Product managers at Amazon have an important role in driving the company’s growth efforts across domains. Given the scope of Product manager roles, the interviews are significantly challenging. Having extensive experience is a fundamental requirement, so the depth of your experience alone won’t land you that offer; performing well in the interview is super-important.
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This guide on preparing for the Amazon Product Manager interview will give you the right insights into framing your prep strategy and approaching the interview like a boss. Here is what we’ll cover:
- Understanding the product manager interview process
- The importance of product manager roles at Amazon
- Amazon product manager interview questions
- Tips to prepare for Amazon’s product manager interview
Understanding the Amazon Product Manager Interview Process
If you wish to ace Product Manager interviews at Amazon, knowing the process is important. Amazon essentially hires for two product manager roles — Product Managers and Technical Product Managers.
Product Managers don’t necessarily need to have hardcore technical experience and can come from broader experience fields. They mostly deal with the e-commerce side of things when hired.
Technical Product Managers, on the other hand, must have a background in Computer Engineering or a related field and don roles that are focused more on the technical side of things — AWS, digital streaming, and aerospace.
The interview process for both these roles is largely similar, as potential Product Managers go through technical rounds as well. Here’s what the interview process looks like:
- Initial HR Screen: This round is about speaking to a recruiter and conveying your overall experience and skills with respect to the role in question. It lasts about 15-20 minutes. If your profile meets the role’s requirements, you’re invited to the next round of interviews.
- Phone Screen with a Hiring Manager: The Phone Screen is the first real round where members from the product team ask you questions about your experience and skills. Usually, a hiring manager leading the recruitment for Product Manager roles will conduct this round. You can expect a few technical questions as well, mostly around product design and product engineering.
- On-site Rounds: The on-site interviews typically comprise 4 to 5 interview rounds, mostly focused on technical and leadership questions. The technical questions will depend on the type of PM role you apply to. You’ll be interviewed by different people during the on-site, mostly including your potential manager and other Product Managers from the technical team.
- The Bar Raiser Round: Last but not least, an interview with the Bar Raiser will determine whether you’re the right fit at Amazon or not. Even if you perform well in the technical rounds but fall short in the bar-raiser round, you’ll miss out on landing the offer. So preparing thoroughly for the bar-raiser round by practicing leadership questions around Amazon’s 14 leadership principles is extremely important.
Related read: Amazon Interview Process Guide 2021
The Importance of Product Manager Roles at Amazon
Owing to the increasing scope of its services, Amazon actively hires Product Managers every year for diverse roles across e-commerce, cloud, data engineering, and aerospace. The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t quite slowed down hiring for Product Managers, reflecting the enormous importance associated with these roles.
According to data from employment services giant LinkedIn:
- The number of Product Managers at Amazon increased from just 400 to 14,000 between 2007 and 2018
- Currently, Amazon hires around 800-1000 Product Managers each year
- The typical ratio of Product Managers to engineers is between 1:8 and 1:10
Amazon Product Manager Interview Questions
Product Manager interviews focus largely on the behavioral aspect. Huge importance is given to Amazon’s 14 leadership principles, instituted by CEO Jezz Bezos. According to data collected from Glassdoor, here’s the split in terms of the categories of questions asked:
- Behavioral questions: 49%
- Strategy based questions: 14%
- Other (design or product related questions): 27%
Following are a few examples of interview questions that you can expect at Amazon’s Product Manager interview:
Behavioral Questions at Amazon Product Manager Interview:
Behavioral questions essentially test your responses to workplace-related situations and your ability to handle tough situations at work while maintaining a good work-life balance.
- Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your superior on the course of a project.
- Tell us about a time when you had to make a difficult decision on a project.
- Tell us about a time when you had to make a project decision with little information.
- Tell us about a time when a project went south despite towering efforts from yourself and your team members.
- Tell us about a time when you had to collaborate with multiple teams to drive a certain client project.
- Tell us about a time when your work-life balance took a hit because of a particularly hard project.
- Tell us about a time when a colleague/coworker was not responding appropriately to work-related requests.
- Tell us about a time when you resolved a conflict between two team members.
- Tell us about a time when you had to impart crucial learnings from a project to your entire team.
- Tell us about a time when you missed a project deadline? What was the reason, and how did you manage the situation?
To see more behavioral questions and tips to answer them, check out Amazon Behavioral Interview Questions.
For questions specific to Amazon’s Leadership Principles, a crucial aspect of product manager interviews, check out these Amazon Leadership Principles Interview Questions. You’ll also find all the necessary tips to answer these questions effectively.
Strategy-Based Questions at Amazon Product Manager Interview:
- What are some products that Amazon should start manufacturing and selling on its platform?
- What are some unexplored markets that Amazon can target?
- Tell us your understanding of the Amazon AWS business model?
- How can Amazon improve its logistics services in general?
- How much would you price Amazon prime? What are some ways to improve user subscriptions for Amazon Prime?
- What are our strategies for entering new markets? Tell us some hurdles that Amazon will face and how to tide over them, with an example.
Other Questions at Amazon Product Manager Interview:
- How would you design an image-storing system that will help you create, upload, and save images?
- How would you design an online file storage system like Dropbox?
- How would you ensure that the security of user data is ensured while making transactions on an e-commerce site like Amazon?
- What are your thoughts on maintaining the security of Amazon’s cloud systems?
- How would you ensure that users don’t get duped by sellers on the e-commerce site?
Related read: Google Product Manager Interview Questions
Tips to Prepare for Amazon’s Product Manager Interview
Here are some key tips to help you prepare for the Product Manager interview at Amazon:
Understand the length and breadth of the product
While applying for a Product Manager role, it is important to understand the product inside out. Brushing up on your coding and design fundamentals is important, too, as your interview will involve answering technical questions. Do your research on the product and understand the experience of customers in general.
Frame your answers with the customer at the center
What separates a PM from an excellent PM is the ability to think analytically from the customer’s perspective. While preparing answers to questions, make sure you keep customer obsession at the center of your answer. This will help create a distinct mindset that focuses on the customer, allowing you to drive highly effective strategies.
Prepare answers to behavioral questions, especially leadership principles questions
Behavioral and leadership principles questions are super-important for the Product Manager interview. Make sure you spend adequate time preparing answers to behavioral questions, especially those around Amazon’s 14 leadership principles.
Practice mock interviews
Mock interviews are an excellent way to hone your interviewing skills, ward off interview anxiety, and tide over your weaknesses. What’s important is to practice with instructors who are PMs themselves at big tech companies. Interview Kickstart’s expert instructors are hiring managers and technical leads at FAANG and tier-1 companies and are equipped with the right experience to guide you through your prep journey.
Get Ready for Your Next Product Manager Interview
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