Updated: Aug 13
During the Amazon interview process, there is an emphasis on the 16 Amazon Leadership Principles. Amazon indicates that they use these leadership principles every day, so you need to articulate your experience and how you can align to their mindset and culture. The recommendations below are based on first-hand experience and discussing the process with those who have gone through the interview process or are employed at Amazon.
Be prepared with 1 - 2 stories for each leadership principle. Don't repeat your stories or situations in the same interview cycle. Interviewers are taking notes and will compare your answers against those in your interview cycle. If you only use one example, you may display limited experience. Remember, your previous experience may predict your future potential. Be sure to use your real-life examples, don't speak to hypothetical situations. If you need help preparing for an interview or running through interview practice, contact me.
While prepping for your interview, gather and practice your responses using the STAR method. During the interview, use the same method to respond to questions in 7 - 8 sentences.
S - Specific Situation. 1 sentence
T - Task. 1 sentence
A - Action. 2 - 3 sentences
R - Result or outcome of what you are describing. 3 sentences, elaborate but don't ramble
Amazon Leadership Principles and Sample Questions
Tell the story of the last time you had to apologize to someone
When you're working with a large number of customers, it's tricky to deliver excellent customer service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers' needs?
Tell me about a time when you had to leave a task unfinished
Tell me about a time when you had to work on a project with unclear responsibilities
Invent and Simply
Tell me about a time when you had a simple solution to a complex problem
Tell me about a time when you invented something
Are Right, A lot
Tell me about a time when you were wrong
Tell me about a time when you had to work with incomplete data or information
Learn and Be Curious
Tell me about a time when you influenced change by only asking questions
Tell me about a time when you solved a problem through just superior knowledge or observation
Hire and Develop the Best
Tell me about a time when you mentored someone
Insist on the Highest Standards
Tell me about a time when you couldn't meet your own expectations on a project
Tell me about a time when a team member didn't meet your expectations
Tell me about your proudest achievement
Tell me about a time when you went way beyond the scope of a project and delivered
Bias for Action
Tell me about a time when you took a calculated risk
Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn't very responsive. What did you do?
Tell me about a time you had to work with limited resources
What would you do if you found out that your closest friend at work was stealing?
Tell me about a time when you had to tell someone a harsh truth
Give me two examples of when you did more than what was required in any job experience
Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Tell me about a time when you did not accept the status quo
Tell me about an unpopular decision of yours
Tell me about a time when you had to step up and disagree with a team members approach
If your direct manager was instructing you to do something you disagreed with, how would you handle it?
What is the most difficult situation you have ever faced in your life? How did you handle it?
Give me an example of a time when you were 75% way through the project, and you had to pivot strategy - how were you able to make that into a success story?
Strive to be Earth's Best Employer
This is the last Amazon leadership principle. Be prepared to speak to why you want to work for Amazon.