not yet been made for your case. If you see an application that has been marked as archived, and you have not been contacted for subsequent stages of the recruitment and interview process, it means that you are no longer under consideration for the job position.

The first step that a candidate can expect if Amazon is interested in hiring you is scheduling a phone interview. A phone interview will happen with the candidate and it can also be one or more phone interviews based on the panel and background check necessities. You might also be called for in person interview at an Amazon office if you are successful in their preliminary screening and assessment interviews. Thus it might not be that hard to get an interview with Amazon if this is a good match for your skill sets and your resume highlights all your strengths, making you an ideal and great fit for that job. So make sure that you highlight all your necessary and relevant skill sets and highlight them in such a way that the interviewer finds all the skills necessary when they read your profile.

Why is it so hard to get an interview with Amazon
Why is it so hard to get an interview with Amazon

Amazon Principles Questions

It is important for the candidate to go through the work culture of Amazon and all the principles of leadership that Amazon associates with their core values. Amazon has about 14 leadership principles which are outlined in its company website. These leadership principles are at the very heart of the core values of Amazon and guides project development, problem solving, and day to day business operations. Every candidate who is aspiring to be a part of Amazon is interviewed at different stages by the panels based on these key principles. Candidates are evaluated based on questions that center around these core Amazon leadership principles. Hence, work hard to be a part of Amazon by going through all the leadership principles, and frame your answers aligned with these values.

Make sure that as a candidate who wants to be a part of Amazon, you memorize all the 14 leadership principles. It is also important to practice beforehand answers to questions that show that you have applied these principles in your earlier projects. And be ready to share your professional experiences that were aligned with these values and principles of Amazon. Amazon encourages its candidates to share their past experience in the form of a storytelling approach. If you practice beforehand certain achievements that you have worked upon in your career and professional experiences which are aligned with the Amazon core values, then you will be able to highlight these to the interviewer during the assessment sessions and evaluation process in a more organized way.

Amazon About Section FAQ

It is important to familiarize yourself with the about section of the jobs website at Amazon. Reading the Amazon about section will give you a complete idea of the overall work culture and the principles that Amazon abides by. One of the most consistent values that Amazon has been emphasizing in every job that it's puts out, is its customer centricity. Customer satisfaction is one of the top priorities of Amazon, and same message is put out during every hiring and recruitment process. It is also one of the first of the 14 leadership principles at Amazon. Amazon expects that all existing employees as well as all new hires should be very customer focused, and constantly set benchmarks of their work against the Customer Satisfaction Index.

To get a interview with Amazon, you should also prepare the behavioral based questions that help understand your personality. The Amazon interviewer will ask you a variety of questions from different perspectives about the past challenges and situations that you have encountered. You will have to share how you dealt with those situations using the 14 leadership principles of Amazon. Some Amazon behavioral based interview questions ask to share a time that you faced a problem with multiple possible solutions. The interviewer might want to know which solution option you chose, and why did you choose that? As you can see that there is no right or wrong answer to such a question, but instead it helps the interviewer understand your thought process.

Amazon Behavioral Questions

Another question can be to discuss a time when you made a mistake or failed. How did you respond to that situation? And learn from that experience? Answers to these questions will help the Amazon interviewer panel understand your personality and how you cope with different situations in a live environment. Amazon can also ask you a question during the interview to describe a time that you took a leadership role. You might not have been aware of the Amazon leadership principles while you work in your prior organizations and projects. But after you read them as Amazon leadership principles, you should find that you have already been aligned with many of these principles.

So when you answer the questions to the interviewer, make sure to highlight how your actions were aligned with the Amazon core values and leadership principles. Another question that the Amazon interviewer can ask you in the behavioral round is how you motivated a group of individuals or promoted collaboration in a specific project that you have worked on in the past. Answers to these questions will provide the interviewer panel an understanding of how you work in a team. And if you are a team player who can help build synergy in the team at Amazon. During the initial phase of the Amazon hiring process, the recruiter will share you few materials for going through. This interview preparatory materials will show you how Amazon expects you to answer their questions.

Amazon STAR Method

One of the common methods that is often requested by Amazon for new interviewees is to follow the STAR method when answering the questions. STAR is the abbreviation for Situation Task, Action, and Result. While explaining any answer to the interviewer questions, follow the STAR method to describe a situation, and then the tasks that you were assigned to do, the action you did to complete that task, and finally, what you achieved as a result of your actions. Take some time and detail each of these steps so that the interviewer gets a clarity on your answer at the different stages. Do not go into too much detail unless you are asked for. You can come up with one or more situations ahead of time to prepare yourself for the Amazon interview.

If these experiences are in the recent times, then it is good because you will have more recent fresh memory of each of these events. All these experiences that you will be sharing can be from your past jobs, or can be from your volunteering activities, school projects, or any relevant events that showcase the different aspects of your personality and qualities. It is important to have specific details of examples that highlight your expertise and skills. Prepare for the Amazon interview by noting down examples that you want to share, which show that you have taken risks in the past and how you have succeeded. Also keep examples ready to explain and walk through events that show how you have failed, and what you have learned from those to avoid repeating the mistakes in the future.

The Amazon interviewer will be interested in seeing that you can fail and grow from your experience, so that you perform as a better professional in the future and avoid those mistakes again. While explaining your answers using the STAR method, make sure to keep the focus on yourself. Try to avoid what work the team has done on the group, and focus on the actions that you have particularly done and how you contributed to the overall success and completion of the project. Amazon also recommends that do not be afraid to take credit for the actions that you have taken and how your actions contributed to the final outcome of the deliverable and success of the project.

Amazon Interview Preparation

Being specific with the actions that you have done is helpful while explaining your answers as it will give the Amazon interviewer a good understanding of the actions you did in your projects in the past. If you can support your answers with different numbers, figures, and metrics where possible, it is extremely helpful as well. Thus it is important to avoid generalizations as much as possible and be specific with what the tasks you have done. If you are applying for the technical positions at Amazon like software development, engineering, or technical program manager type of roles, you need to study well and prepare for more technical interviews.

While preparing for the interview, you should study and focus on revising your concepts that you have learned on coding, programming algorithms, and system design concepts. Explore the links shared above to get an understanding of what topics in the software development landscape you should be focusing on before the interview. If you have no clear understanding if your interview and job position is technical, then feel free to ask this question to your recruiter to get more clarity regarding your role. Practice the Amazon interview mock tests provided above to improve your chances of succeeding in the Amazon interview.

Author: Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul is a journalist with expertise in researching a variety of topics and writing engaging contents. He is also a data analyst and an expert in visualizing business scenarios using data science. Rahul is skilled in a number of programming languages and data analysis tools. When he is not busy writing, Rahul can be found somewhere in the Appalachian trails or in an ethnic restaurant in Chicago.

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