7 steps of Amazon's interview process & how to ace them

Amazon’s interview process is long and difficult, and not knowing what steps to expect makes it even harder to prepare for.

We’re here to help. We work with 50+ ex-Amazon interviewers on our platform, who have helped thousands of candidates navigate the Amazon interview process.

Here’s what you need to know: Amazon’s interview process can take two months or more, and there are seven steps: resume screen, recruiter call, take-home assessments, phone screen(s), onsite interviews, interviewer debrief / hiring committee, and salary negotiation. The steps that will require the most preparation are the assessments, phone screens, and onsite interviews.

Amazon interview process 7 steps

Step 1: Resume screen

First, you’ll need to convince recruiters that you have a strong enough profile to be invited to the first round of Amazon interviews. Here, you will either submit your application through Amazon’s jobs portal, or you will have been contacted directly via email or LinkedIn by an Amazon recruiter.

In either case, you will need a strong resume in order to impress them.

This is an extremely competitive step, as we’ve found that ~90% of candidates don’t make it past the resume stage. To help you put together a targeted resume that stands out from the crowd, follow the tips below.

Tips on crafting a resume:

  • Study the job description: The work experience that you display on your resume should relate directly with the role qualifications that you’re applying for.
  • Be specific: Use data to back up your claims. How many people were on the team that you managed? How were your successes measured? Quantify as much as you can.
  • Emphasize leadership: Amazon values emergent leadership. As much as you can, highlight roles and positions where you took the lead and managed others, if applicable. 
  • Keep it to one page: Be concise. Recruiters often don’t have the time to study a resume in-depth, especially if it spans multiple pages.

The tips above include abbreviated information from our tech resume guides. For more detailed steps as well as examples to follow, take a look at one of our articles below:

The guides above are great starting points for you to make a competitive resume, for free. However, if you want personalized feedback and tips from those who know Amazon’s hiring process firsthand, you’ll need to get input from ex-Amazon recruiters themselves.

Step 2: Recruiter call

Once your resume has been approved, an Amazon recruiter will schedule a roughly 30 minute call with you. 

They will discuss with you how the overall interview process will work. If you have any specific questions (e.g. timeline, location, clarification about the job description), now is the time to ask. 

Usually this call does not include technical questions, although some highly technical roles like software engineers may receive a few low-level screening questions that test general technical knowledge. 

Otherwise, the recruiter will ask typical behavioral and resume questions like “Why Amazon?”, “walk me through your resume,” and “tell me about yourself.” 

Overall, the Amazon interview process will include a higher emphasis on behavioral interview questions than at other companies like Meta or Google. This is because the company is looking for candidates who align with their 16 leadership principles.

If you’re going to ace the rest of Amazon’s interview process, you need to be well acquainted with these principles. Let’s take a look at this in more detail.

2.1 Amazon’s 16 leadership principles 

Below are Amazon’s leadership principles, so you can start thinking of examples from your past experience that align with them. For more help crafting answers to Amazon questions around their leadership principles, use our guide to Amazon behavioral interviews.

Amazon’s 16 leadership principles

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.’”
  3. 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.’ Because we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.”
  4. Are Right, A Lot - "Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgement and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.”
  5. 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.”
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.”
  9. Bias for Action - "Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.”
  10. 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.”
  11. 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.”
  12. 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.”
  13. 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.”
  14. 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.”
  15. 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.”
  16. 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.”

Step 3: Assessments

In some cases, your recruiter will assign you one or two take-home assessments to complete before moving on to the next round of interviews. 

If you are assigned one or both of these assessments, this usually takes place before the initial phone screen; however, some writing tests occur right before or during the final onsite or virtual loop.

There are the two general categories of Amazon interview assessments: work sample simulations and work style assessments. Let’s take a closer look.

3.1 Amazon work sample simulations

Amazon work sample simulations aim to measure how well you will complete on-the-job tasks. The type of work simulation assigned varies according to the role being assessed. 

For instance, engineering candidates frequently complete coding exercises, sales candidates may have to write ad copy or product descriptions, other candidates may have to answer an extended essay question, and so on. 

Here, we’ll focus on two of the most common work sample simulations: coding assessments and writing assessments.

Coding assessments last one to two hours and are usually timed from the moment you open the test. There will be two coding questions, typically at Leetcode medium or hard difficulty. The code should compile and pass as many test cases as possible—however, you do not need to pass 100% of the test cases to move on to the next round.

These are typically followed by a brief section in which you are expected to explain your approach to the problems you will have just solved. This is a place for you to clearly explain your thought process and how you approach complex problems.

Writing assessments usually are not timed, but they will come with a deadline. The instructions will include a length requirement, which is typically 2-4 pages, depending on the prompt. 

The type of writing assessment you receive will depend on the role. Regardless, it’s important to be concise and back up your written claims with data. A good reference to follow is Jeff Bezos’s own letters to Amazon shareholders.

3.2 Amazon work style assessments

Amazon work style assessments are shorter tests that ask a range of behavioral questions in order to get an idea of how well your work style will fit in with Amazon’s culture.

Take a look at Amazon’s own description of this assessment: “[They] are centered around Amazon’s peculiar culture and Leadership Principles, and typically take 10-20 minutes to complete. In these assessments, we ask you to choose the extent to which a statement represents your work style. For instance, we may ask you which of the two statements "I like for things to be clearly structured,” or “I look forward to the opportunity to learn new things," best describes you.”

This assessment is frequently assigned at the end of a longer work sample simulation, as extra data for the interviewers to consider.

Step 4: Phone screen(s)

Next, you will have one or two phone screens with a hiring manager, and/or future peers. In most cases, these will be video calls using Amazon Chime, although some interviewers may opt to keep their cameras turned off.

At this point, interviewers will dig deeper into your past experience with behavioral and hypothetical questions that test specific skills related to the role.

Technical roles will also include coding on a shared code editor or word document. In most cases, it will not include syntax highlight or auto-completion, so prepare for that kind of coding environment in advance. For more help with this, use our guide to Amazon coding interview questions.

We’ve researched the interview process and questions for six Amazon roles, so we’ll give you a rough idea of what to expect for different types of interviews below. If you’re looking for exact example questions to work with, we’ll get to that in Step 5.

What to expect in Amazon phone screens (by role):

Product managers: you’ll have two 30-45 minute calls that test your alignment with Amazon's leadership principles.

Software development engineers: you’ll share a simple coding editor with your interviewer and answer data structure and algorithm questions, as well as a few behavioral questions.

Software development managers: you’ll have a similar coding round as the software engineers, with higher-level coding questions and behavioral questions around people and project management.

Data scientists: you’ll be asked to answer machine learning questions and to work out SQL and Python/R questions on a shared notepad document, as well as a few behavioral questions.

Technical program managers: you’ll be asked a mix of program management, technical, and behavioral questions.

Account managers: you’ll be asked primarily behavioral and background questions that test your client service skills. In some cases you may have to prepare a case study.

Ultimately, if you’re prepared for the types of in-depth questions you’ll receive at the onsite stage, then you’ll be prepared for the initial phone screens. So let’s dive into the onsite portion, including the exact interview questions that have been reported by past candidates.

Step 5: Onsite interviews

The longest and most intimidating step of the Amazon interview process is the final onsite or virtual loop. These used to take place in Amazon’s offices, but are now frequently held virtually over Amazon Chime.

Here, you will have four to seven interview rounds that last 45-60 minutes each, led by a mix of interviewers that may include your hiring manager, members of the team you’re applying to, senior management, and the Bar Raiser.

Bar Raisers are not associated with the team you’re applying for, and focus 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. 

We’ll talk more about the Bar Raiser in Step 6, and for even more information you can read our complete guide to Bar Raiser interviews.

As we mentioned before, we have created in-depth guides to the interviews for top Amazon roles. Below, we’ll give you a breakdown of real interview questions asked at Amazon for each of these roles, according to data from Glassdoor. 

5.1 Amazon product manager onsite interview questions

Amazon PMs must take on a range of tasks, including designing product features, improving existing ones, and setting product vision, all while working with a diverse range of stakeholders.

To test these capabilities, interviewers ask questions like the ones below. For more interview questions and resources on how to prepare for the Amazon product manager interview, take a look at our guide to Amazon PM interviews.

Amazon product manager interview questions

Behavioral

  • Tell me about a time you said no to a customer request and why
  • Describe a time when you disagreed with your manager
  • Describe an instance when you used a lot of data in a short period of time

Strategy

  • Should Amazon start selling contact lenses? Explain your thinking in detail
  • What is the Amazon business model?
  • What is the biggest opportunity for Amazon?

Other (Estimation, analysis, design, technical)

  • How many people would be watching YouTube in India right now?
  • What metrics would you use to measure success for the Amazon Echo Dot?
  • Design a fridge for the blind
  • Explain ACID transactions

5.2 Amazon software development engineer onsite interview questions

Amazon software development engineers solve some of the company’s most difficult problems through code, while working closely with cross-functional teams. Take a look at the questions below to practice how you will demonstrate these skills in an interview.

For even more questions, an overview of the process, and a step-by-step preparation plan for Amazon SDE interviews, take a look at our Amazon software development engineer interview guide, Amazon machine learning engineer interview guide, or our Amazon data engineer interview guide.

Amazon software development engineer interview questions:

Coding

  • Given preorder and inorder traversal of a tree, construct the binary tree (Solution)
  • Given a string s, find the longest palindromic substring in s. You may assume that the maximum length of s is 1000 (Solution)
  • Merge two sorted linked lists and return it as a new sorted list. The new list should be made by splicing together the nodes of the first two lists (Solution)
  • Given an array of integers nums, sort the array in ascending order (Solution)

System design

  • How would you design a warehouse system for Amazon.com?
  • How would you design Amazon.com so it can handle 10x more traffic than today?
  • How would you design Google's search autocomplete?

Behavioral

  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer
  • Tell me about a time when you launched a feature with known risks
  • Tell me about a time your work was criticized

5.3 Amazon software development manager onsite interview questions

Software development managers at Amazon must have similar technical skills as those tested in software development engineer interviews, with an emphasis on soft skills like people and project management. This is because they’re moving from managing individual features to managing projects and teams.

The questions below were reported by real Amazon SDM candidates. Use them to practice your answers. For a comprehensive guide to Amazon software development manager interviews, take a look at our Amazon software development manager interview guide.

Amazon software development manager interview questions

Behavioral

  • When was the last time you did something innovative?
  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict with your supervisor. How did you resolve it?
  • How do you manage low performers?
  • Tell me about a time you needed to deliver a project on a deadline but there were multiple roadblocks and constraints to deliver

System design

  • Design the next Twitter
  • How would you design a social network like Facebook or Instagram?
  • How would you design a system that reads book reviews from other sources and displays them on your online bookstore?

5.4 Amazon data scientist onsite interview questions

Data scientists at Amazon must be able to derive useful insights from large and complex data sets. They use and manipulate that data using SQL, while working closely with cross-functional teams.

Interviewers ask questions like the ones below to test candidates on these skills. For more questions as well as a step by step plan to prepare for Amazon data scientist interviews, take a look at our Amazon data scientist interview guide

Amazon data scientist interview questions:

Coding / SQL

  • Write a SQL code to explain month to month user retention rate
  • Write a python code for recognizing if entries to a list have the same characters or not. Then what is the computational complexity of it?
  • How would you improve a classification model that suffers from low precision?

Machine learning

  • How do you interpret logistic regression?
  • How does dropout work?
  • What is L1 vs L2 regularization?

Behavioral

  • Tell me about a time you made something much simpler for customers
  • Tell me about a project you worked on that was not successful. What would you do differently?
  • Tell me a time that a goal was hard to achieve. What did you learn from that?

Statistics

  • What is p-value?
  • What is the maximum likelihood of getting k heads when you tossed a coin n times? Write down the mathematics behind it
  • There are 4 red balls and 2 blue balls, what's the probability of them not being the same in the 2 picks?

5.5 Amazon technical program manager onsite interview questions

Amazon TPMs design and execute programs from end-to-end, while engaging in highly technical discussions with engineers and other teams. They must be able to influence others without direct authority in order to drive programs through.

Practice demonstrating the skills above using the questions below, from real Amazon technical program manager interviews. For more information about Amazon TPM interviews, take a look at our Amazon technical program manager interview guide, or our Amazon program manager interview guide.

Amazon technical program manager interview questions:

Behavioral

  • Tell me about a time you said no to a customer request and why
  • What is the most innovative idea you've ever had?
  • What did you do the last time your team failed a deadline?
  • Tell me about a time you failed to deliver at work and what you did

Technical (system design, coding)

  • Design Amazon.com
  • What is the difference between a router and a switch?
  • Write a program to find common items between two linked lists

Program management

  • What method / process do you use to run a project from end-to-end?
  • What does success look like for a technical program manager?
  • What's the difference between program management and technical program management?

5.6 Amazon account manager onsite interview questions

Account managers at Amazon serve clients who use Amazon’s products by identifying new opportunities for them to grow, helping them implement Amazon’s products, solving their problems, analyzing data, and more.

Practice demonstrating your ability to do these things using the questions below. For more information about Amazon account manager and technical account manager interviews, take a look at our complete guide on the subject

Amazon account manager interview questions:

Behavioral

  • Tell me about a time when you failed to do the right thing
  • Tell me about a time you saw a peer struggling and decided to step in and help
  • Tell me about your biggest challenge
  • Tell me about a time where you thought of a clever new way to save money for the company

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?

Step 6: Interviewer debrief / hiring committee

After you finish your onsite interview rounds, your interviewers will come together to compare notes on your performance in what is called the interviewer debrief, or hiring committee.

Each interviewer will have written up a summary of their experience with you, including the questions and your answers, as well as a final recommendation (e.g. Strong hire, hire, leaning hire, strong no hire, no hire, leaning no hire, etc.).

The interviewers will convene with the hiring manager and the Bar Raiser in order to come to a decision. They will review not only the onsite interviewers’ feedback, but also your resume, your online or written assessments, and input from your screening rounds. 

The Bar Raiser is the ultimate decision maker during this process. They have the ability to unilaterally veto the interviewers’ and hiring manager’s decision. However, this rarely happens. Instead, Bar Raisers and hiring managers typically strive to drive consensus and come to a collaborative final decision.

In most cases, the committee comes to a hire or no hire decision, which the recruiter will communicate to you. However, sometimes they decide they need more information about a specific competency. In this case they will schedule one to two more interview rounds for you to complete, then reconvene to make a decision.

6.1 Team matching

In many cases, candidates interview for a specific team from the beginning of the interview process, and the final offer from the interviewer debrief comes with a team already matched to the candidate.

In other cases, candidates go through a separate team matching process after the interviewer debrief. This typically happens if the Bar Raiser or committee as a whole decides that you meet the hiring bar, but are not a good fit for the team you have originally interviewed for.

Here, your recruiter will pass your information to other teams within Amazon, keeping you updated on the process. For the best outcome, it helps to be proactive and take a look at other open positions, sending the teams that interest you to your recruiter for reference.

Reports vary as to how long this process may take, with some candidates reporting a new team match and written offer within a week, and others taking months. 

Step 7: Salary negotiation

Finally, once you’ve passed each of the six steps above, you’ll receive your offer package from Amazon.

At this point, all that is left for you to do is negotiate your offer. Your recruiter will get in touch with you about the details, likely scheduling one final call to clarify and discuss the terms. If they have not scheduled a call, you can ask for one.

Of course, salary discussions can be difficult and a bit uncomfortable, especially if you are not used to them. Below are some tips to help you navigate your salary negotiations. And you can also get salary negotiation coaching from ex-FAANG recruiters to help you maximize your compensation.

Salary negotiation tips:

  • Be polite: Remember that the person you’re negotiating with is just doing their job, and that the two of you are not enemies. You’ll get much farther in your negotiations if you approach the conversation with grace.
  • Don’t give a number right away: Whenever possible, it’s better to wait until you receive an offer to start negotiating. This reduces the risk of giving a number that is lower than what the company otherwise would have paid, or giving a number that is so high that they are reluctant to interview you.
  • Do your research: Have a number in mind before the conversation begins, and back it up with data. Research your position and level on Levels.fyi, ask around on professional social networking sites like Blind, factor in the cost of living where you are, and, ideally, get some input from a current Amazon employee.
  • Start high: To start the conversation, name a compensation number that is higher than your goal, and the Amazon negotiator will likely end up negotiating it down to a number that is closer to your original goal.
  • Negotiate everything: Your offer will include more than a base salary and stock options—you also have bonuses, vacation days, location, work from home, and other aspects to consider. If the salary won’t budge, there may be some wiggle room around the other perks.

Once you’ve completed this step and accepted your offer: congratulations! It’s time to start your career at Amazon.

Are you ready for your Amazon interviews?

As you may have noticed, Amazon has a long and difficult interview process, which requires quite a bit of preparation to succeed.

The lists of practice questions and resources in section 5 above will give you a great start, but practicing by yourself will only take you so far. Ultimately, the best way to improve your interview skills is to do as many interviews as you can.

That’s why we’ve put together a coaching service where you can practice mock interviews one-on-one with real ex-interviewers from Amazon. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.

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