This guide will show you how to prepare for behavioural interview questions at Amazon. Our recommendations are based on our experience with thousands of candidate interviews and coaching sessions (both while we were at Amazon and after starting Day One Careers).

At the end of this guide, we offer a vetted Amazon interview questions list, but we encourage you to read through the entire guide. While we cannot guarantee that you will get a job, following this guide will increase your chances of landing the offer.

We recommend that you bookmark this guide and use it as a reference point throughout your Amazon interview preparation journey.

Table of Contents

About us

Evgeny Bik and Gayle Gallagher (GG), co-founders of Day One Careers, wrote this guide. GG spent five years at Amazon as a senior leader in Prime Video and Amazon Fresh in the UK. Evgeny spent over three years at Amazon as a senior leader in Amazon Launchpad and Amazon Devices in Europe. In addition, GG and Evgeny were Hiring Managers and interviewers for their teams and partner organizations.

In addition, GG was a qualified Amazon Bar Raiser - an independent decision-maker with veto power over the hiring manager in the Amazon interview process. GG and Evgeny had careers in multi-national Tech, FMCG and Retail companies before joining Amazon.

Finally, after leaving Amazon, Evgeny spent one year at Apple as an eCommerce lead in IMMEA (Apple's developing markets organization).

We created Day One Careers to provide everyone with expert Amazon interview preparation resources. We're incredibly proud of our free and paid resources, and we encourage you to explore our blog and YouTube channel for more expert guidance.

You can check out our LinkedIn profiles if you'd like to learn more about our career paths: GG's profile and Evgeny's profile.

Why We Wrote This Guide

We wrote this guide for two reasons. First, after coaching - literally - thousands of candidates on how to prepare for interviews at Amazon, we wanted to make our expertise available to as many candidates as possible. Second, the internet (blogs and YouTube) is swimming in misinformation about the Amazon interview process, questions, and preparation strategies.

What makes us confident? Because our community of paid students has plenty of folks, who burned themselves following unqualified advice of the self-proclaimed Amazon interview experts. So you can be confident that you are in the best hands possible.

How This Guide Will Help You Prepare For Amazon Interviews

This guide will help you prepare for behavioural interview questions at Amazon. It has a proven D1C Amazon Interview Method (D1C AIM) to prepare for your interview, which has worked for hundreds of candidates who have landed job offers with Amazon.

Note that we wrote this guide with the intent to help genuine candidates prepare. Therefore, we don't offer tips on manipulating Amazon's interview process, and we encourage all candidates to avoid resources that try to do so.

Also, note that this guide covers only interview questions based on Amazon's Leadership Principles. It does not cover coding, System Design or other functional preparation topics.

We are proud of what we have achieved with Day One Careers, and we stand firm in our aspiration to be the most credible source of guidance on how to ace Amazon's behavioural interviews.

Step 1: Understand Amazon's Leadership Principles

Amazon's behavioural interviews look for behaviours corresponding to their core competencies - the 16 Leadership Principles. These Leadership Principles - or LPs - embody Amazon's business mantra and penetrate every aspect of Amazon's decision-making.

So during behavioural interview rounds, Amazon wants to ascertain that you are a future Amazonian. Hence, all questions you encounter during your behavioural interviews with Amazon will be based on the Leadership Principles. You can review all Leadership Principles by visiting Amazon's jobs portal.

We cannot stress how dear the 16 Leadership Principles are to Amazon. Even candidates interviewing for technical roles (e.g. Software Developer, Data Scientists, Business Intelligence Engineers) should take these competencies seriously.

From our experience, the weight of your behavioural interview results will be at least 80% for non-technical roles and at least 50% for technical positions.

Many candidates only consider the information on Amazon's website when trying to understand the Leadership Principles. However, each Leadership Principle has multiple sub-themes beyond the official definition. Some sub-themes seem logically connected to the LP definition, while others might appear unrelated or contradictory.

For example, candidates fail to realize that Amazon's Customer Obsession Leadership Principle does not mean the customer is always right. So they struggle to come up with a credible response when an Amazon interviewer asks them to tell a story about when a customer made an unreasonable request.

Another trap that many candidates fall into is trying to prepare individual responses to individual interview questions. This approach is unsustainable because there are too many questions. Using our collection of vetted Amazon interview questions will help, but you will still quickly run out of stories.

So the only working preparation strategy is to understand the broad sub-themes (facets) of Amazon's Leadership Principles and develop stories that cover them.

To understand the facets of Amazon's Leadership Principles, we recommend doing the following:

  1. Review Jeff Bezos' Letters to Shareholders. Jeff's Shareholder Letters contain golden insight into the meaning that Amazon's founder attached to the Leadership principles.
  2. Read books from our reading list. These books come from former senior Amazonians who worked with Jeff and his team during the company's early days. The insights in these books are invaluable to understanding the Leadership Principles in-depth.
  3. Review example Amazon interview questions. Along this guide, you will find a list of example Amazon interview questions - crowd-sourced and vetted by GG and Evgeny for authenticity. By studying these examples in-depth, you will see emerging leadership principles facets.
  4. Invest in in-depth online courses. If you are keen to leave no stones unturned to prepare for your interview, we strongly recommend investing in self-study resources. There are plenty to choose from - so make sure to research thoroughly.

We recommend our Amazon Interview Whizz - an all-in-one online training that helped hundreds of candidates land L4-L8 roles at Amazon. It is heavily reviewed in our live database of testimonials, so feel free to check them out. Or check out our free taster course to kick-start your amazon interview preparation journey.

Step 2: Understand Amazon's Cultural Quirks

Amazon takes pride in its peculiar culture and ways of working. This culture is rooted in the Leadership Principles but has accumulated a few concrete expressions over the years.

One such expression is Amazon's approach to innovation. While plenty of businesses call themselves innovative, the reality is not straightforward. Some are reactive incrementalists. Others focus on features rather than benefits.

Amazon's framework cuts across all these methods by stating, "We start with the customer and work backwards". "Working backwards" quickly became an internal cultural meme at Amazon and a title of a highly recommended book by Colin Bryar.

In practice, this means that Amazonians are expected to anticipate what the customer might need and want, even without having clear guidance for customers. Or, as often happens, by going opposite to what customers are asking for.

Amazon's workplace culture can be challenging to understand. Still, taking the time to appreciate it will help you connect with your interviewers and feel more comfortable during the interview process.

Another benefit of learning about Amazon's peculiar culture is challenging your motivation to join the company. Are you interviewing with Amazon for the right reasons? Are you passionate enough to join the business?

If you join Amazon, you will find that few employees are there for random reasons. Instead, most have highly personal reasons for wanting to work there. So as you learn more about Amazon's culture, ask yourself if it is something you can see yourself doing long-term.

Here are some vetted resources that you can use to connect with Amazon's peculiar culture:

  1. Think Like Amazon YouTube Series. We partnered with the creator of the Think Like Amazon podcast and re-published the best episodes to our YouTube channel. In this playlist, former senior Amazonians speak about solving real-life business problems with their unique Amazonian approach.
  2. Books from our reading list. The list of books that we mentioned in the previous section of this guide will give you a glimpse into how Amazon functions day-to-day.
  3. YouTube interviews of current and former Amazon leadership. Look for interviews with Jeff Bezos, Andy Jassy, Jeff Wilke and Dave Limp.
  4. Amazon Interview Whizz online course. We created an entire section dedicated to Amazon's peculiar culture, where we explain the most critical cultural quirks of Amazon. This section is part of Amazon Interview Whizz - a flagship online training by Day One Careers.

Step 3: Master the Amazon STAR Method

To answer Amazon interview questions, you must tell stories about times you demonstrated the desired behaviours. However, this doesn't come naturally to most candidates since most companies don't use behavioural interviewing and prefer to ask hypothetical questions or focus on your resume.

A popular interview storytelling format is STAR (Situation, Task, Actions, Results). Most companies who use behavioural interviewing recommend that candidates follow this format when responding to interview questions.

In the Situation part of the story, you would share the overall context that prompted you to act.

The Task part is where you'd talk about what you needed to accomplish.

Actions are self-explanatory - these are the steps you took to get to the results.

Finally, in the Results section, you'd share the outcomes of your activities.

STAR has been around for decades. If your goal is to learn basic interview storytelling, getting comfortable with this format will be sufficient. However, to land a role at Amazon, you must learn how to enhance your responses to raise the bar - proving that you are better than 50% of current Amazonians at the same level (or what we call the Amazon STAR Method).

First, you must ensure that the bulk of your story is comprehensible without extensive follow-up questioning. This is done by establishing the context skillfully and adapting the level of technical details to your audience.

Second, your stories must be believable and credible. You must show that your actions had a real impact and were successful unless the question asks for a story about failure. To achieve this, you must use facts and data wherever possible.

Finally, you must signal that you are senior enough for the role you are interviewing for. Remember that organizational hierarchies exist for a reason. Usually, more is expected of employees working at higher levels. Therefore, you must pick the situations that give your profile the best chance to prove that it is senior enough for the level of the Amazon job.

To fine-tune your STAR for Amazon, learn from former hiring managers and Bar Raisers. If you know someone who used to interview and hire candidates at Amazon, reach out to them. Both current and former Amazonians tend to be helpful when it comes to aspiring candidates, so you may be surprised at how much value you can get from your network.

Alternatively, we recommend exploring the "Mastering the Behavioural Interview" and "How Amazon Amazon Hires" sections in our Amazon Interview Whizz course. These sections offer an Amazon-tuned, impact-optimized STAR interview framework and a blueprint for signalling your seniority.

Step 4: Practice With Partners

Acing behavioural interviews at Amazon typically comes with challenges. For example, candidates usually need to be able to recall and describe up to 24 different stories, depending on the job they are interviewing for. They also need to be able to withstand interjections and follow-up questioning from interviewers and be able to explain complex themes simply.

The only way to achieve this interview mastery is to practice with partners (learn about the importance of practice to land a job offer with Amazon). Therefore, we recommend finding a community of candidates who are also preparing for interviews with Amazon. This will ensure that you practice with motivated individuals who share your situation.

We also recommend using only the example Amazon interview questions from this guide. Please avoid Glassdoor or any other sources of questions, as they won't be vetted by anyone who worked at Amazon.

Finally, ensure you have a good night's sleep between practice sessions. Our brain learns when asleep, so try to space your mock interview practice sessions at least one day apart.

To kick-start your Amazon interview preparation, we invite you to join our free community, where you will find plenty of motivated candidates preparing to interview with Amazon. You can get access to this community after getting our free taster course.

Vetted Amazon Interview Questions (Leadership Principles)

Below you will find a list of example Amazon interview questions. For an even more extensive collection of questions, we recommend you get our Amazon Interview Toolpack - a complimentary resource we've made available to everyone at no cost.

While the example questions in this guide are crowd-sourced, GG and Evgeny vetted them for relevance to Amazon's Leadership Principles.

Customer Obsession

  • Tell me about a time you obsessed over giving very high-quality service to a customer.
  • Can you describe a challenging interaction you've had with a customer?
  • Can you provide an example of when you asked a customer for feedback? How did you use that feedback to drive innovation or improvement?

Invent & Simplify

  • Tell me about a time when you gave a simple solution to a complex problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you invented something.
  • Please walk me through a different scenario of a process you created or improved.

Dive Deep

  • Give me an example of when you used data to make a decision/solve a problem.
  • Tell me about the most complex problem you've ever worked on
  • Tell me about a problem you had to solve that required in-depth thought and analysis. How did you know you were focusing on the right things?

Frugality

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited time or resources (D1C: technically, the "limited time" element fits more under Deliver Results, which is why I don't believe that this would have been the precise question that the interviewers asked)
  • Describe when you had to manage a budget (or manage time/money/resources/etc.). Were you able to achieve more for less?
  • Tell me about a time when you thought of a new way to save money for the company.

Ownership

  • Give me two examples of when you did more than what was required in any job experience (D1C: I don't know why the interviewer asked for two situations)
  • Tell me about a time when you took on something significant outside your area of responsibility, and why was that important?
  • Describe when you didn't think you would meet your promised commitment.

Earn Trust

  • Tell me about a critical piece of feedback you received
  • Tell me about a time when you saw your team member struggling.
  • Building trust with teams can be challenging to achieve sometimes. Can you give me an example of how you effectively built trusting working relationships with others?

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

  • Tell me about when you took an unpopular stance in a meeting with peers and your leader and were the outlier.
  • Tell me about a time when you decide to go along with the group decision, even if you disagree.
  • Tell me about a time when you strongly disagreed with your manager on something you deemed very important to the business. What was it about, and how did you handle it?

Hire & Develop The Best

  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with an employee with poor performance.
  • Tell me about a time when you coached someone into outstanding performance.
  • Tell me about a time when you've built a team for a specific project.

Bias for Action

  • Can you give me an example of a calculated risk you have taken where speed was critical? What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
  • Describe a situation where you made an important business decision without consulting your manager
  • Tell me about when you had to analyze facts quickly, define critical issues, and respond immediately to a situation. What was the outcome?

Deliver Results

  • Tell me about a time when you led a group, were assigned a goal and did not reach it.
  • Tell me about a time when you not only met a goal but considerably exceeded expectations.
  • Tell me about a time when you were able to deliver an important project under a tight deadline.

Insist on the Highest Standards

  • Tell me about a time when you have been unsatisfied with the status quo. What did you do to change it? Were you successful?
  • Tell me about a time when you were dissatisfied with the quality of something at work and went out of your way to improve it.
  • When you refused to compromise around quality or customer service

Learn & Be Curious

  • What's the coolest thing you've learned on your own that you've been able to apply in your job and perform your job further?
  • Tell me about a time when someone openly challenged you. How did you handle this feedback? (D1C: The phrasing of this question makes it sound like Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit. In reality, this is probably a Learn & Be Curious question)
  • Give an example of a challenging or critical piece of feedback you received. What was it, and what did you do about

Think Big

  • Tell me about a time you worked on an initiative or goal and saw an opportunity to do something much bigger than the initial focus. How did you handle the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when senior people adopted your vision across the organization.

Are Right, A Lot

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with incomplete data or information (or can you think of a time when you had to make a decision but you didn't have enough data to be sure you were making the right decision? What did you do and how did it work out?)
  • Can you think of a time you made a wrong professional decision? What was the impact of the decision? What did you learn?
  • When you had to make a difficult decision with input from a lot of people

Strive to be Earth's Best Employer

  • Tell me about a time when you created conditions for others to succeed.
  • Tell me about a time when you drove decisions that created a working environment that was more fun and inclusive.

Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility

  • Tell me about when you reversed a decision when you realized it had an adverse impact on colleagues outside your immediate working group.
  • Tell me about a time when you considered the environmental impact of your decisions.

Sample Answers: Avoid This Trap

We know that some websites offer candidates sample answers to Amazon interview questions. We chose not to follow suit because it is a dangerous and irresponsible preparation strategy. From an ethics standpoint, we believe in fair and unbiased competition for roles, and Amazon is doing an outstanding job at running an equitable and transparent interview process. From an interview success standpoint, regurgitating canned interview responses from the internet has a high risk of interview failure: experienced interviewers can easily spot disingenuous responses.

There are no shortcuts to landing a role at Amazon. You must prepare to put the time and effort into getting prepared for your interviews. We recommend that you treat this process as a learning journey that will enhance your interview skills for either Amazon or any other employer in Big Tech.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

We've coached 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. You could potentially go to 6-7 years as an exception. We are unaware of 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 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 from candidates interviewing for technical roles 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 reuse a situation from a screening round during the Loop?

It depends.

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

In all other cases, if possible, our guidance is to avoid reusing phone screen answers during the Loop. This is because different teams, hiring managers and Bar Raisers will have different attitudes to candidates reusing the same material. Therefore, 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 into distinct situations where you demonstrate 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 you are interviewing for requires a specific set of functional skills. If the position 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 you prepare double down on those skills.

What resume format guarantees 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 optimized 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 feel brave), size 11. Clean, tidy and well-sectioned.

Where can I find more answers about Amazon behavioural interviews?

If we did not answer your questions in this article, we recommend you check out this post with more Amazon behavioural interview questions and answers.

Further Amazon Interview Preparation Resources

Books

Online Reading

Online Learning

Amazon Interview Whizz by Day One Careers

Share this post