By Mike Simpson
Today, one of every 153 American workers is an Amazon employee. With that, you may assume that getting hired is a breeze. However, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said: “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.” If you’re about to face off against Amazon interview questions, that might legitimately be the most intimidating statement ever.
Now, that doesn’t mean Amazon wants you to fail. Instead, it simply means they only want to hire people who bring the right stuff to the table. With a bit of preparation, you can make the cut. So, come with us as we explore the world of Amazon interview questions.
How to Answer Amazon Interview Questions
While you could just jump into the fray, memorize a few Amazon interview questions, and be done with it, that’s not the best way to go about things. Sure, you might be ready to handle specific questions. But, if something unexpected comes up, you might be caught flatfooted. No one wants that.
With the right techniques and overall strategy, you can face off against unanticipated questions. Now, exactly how you need to prepare can and will be a bit nuanced. After all, there is a slew of positions at Amazon, and each one involves something different.
How do you make sure you’re ready for YOUR Amazon interview?
Start by reading the job description for the position. In that handful of paragraphs, you’ll find a ton of specific, actionable information about what the hiring manager is looking for in a perfect candidate.
For example, the list of must-have skills you find on most job descriptions reflects their priorities. Those keywords or qualities you see over and over? Yeah, those fall into that category, too.
Without a doubt, you can expect to have to speak about your capabilities in those areas, so reflect on your abilities and think about relevant examples from your work history that you can describe. That way, you can discuss your capabilities with ease.
MIKE'S TIP: So, as you can see, highlighting the skills and qualities you find on the job description, is critical. But what about questions that don’t ask about those skills and/or qualities directly? Here’s the thing, even when a question doesn’t address those points specifically, finding ways to work them in can be beneficial. If you can take a generic response and make it meaningful by highlighting a must have skill or quality, do it. You’re increasing the relevancy of your answer, and that’s always a smart move.
Now, you may be headed for an interview at a traditional department store. If you’re curious about what those interview questions look like, head over to our articles on Kohl’s or Best Buy. Otherwise, here’s how to prepare for behavioral questions at Amazon!
Preparing for Amazon Behavioral Questions
Now, it’s important to understand that talking about your skills is only one part of the equation. You also need to be ready for Amazon behavioral interview questions.
Amazon adores behavioral interview questions. Usually, it’s because of the belief that past behavior indicates future success. Plus, it gives them clues about a candidate’s personality and behavioral traits, as well as how well a person aligns with the company’s core leadership principles (more about that in a moment).
Some of these can be a little tricky, but when handled properly, behavioral interview questions are also chances to shine. Begin by embracing the STAR Method. With that, you can take a boring response and carefully polish it into a captivating answer. Couple that with the Tailoring Method, and you have an approach that focuses on personalization, customizing your responses to the role and company.
By bringing both methodologies together, you can demonstrate your value clearly. Plus, you’ll have an easier time connecting with the hiring manager, and that could boost your odds of success.
In fact we we wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions!
Click below to get your free PDF now:
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FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you "word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview.
Amazon Leadership Principles Interview Questions
As mentioned above, Amazon uses its core leadership principles as a guide when developing questions. The goal is to ensure that anyone working from Amazon has similar values and will align with the broader mission. The Amazon leadership principles include:
- Customer Obsession
- Invent and Simplify
- Leaders Are Right, A Lot
- Learn and Be Curious
- Hire and Develop the Best
- Insist on the Highest Standards
- Think Big
- Bias for Action
- Earn Trust
- Dive Deep
- Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
- Deliver Results
- Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer
- Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility
No matter the role you’re trying to land, it’s wise to assume that some of the questions you’ll face will touch on these concepts. For example, employees at any level may encounter questions like the following:
- How do you demonstrate your customer obsession?
- Describe how you take ownership of your responsibilities and results
- Talk about a time you innovated on the job.
- What steps do you take to simplify processes?
- What does frugality in the workplace mean to you, and how do you demonstrate a commitment to frugality?
In most cases, the best way to prepare for these questions is to actively study the Amazon leadership principles. That way, you’re familiar with all of the concepts, making it easier to speak to those values and priorities when you prepare interview answers.
Top 10 Amazon Interview Questions With Example Answers
Alright,let’s take stock. Right now, you have a winning strategy for answering Amazoninterview questions. That’s a great foundation.
But, havingclear examples can also help. It lets you review questions you may face and seehow to put the tips above to work. We aren’t going to leave you hanging.
Here are thetop 3 Amazon interview questions you could encounter when meeting with thehiring manager, along with tips for answering them.
1. Can you describe yourmost difficult customer and how you were able to handle their needs?
Amazon rose to greatness partially because of its commitment to customer service. It made the shopping experience better, even when something didn’t go right.
If the job is even remotely customer-facing, you should be ready for this question. Dealing with a disgruntled customer isn’t easy, and Amazon wants to know that you’re up to the challenge.
“In my previous role, a customer was upset that a product they ordered was put on backorder unexpectedly after they made their purchase. They needed a functional version of the item as quickly as possible, and the possibility that that wouldn’t happen increased their stress levels, leaving them just shy of hostile. To resolve their issue, I began by listening to their concern, rephrasing what was being shared, and asking clarifying questions to ensure my full understanding. I then reassured them that I’d work with them to find a solution. Together, we discussed alternative products that were in stock that could meet their needs. As soon as a substitute was identified, we canceled the old order and initiated the new one. I applied a free shipping upgrade to expedite delivery, ensuring it would arrive before the customer’s deadline. In the end, they were fully satisfied with the solution.”(Video) TOP 7 AMAZON Interview Questions & Answers! (How to PASS an Amazon Job Interview!)
2. Can you tell me about atime when you were more than halfway through a project and had to pivot quicklydue to an unexpected change? How did you handle it?
This is a question that could be applicable to nearly any role, though it may be more common in technical positions. Its focus is on ascertaining your level of agility and ability to make course corrections under pressure when priorities change.
“While developing a new system for an employer, a requirement came in late. Since the project was rapidly nearing completion, integrating the feature became a challenge. The point in development where it would have been addressed typically had already passed. To address the new requirement, I first took a step back and reexamined all of the existing work. The goal was to minimize disruption to segments that were complete, and a bit of planning ensured I didn’t use a less-than-ideal approach simply because I was under pressure. After identifying a course of action, I implemented the changes methodically. I relied heavily on testing to ensure there were no unexpected ramifications or that issues could be addressed quickly. By using a strategic approach, I was able to limit the negative implications of a last-minute change, expediting the remainder of the process while ensuring the final result met every need.”
3. If one of your closework colleagues stole a $1 item, what would you do?
Shrinkage isa major concern for Amazon. As a result, many prospective employees –especially those working in Amazon warehouses – are going to face behavioralinterview questions that discuss how they’d react to theft.
It’s important to note that the small value of the item in the question is meant to throw candidates off. A dollar may seem meaningless to a retail giant’s bottom line. But, if every person took a $1 item and turned a blind eye to others doing the same, it would add up quickly. As a result, there’s only on “correct” answer. Luckily, it’s fairly short and sweet, so it’s easier to nail.
“Theft, in any amount, is against policy and is illegal, so it needs to be addressed. If I witnessed a colleague stealing, I would report the activity per Amazon corporate procedures.”
4. Why Amazon?
Usually, this is one of the first questions you’ll face off against during an Amazon interview. Overall, you simply have to highlight details about the company that ignites your passion, allowing the hiring manager to see your enthusiasm for the organization.
“My main reason for wanting to work for Amazon is the company’s dedication to innovation. Along with introducing new products and services, the frequent integration of cutting-edge technology is enticing. Plus, as a large company, I believe I’d have opportunities to advance as I grow and develop, allowing me to secure a rewarding, long-term career.”
5. Tell me about a time when you made a poor customer service decision. What steps did you take to remedy the situation?
Many Amazon jobs are customer-facing and may require employees to make various decisions about how to handle a customer’s situation. While talking about a mistake isn’t easy, following up with how you used the experience to grow and develop can showcase you as a strong candidate.
“In my last position, I was speaking with a customer about an order that was unexpectedly delayed. Along the way, I mistakenly said that the new delivery date was essentially guaranteed, as it seemed certain based on the available data. However, it was ultimately delayed again, which upset the customer based on what I told them previously. Fortunately, I was able to find a resolution by offering an immediate store credit refund for the original order and helping them explore our inventory to find a replacement that would arrive by the desired date. Additionally, after discussing the issue with my manager and accepting full responsibility, I was able to offer a small discount on the other item for the inconvenience, which ultimately left the customer satisfied.”
6. If a team member wasn’t pulling their weight, what would you do?
Amazon is a team-oriented environment where everyone is expected to do their fair share. However, that doesn’t mean all employees perform at the same level.
With this question, the hiring manager wants to know the steps you’d take to remedy the issue. You can discuss an example from your previous experience or treat it as a hypothetical if the situation hasn’t arisen for you before.
“While I haven’t experienced this personally, I do have a strategy for addressing a colleague that wasn’t handling their responsibilities fully. First, I would speak with my coworker privately about the work, primarily to see if there was an obstacle causing a problem and if I could offer any assistance. If so, I’d do what I could to help.
Second, if speaking with my colleague didn’t resolve the issue, I would arrange to speak privately with our manager. I’d use a fact-based approach to describe the problem, as well as steps I took to try and resolve it. At that point, I would follow my manager’s lead regarding what came next, offering support if I was able.”
7. How would you handle it if you discovered that your inventory levels were actually too high?
Maintaining accurate inventory data is essential for a company like Amazon. As a result, hiring managers may ask how you would handle a discrepancy.
“If I discovered that the inventory levels were too high, the first step I would take is to recount the inventory. That allows me to ensure I didn’t make a mistake when handling any needed calculations. Next, I would check the inventory as it’s reported in the system to make sure that I wasn’t working off of old data by mistake.
If the inventory levels were still off, I would speak to a manager about the problem. Along with outlining my steps, I would provide my inventory figures to show the discrepancy. At that time, I’d work with the manager to complete any verification steps. For example, that could include checking with other departments that impact inventory – such as incoming deliveries or product returns – to see if any data was missing. Ultimately, I would continue exploring angles until the source of the issue was identified and corrected.”
8. How do you make sure that you fully understand a customer’s needs?
In the world of customer service, the first issue introduced isn’t always the core problem. As a result, hiring managers want to know that you’ll go the extra mile to get to the root of it and ensure the customer’s needs are appropriately met.
“Generally, I find that active listening is a critical component of understanding a customer’s needs. As they explain a requirement or issue, I make sure to paraphrase what’s shared to ensure I fully understand, creating opportunities for them to correct me. Additionally, I ask clarifying questions as required, allowing me to get more insights into their needs to ensure complete customer satisfaction.”
9. What does frugality in the workplace mean to you, and how do you demonstrate a commitment to frugality?
“Frugality” is one of Amazon’s core principles, so there’s a decent chance you’ll face a question like this, particularly if you’re trying to land a management position. Essentially, you need to show how you save money, time, or other resources while working without sacrificing outcomes.
“To me, frugality in the workplace involves seizing opportunities to save money, time, and resources while achieving the desired result. I demonstrate a commitment to frugality regularly when I work. For example, in my last job, I discovered that an alternative software solution would not only cost less but also had additional features that would boost efficiency. As a result, I spoke with my manager about the option and arranged a demo at their request, which ultimately led to the company switching to the new system. In the end, the savings were fully realized, boosting productivity while also reducing a key expense.”
10. If a supervisor asked you to do something unsafe that went against policy, what would you do?
Amazon aims to provide employees with a safe working environment. Since that’s the case, the hiring manager might ask questions like this, allowing them to see how you’d potentially react if a manager asked you to do something unsafe.
“If a supervisor asked me to do something unsafe that went against policy, my first step would be to explain that company policy wouldn’t allow me to do so, outlining precisely why the request wasn’t compliant. Ideally, they’d simply agree, and we could discuss an alternative that was safe and that aligned with policy. If they tried to insist, I’d decline and present alternatives. If they still say I need to take an unsafe action, I would decline once more and follow company procedure regarding reporting that request to appropriate personnel, such as an upper-level manager, safety teams, or human resources.”
40 More Amazon Interview Questions
Here are 40 more Amazon interview questions you may encounter:
- Which leadership principles of Amazon do you connect with most?
- Do you know who the Amazon CEO is? How do you pronounce his name?
- Tell me about a time you faced a crisis at work. How did you handle it?
- Describe [Amazon product or service relevant to the role] as you would to a prospective customer.
- Can you tell me about a time you had to make a fast customer service decision without any guidance? How did you decide what to do?
- Tell me about a time that you dealt with a hostile customer.
- When given an unfamiliar task, how do you ensure you handle it properly?
- If you are given two conflicting priorities from two separate managers, how do you figure out how to proceed?
- Give me an example of when you received criticism. How did you respond to the information?
- What metrics do you use to drive positive change?
- Tell me about a time when you were handling a project that went outside of your scope of work. How did you handle it?
- Describe a situation where you had to deal with ambiguity when making a decision.
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to make a decision when all of the data you needed was unavailable?
- How do you keep yourself / your team / your colleagues motivated?
- What steps do you take to form positive and functional relationships with your colleagues?
- What do you do to ensure that the customer experience is always a priority?
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with feedback you received. How did you address it?
- How do you handle a missed deadline / productivity target?
- What do you like most about Amazon? What do you like least?
- Describe an instance where you were overwhelmed while on the job. How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time when you failed to meet expectations. What did you do to recover?
- How do you ensure that workplace safety is always a priority for you when you work?
- What steps do you take to make sure every customer you speak with is wowed?
- Tell me about the last time you had to apologize to someone.
- Are you able to handle the physical demands of a warehousing job?
- What qualities do you possess that will help you succeed with Amazon?
- How do you demonstrate your customer obsession?
- Describe how you take ownership of your responsibilities and results
- Talk about a time you innovated on the job.
- What steps do you take to simplify processes?
- Describe a time when a problem had several solutions. How did you decide on an approach?
- Tell me about two times when you had to take a calculated risk, one where you succeeded, and one where you failed.
- How do you think working for Amazon will impact your life?
- Describe a time when you had to step up as a leader even though you weren’t in a leadership role. What occurred?
- Have you applied any of Amazon’s leadership principles in a previous role? If so, which ones and in what situations?
- Tell me about a time when it was clear a colleague needed help but wouldn’t ask for it. What did you do?
- How do you keep yourself motivated and engaged on the job, particularly when the tasks get repetitive?
- Have you ever missed a key deadline for a project? What happened, and were you able to recover?
- Describe a time when you had to apologize to a colleague after you discovered you were wrong.
- Tell me about a time when you needed to ask for help on the job.
5 Good Questions to Ask atthe End of an Amazon Interview
As your Amazon interview starts to wrap up, you’ll get a chance to ask the hiring manager some questions. Being ready for this moment is critical, as it allows you to assert your interest and learn valuable tidbits that can help you decide if the job is right for you. If you don’t know what to ask, here are a few questions that can work in nearly any situation:
- What qualities do your most successful employees have in common?
- Can you describe a typical day in this role?
- What defines success in this position?
- What is the biggest challenge Amazon is facing today? How does this role help solve it?
- What do you enjoy most about working for Amazon?
If you want some more examples, check out our article: questions you can ask during your interview.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, an Amazon interview can be challenging. But, by using the tips above, you can be ready. Remember, you’re a great candidate. All you need to do is show it. So take a deep breath and make it happen.
Download our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you word-for-word sample answers to some of the most common interview questions including:
- What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
- What Is Your Greatest Strength?
- Tell Me About Yourself
- Why Should We Hire You?
- And more!
Click Here To Get The Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet
Mike Simpson( Co-Founder and CEO )
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.
His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others.
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