I’ve spent the past several years helping numerous people prepare for interviews and land jobs at Amazon. As a former Amazon hiring manager with first-hand experience in interviewing and making hiring decisions, I understand and appreciate the unique challenges of the Amazon interview process. In this article, I’m giving you my personal experience and insights for nailing the interview and getting hired.
But first: Amazon is amazing, but it’s not an easy work environment
In August 2015, The New York Times published a controversial article about Amazon’s culture and work environment: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. Although I don’t agree with everything in the article, there is a lot of truth there. Amazon can be an amazing stepping stone to jump-start your career, but you need to understand what you’re getting into. There are landmines in many places, both during the interview process and once you start working there.
The time I spent at Amazon was the most important of my career. I learned to be an owner and a driver. I developed thick skin, mental toughness, bias for action, a strong sense of urgency, an analytical and driven approach, and insane customer focus. These skills have become invaluable to me as I progress in my career to become an executive. I would not trade my Amazon experience for anything else. The Amazon way really works.
How to get a job at Amazon
I’ve seen several patterns of success — and some common pitfalls — as I’ve helped people get hired at Amazon. I wrote a book to share my knowledge and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Here are several key highlights to help you nail your job interview with Amazon:
1. Stay the course
Amazon’s recruiting process is chaotic and disorganized, and it’s not uncommon for interviews to get rescheduled once or twice. Be patient. Don’t get distracted or frustrated.
2. Know the principles
Study the Amazon Leadership Principles — they’re critical. You might be the most technically competent candidate, but if you cannot demonstrate your cultural fit, you won’t land a job at Amazon. A lot of job applicants heard about the importance of Amazon Leadership Principles. So they memorized the principles and tried to mechanically tie each answer to one or several leadership principles. This is a big mistake. You need to nail down your narratives and tell your stories in a compelling way that demonstrates your fit with Amazon culture. Preaching without substance is empty.
3. Trust the framework
In my book How to Get a Job at Amazon, I lay out a five-pillar strategic framework to prepare for the Amazon interview. Trust the framework and put it into action. It really works. In particular, the book provides a practical interpretation of each Amazon Leadership Principle that will guide your preparation for leadership principle questions.
4. Do your homework
Study each interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and other social profiles (e.g., Twitter, YouTube, Facebook). You want to know more about them than what they know about you.
5. Know the products
Understand from the customer’s perspective how to improve Amazon’s products and services. If you are applying for a position on the Amazon Marketplace team, get a seller account and start selling. If you are applying for a position in AWS, you should open a free AWS account and play with the various web services. Know the products.
6. Work your contacts
Job leads come from all places, but the best lead is from people you know. Have you partnered with Amazon in the past? Have you done any previous business with any Amazon employees? They can be the very best source of referrals for two reasons: They know the quality of your work, and they likely work in an industry or vertical similar to yours.
Need extra inspiration?
Here is a common pattern I saw among all my clients who landed offers at Amazon: Their preparation was thorough, their approach was sound, and their work ethics were unbelievable.
To learn about my five-pillar strategic framework and comprehensive guide to land an offer at Amazon, check out my book, How to Get a Job at Amazon, in the Kindle Store.
To practice interview questions, download my list of top Amazon interview questions.
To maximize your chance to land an offer from amazon, schedule 1-on-1 Elite Interview Coaching session with me.