5 Steps If You Have More Than a Year to Prepare for the Amazon Interview

Nick Dimitrov

Nick Dimitrov

4 June, 2022


How you can prepare proactively in the long term to have a successful Amazon interview.

This video is going to be different from our other videos. Why is that? Because the lion share of our customers are Amazon job candidates whose interviews are scheduled over the next one, two, three weeks or so. The purpose, however, of this video would be to help you - the applicant who is thinking about applying to Amazon in the distant future. Maybe you are thinking to apply at a big tech company like Amazon, and others, over the next maybe year, or year and a half, or two years. And, you want to know what it takes to prepare proactively in order to have a successful interview experience. So, that's the goal of this video. And, if you are one of those folks who are watching, you should keep five things in mind, to prepare long-term to have a successful interview with Amazon.

What are those five things.

Number One, most important by far, is you should ensure that you're working on challenging problems in your current job. The sole determinant that Amazon is going to use in order to decide whether to hire you or not is if you elevate the Amazon hiring bar. You can raise or elevate the Amazon hiring bar only if you have worked on challenging and exciting projects in your current career. Whatever that career is. So, the most important thing, by far, is to ensure that you own meaty projects that are challenging, and that potentially even involve lots of conflict. Embrace conflict. Run towards it. Resolve these problems. And, that's going to help you accumulate a professional experience, a portfolio of accomplishments and failures professionally, which will put you in a good position to elevate the Amazon hiring bar. So, that is Requirement Number One.

Requirement Number Two is to catalog your professional accomplishments and failures, and match them to the 16 Amazon Leadership Principles. Amazon is going to use the Leadership Principles as the filter through which they would evaluate if you raise, if you elevate, their hiring bar. It's important, therefore to match the accomplishments that you have achieved in your career, and ensure that they illustrate a number, as many as possible, of the Leadership Principles that define the core culture at Amazon. So, that is Requirement Number Two.

Requirement Number Three is that after you have matched your accomplishments and failures professionally to the Amazon Leadership Principles, and after you have ensured that you have a good coverage of as many Leadership Principles as possible with your professional career, so far. Requirement Number Three is to unpack, is to describe each of those accomplishments and failures via the STAR or, as we call it, SOAR methodology. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. SOAR stands for Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result. The two are largely identical. Make sure that you spend five minutes or so, being able to describe verbally each of your accomplishments and failures by using the SOAR methodology.

Requirement Number Four is to be ready to answer subject-matter expertise questions. Or, as Amazon calls them, functional questions. Those questions would vary based on your career track. You can be an engineer, or a marketer, or a product manager, and so on and so forth. Each of those functions has a different set of functional questions. Make sure that you study what functional questions Amazon has asked of similar applicants as you in prior interviews. Now, unlike the behavioral, Leadership-Principle answers that you would prepare ahead of time, it's impossible to prepare for the full universe of functional questions that you'll hear, during the Amazon interview. But you can, by assessing prior questions and answers, you can get a sense of the direction, and the form, and the shape of these questions. And then, you practice by answering similar questions, or maybe even making questions up and answering them as best as you can. It's very important that you come up with answers quickly, because in the interview, you're going to have no more than a few minutes to formulate an answer.

And, Requirement Number Five, would be to prepare answers that are very specific to Amazon, to a certain number of questions that you'll hear during the interview. Questions such as, 'why do you want to join Amazon,' 'why do you want to join this role,' 'tell me about yourself professionally.' Those are questions that don't fall in the SOAR framework, but you'll hear those during the interview. And, the best answer to these questions is the answer that is almost non-applicable when applied to any other company. When you're asked 'why Amazon,' describe why you want to work just for Amazon. Don't use generalities that could be applicable to a number of other high-tech companies out there.

So, to recap, the five things, the five requirements you should prepare for, as you get ready to interview with Amazon in the long term, are One, ensure that you're working on challenging and fun and innovative projects that will raise the Amazon hiring bar.

Two, prepare a list with your accomplishments and failures, professionally, and match it to the 16 Amazon Leadership Principles, to ensure that you have a good coverage across every single Principle. Because that is what Amazon is going to use in order to determine whether you raise the hiring bar at Amazon or not.

Three, make sure that you unpack each of your professional accomplishments and failures via the STAR/SOAR methodology. Describe those accomplishments and failures verbally in the SOAR/STAR methodology for about five minutes or so, per accomplishment and failure.

Four, prepare with functional/subject-matter answers. Look through prior questions in your field that Amazon has asked of prior candidates and formulate a plan of how you can answer similar questions during your interview.

And, five, prepare very concrete answers to a number of questions such as, 'why Amazon,' 'tell me about yourself,' 'why this role,' that are going to be non-applicable to any other high-tech company out there.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck with the Amazon interview. If this was helpful, please, subscribe to this channel. Please, check our site at https://amazonbound.today, and best of luck.

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