Amazon (technical) account manager: the only post you'll need to read

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Account manager interviews at Amazon are really challenging. The questions are difficult, specific to Amazon, and cover a wide range of topics.

The good news is that the right preparation can make a big difference and help you land your dream job at Amazon. That's why we've put together this ultimate guide to the Amazon account manager interview, complete with example questions, prep resources, and an overview of the process. Use this guide to maximize your chances of success.

Here's an overview of what we'll cover:

1. Process and timeline

The interview process for Amazon account managers and technical account managers typically takes roughly 1-3 months to complete. If you're interviewing at multiple companies, take a look at our guides to the Google account manager interview or the Facebook (technical) account manager interview as well.

1.1 What interviews to expect

Here’s a quick overview of the steps you’ll face along the way:

  1. Aptitude test / questionnaire (in some cases)
  2. Recruiter phone screen (30-45 min)
  3. Take-home assignment (in some cases)
  4. First-round interviews (1-2 interviews, 45-60 min each)
  5. Onsite interviews (4-6 rounds, 45-60 min each)

Now let’s cover the above steps in more detail, so that you'll have a better idea of what to expect and what you'll need to prepare for.

1.1.1 Aptitude test / questionnaire (in some cases)

During the application process, many candidates will have to take an online assessment. This assessment will likely take the form of an aptitude test related to the technical and analytical skills necessary for the job. It may also involve a behavioral questionnaire to flesh out your profile. 

Passing this initial assessment then allows you to move on to the recruiter screen and the following interviews. If you have been approached by a recruiter directly via LinkedIn or another channel, you may not have to take this assessment.

1.1.2 Recruiter phone screen

Next, you'll most likely start your interview process at Amazon by talking to an HR recruiter on the phone. 

The recruiter is looking to confirm that you've got a chance of getting the job at all, so be prepared to explain your background and why you’re a good fit at Amazon. You should expect typical behavioral and resume questions like, "Tell me about yourself," "Why Amazon?" or "Tell me about a time..."

If you get past this first HR screen, the recruiter will then help you prepare for the next steps in the hiring process. As you’ll see, there’s quite a bit of variation in the specific interview steps for each candidate. So ask your recruiter if you’re unsure of what’s ahead for you.

1.1.3 Take-home assignment (in some cases)

In addition to the online assessment during the application process, some candidates are also given assessments and/or take-home assignments between the recruiter phone screen and the onsite interviews. The exact nature of this assignment can vary depending on the role you’re applying for. Technical account management candidates are more likely to take numerical tests, while all account management candidates may receive business cases and analysis tests.

Not everyone is asked to do this, but in case you are, keep a lookout in your inbox in case the request ends up in your spam folder. As there is some variation in this step of the process, your recruiter should give you all the information and preparation materials you need to get ready. Consult your recruiter if you have any questions about what to expect. 

1.1.4 First round interviews

If you pass your recruiter phone screen and potential online assessments, you’ll move on to the first round of more in-depth interviews. These are typically conducted via phone or video chat by a hiring manager or a team leader for the role that you’re targeting. 

As was the case for the online assessments, there is variation at this step in the process, with some candidates reporting only one first round interview that covers a mix of behavioral questions (more on that in section 2). Other candidates report an extra interview that takes the form of a pre-prepared case study or business scenario.

If you are tasked with a case study, you may receive preparation materials in advance that you would use to put together a presentation for your interviewer. Otherwise, the interviewer will present the scenario during your call, and you will work through it in the form of a role play in which you are an Amazon account manager speaking to a possible vendor.

Again, check in with your recruiter if you are unsure of what (if anything) you need to prepare in advance. Then, if you make a good impression in these interviews, you'll move on to the final round.

1.1.5 Onsite interviews

The onsite interviews are the real test. You'll typically encounter 4-6 interviews that last 45 to 60mins. Each interview will be a one-on-one with a mix of people from the team you’re applying to join, including peers, the hiring manager, and the “Bar Raiser.”

We’ll dive deeper into the specific question types in section 2, but all account management candidates can expect a mix of behavioral questions that target Amazon’s 16 leadership principles, with the addition of technical analysis questions for technical account managers. You may also be assigned a presentation deck to prepare in advance and present to a panel during one of the interview rounds.

[COVID-19 changes] Due to the pandemic, it is possible that the onsite interviews will actually be held via a videoconference tool (i.e. Amazon Chime). When you are invited to the onsite interviews, you can ask your recruiter for the latest information on the company's COVID-19 protocols. 

Bar raiser

The Bar Raiser interviewers are not associated with the team you’re applying for, focusing more on overall candidate quality than specific team needs. They get special training to make sure Amazon’s hiring standards stay high and don’t degrade over time, so they are a big barrier between you and the job offer.

1.2 What exactly is Amazon looking for?

At the end of each interview your interviewer will grade your performance using a standardized feedback form that summarizes the attributes Amazon looks for in a candidate. That form is constantly evolving, but we have listed some of its main components below.

A) Notes

The interviewer will file the notes they took during the interview. This usually includes the questions they asked, a summary of your answers, and any additional impressions they had (e.g. communicated ABC well, weak knowledge of XYZ, etc).

B) Technical competencies

For technical account managers, your interviewer will also grade you on technical competencies. They will be trying to determine whether you are "raising the bar" or not for each competency they have tested. In other words, you'll need to convince them that you are at least as good as or better than the average current Amazon technical account manager at the level you're applying for.

The exact technical competencies you'll be evaluated against vary by role. But here are some common ones for technical account management roles:

  • Quantitative and analytical skills
  • Experience managing complex operational projects
  • Experience in API integrations
  • Process improvement skills
C) Leadership principles

Your interviewer will also grade you on Amazon's 16 leadership principles and assess whether you're "raising the bar" for those too. Each interviewer is given two or three leadership principles to grill you on. 

D) Overall recommendation

Finally, each interviewer will file an overall recommendation into the system. The different options are along the lines of: "Strong hire," "Hire," "No hire," "Strong no hire."

1.3 What happens behind the scenes

Your recruiter is leading the process and taking you from one stage to the next. Here's what happens after each of the stages we’ve just described:

  • After the phone screens, your recruiter decides to move you to the onsite or not, depending on how well you've done up to that point.
  • After the onsite, each interviewer files their notes into the internal system, grades you and makes a hiring recommendation. (e.g. "Strong hire," "Hire," "No hire," "Strong no hire")
  • The "Debrief" brings all your interviewers together and is led by the Bar Raiser, who is usually the most experienced interviewer and is also not part of the hiring team. The Bar Raiser will try to guide the group towards a hiring decision. It's rare, but they can also veto hiring even if all other interviewers want to hire you.
  • You get an offer. If everything goes well, the recruiter will then give you an offer, usually within a week of the onsite, but it can sometimes take longer.

It's also important to note that recruiters and people who refer you have little influence on the overall process. They can help you get an interview at the beginning, but that's about it.

2. Example questions

To help you prepare strategically for your interviews, we have used Glassdoor data to identify the types of questions that are asked in Amazon account manager interviews.

Much more than other tech companies like Google or Facebook, Amazon focuses heavily on behavioral questions during their interviews. This is no exception for Amazon account managers, so we have grouped the practice questions below by which principle they represent. For technical account managers, we have included a section dedicated to additional technical questions that you may encounter.

These are all real Amazon account manager interview questions that were reported on Glassdoor. Note that we've made edits to the language in some places for clarity, grammar, or translation.

2.1 Customer obsession questions

Customer obsession: “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.”

An important part of every Amazon account manager's job is to serve clients who use Amazon's products. So interviewers want to see that you understand the consequences that every decision has on customer experience. You need to know who the customer is as well as their underlying needs.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Customer obsession

  • Tell me about a time you had to go above and beyond for a customer (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult customer (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about a time when you didn't meet customer expectations
  • Tell me about a time that you used customer feedback to make a decision

2.2 Ownership questions

Ownership: “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.’”

When working with clients, you will be representing Amazon. So, your interviewer will be looking for you to show ownership over your work and your team. When answering ownership questions, show that you’ll be an account manager who takes initiative, makes tough decisions, and accepts responsibility for your mistakes.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Ownership

  • Tell me about a time when you made a short term sacrifice for a long term benefit
  • Tell me about a time when you took on work outside of your comfort zone
  • Tell me an example of a project you lead
  • Tell me about a time when you had to do something that you had never done before

2.3 Invent and simplify questions

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.”

In everything it does, Amazon aims to foster a culture of innovation. Answering invent and simplify questions is an opportunity to show your ability to create solutions when there is no obvious answer. You’ll also want to show that you know how to execute big ideas as simply and as economically as possible.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Invent and simplify

  • Tell me about a time when you were able to identify 2 seemingly separate problems, and solve both issues with a single solution
  • Tell me about a time where you had to show innovation
  • Tell us about a time when you were in a stressful situation and how you solved the problem

2.4 Are right, a lot questions

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.”

Amazon expects its employees to produce solutions as quickly as possible and to be capable of making decisions with little information. Show that you know how to take risks and that you're comfortable disproving your own opinions before moving ahead.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Are right, a lot

  • Tell me about a time you dealt with ambiguity
  • Tell me about a problem that you have resolved successfully and how you did that

2.5 Learn and be curious questions

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.”

Amazon demands constant improvement in every part of the business. Here, you’ll want to show that you are interested in learning new things and exploring new ideas that can be applied to the job. If asked about a past failure, describe the lessons you learned from it.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Learn and be curious

  • Tell me about a time when you failed (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about a time you worked on a project that you were excited about.

2.6 Hire and develop the best questions

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.”

Amazon wants every new hire to “raise the bar,” including you. You’ll need to show that you are the best candidate for the role by demonstrating your affinity for and understanding of Amazon. Your interviewers are looking to find out why you want to work for Amazon specifically and what you’ll bring to the company.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Hire and develop the best

  • Why Amazon? (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell me about yourself

2.7 Insist on the highest standards

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 drive 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.”

At Amazon, rarely is anything deemed “good enough.” Your interviewer will want to see how you have pushed yourself to reach standards that were difficult to meet, and how you will continue to do so in the future.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Insist on the highest standards

  • Tell me about a time when you exceeded a target or expectations. What went well and what would you change?
  • Tell me about something you worked on to improve your productivity. What resources did you allocate to help you develop? What was the result?
  • Tell me about a time when you wish you had done something differently at work

2.8 Think big questions

Think big: “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.”

Amazon is an enormous company, and its employees need to reach significant scale in order to make a difference for the business. As a result, interviewers will want to see that you can develop and articulate a bold vision and carry out high-impact projects.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Think big

  • Tell me about a task or project that took your full effort to accomplish
  • What was your greatest accomplishment?
  • Describe a situation where you had to think big
  • Tell me about a time you exceeded your goals

2.9 Bias for action questions

Bias for action: “Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.”

Amazon likes to learn by doing, with an eye on results over user projections and research. This is part of what helps them act quickly and ship their products to customers as fast as they do. So your interviewer will want to see that you can take calculated risks and keep things moving forward.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Bias for action

  • Tell me about a time when you took a calculated risk (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about a time when you had to decide upon something without consulting your superior
  • Tell me about a time when you had to face tight time constraints during a project
  • Tell me about a time when you made a decision without all of the information

2.10 Frugality questions

Frugality: “Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.”

Amazon strives to provide customers with as much value possible for as little cost as possible. Interviewers will be looking for how you can support this idea while maintaining consistent relationships with your clients.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Frugality

  • Tell me about a time where you thought of a clever new way to save money for the company

2.11 Earn trust questions

Earn trust: “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.”

The key part of this principle that candidates often miss is the “vocally self-critical” detail. Amazon wants its employees to focus on fixing mistakes instead of figuring out who to blame. You’ll need to work in a team without creating friction and develop a trustworthy professional relationship with your clients.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Earn trust

  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult coworker
  • Tell me about a time when you got negative feedback
  • Tell me about a time you saw a peer struggling and decided to step in and help
  • Describe a situation when you negotiated with others in your organization to reach an agreement

2.12 Dive deep questions

Dive deep: “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.”

As an account manager at Amazon, you need to be able to dive deep into the advertising campaigns and client accounts that you’ll be working with on the job. Interviewers will want to know how you define and measure successful initiatives and, especially for technical account managers, how you work with data.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Dive deep

  • You want to grow a brand 25% YoY, but business is flat. How would you grow it?
  • Tell me about a time you used data to solve a problem (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about a time when you identified a metric that was negatively impacting the business. How did you respond?
  • In this previous campaign on your resume, how did you measure the results?

2.13 Have backbone; disagree and commit questions

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.”

Any group of smart leaders will disagree at some point. Your interviewer will want to see that you know when to challenge ideas and escalate problems to senior leadership if necessary. At the same time, they want to know that you can sense the right time to move forward regardless of your disagreement. 

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Have backbone; disagree and commit

  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about a time when you supported a business initiative you didn't agree with
  • Tell me about a time when you thought of an unpopular idea

2.14 Deliver results questions

Deliver results: “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.”

Amazon values action over perfection. When answering questions related to delivering results, you’ll want to indicate that you work to avoid slipped deadlines and failed goals.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Deliver results

  • Tell me about your biggest challenge (high frequency question)
  • Tell me about a time that you had to remove big obstacles to deliver results
  • Describe a difficult situation and how you resolved this
  • Tell me about a time when you had to manage a high workload

2.15 Strive to be Earth’s best employer questions

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.”

This leadership principle is more likely to come up in interviews for senior and/or managerial positions. In this case, you’ll want to show that you’ll not only boost your team, but also create a safe, diverse, and just work environment. 

As there was no Glassdoor data reflecting this principle for Amazon account managers, we’ve included questions from our list of general behavioral questions that come from Amazon.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Strive to be Earth’s best employer

  • Tell me about a time that you went above and beyond for an employee
  • Tell me about a time you saw an issue that would negatively impact your team. How did you deal with it?
  • How do you manage a low performer in the team? How do you identify a good performer in the team and help in their career growth?

2.16 Success and scale bring broad responsibility questions

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.”

Amazon wants its employees to understand the responsibility of working for a vast, impactful company. Show how you measure the impact of your decisions, both in your workspace and in the world around you (e.g. sustainability, justice, etc.). 

Again, as there was very little Glassdoor data reflecting this principle for Amazon account managers, we’ve included a question from our list of general behavioral questions that come from Amazon.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Success and scale bring broad responsibility

  • Talk about a time when you made an impact in the organization
  • Tell me about a time when you failed to do the right thing

2.17 Technical questions (primarily technical account managers)

Right, now that we’ve gone through each of the 16 leadership principles, here is the last question type: technical questions.

If you're applying to be a technical account manager, then you'll also want to be prepared to answer questions that are more technically in-depth than the questions you'd face as an account manager. 

Fundamentally, account management is about solving client problems and helping them grow. And technical account managers tend to do more technical problem solving.

Below, we've compiled a list of example technical questions that you can practice with. To fill out your preparation, we’ve included a couple questions from Google technical account manager interviews.

Example Amazon account manager interview questions: Technical

  • How do you track conversions?
  • What was the deepest analysis (e.g. numerical, using excel and databases, etc.) you made in your previous role and how did you do it?
  • What data structure would you use to represent a scenario where a person has friends and each friend has friends? (Google TAM question)
  • How can you efficiently transfer a large number of files from a Unix server to another one? (Google TAM question)

3. Preparation tips

Now that you know what questions to expect, let's focus on how to prepare. Here are the four preparation steps we recommend to help you get an offer as an Amazon (technical) account manager.

3.1 Learn about Amazon’s culture

Most candidates fail to do this. But before investing tens of hours preparing for an interview at Amazon, you should take some time to make sure it's actually the right company for you.

Amazon is prestigious, and it's tempting to assume that you should apply, without considering things more carefully. But it's important to remember that the prestige of a job (by itself) won't make you happy in your day-to-day work. It's the type of work and the people you work with that will.

If you know account managers who work at Amazon or used to work there, talk to them to understand what the culture is like. The leadership principles we discussed above can give you a sense of what to expect, but there's no replacement for a conversation with an insider. Finally, we would also recommend reading the following resources:

3.2 Practice by yourself

Next, there are several things that you can do to start practicing by yourself.  

3.2.1 Learn how to approach questions

First, you'll probably find it helpful to learn a general approach for answering Amazon’s interview questions.  One helpful resource on the topic is our guide to Amazon behavioral interviews

 Amazon typically recommends the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method, which can be helpful for many candidates. However, we’ve found that candidates often find it difficult to distinguish the difference between steps two and three, or task and action. Some also forget to include lessons learned in the results step, which is especially crucial when discussing past failures.

So we’ve developed the IGotAnOffer method to correct some of the pitfalls we’ve observed when using the STAR method. Here is a summary of it:

  1. Situation: Start by giving the necessary context of the situation you were in. Describe your role, the team, the organization, the market, etc. You should only give the minimum context needed to understand the problem and the solution in your story. Nothing more.
  2. Problem: Outline the problem you and your team were facing.
  3. Solution: Explain the solution you came up with to solve the problem. Step through how you went about implementing your solution, and focus on your contribution over what the team / larger organization did.
  4. Impact: Summarize the positive results you achieved for your team, department, and organization. As much as possible, quantify the impact.
  5. Lessons: Conclude with any lessons you might have learned in the process. 

Once you've gotten started on the method above, then you should brush up on the job description and product information related to your role. 

3.2.2 Brush up on product information

Being knowledgeable about the specific product area where you'll be working will be critical for your interviews. So, regardless of how much experience you have, it's a good idea to refresh your memory on the Amazon product(s) that you'll be focused on.

For example, if you're applying for an account manager role related to Amazon Publisher Services, then you should brush up on the latest information about the product and its features. Learn as much as you can about what Amazon offers and how those products benefit customers. If you know anyone who works at Amazon, this is also a great opportunity to reach out to see what you can learn from them.

Finally, we'd recommend customizing the example questions that you practice with by incorporating products that will be relevant to your role.

3.2.3 Practice answering questions

Now it's time for action! Practicing with real interview questions is going to be an extremely important part of your interview preparation. This step will help you build confidence and improve your answers over time.  

There are over 50 example interview questions in this guide, and as we've mentioned previously, they are all from real Amazon account manager interviews. As a result, they should be very similar to the types of questions you'll be asked. 

We'd encourage you to practice with the provided example questions. And before you get started, here a few tips to help you structure your practice time:

  • Master at least one question from each leadership principle. Draft your answer using the method we mentioned above and practice it multiple times, until you can hit all of your main points in a clear and concise way.
  • Identify the question types where you struggle the most. Then make sure you take the time to practice multiple questions from that category.
  • Practice out loud. Play the role of both the candidate and the interviewer, asking questions and answering them. This approach may sound strange, but practicing interviewing out loud will significantly improve your confidence and the way you communicate your answers.
  • Practice as many questions as possible. Even if you aren't asked the exact questions that you've prepared for, practicing with a variety of questions will help you get a better feel for the patterns of Amazon interview questions. 
  • Spread out your practice over multiple days / times. This will help you to build confidence and could also help you remember your answers more clearly on the day of your interviews.

3.3 Practice with peers

Practicing by yourself will only take you so far. One of the main challenges of account manager interviews is communicating your different stories in a way that's easy to understand. As a result, we strongly recommend practicing with a peer interviewing you.

This can be especially helpful if your friend has experience with account manager interviews, or is at least familiar with the process. You can also find peers to practice with on our mock interview platform.

3.4 Practice with ex-interviewers

Practicing with peers can be a great help, and it's usually free. But at some point, you'll start noticing that the feedback you are getting from peers isn't helping you that much anymore. Once you reach that stage, we recommend practicing with ex-interviewers from top tech companies.

If you know an account manager or someone who has experience running interviews at Amazon or another big tech company, then that's fantastic. But for most of us, it's tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

Here's the good news. We've already made the connections for you. We’ve created a coaching service where you can practice 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from leading tech companies. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.

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Any questions about (technical) account manager interviews at Amazon?

If you have any questions about Amazon (technical) account manager interviews, do not hesitate to ask them below, and we will be more than happy to answer them. All questions are good questions, so go ahead!