Behavioral interviews are an integral part of the hiring process at Amazon, regardless of the position you’re applying to. The behavioral round usually happens during the on-site interview, but you can expect to be asked behavioral questions in any of the interview rounds.
Amazon’s behavioral interview is unique and starkly different from other FAANG companies. That’s because the interview is based on Amazon’s 16 leadership principles — a set of ideals that reflect Amazon’s core values as a company. Learning how to answer questions around leadership principles is important to make the cut, be it for junior, senior, or managerial positions.
Amazon’s on-site interview also has a “bar-raiser” round, where you’re evaluated by designated bar-raisers who have the authority to veto your application in case you’re found unfit for the role. Bar-raisers are specially trained employees who evaluate candidates based on nuances of the role and the company’s leadership principles.
In this article, we’ll focus on these leadership principles and questions related to them:
- What Are Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles?
- Why Are Amazon’s Leadership Principles Important?
- How to Answer Amazon Leadership Principle Questions
- 35 Behavioral Interview Questions Based on Amazon’s Leadership Principles
- How to Ace the Amazon Tech Interview
What Are Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles?
Amazon’s leadership principles were pioneered and instituted by Chairman Jeff Bezos to evolve a culture that respects ethical and moral values. Below are the 16 leadership principles that are centric to behavioral interviews at Amazon:
- Customer obsession
- Leaders are right, a lot
- Invent and simplify
- Be curious
- Employ the highest standards
- Hire the best and develop them
- Build trust
- Think big
- Have a spine — disagree and commit
- Take calculated risks
- Be frugal
- Dive deep into tasks
- Deliver results
- Strive to be Earth's Best Employer
- Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility
Why Are Amazon’s Leadership Principles Important?
Amazon’s leadership principles define the company’s core values and serve as a bedrock for ethics and conduct. By adhering to the leadership principles, employees can achieve memorable success in their personal growth efforts and contribute to the company’s overall success.
Questions around the leadership principles can feature in the on-site behavioral round or the bar-raiser round. A bar-raiser is part of a team of specially trained Amazon professionals whose main job is to maintain excellence while hiring candidates for roles across the board.
How to Answer Amazon Leadership Principle Questions
Amazon’s bar-raiser round evaluates your responses to behavioral questions and gauges if you’re the right fit for the role. The STAR method is a widely popularized method to answer behavioral interview questions at FAANG companies. The method fundamentally aims to frame responses based on real situations and incidents. Let’s look at it in slight detail:
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. While answering leadership principle questions, make sure you address each of these areas to craft the perfect response.
- Situation: The Situation should answer the “When,” “Why,” and “Where” of the response. When you’re asked a behavioral question, start off with the Situation before moving on to the other elements.
- Task: The Task should throw light on what your particular role in the situation was. Highlight what your key responsibilities were and what was expected of you.
- Action: The Action part should address what steps you took towards meeting the requirements of the task.
- Result: The Result part should essentially answer the outcome of the task. This part should also talk about challenges encountered along the way and the actions taken to tackle them.
Behavioral Interview Questions Based on Amazon’s Leadership Principles
Amazon’s behavioral interview will have questions that pertain to one or more leadership principles. While answering these questions, make references to specific principles and associate them with your answers. That way, recruiters will know that you’ve read and understood these crucial principles and are willing to apply them at your workplace.
Here’s a list of 35 behavioral interview questions that you can use to practice for the interview:
- Tell us about a time when you overcame a rather difficult challenge pertaining to a past project.
- Tell us about a time when you had to halt a project halfway through as it wasn’t headed in the right direction.
- Tell us about a time when you had to make sacrifices in your personal life to complete an arduous project.
- Tell us about an instance when you had to make a tough decision pertaining to a project when you were under pressure.
- Tell us about a time when you had to take a risk in a project.
- Tell us about a time when you were asked to compromise moral values for the sake of a project.
- Tell us about a difficult relationship you had with a superior. How did you overcome it and build trust?
- Tell us about a time when you had a conflict at your workplace with a coworker.
- Tell us about a time when you had to deviate from the norm to complete a project.
- Tell us about a time when you imparted learnings from a challenging project to your team members.
- How would you employ a certain leadership principle at work?
- Tell us about a time when you had to persuade your manager to change the course of action based on credible insights.
- Tell us about a time when a problem had multiple solutions. How did you go about picking the right solution?
- What are your thoughts on maintaining the ideal work-life balance?
- Tell us about a time when you had to acquire a new skill, dislodging you from your zone of comfort.
- Tell us about a time when you had to take the lead in a project.
- Have you been criticized by a superior in the past? How did you handle it?
- Tell us about a time when your creativity helped a project take an improved turn.
- Tell us about your ideas to motivate your team.
- Which leadership principle do you resonate with the most?
- Tell us about a time when a coworker was hesitant to take help. How did you deal with it?
- Tell us about a time when you had to make a big decision with little data or information?
- Tell us about a time when you faced criticism for your role in an important project. How did you handle it?
- Tell us about a time when your role in a project resulted in the client being completely satisfied.
- Have you ever missed a deadline for a project? How did it impact the relationship with the client, and how did you handle it?
- Tell us about when you had to take the lead on a project and impart key learnings to your team members.
- Tell us about a time when you faced a fairly difficult problem but came up with a simple solution.
- Have you had to ask for help with a difficult project? Tell us how you went about the situation?
- Tell us about a time when your actions impacted customer satisfaction.
- What behavioral characteristics, according to you, will help you succeed at Amazon?
- Tell us about a time when you made short-term compromises or sacrifices for the benefit of concrete long-term results?
- How do you motivate members of your team as a manager?
- Tell us about a time when a project had multiple solutions and how you adopted the most optimal one?
- Tell us about a time when you had to make a tough decision without consulting anybody? How did you go about it?
- Has your manager/superior asked you to do something that you disagree with in the past? How did you handle that?
For more Amazon Interview questions, click here.
How to Ace the Amazon Tech Interview
Landing a software engineer job at Amazon is hard, given its rigorous interview process. Nailing it requires the right strategy and direction. Our “FAANG Interview Tips” is a good place to start your Amazon technical interview prep.
If you’re looking for tips on how to prepare for Amazon’s on-site interview, click here.
For complete guidance on Amazon’s interview process, click here.
Gear Up for Your Next Tech Interview!
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