Let's prepare for your phone interview
Before we get into the details of your phone interview, take some time to learn about Amazon, get to know our business teams, and “meet” a few Amazonians.
Next, dive into our Leadership Principles. We use our Leadership Principles every day, whether we're discussing ideas for new projects or deciding on the best approach to solving a problem. It is just one of the things that makes Amazon peculiar. All candidates are evaluated based on our Leadership Principles. The best way to prepare for your interview is to consider how you’ve applied the Leadership Principles in your previous professional experience.
Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.
Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job".
Invent and Simplify
Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here". As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.
Are right, A Lot
Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.
Learn and Be Curious
Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.
Hire and Develop the Best
Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.
Insist on the Highest Standards
Leaders have relentlessly high standards - many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.
Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.
Bias for Action
Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.
Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.
Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.
Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.
Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.
Strive to be Earth's Best Employer
Leaders work every day to create a safer, more productive, higher performing, more diverse, and more just work environment. They lead with empathy, have fun at work, and make it easy for others to have fun. Leaders ask themselves: Are my fellow employees growing? Are they empowered? Are they ready for what's next? Leaders have a vision for and commitment to their employees' personal success, whether that be at Amazon or elsewhere.
Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility
We started in a garage, but we're not there anymore. We are big, we impact the world, and we are far from perfect. We must be humble and thoughtful about even the secondary effects of our actions. Our local communities, planet, and future generations need us to be better every day. We must begin each day with a determination to make better, do better, and be better for our customers, our employees, our partners, and the world at large. And we must end every day knowing we can do even more tomorrow. Leaders create more than they consume and always leave things better than how they found them.
Our interviews are rooted in behavioral-based questions which ask about past situations or challenges you’ve faced and how you handled them, using Leadership Principles to guide the discussion. We avoid brain teasers (e.g., “How many windows are in Manhattan?”) as part of the interview process. We’ve researched this approach and have found that those types of questions are unreliable when it comes to predicting a candidate’s success at Amazon.
Here are some examples of behavioral-based questions:
- Tell me about a time when you were faced with a problem that had a number of possible solutions. What was the problem and how did you determine the course of action? What was the outcome of that choice?
- When did you take a risk, make a mistake, or fail? How did you respond, and how did you grow from that experience?
- Describe a time you took the lead on a project.
- What did you do when you needed to motivate a group of individuals or promote collaboration on a particular project?
- How have you leveraged data to develop a strategy?
Keep in mind, Amazon is a data-driven company. When you answer questions, your focus should be on the question asked, ensure your answer is well-structured and provide examples using metrics or data if applicable. Reference recent situations whenever possible.
Prep for technical interviews
- Interview preparation for tech roles (e.g. software development, machine learning) can be found here.
- Unsure if you're interviewing for a technical role? Reach out to your recruiting point of contact.
- Some teams at Amazon incorporate role-specific exercises or online assessments into the interview process. You will be notified if the role you’re interviewing for requires one of these.
- During your phone interview, be in a quiet and comfortable place with no distractions.
- Have a computer with a reliable connection and access to email.
- If you're using a mobile phone, ensure you are in a place with proper coverage.
- Have a copy of your resume on hand.
- Have paper and pen readily available.
- Come prepared with questions that you would like to explore in more detail (e.g. initiatives/projects, team culture, scope of role).
- If you need clarity on anything, or have any additional follow-up questions, reach out to your recruiting point of contact.
- If you need an accommodation, or have questions or concerns, please reach out, as we ensure reasonable accommodations for all individuals.
- Virtual interviews: If you've been asked to do a virtual interview, you will likely need to download Amazon Chime, our tool for video conferencing (step-by-step guide can be found here). If you're presenting, you will need to download Chime to your desktop. The meeting ID# will be emailed to you by your recruiting point of contact. For optimal sound quality, use a headset with a microphone.
Amazon supports pay equity. We will not consider a candidate’s current or historical compensation when determining whether to offer employment or in determining any aspect of offer compensation for any candidate or role located in the United States.
After the interview
We strive to get back to you within two business days after your phone interview. If you haven't heard from us, feel free to give us a nudge.