(Ex-Facebook & Best-Selling Data Science Author)
January 25, 2024
Don't underestimate the Amazon Behavioral Interview – between the leadership principle questions, bar-raiser rounds, and high-stakes, this process can be just as tricky as the Amazon technical interviews too.
That's why in this blog, we'll cover Amazon's 16 leadership principles, 19 Amazon bar-raiser questions, and show you step-by-step how the STAR method can help you structure your answers.
Amazon places a high value on specific traits and experiences that align with its company culture and operational philosophy. Candidates are assessed primarily on how they exemplify Amazon's 16 Leadership Principles through their previous experiences. These principles are not just platitudes but are central to how Amazonians make decisions and drive business forward.
Candidates are evaluated in behavioral interviews that pose questions designed to dig into past situations or challenges the applicant has faced and how they handled them. These behavioral interviews aim to gain clarity on the candidate's working style and cultural fit.
Amazon's leadership is guided by a set of 16 Leadership Principles. These principles are at the core of every decision and are designed to build a culture of innovation and high standards.
These Leadership Principles are not just inspirational slogans; they set the tone for the interviews and help assess whether candidates are aligned with Amazon's unique approach to leadership and management.
The principles offer insight into Amazon's organizational culture and expectations, thereby guiding both current employees and potential hires.
When preparing for an Amazon Behavioral Interview, the candidate should focus on structuring their responses effectively. Utilizing the STAR method is highly recommended. This technique breaks down responses into four parts: Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Candidates should aim to succinctly but thoroughly set the scene and walk the interviewer through their thought processes and actions.
In practice, the candidate would follow the STAR sequence to craft a coherent narrative for each question, illustrating their ability to self-assess, articulate, and reflect on past experiences constructively.
Sample Preparation Tips:
It is beneficial for interviewees to prepare a range of stories that can be adapted to various behavioral questions. They should also ensure that their examples provide a clear narrative that the interviewer can easily follow, tying back to how their actions have created positive outcomes.
By preparing responses that highlight your alignment with the Day 1 mentality and other leadership attributes, candidates can demonstrate their potential fit within Amazon's innovative and customer-obsessed culture.
Amazon's Bar Raiser program is a unique and pivotal aspect of the company's hiring process. This program is designed to ensure that Amazon maintains a high standard of talent acquisition and that new hires not only meet the job requirements but also raise the bar for excellence within the organization.
Bar Raisers are experienced Amazon employees who are selected for their ability to assess candidates objectively and rigorously. They participate in interviews for positions that they are not directly hiring for, providing an impartial evaluation of candidates' skills, potential, and cultural fit.
Their input plays a crucial role in determining whether a candidate should be hired, helping Amazon maintain its commitment to hiring the best and brightest individuals who can contribute to the company's success.
Passing the Bar Raiser interview in Amazon's hiring process requires careful preparation and a deep understanding of the company's culture and leadership principles. To succeed, candidates should thoroughly research Amazon's values and leadership principles, as the interview often focuses on assessing how well they align with these principles.
Additionally, it's essential to showcase one's unique skills, experiences, and problem-solving abilities while demonstrating a customer-centric mindset.
Bar Raisers are looking for candidates who not only meet the job requirements but also embody Amazon's high standards and commitment to excellence.
When preparing for an Amazon behavioral interview, candidates should expect to navigate through a series of questions designed to assess their alignment with Amazon's Leadership Principles. These principles are the cornerstone of Amazon's corporate culture, and interview responses should reflect them.
Below is a table summarizing examples of sample questions that a candidate might encounter.
|Describe a time when you went above and beyond to ensure a customer was satisfied with your service.
|Describe a project where you took full ownership from start to finish. What were the results?
|Invent and Simplify
|Tell me about a time when you came up with a creative solution to a complex problem. How did it simplify the situation?
|Are Right, A Lot
|Give me an example of a situation where you made a difficult decision that turned out to be correct. How did you reach that decision?
|Learn and Be Curious
|How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends and continuously learn in your field?
|Hire and Develop the Best
|Can you share an experience where you identified and developed talent within your team?
|Insist on the Highest Standards
|Tell me about a project where you set and maintained high standards for quality and excellence.
|Describe a situation where you set ambitious goals and achieved them. What was your thought process?
|Bias for Action
|Give me an example of a time when you took action without waiting for direction. What was the outcome?
|How have you demonstrated cost-consciousness in your previous roles?
|Share an instance where you had to rebuild trust with a colleague or client. How did you go about it?
|Tell me about a time when you delved deeply into a problem to uncover insights. What did you discover?
|Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
|Can you share a situation where you disagreed with your team, and how did you handle it to ensure alignment and commitment?
|Describe a challenging project where you had to meet tight deadlines. How did you ensure the successful delivery of results?
|Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer
|How do you prioritize employee well-being and satisfaction in your leadership approach?
|Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility
|Share an experience where you had to balance the success of your team with broader social or environmental responsibilities. How did you manage this?
These questions are just a representative sample and are not exhaustive. Be prepared to address a variety of questions that explore different aspects of their professional experiences and personal attributes.
You can also watch my mock Amazon behavioral interview video for help with the behavioral aspect!
BTW, Amazon goes HARD on technical interviews – it's not just behavioral interviews that are a must to prepare. Check out these interactive Amazon SQL & Python interview questions:
You can practice more Amazon SQL interview questions here.
I'm a bit biased, but I also recommend the book Ace the Data Science Interview because it has multiple Amazon technical Interview questions with solutions in it.