Amazon interviews “Yes, but…” insights

Amazon Interviews

Recently, I have crossed the mark of 150 completed interviews at Amazon. Taking my tenure into the account, I have interviewed one candidate every 4 days. It may look like a high number, but I am still learning what does it mean to be a “professional interviewer”. I am passionate about the subject, so I want to share some of the insights. So, this will be a first post of its kind.

Today’s topic – preparation for an interview at Amazon.

What is common among the candidates who received an offer from Amazon? They took time to prepare for the interview, but there are some nuances you should be aware of:

  • Be prepared, but not overdo it. It is very clear for the interviewer, especially tenured one, when a candidate is prepared. But is also very clear when the candidate overdid that. When a candidate answers looks like a script, it breaks a natural flow of a conversation and may give a weird impression.
  • Know Amazon leadership principles, but do not try to memorize them. Nobody will ask you to name Amazon Leadership Principles during your interview, so an attempt to remember them all is a waste of time. Amazon interviewers assess your previous experience, complexity of situations you dealt with and scale of your impact.
  • Prepare to ask questions, but only relevant ones. There are no additional scores for the question “What is your favorite Amazon Leadership Principle?”. Ask something that you genuinely interested in – a team structure, a working from home policy, key objectives for the role you applied and etc.
  • Carefully read emails from a recruiter, but do your own research. There is a reason why recruiters send you information before the interview. And this information is important, do not ignore it. But it should not be your single source of truth.
  • Collect data points for your examples, but only those you can explain. Amazon is a truly data-driven company, so are Amazon interviewers. But if a candidate cannot explain context of the data or how it was measured/collected, it does not give additional scores to the candidate.

If you are interested in the role of Technical Account Manager, check out my other post.

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