How do I prepare for the Amazon phone screen interview?

Nick Dimitrov

Nick Dimitrov

13 Jul, 2021


How should you get ready for your phone screen interview with Amazon?

Hello! I'm Nick, a former Amazon Bar Raiser. And today, I'll take care of answering the question 'How should you get ready for your phone screen interview with Amazon?'. Just to be clear, this is the phone screen interview stage, where you will interview with somebody on the team, usually the Hiring Manager before Amazon decides to invite you over to an onsite interview loop or a virtual onsite interview loop.

So, before I answer the question, let me provide some context first, as always. Think of the phone screen interview as a mini version of the interview loop. Instead of 5 or 6 interviews strung together, you're going to have just a single interview. But compositionally, the phone screen differs dramatically from the onsite interview loop. The main difference is that during the interview loop, you can expect Amazon to ask you roughly 70% or 80% of the questions in the form of behavioral questions, and the remaining 20%-30% of the questions, give or take, are going to be functional questions.

Conversely, in the phone screen, you can expect the ratio between behavioral and functional questions to be roughly 50-50. In other words, you can expect in the span of 45-minute to 60-minute interview over the phone, or over a Chime video call, for you to hear 5 or 6 questions, give or take. And roughly, 2-3-4 of those questions are going to be functional. And 2-3-4 of those questions are going to be behavioral. Think of it in that regard.

So, with that context out of the way, let me discuss, three specific elements of the phone screen, which you should prepare for.

The first part are the behavioral questions. As I mentioned, you can expect to hear roughly 2, 3, or 4 individual behavioral questions. You should prepare for those by thinking ahead of time and practicing 2-3-4 of your professional accomplishments, unpacked in the STAR/SOAR format. And in addition to help you triage your efforts even further and be even be more effective, we have published a separate free mini-course called "The 7 Vital Leadership Principles for New Amazonians," where you will find out a certain subset of Leadership Principles, which are more immediate that Amazon likes to review during the phone screen stage. So, those are Leadership Principles such as Customer Obsession, Bias for Action, Dive Deep, so on and so forth. While other Leadership Principles, which are more longer term such as High Standards, Think Big, Right a Lot, so on and so forth, Amazon tends to defer to the onsite virtual loop or the onsite in-person loop.

So, with that in mind, review what those 7 Leadership Principles are, prepare 3 or 4 behavioral responses that illustrate those Leadership Principles, and while there's no guarantees, that type of approach is going to, as I mentioned, hone your efforts in an even more efficient and effective fashion to get you ready for the behavioral part of your phone screen interview.

Then comes part 2, the functional questions and answers. You can expect 2-3-4 of the questions you hear during the phone screen to be functional. And there's literally no difference between how you prepare for your phone screen and how you prepare for your onsite loop, functionally. The approach is exactly the same. You should go online to the usual suspects: sources, such as Quora and Glassdoor and Google Search, and look for recent interview questions which Amazon has asked of people in your functional area of expertise.

And, the third and final part to help you get ready and perform well during the phone screen stage is to be prepared to answer the question 'Why Amazon?' We have provided a number of suggested responses to that question in a separate video on YouTube, which you can find.

So, I hope this helps you in getting you ready for your phone screen interview and best of luck. Stay healthy and chin up. You got this! Bye.

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