Make sure you prep for your Amazon interview.

Landing an interview with Amazon might feel like one of the most exciting — and intimidating — things to happen to you. Amazon, like most organizations, puts a lot of effort into hiring the right fit for their open positions. As CEO Jeff Bezos once shared, “I'd rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.”  

It says a lot if your resume got past the gatekeepers and into the hands of an Amazon hiring manager. Now, take a deep breath and get prepped for your interview.

How to answer Amazon interview questions

From the lengthy list of interview questions that Amazon candidates share online, you can expect that an Amazon interview will rely heavily on behavioral and situational interview questions. 

Behavioral interview questions focus on past behavior as an indication of future job success, while situational interview questions ask how you would handle any number of hypothetical situations. With these questions, you can also pull from past experiences to answer how you would handle the hypothetical situation today or in the future. 

From there, you can break behavioral and situational interview questions down further into competencies, such as leadership and communication. The STAR method is an excellent approach to answer these types of interview questions. It breaks down like this:

  • Situation: Set the stage by describing the situation. 

  • Task: Describe the task.

  • Action: Describe the action(s) you took to handle the task.

  • Results: Share the results achieved. 

Top 3 Amazon interview questions 

Now that you have a foundation on how to answer Amazon interview questions, it's time to practice. Below are three of the top interview questions you are likely to encounter during your interview. 

What would you do if you found out your closest friend at work was stealing?

You are likely to be asked this question regardless of the position you're interviewing for, especially with cost reduction and shrinkage being top priorities for a company like Amazon. There is really only one way to answer this question that speaks to honesty, integrity, trust, and leadership:

While it would be a difficult situation to find myself in, integrity is essential to me. Plus, stealing is against policy and costs the company's bottom line, no matter how insignificant the theft might seem. I would go to my department manager and report the theft or use the company's recommended reporting policy for such behavior.

Describe your most difficult customer and how you handled it. 

Amazon is known for their customer service. If the position you're interviewing for is a customer-facing position, then you can count on a question similar to this. When answering this question, apply the STAR method: 

Once, I encountered a repeat customer who was upset that an item he ordered was delayed. It was scheduled to arrive within five days of him ordering it, but due to backlog issues with the supplier, the delivery time was adjusted to be 30 days out. The item was an anniversary gift for his wife, and the anniversary was less than two weeks away. 

Obviously, the 30 days would not work for him, and he was close to irate about the situation. I needed to figure out a way to help him receive the anniversary gift on time. I first contacted the supplier to see if there was any way to expedite the order, but the best they could do was get the item to him a couple of days earlier than the revised scheduled arrival date. 

So, I then worked with the customer to identify a different supplier that sold an almost identical item. I offered him expedited shipping at no charge, so he would receive the item within three days, and that timing worked for his anniversary date. I also offered him a 20 percent coupon towards his next purchase. He was pleased with the outcome, and he remained a loyal customer.   

Tell me about a time you were 75 percent through a project and had to pivot quickly. How did you handle it?

Life happens when we are in the middle of projects, and Amazon leadership will want to know how you handle these types of situations when they occur. You could encounter this question for many different types of roles, including technical and management positions. Your answer should speak to your agility, leadership, and problem-solving skills:  

At my last job, I was leading a project that was near completion. Everything was moving smoothly and on-target for timely completion. Then, one of our partners providing one of the software upgrades that were to occur at the 90 percent mark encountered a breach of their systems and was estimated to delay the project by two to four weeks. 

I had to review our plans and come up with options to keep the project on target as much as possible. Going with another software provider wasn't a viable option, as the groundwork had been laid to go live with the current provider, and starting over would have delayed the project even more. Instead, we were able to allocate two resources to support the provider in recovering from the breach in less than half of the time that was projected. 

As a result, we were able to complete the project only two days after the originally scheduled completion date. Fortunately, since we had built in a cushion for contingencies, we were able to go live on schedule. 

20 more interview questions from Amazon 

Here are more possible Amazon interview questions you might be asked, broken down into categories. 

Behavioral questions

  1. Share about a time when you had a conflict with someone at work. How did you handle it?

  2. Tell me about a time you used innovation to solve a problem.

  3. Tell me about a time when you took a calculated risk. What was the outcome?

  4. Tell me about a time you had to handle a crisis.

  5. Tell me about a time when a team member wasn't pulling their weight. How did you handle it?

Leadership questions

  1. Tell me about a decision you made based on your instincts.

  2. Tell me about a time you used a specific metric to drive change in your department.

  3. Tell me about a time when you influenced change by only asking questions.

  4. What was the last leadership development course you took? What did you gain from it?

  5. Provide an example of a time when you had to complete a project on a budget you felt was too tight. How did you make it work?

Technical and skills questions 

  1. How would you improve Amazon's website? 

  2. Tell me about how you brought a product to market.

  3. What metrics do you use to influence and drive positive change? 

  4. What skills do you possess that will help you succeed at Amazon?

  5. Tell me about a time when you handled a project outside of your scope of work. How did you approach it?

Company-specific questions

  1. Do you know our CEO? How do you spell his name?

  2. How would you introduce Amazon in an elevator pitch?

  3. Which Amazon leadership principle do you align with most?

  4. What does Amazon's ownership principle emphasize?

  5. Do you know how many Amazon leadership principles there are?

Questions to ask the interviewers

Have a list of questions ready to ask during your Amazon interview. Your questions should be company-specific. For example: 

  • What do you feel is the biggest challenge Amazon is currently facing?

  • What do you love about your role?

  • How would you describe the team I would be working with?

  • What is a typical day like in this role?

  • What qualities are required to succeed at Amazon?

  • Where do you see Amazon in five years?

  • Are there any new or unique customer trends you're currently experiencing or projecting?

Conclusion 

Amazon interviews are notoriously challenging. But remember, you landed the interview — which puts you one step closer to landing the role.

So do your homework and take the time to prepare for the interview. Then, you can show them what you've got with confidence once you're in the interview room.

Unsure how to answer these interview questions? Our expert interview coaches know how to impress all the major companies you may interview for. 

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