Amazon is one of the largest corporations in the world today which hires over thousands of candidates across a variety of diverse domains. Amazon has a lengthy and exhaustive hiring process because it values the quality of the new candidates highly. Every position at Amazon receives hundreds of applications from which the hiring managers and recruiters have to hire the best possible candidate. Fewer than 2% of the applicants get hired at Amazon. The percentage value has remained fairly constant over time and is often regarded as one of the toughest in the technology sector. This is also fairly consistent and standard across many other top organizations in the industry.
Majority of the candidates have shared that the screening rounds have a higher rejection rate than on site rounds. The Solution Architect role is one of the most difficult at Amazon. It has often been found that people are great technically, but would not fare well if they are put near a customer. Many candidates have great soft skills, but they have little understanding of the technology landscapes and the cloud architecture. Thus, with the acceptance rate of 2%, Amazon interviews need strategic preparation and planning for months before the actual interview. It is important to note that as a candidate, you comprehend the different stages of the recruitment cycle and interview rounds.
Read more: How can I start working at Amazon? »
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Amazon Interview Format
Always remember that Amazon has a policy of interviewing only those candidates whose resume they have found impressive and a good fit for that role. Thus, you already have preference over other candidates if you are selected for the interview. Some rounds in the interview process at Amazon are to measure if you are a good culture fit based on the Amazon values and principles. Some of the common things that you can expect in the interview process of Amazon are coordinating with the HR recruiters, a couple of interviews over the phone or video call, virtual meetings to write codes or essays, and finally, a few rounds of on site interviews with different interview panels with members and managers of Amazon.
The interviewers will be a variety of teams who will be interested in getting to know you. Many of these might be future team members with whom you will be working. Let's take a closer look at some of these interview rounds that you can expect to experience during your Amazon hiring process. In most of the cases, the interview process at Amazon begins with a phone call a video call, or via the email correspondence from the technical recruiter. The role of the HR or technical recruiter is to make sure that you are a good fit for the job that you have applied to, and to do an initial screening based on your resume. After having a brief discussion with you that might last less than an hour, they will be providing you with materials with which you can understand the format of the hiring process.
Amazon Interview Questions
The recruiter will also then schedule the follow-up interviews by coordinating between the hiring managers and other Amazon teams and your availability. There will be senior members of the relevant teams along with technical people based on the type of job that you have applied for. The hiring manager who is in charge of the recruitment and the job position may also conduct phone interviews with you to get to know you better. Keep in mind that many of these people might not have gone through your resume in details. So make it a point to highlight your strengths and experience whenever possible. All the discussions that the Amazon employees will be having with you are aimed at ensuring that as a candidate, you have the relevant skills for the job.
Some of the common questions that you can expect in the Amazon interview are to talk about yourself and highlight your skills. You can also expect questions like why you chose Amazon to work for. You will also get various different design questions on a product or feature that you may have developed from beginning to end, or the steps that you would like to take if you were to build a new product from start to finish. Another behavioral question, which is often asked at Amazon is to talk about a time when you have failed. It is important to note that in such questions you should always answer by highlighting what you have learned as a result of that incident and came out as a stronger and more experienced person.
Amazon Interview Preparation
During the Amazon interview process, you might also be asked a variety of leadership questions. The acceptance rate of Amazon is low because there are very few candidates who are able to answer all the questions appropriately. Hence, it is important that you are in the top few percentages of the candidates to make through the acceptance rate of the Amazon hiring process. Preparation and strategic planning is extremely important before your Amazon interview. Some of the leadership questions that you might be asked during the Amazon interview is what does customer obsession and satisfaction mean to you? To answer this type of question, you will have to understand the various aspects of Amazon's product and services from the perspective of the customer.
The further questions will be what do you mean by good and great customer experiences? Another question that might be asked during the Amazon interview is how do you foster customer trust? To understand and answer these types of questions, it is crucial that you go through Amazon's principles and values before attending your interview. With a good understanding and grasp of the Amazon driving principles, you will be able to formulate your answers to these type of questions during the actual interview even if you have not prepared for that exact question. Another common question that candidates get asked during the Amazon interview is how do you deal with customers who make demanding requests.
Amazon STAR Method
It is a key skill to understand all the requests from the perspective of the customer and what the end goal of Amazon and the customer is. Only then you will be able to frame your answers and provide thoughtful responses. One more question that gets frequently asked at Amazon interviews is how you nurture great customer services. This is also similar to some of the questions that Amazon asks to get an understanding of a cultural fit of the candidate. There are a variety of behavioral questions that Amazon asks during its interview process. One of the aspects that the Amazon recruiter will mention to you beforehand that all your answers should be provided with the STAR method.
The STAR method is an abbreviation of Situation, Task, Action, and Result. If you formulate your answers using the STAR method, it provides comprehensive structure to your responses and also helps the interviewer understand your situation better. In every possible opportunity, make sure that you demonstrate you fully understand Amazon's leadership principles, even if you were not aware of some activities you have done in the past which were driven by the principles of Amazon that you learned today. Make sure to highlight them and showcase how they are linked to Amazon's principles right now. In a variety of cases, you might be asked to appear for the writing test. In some cases, the interviewer might ask you to write an essay or a piece of code in a shared screen environment.
Amazon Interview Techniques
The Amazon interview questions may be based on a variety of the latest programming languages like Java, Python, or to talk about some creative projects that you have worked on. The interviewer might also ask you to share some experiences in which you are able to help your customers and provide them a better experience overall. It is important to note that there is no right or wrong answer to these questions. The interviewer is only interested in learning how you as an individual will best fit into the culture of Amazon and how aligned your actions till today have been with the Amazon leadership principles. There can be a multiple types of situations that you have faced which might be relevant to Amazon. Hence, it is important to make sure that you choose your answers carefully and explain to them so that it highlights your skill sets and strengths.
Your answers should be focused on explaining why you think you are a good fit for the job that you're applying for. One of the next rounds will be your on site interview, where you will get to spend a lot of time at the Amazon offices. This round can also be held virtually. There can be multiple rounds of interview with the Amazon interview panels. Each of these panels will consist of members from diverse backgrounds. If you want to know you can reach out to your recruiter to understand the different roles of the individual interview panel members. Having a good understanding of their backgrounds and positions will help you frame your answers in a better way. Each of these interviews can last for more than an hour.
Amazon ‘Bar Raiser’ Round
The Amazon interview panel members might also be from the team that you are applying to join who will be your future colleagues and managers. Each interviewer is often given two to three leadership principles to focus on while asking their questions. One of the last interview rounds that you might face is the bar raiser round, which is a term given by Amazon. This is a general team who are focused on ensuring the applicant quality. They are more focused on the overall quality of the candidate than with the particular team and the specific skill sets for which the candidate is getting hired. This particular team of interview panelists undergo advanced training whose only job is to ensure that the Amazon hiring standards and quality remain robust.
The only job of them is to ensure quality candidates get hired, and that there is no serious deterioration or deviation over time. This is one of the important rounds. Even if you have been selected and have got positive feedback from your earlier interview hiring rounds, it is important to note that the bar raiser interview round is critical and has the power to eliminate a candidate. The next stage in the recruiting process is the hiring meeting. Once all your interviews are over, then you will be evaluated by all the people who have interviewed you. The members will internally discuss among themselves regarding each of the hiring criteria that they were assigned. They will discuss their feedback about you among each other.
Amazon Interview Decision
Finally, the members from the different interview panels will come to a decision whether you should be hired or not. Usually the result of the interview is decided within one to one and a half week after the interview process. There is not actually anything that you can do during this time but wait once your interview process is over. After the decision has been made the human resource professional from the HR department will inquire you about your present and estimated salary for the negotiation process. Amazon will also provide you a written offer based on this information and requirements of the activities to be performed as part of the job.
Instead of leaving a phone call, the Amazon HR professional might also invite the interviewee to their office for an in-person meeting. There you will get the chance to discuss openly about the roles and responsibilities and salary that you are expecting. This might not be a meeting where you will be able to bargain and negotiate extensively. However, there is a good chance that you will be getting hired for a nice salary because Amazon is one of the top companies in the world.