Amazon Interview Questions: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Amazon Interview Process

Amazon, a global powerhouse in e-commerce and cloud computing, is renowned for its rigorous recruiting process, particularly for software engineers. Aspiring candidates should prepare for a deep dive into data structures and algorithms, and be ready to demonstrate problem-solving skills through practical coding tests. Amazon's culture demands innovation, with a notable emphasis on their Leadership Principles during interviews. Familiarity with their performance improvement plan, known as PIP, can also give candidates insight into the company’s expectations and support systems.

Amazon's interview process for software engineers begins with a meticulous resume screening. Candidates that stand out typically proceed to Online Assessments (OAs), which test coding and problem-solving skills. This step is crucial for moving forward in the selection process.

Following successful OAs, applicants usually face one or two phone screens before advancing to onsite interviews. The onsite consists of multiple rounds, focusing on coding, system design, and leadership principles. The difficulty across these stages is considered high, reflecting Amazon's commitment to hiring top talent.

Initial Screen

At Amazon, the initial resume screening focuses on your technical skills and past experience relevant to the role. This process typically involves automated systems checking for key terms and projects.

Following resume evaluation, candidates may face Online Assessments (OAs). These typically consist of coding tests and work style assessments, designed to measure problem-solving capabilities and cultural fit.

Phone Screen

Amazon employs one or two phone screens as part of its recruiting process for software engineers. These interviews focus on coding and problem-solving skills, with questions often emphasizing data structures, algorithms, and system design.

During the phone screen, a software development engineer or a hiring manager typically conducts the interview. Candidates may need to write code in real-time via an online editor, discuss their approach to solving problems, or review past projects and experiences.

Onsite Rounds

Amazon’s onsite rounds typically consist of four to six interviews, focusing on assessing both technical and behavioral skills. These interviews may include coding challenges, system design problems, and a deep dive into the principles of leadership.

During the onsite interviews, candidates are often asked to code on a whiteboard, solve real-world problems through system design, and demonstrate Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles through behavioral questions. The process aims to gauge a candidate's ability to solve complex problems and fit into the company culture.

Final Rounds, Negotiation, Offer

After completing your interview rounds at Amazon, candidates typically undergo team matching and can negotiate their job offer. Some roles might also entail meetings with senior executives before final decisions are made.

Amazon Technical Interview Questions and Patterns

Amazon interview questions breakdown

When preparing for an Amazon software engineering interview, it’s crucial to focus on the fundamentals. The distribution does not deviate from typical coding interviews, with Basic DSA, Dynamic Programming and Two Pointers being dominant patterns in their coding interviews. While honing these areas, candidates should also be prepared for less frequent but challenging patterns like Backtracking, ensuring a well-rounded ability to tackle a variety of problems.

Amazon Interview Coding Question Difficulty

Amazon interview questions difficulty breakdown

At Amazon, the coding interview problems tend to be more manageable compared to those at other FAANG companies like Google and Apple. Candidates often encounter questions focused on Basic Data Structures and Algorithms, Dynamic Programming, and Two Pointers. Overall, while the difficulty is considerable, it remains slightly more accessible than some of its FAANG counterparts.

Sample Classical Behavioral Questions and Answers

Tell me about a time when you took on a project with a tight deadline. What steps did you take and what was the outcome?

  • Focus on detailing the process of prioritizing tasks, managing time efficiently, and the technical skills utilized to meet the deadline. Emphasize outcomes like successful deployment or positive team feedback.

Describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult bug in your code. How did you handle it?

  • Highlight your troubleshooting strategies, persistence, and collaboration with teammates if applicable. Mention any innovative solutions or tools you used to resolve the issue.

Can you provide an example of when you had to learn a new programming language or technology to complete a project?

  • Outline the steps you took to become proficient, such as taking online courses, reading documentation, or engaging with a community. Show how quickly you adapted and the successful integration of the new skill into the project.

Sample Teamwork Behavioral Questions and Answers

Describe a time when you had to collaborate with a team to solve a challenging problem. What was the challenge, and how did you handle it?

  • Focus on detailing the problem and the specific actions taken, emphasizing clear communication, division of labor, and how collaboration led to a solution. Mention how your contribution and leadership (if applicable) helped in reaching the team goals.

Tell us about a project where you helped a teammate struggling with their part. What did you do, and what was the outcome?

  • Highlight your problem-solving skills and empathy. Explain how you approached assisting your teammate, ensuring to focus on mentoring or support techniques that foster team cohesion. Conclude by sharing the positive results of your intervention, like improved team performance or project delivery times.

Amazon prides itself on customer obsession. Can you provide an example from your past experience where you had to prioritize the customer’s needs while working on a team project?

  • Outline the project’s objective and how customer needs were initially in conflict with the team’s goals. Describe strategies used to realign the team's focus towards customer satisfaction. Conclude by illustrating the success of the project in terms of customer feedback and project outcome, tying back to Amazon’s core value.

Sample Role Specifc Behavioral Questions and Answers

Tell me about a time when you had to learn a new programming language or technology to complete a project. How did you ensure your success?

  • Discuss the steps taken to learn the new technology, emphasizing the proactive approach, resources used, and how quickly and effectively the knowledge was applied to achieve project goals.

Describe an occasion when you had to handle a disagreement within your development team. What approach did you take to resolve the conflict?

  • Highlight communication and problem-solving skills, focusing on the ability to listen, mediate, and develop a consensus among team members to maintain productivity and team harmony.

Amazon prides itself on customer obsession. Can you talk about a project where you developed software that significantly improved the user experience?

  • Illustrate the process of identifying user needs and the innovative approaches taken in designing software solutions, specifically how these improvements enhanced customer satisfaction and engagement.