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Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Prep - A Complete Guide

If you’re an aspiring Engineering Manager, Amazon is one of the best companies you can work for. The reasons are many - from high-paying salaries to stimulating projects and tremendous potential for growth. Engineering managers at Amazon enjoy a wide array of benefits aside from lucrative salaries. These benefits cover insurance benefits, wellness, transportation, remote work, and more. 

Landing an Engineering Manager job at Amazon isn’t easy. The interview process is significantly challenging and requires a solid prep strategy. To help you with your Amazon Engineering Manager interview prep, we've created this comprehensive guide, consisting of Amazon EM interview questions, details about the process, and cogent Amazon Engineering Manager interview prep tips.

This post gives you a clear idea about the Amazon Engineering Manager interview process and what is expected of you in the interview.

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready!

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Let’s go ahead and look at how you should go about planning your Amazon Engineering Manager interview prep. We’ll also tell you about the process and address some FAQs on the subject. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Skills Required to Become an Amazon Engineering Manager
  • Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Process
  • Top Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions
  • Tips to Help You Plan Your Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Prep
  • FAQs on Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Prep

Skills Required to Become an Amazon Engineering Manager

Engineering Managers are tasked with crucial responsibilities covering project management, metrics, and risk management. They collaborate with multiple stakeholders, hire capable resources, understand skill requirements, allocate necessary resources, make detailed reports, and mitigate risks. 

Below are the primary roles and responsibilities of Amazon Engineering Managers. 

  • Envision the design and architecture of technical software projects 
  • Form a deep understanding of core project requirements and accordingly manage/allocate resources, including human resources and technical resources
  • Monitor project progress and use reporting tools to provide timely project updates
  • Communicate with multiple stakeholders and offer resource-related assistance
  • Plan project budgets and appropriately allocate resources.
  • Overcome project roadblocks to ensure the successful completion of technical projects

Now that you know what skills are required to be an Amazon EM, let’s go ahead and look at the Amazon Engineering Manager interview process.

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Process

The main idea behind the rigorous Amazon Engineering Manager interview process is to evaluate if your skills and expertise meet the expectations of the role.

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Process

 

The Engineering Manager interview process evaluates your problem-solving skills, knowledge of scalable distributed systems, and leadership attributes. 

The interview process typically comprises three main stages and spans about 6-8 weeks. Let’s look at each of these stages to give you an idea.

The Initial Screen

The Initial Recruiter Screen is a 20-30 minute telephonic interview with a recruiter from human resources. This round is aimed at understanding if you’re experientially skilled and qualified for the role. Questions are typically around your past project management experience and the technologies you’re familiar with.

The Technical Screen

The Technical Screen for Engineering Managers, also known as the Technical Video Conference interview, is a video conferencing panel interview round that involves interviewing with a hiring manager driving the recruitment for the role and a senior engineer.

This round lasts about 30-45 minutes and evaluates you in the following areas:

  1. Technical Knowledge and Depth
  • Questions in this area are typically around concepts in scalable systems, Low-Level Design, and coding. 
  • For the coding part, you could be asked to solve a coding problem in core data structures and algorithms and explain your problem-solving approach.
  1. People Management Skills

Amazon relies on its Managers to create an immersive and collaborative experience for teams and employees. The purpose of evaluating this area is to understand your experience driving projects by collaborating with multiple teams.

  1. Leadership Skills

The leadership aspect of the interview is predominantly based on Amazon’s 15 Leadership Principles. We recommend that you prepare stories from your professional experience closely tied to Amazon’s leadership principles.

The Writing Assignment

The purpose of the Writing Assignment is to give you the opportunity to highlight the important achievements from your past. You’re typically asked to write about two-three of the most impactful projects you’ve worked on, the challenges and learnings that ensued, and the outcome. The information presented in this writing assignment will serve as the basis for questions (about project experience) in the On-site interview round.

The On-site Interview

The on-site or in-person interview consists of 4-5 interviews, each lasting 45-60 minutes. All these interviews take place within 1-4 days, depending on the availability of interviewers. The On-site interview has a special bar-raiser round where an Amazon bar-raiser assesses if your personality and skills satisfy the role’s requirements. 

The interview rounds are primarily behavioral and leadership-oriented, with technical areas, mostly systems design, being evaluated.

The main areas that are evaluated in the on-site interview include:

  • Prioritization and Execution
  • Cross-functional Skills
  • Project Management Skills
  • Team Management and Performance Management Skills
  • Risk Management

Let’s move ahead and look at the type of interview questions asked at Amazon EM interviews in our next section - Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions. 

Top Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions

At the Amazon EM interview, you’re asked a range of Amazon Engineering Manager interview questions around coding, systems design, leadership, project management, metrics, reporting, and more. 

In this section, we’ll look at some commonly-asked Amazon Engineering Manager interview questions to help you prepare for your interview. We’ll look at questions asked in a variety of areas that are evaluated at Amazon EM interviews.

Coding Interview Questions

Although coding isn’t an extremely important aspect of EM interviews, you’re asked one or two coding problems, typically during the phone screen round or on-site interview. So make sure your Amazon Engineering Manager interview prep plan adequately covers concepts in coding. 

Below are the important topics to cover during your Amazon Engineering Manager interview prep.

Topics to Prepare for the Amazon Coding Interview:

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions on Coding

  1. You’re given an array of integers. Write a code to determine if there are three integers in the array whose sum equals a given value. 
  2. Write a program function to clone a given directed graph such that the cloned graph has the same edges and vertices. 
  3. Write a code to merge two sorted linked lists such that the returning linked list is sorted.
  4. Write a code to determine if two Binary Trees are identical, given their roots. 
  5. For a given binary tree, write a program to swap the right and left children for each node of the tree. 

Check out our Amazon Interview Questions page for practice questions, our exhaustive Problems Page for practice interview problems, and comprehensive solutions.

Systems Design Interview Questions

Systems design is another key area that’s evaluated. As an Engineering Manager, having the ability to design and build scalable systems is key. So, cover the important design concepts adequately during your Engineering Manager interview prep. 

Topics to Prepare for the Amazon System Design Interview:

  • Concurrency
  • Object Modeling
  • API Modeling
  • Batch Processing and Online Processing Systems
  • Networks and Databases

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions on System Design

Below are some sample systems design interview questions for your Amazon Engineering Manager interview:

  1. How will you design a URL-shortening service?
  2. How will you design a file-sharing service on the Amazon Cloud?
  3. How would you go about defining security features for your database?
  4. What are some network protocols to adhere to while building a scalable system?
  5. How will you ensure the payment gateway interfaces are secure on the Amazon e-commerce app?

Check out our post on the Complete Guide to Acing System Design Interviews

On-site Interview Questions

In this section, we’ll look at some sample questions across categories asked during the EM On-site interview. 

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions on Prioritization and Execution 

  1. How did you manage multiple projects in the past?
  2. Tell us about a time when you disagreed with a manager on the direction of a project.
  3. What tools have you used to prioritize project-related tasks and monitor them?
  4. Describe the tradeoffs between quality, schedule, and scope.

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions on Cross-functional Skills

  1. How do you work with product managers, front-end/back-end developers, and other technical teams?
  2. What aspects will you consider while driving a project that requires new functionalities and skills to be added to the team?
  3. How do you manage deadlines while coordinating with multiple cross-functional teams for an important project?

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions on People Management, Hiring, and Leadership

  1. What aspects will you consider while hiring for a role?
  2. What factors will you consider while taking up an employee's case for promotion?
  3. How do you ensure that the productivity of your team meets standards?
  4. How will you manage conflict within a team?
  5. How do you go about designating responsibility? Tell us about your experience in this area in the past.

Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Questions on Project Management and Reporting

  1. What reporting tools have you used in the past?
  2. How do you approach reporting for a huge project that involves multiple input parameters?
  3. Which are some projects that you are proud of?
  4. Have you ever taken an action that hurt the progress of a project?

Practicing these above Engineering Manager interview questions on project management, people management, reporting, execution, and cross-functional skills will help you get a fair idea of what to expect at your EM on-site interview.

Tips to Help You Plan Your Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Prep

A solid prep strategy is all you need to ace the Amazon Engineering Manager interview; implementing the following tips will help you give your best shot at landing that coveted offer. 

In this section, we’ll evaluate some Amazon Engineering Manager interview prep tips to adopt at different interview stages, followed by some general tips. Let’s take a look. 

Amazon EM Interview Prep Tips for the Technical Video Conference Interview

The technical screen is based on the “Hire and Develop the best” leadership principle. As you appear for the Engineering Manager role, the panel will also keenly evaluate your problem-solving, people management, and leadership attributes.

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Understand the purpose of Amazon’s leadership principles and the essence of the Technical Screen. 
  • Focus more on preparing systems design (both low-level and high-level) concepts. While coding is an important part of the interview, it isn’t as important as the systems design element.
  • Focus on preparing stories from your past professional experience connected to Amazon’s Leadership Principles. 
  • To answer questions about people skills, team management, and leadership, use the STAR method to keep your answers relevant, crisp and concise.

Amazon EM Interview Prep Tips for the Writing Assignment

  • Make sure your essays aren’t unnecessarily wordy. Use bullet points to convey critical project information.
  • Focus on communicating with clarity. Highlight important project-related information, including crucial learnings, challenges, and outcomes.
  • State the truth. Recruiters are keen to understand more about your challenges and what you learned from those challenges.

Amazon EM Interview Prep Tips for the On-site Round

Here are some tips you can adopt while prepping for the Amazon On-site interview.

  • Commence your on-site interview prep early. EM on-site interviews are complex and involve a deep understanding of management and systems design concepts (coding too, but coding isn’t as crucial for IC interviews). Starting your prep at least 10-12 weeks before your interview is highly recommended. 
  • Spend more time preparing for the systems design and behavioral rounds, as these interviews carry higher importance for EM roles.
  • Practice mock interviews with expert instructors who can give you the right feedback and help you take your interviewing skills to the next level. Interview Kickstart allows you to practice mocks with hiring managers and technical leads at FAANG companies.
  • Prepare a good project portfolio that highlights the important projects. Use the STAR format to give interviewers context and clarity. A good project portfolio can shift the odds in your favor.

Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for the Google Engineering Manager Interview

FAQs on Amazon Engineering Manager Interview Prep

Q1. What is the average Engineering Manager salary at Amazon?

The average Amazon Engineering Manager's salary is $238,250 per year, according to Glassdoor.com.

Q2. Does Interview Kickstart offer an Engineering Manager interview course?

Yes, Interview Kickstart offers a 12-week Engineering Manager interview prep course with a 6-month support period and 21 mock interviews with FAANG hiring managers. 

Q3. Do Amazon Engineering Manager interviews require you to have good coding knowledge?

Although coding isn’t an essential skill for Engineering Managers, the Amazon EM interview involves solving one or two coding problems on core data structures and algorithms. As such, the role doesn’t require extensive coding experience, but knowing how to code can help you better fulfill certain aspects of the role. 

Q4. Does the Amazon EM interview have a writing assignment?

Yes, a writing assignment is part of the Amazon EM interview process. The purpose of the assignment is to allow you to highlight your skills, expertise, and learnings from important past projects. 

Q5. Are behavioral questions asked at the Amazon Engineering Manager interview?

Yes, behavioral questions are an extremely important part of the Amazon EM interview. These questions are typically asked during the on-site interview (The Loop) and are predominantly based on Amazon’s leadership principles.

Ready to Prepare for Your Next Engineering Manager Interview?

If you’re preparing for your next Engineering Manager interview at FAANG+ companies, check out Interview Kickstart’s all-inclusive and comprehensive Engineering Manager interview prep course. This course is everything you need to nail EM interviews at Amazon and other top companies. 

Interview Kickstart has trained over 13,500 engineers to crack the most challenging tech interviews at Tier-1 companies. We can help you too! You'll learn how to nail these interviews from tech leads and hiring managers of top-tier companies. Sign up for our free webinar today to learn more about our programs.

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