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Amazon Phone Interview Questions

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How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

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Founder, Interview Kickstart
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How FAANG hiring process works
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Amazon Phone Interview Questions
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Amazon is a giant in the technology landscape and is particularly known for its disruption of several industries through innovation, technology, and scalability. Recognized as one of the most influential brands in the world, Amazon is the biggest internet company by revenue and employs over a million people across the globe. 

Amazon employs an extensive interview process with multiple rounds that test aptitude, coding ability, and technical prowess. These rounds are then followed by interviews with the hiring manager and the HR team. 

When hiring, Amazon focuses on attracting people that are the right fit for their culture. Also, they want people who are technically sound. This is exactly why Amazon conducts phone interviews. They act as a screening round to filter the best candidates. Without good preparation, you might find yourself struggling to get through the telephone interview. 

If you have an Amazon phone interview lined up, this article will help you prepare for it in the best possible way. 

Here’s what we will cover in this article:

  • Importance of phone interviews 
  • Amazon phone interview rounds
  • Amazon phone interview questions 
  • Amazon phone interview tips

Importance of Phone Interviews

Companies use phone interviews to screen candidates and narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. Phone interviews are a great way for recruiters to determine organizational fit and differentiate between candidates who appear similar on paper. 

Phone interviews are to be taken as seriously as an on-site interview. If you perform poorly on the phone interview questions, you will almost certainly not be invited to the onsite interview.  Lack of knowledge about the company, dropped calls, background noise, and other factors that reveal your unpreparedness can negatively impact the interview and your chances of working for Amazon.

Amazon Phone Interview Rounds 

The recruitment process at Amazon varies for each position and sometimes also depends on the candidate's work experience. Knowing about the entire Amazon interview process can be beneficial as it can help you prepare accordingly. The basic Amazon phone interview has 1-2 rounds in total. 

The phone screen interview at Amazon lasts about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Typically, the recruiter will assess your interest and fit for the role. They will also ask basic questions about your background and work experience.

The recruiter will then help schedule the first interview, which will be conducted over the phone.

The next phone screen will typically be with your hiring manager and senior members of the product team.

The Technical Phone Screen Round

The technical phone screen is the first step in the process that involves being contacted by a human resources team member. You will be asked basic questions about your profile and experience, after which the recruiter will fix a date for the remote/online coding assignment. 

You can also expect a few technical questions on the programming language of your choice and technical aspects about your experience, primarily dependent on the position you're applying to. 

The technical phone screen typically lasts 15 to 30 minutes. 

Additional Phone Interview With a Hiring Manager/Technical Lead

For certain developer positions, candidates go through an additional phone interview round before the actual onsite. This round is usually conducted to get detailed information on your line of experience, skills, and other areas that help the recruiter understand if your profile qualifies adequately for the role. This round can typically last about 15-20 minutes. You can clarify information regarding your prospective job role and other related queries regarding the interview process in this round. 

Amazon Phone Interview Questions 

Before your interview, Amazon will send an email describing the entire interview process and what to focus on at the interview. The interview process at Amazon includes telephonic interviews prior to the face-to-face interview.

The first telephonic interview would be short and friendly. It would include behavioral and biographical questions. On the other hand, the second telephonic interview could have more technical or competency-based questions.

Amazon Behavioral Phone Interview Questions 

Another reason why it's challenging to land an offer with Amazon is that its behavioral interview questions are quite challenging. The questions are usually around Amazon's 14 leadership principles that the company values deeply. Here are a few behavioral questions that you can expect at the Amazon phone interview: 

  • Are you a leader or a follower? 
  • What are some of your leadership experiences? 
  • How do you set goals and define processes to accomplish them?
  • How would you fire someone?
  • How do you handle work pressure? 
  • Share an instance of conflict at work.
  • What are your co-worker pet peeves?
  • What would your direct reports say about you? 
  • Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your boss. 
  • What keeps you motivated? How do you keep your team motivated?
  • What was the last book you've read for fun? 
  • Walk us through your hobbies? 
  • Name your favorite website? Why is it your favorite?
  • What makes you uncomfortable? 
  • What do you like the most and least about working in this industry? 
  • Tell us about a time when you were faced with a problem that had a number of possible solutions. What was the problem, and how did you determine the course of action? What was the outcome of that choice?
  • When did you take a risk, make a mistake, or fail? How did you respond to it? How did you grow from that experience?
  • Describe a time you took the lead on a project.
  • Tell us about a scenario where you had to motivate a group of individuals or promote collaboration on a particular project.

Amazon Leadership Principles Phone Interview Questions

 To understand Amazon’s company culture, a candidate must understand the 14 leadership principles that form the company’s core. Let’s dive into some phone Amazon interview questions based on these principles:
 Which Leadership Principle do you resonate most with?

  • If you were to add another principle in Amazon’s culture, what would you propose?
  • Tell me of an occasion when you displayed customer obsession and went above and beyond what was expected.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked to solve the problems for a customer who was very difficult to deal with.
  • What does the principle “Are Right, A Lot” mean to you?

Amazon Technical Phone Interview Questions 

Before your Amazon technical phone interview, it is wise to go through this list of topics below: 

  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Sorting Algorithms
  • Recursion and Backtracking
  • Strings
  • Trees and Its Variants
  • Linked Lists, Stacks, and Queues
  • Graphs and Its Variants (Including Greedy Algorithms)
  • Dynamic Programming
  • Systems Design
  • Object Modeling/API Design
  • Concurrency
  • Scalable Systems

Here is a list of common technical questions asked at the Amazon phone interview: 

  • Find the top 10 selling products given the count of sales of each product. 
  • Design a valet parking lot with a basic use-case of assigning tickets to customers and retrieving the car later. Three sizes available. Use best fit and nearest distance.
  • There is a big file of words which is dynamically changing — words are being added to it continuously. How will you keep track of top 10 trending words at each moment?
  • Consider a distributed system with many clients and servers — each server exports a different set of services. Also, the computing power of each server is different. What data structures can be used in a router to perform load balancing?
  • How are requests handled in Resin (or a Java servlet container in general)?
  • How does dynamic recompilation work in Resin (or any other Java servlet container)?
  • What steps are taken when the OS shifts from one-thread execution to another?
  • What do you mean by constant time complexity?
  • What do you mean by hashing?
  • What is the function of DML Compiler?
  • State at least four kinds of indexing.
  • Describe the UI problems you had in a previous project. How would you resolve them now?
  • Why is collaborating on a document easier in person compared to on the web?
  • You’re given a Boolean 2D matrix. Can you find the number of islands?

You must keep in mind that Amazon is a data-driven company. Your focus should be on the question asked while ensuring your answers are well-structured. You can also provide examples using metrics or data if applicable. Reference recent situations whenever possible. 

Also, Amazon avoids brain teasers (e.g., "How many windows are in Manhattan?") as part of the interview process. The organization believes that those types of questions are unreliable when predicting a candidate's success at Amazon.

Amazon Phone Interview Tips

Preparing for the phone screen at Amazon is the first step in your tech interview prep, and the following tips will surely come in handy:

Before the Interview

  1. Know Your Company

It is essential that you do your research on Amazon's values, goals, and culture. Look at the company’s website, social media pages, and other relevant channels of information to develop a thorough understanding of what your prospective role will entail. Knowing details such as the company’s recent rounds of funding, or recent achievements that made the news, can help you answer common questions, such as “What do you know about the company?”, effectively. 

  1. Reschedule Your Interview, If Necessary, in Advance

If you can't attend your interview, inform the interviewer in advance and reschedule it. Fix a time that’s convenient for both you and the interviewer. Intimating your interviewer in advance eliminates unnecessary awkwardness.

  1. Review Your Job Description

This is necessary if you hope to ace your phone screen interview at Amazon. A typical job description tells you exactly what the company is looking for in you as a candidate. It also gives you a fair understanding of what skills are needed for the job based on which you can assess if you can effectively handle these responsibilities. 

If there are requirements that match your strengths, in the job description, you should lay emphasis on these specific capabilities during the interview. For instance, if a job description contains requirements such as “proven ability to manage a team, preferably of 10+ people,” you should highlight any past experience you have had handling a team to show you are well-suited for the role.

  1. Check Your Tools

Ensure your phone is adequately charged. You really don’t want to be addressing problems with your phone during your interview. If you plan to use earphones, test them before the interview to avoid any snags. If you plan to use bluetooth headphones, make sure they’re charged. 

Have an alternate number ready so the interviewer can reach you immediately if you experience network trouble. 

  1. Ensure You Have Answers to Commonly Asked Questions at Amazon

Research the most commonly asked phone screen interview questions at Amazon and have your answers ready. Remember, the only way a recruiter can gauge how good you actually are is by evaluating your answers. Doing your research also helps build your confidence as you’ll know what to expect and how to answer effectively.

  1. Ensure There Are No Sources of Distraction

This is a very important point to remember. Eliminate all forms of distraction during the interview, however insignificant. Especially, remember to keep all electronic gadgets away and find a quiet environment. 

Unwanted distractions have a negative impact on the interview process. Candidates are often caught off-guard by background noises or activities while engaging with the interviewer. 

  1. Delve Deep Into Amazon’s Leadership Principles

Amazon gives significant importance to its Leadership Principles throughout the interview. The company has a strong focus on customer obsession. So, go through their Leadership Principles carefully before your interview.

During the Interview

  1. Dress and Act Professionally

Dressing up professionally will boost your confidence in the interview.

During the interview, it is extremely important to be respectful, kind and professional during the course of your interview. Adopting a professional tone can pitch the odds in your favor when recruiters make their final decision. 

Also, smile appropriately when you speak and answer questions. Although your smile is not visible to interviewers over the phone, being in high spirits adds enthusiasm to your overall tone, language and speech. Avoid slouching to maintain a serious approach to the interview. 

  1. Be a Good Listener

A lot of candidates miss out on this crucial element without realizing it. Being a good listener will help you better understand the requirements of your role and let you ask insightful and appropriate questions. Consequently, it will allow you to engage better than the average candidate with average listening skills. 

Be patient while you listen and avoid jumping the gun when asked questions.

  1. Make Preparatory Notes and Use Them

If there is anything specific that you want to highlight about your roles and responsibilities at your previous company, make sure you note it down and keep it handy during your interview. 

This will help you be crisp and concise while delineating your skill sets. If the recruiter tells you more about your role, having a notebook handy will help. Note down these details to understand your job role better and prepare accordingly for upcoming rounds.

  1. Enquire About the Next Steps of the Process

Getting shortlisted or selected after an interview is never in your hands. All you can do during the interview is give your best. However, it never hurts to find out about the next steps of the interview process. 

If you do pass your phone interview, knowing what to expect in upcoming rounds of the interview process is a subtle but effective way of staying ahead of your competition. You can begin preparing for the next rounds, while you wait to hear back from the interviewers. 

After the Interview

Follow Up After Your Phone Screen Interview

If you don’t hear from your interview within a week, you should follow up with them. It’s possible they’re still in the process of screening candidates. However, they could be at the tail-end of their hiring process (this happens when they’ve selected the right candidate for the role). 

Either way, getting a status update can help you prepare for upcoming rounds or move on to explore other opportunities. If you receive feedback on your performance, you can identify areas for improvement. 

Are You Ready for That Amazon Interview?

Wondering how to nail your next technical interview at Amazon? Join our free interactive live session with the founder of Interview Kickstart, who will take you through how to nail complex technical interviews the Interview Kickstart way!

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How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

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