How to answer Amazon interview questions
From the lengthy list of interview questions that Amazon candidates share online, you can expect that an Amazon interview will rely heavily on situational and behavioral interview questions.
Behavioral interview questions focus on past behavior as an indication of future job success, while situational interview questions ask how you would handle any number of hypothetical situations. With these questions, you can also pull from past experiences to answer how you would handle the hypothetical situation today or in the future.
From there, you can break behavioral and situational interview questions down further into competencies, such as leadership and communication. Using the STAR method during an interview is an excellent approach to answering these types of questions.
Now that you have a foundation on how to answer Amazon interview questions, its time to practice. Below are three of the top interview questions you are likely to encounter during your interview.
Describe your most difficult customer and how you handled it.
Amazon is known for their customer service. If the position youre interviewing for is a customer-facing position, then you can count on a question similar to this. When answering this question, apply the STAR method:
Once, I encountered a repeat customer who was upset that an item he ordered was delayed. It was scheduled to arrive within five days of him ordering it, but due to backlog issues with the supplier, the delivery time was adjusted to be 30 days out. The item was an anniversary gift for his wife, and the anniversary was less than two weeks away.
Obviously, the 30 days would not work for him, and he was close to irate about the situation. I needed to figure out a way to help him receive the anniversary gift on time. I first contacted the supplier to see if there was any way to expedite the order, but the best they could do was get the item to him a couple of days earlier than the revised scheduled arrival date.
So, I then worked with the customer to identify a different supplier that sold an almost identical item. I offered him expedited shipping at no charge, so he would receive the item within three days, and that timing worked for his anniversary date. I also offered him a 20 percent coupon towards his next purchase. He was pleased with the outcome, and he remained a loyal customer.
Tell me about a time you were 75 percent through a project and had to pivot quickly. How did you handle it?
Life happens when we are in the middle of projects, and Amazon leadership will want to know how you handle these types of situations when they occur. You could encounter this question for many different types of roles, including technical and management positions. Your answer should speak to your agility, leadership, and problem-solving skills:
At my last job, I was leading a project that was near completion. Everything was moving smoothly and on-target for timely completion. Then, one of our partners providing one of the software upgrades that were to occur at the 90 percent mark encountered a breach of their systems and was estimated to delay the project by two to four weeks.
I had to review our plans and come up with options to keep the project on target as much as possible. Going with another software provider wasnt a viable option, as the groundwork had been laid to go live with the current provider, and starting over would have delayed the project even more. Instead, we were able to allocate two resources to support the provider in recovering from the breach in less than half of the time that was projected.
As a result, we were able to complete the project only two days after the originally scheduled completion date. Fortunately, since we had built in a cushion for contingencies, we were able to go live on schedule.