How can I guess the Amazon Leadership Principle behind each Amazon interview question?

Nick Dimitrov

Nick Dimitrov

24 February, 2021


How can I match the right Amazon Leadership Principle to each Amazon interview question?

Hi! I'm Nick Dimitrov, with Amazon Bound. And today I'd like to answer a question we get a lot. The question is: 'How can I guess which Amazon Leadership Principle, each Amazon interviewer is after with the question they ask me?'. The context is: we have customers who come to us and tell us: 'Look. I've prepared my professional portfolio with my accomplishments, with my stories. I have matched them to each Amazon Leadership Principle. And now the last missing piece is being able to perfectly predict what Leadership Principle is behind each Amazon interview question that I hear. In a way, I think this is the wrong approach to take when you prepare for your Amazon interview. There is a many-to-many relationship between the Amazon Leadership Principles, on the one hand, and your professional accomplishments, on the other. What this means is that any one of your accomplishments is likely to demonstrate multiple Amazon Leadership Principles. And on the other hand, any one of the Amazon Leadership Principles is likely to be demonstrated by multiple of your professional accomplishments.

The Amazon Leadership Principles are very tightly intertwined. It's almost impossible to describe the Leadership Principle of Ownership, for example, without also describing Leadership Principles such as Deliver Results, Bias for Action, so on and so forth.

Therefore, the result of this logic is that instead of you trying to perfectly predict what Leadership Principle the interviewer is after, you should try, instead, to provide a directional response to the question you hear. During the Amazon interview loop you are likely to hear 25 or more questions. You're much more likely to face the problem of running out of quality answers than matching each of the answers to the perfect Leadership Principle and the perfect question. Because, again, they all overlap and are intertwined to a very significant degree.

For example, a customer recently asked me that he had prepared two specific accomplishments, each of them demonstrating Bias for Action, and he was curious which answer to choose when he hears the Bias-for-Action question. Again, a much better approach would be to make sure that the interview loop hears both of those answers that demonstrate Bias for Action. Make sure that you don't repeat your answers (as much as possible) to any of the questions you hear, and then let the debrief compare their notes and reach a determination on whether you are a Hire or not.

I hope this helps. Best of luck with the Amazon interview.

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