Amazon is notorious known for its difficult interview questions. Over the past few years it has been a humbling experience for me to help many people to prepare for Amazon job interviews and successfully land jobs at Amazon. As a former Amazon employee and hiring manager who had first-hand experience of interviewing and making hiring decisions, I understand and appreciate the unique challenges of Amazon job interview process.
Amazon is not an easy work environment. In August 2015 New York Times published a controversial article about Amazon’s culture and work environment: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. Although I don’t agree with everything said in this article, there is a lot of truth. Amazon could be an amazing stepping stone to jump start your career, but you need to understand what you are getting yourself into. There are landmines in many places both during the interview process and once you start working there.
Personally, I truly believe the time I spent at Amazon was the most important time of my career. I learned to be an owner and a driver. I developed thick skin, mental toughness, bias for action, strong sense of urgency, analytical driven approach, and insane customer focus. These skills have become extremely valuable to me as I progress in my career to become an executive. I would not trade my Amazon experience for anything else. The Amazon way really works.
Over the past decade, as I have helped many people to land offers at Amazon, I see both patterns of success and common pitfalls. I decide to write a book to share my learning. My goal is to help as many people as I can to get jobs at Amazon. I also want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. I want to help the right person get the right job at Amazon and succeed.
Today, for Paysa readers, I would like to highlight a few key things you can do to nail your job interview with Amazon:
- Amazon’s recruiting process is very chaotic and disorganized. Many job candidates experienced canceling and rescheduling of phone interviews. Be patient and don’t get distracted and frustrated.
- Amazon Leadership Principles is absolutely critical. You might be the most technically competent candidate, but if you cannot demonstrate your cultural fit, you’ll not land a job at Amazon.
- In my book I laid out a 5-pillar strategic framework to prepare for Amazon interview. Trust the framework and put it into action. It really works.
- Do your homework. I strongly encourage you to study each interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and other social media footprints (e.g. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.). You want to know more about them than what they know about you.
- Understand from the customer’s perspective how to improve Amazon’s products and services. If you are applying for a position in Amazon Marketplace team, you should get a seller account and start selling. If you are applying for a position in AWS, you should open a free AWS account and play with the various web services. You need to know the products.
- Job leads come from all places but the best lead is from people you know. Have you partnered with Amazon in the past? Have you done business with any Amazon employee previously? They can be the very best source of referrals because they know the quality of your work and they work in industries/verticals that are like yours.
Practice, practice and practice. Here is a common pattern I saw from all of my clients who landed offers at Amazon: Their preparation was thorough, their approach was sound, and their work ethics were unbelievable. If you need a little bit extra push and inspiration, you should read this Business Insider article about Kobe Bryant’s insane work ethics. The great ones put in the work.
To learn about my 5-pillar strategic framework and comprehensive guide to land an offer at Amazon, check out my book How to Get a Job at Amazon on Amazon Kindle Store.
Andrew Franklin, is founder of Nail Your Job Interview and author of How to Get a Job at Amazon. He is a consumer internet and e-commerce executives based in the Pacific Northwest. He has a passion for career development, coaching and helping others to achieve their dreams.