After spending years at Amazon as senior business leaders, Hiring Managers, Interviewers and Bar Raisers (in GG's case), we founded Day One Careers to help candidates answer Amazon Interview questions. Since then, we have trained over 2000 candidates via a combination of Amazon interview coaching and online courses and helped students land L4-L8 jobs at Amazon. Throughout this experience, we started compiling the list of the most frequently asked questions about the Amazon interview process. We will use this post to keep an active tab of these Amazon interview questions and hopefully provide useful answers.

Disclaimer: We hope it's clear that we do not represent Amazon in any shape or form. All opinions we express here and elsewhere on our website are our own and are offered for informational purposes. Use at your own risk.

How long should an answer to an Amazon interview question last?

We've coached way too many candidates who came to our sessions with a (false) assumption that your initial STAR response to an Amazon interview question should only last for 2 minutes. Unfortunately, most of them got this idea from various YouTube videos advocating this length of a STAR response. So allow us to be crystal clear: the length of your initial STAR answer to an Amazon interview question should be around ten minutes. Anything more than ten minutes turns your response into a monologue and cuts into the interviewer's time to drill down and follow up. On the other hand, anything less than five minutes will not give you enough time to land the story's basic facts and will lead to a wasted interview.

Can I bring a "cheat sheet" to my interview?

What we refer to as a "cheat sheet" should be called a "work journal" or "interview notes". It is the very Excel (or pdf) spreadsheet where you map situations from your career to Amazon's 16 Leadership Principles and use it to bullet out key objectives and results. The answer to this question is: YES. Evgeny rocked up to all his Amazon interviews, external and internal, with his interview notes and used them to help him with answers to Amazon interview questions. The interview is not a memory test, and you are not expected to recall the results of all your projects to a decimal point of a percentage. As long as the situations are real (that is, you did not make stuff up), feel free to commit them to paper and bring them to the interview. If in doubt, please check with your recruiter.

How far back into my career should my situations go?

Unless you have a career gap, please aim for the situations to not be older than five years. The one exception could be an answer to the Are Right A Lot interview question about an error of judgment. There, you could potentially go to 6-7 years as an exception. We are not aware of any official guidelines, but we'd use these as guardrails.

Can you share answers to all Amazon interview questions?

No, and we would highly advise you NOT to use any resources that offer you canned answers to Amazon interview questions. Even if you are not concerned about fairness and ethics (we are!), experienced Amazon interviewers will call you out. In our signature Amazon interview preparation course, we offer plenty of example responses to demonstrate what great looks like and how you should structure your own answers to Amazon interview questions. Never invent interview responses. Instead, use the training to help your hard-earned accomplishments shine their brightest.

How should I demonstrate that I am analytical while answering Amazon interview questions?

We get this question a lot from candidates interviewing for technical roles, most often in Data Science or Business Intelligence Engineering. While it is true that, according to our experience, Amazon does have a recruiting slate for left-brain candidates, the only Leadership Principle that calls specifically for analytics is Dive Deep. Maybe Invent & Simplify (the Simplify part). Hence, there is no expectation that every answer to an Amazon interview question will result in a STAR story about you cracking a complex problem with your analytical prowess. In addition, some Leadership Principles - like Ownership - have nothing to do with numbers and everything to do with attitude, and you were able to put it to action and impact.

Can I re-use a situation from a screening round during the Loop?

It depends.

If you get a question during the Loop that is exactly the same one that someone asked you during a phone interview, then advise the interviewer about this. Tell them that you were going to use the same answer that you used during the phone screen and ask them if this is ok. You will then know if you can use the same answer or not.

In all other cases, our guidance is to avoid reusing phone screen answers during the loop if you can. This is because different teams, hiring managers and Bar Raisers will have different attitudes to candidates re-using the same material. The only fail-safe strategy is to have fresh material for the Loop.

Can I share multiple situations from the same project?

Yes, you can. You can chunk long projects up in distinct situations where you demonstrated different Leadership Principles. Do not ever assume that just because one of your projects took years to come to an important milestone, you have to use it to answer just one question. Instead, consider long projects or programs as sources of multiple situations.

Do I need to prepare a specific set of examples if I'm interviewing for {Role 1, 2, 3...}?

No. You may hear from your recruiter or the Hiring Manager that the role that you are interviewing for requires a certain set of functional skills. If the role is non-technical (e.g. not an SDE or a DE/BIE), your skills will come through naturally during an otherwise LP-focused interview. In addition, you may want to identify Leadership Principles that are particularly relevant to your functional profile and ensure that the examples that you prepare double-down on those skills.

What resume format will guarantee that my profile will get in front of the hiring manager?

Contrary to a plethora of resume advice, the best format is the one that is optimised for a quick scan by human eyes. No fancy infographics, no photos, no colours and no progress bars. A white A4 sheet with Times New Roman (ok, Arial if you are feeling brave), size 11. Clean, tidy and well-sectioned.

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