How long should an Amazon interview answer be?

Nick Dimitrov

Nick Dimitrov

15 July, 2020

I received the following question during one of my recent webinars:

"How long should a behavioral answer be? I usually go for 4 to 5 minutes. Is that OK or too long? I have read all sorts of 'keep it under 2 to 3 minutes'."

Here is what I think:

No. Don't try to fit it within 2 to 3 minutes. That would backfire. If you try to truncate it too much, without explaining all those illustrations and make all the relevant topics, you're going to give the interviewer a lot of work to come up with fact-finding questions during their Q&A session.

So, do not constrain yourself. If you follow this framework, you're doing the job for the interviewer, and they're not going to cut you off. 5 to 6 minutes is usually a good idea. It really also depends on the level where you are interviewing at Amazon. If you are interviewing with more senior-level folks, at the Director level or above, the interview is going to feel more like a conversation. It's not going to be this boxed question-and-answer session.

Or it also depends on the type of accomplishment you are describing. If you are describing an accomplishment that took you three years to complete: you devised the project, then you built it, then you shipped it, then it had a bunch of service issues. You can talk about that for a while. So, read the interviewer and figure out what is the best approach there, but try to stay within 5 to 6, 7 minutes, maybe, and read the interviewer along the way.

If the above has made you curious to find out more about Amazon, about whether you have what it takes to interview there and successfully answer real Amazon interview questions, you might want to consider enrolling in "The Premium Package: The Premium Course to Prepare for the Amazon Interview."

Good luck.

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