Amazon interview history

Mar 16, 2018 29 Comments

Over the past six years, I've applied for about 13 jobs at Amazon. This equated to about seven phone screens (each for a different position, several months/years apart). Result was made it to two onsite loops - one in 2013, one in 2017, completely different job functions. Never received an offer.

I'm determined to keep trying because I know where I've been making mistakes. I've been studying the leadership principles relentlessly, writing up my top accomplishments and aligning them with said principles, and quantifying my impacts.

I've aced the technical pieces but get shut down on the leadership principles. Therefore I'm confident I can make it if I just practice behavioral stuff. In both loops the bar raisers have been especially aggressive and I just need to be better prepared for their questions.

My question is, is there a black list that I run the risk of getting on? When I apply for a new position (which I will be reapplying in a couple months) can they see all my prior interview history and feedback?

If it matters, my trade is Salesforce Administration.

Advice is appreciated, thanks!

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TOP 29 Comments
  • New cB8Mcx
    Why are you so determined to get into Amazon? It's not the only company out there. I used to want to work at Amazon but then my interests changed and now I've decided to focus on other companies.
    Mar 16, 2018 8
    • Uber / Other Hjkrdhk
      Op, this is not true. Up until 3 years ago nobody who had competing offers would go to Amazon. How is that the only legitimate company.
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Amazon 🐶eat🐶
      Lol OP do you know what you are trying to get into?
      Mar 16, 2018
    • OP
      Google, FB, etc would be cool but they have no Salesforce openings here in Seattle. For family reasons I cannot leave Seattle for another few years so relocation is not an option.

      Not interested in MSFT at this time.
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Uber / Other Hjkrdhk
      MSFT is a great company, they created wealth for the entire PNW, and they continue to print money and do so. Amazon creates paper money and traffic jams.
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Microsoft Nembutal
      Also Microsoft doesn’t use Salesforce, lol
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng Dude58
    First of all you can get blacklisted. It lasts for 2 years it would have to be pretty serious, like being obviously dishonest in your interview.

    My best piece of advice, and I'm a bar raiser and a bar raiser trainer, is to be open and honest. To have a series of stories prepared that you can draw on but nothing too rehearsed. For God's sake don't try to quote back leadership principles in the course of your story. As in "I showed backbone by standing up to my boss but when he had a different idea I disagreed and committed. I then thought big...". That kind of s*** leaves us cold. If you have the leadership principles we are looking for we will figure it out. Your chances of gaming the system and fooling us are very low, but your chances of trying to game the system and looking like an idiot are very high. Know about Amazon, know about the team you were applying to, and if you know the identities of the hiring manager and the people in your loop try looking them up on LinkedIn before you walk in the door. I don't call that creepy, I call that being prepared. Your recruiting coordinator should provide you with those names before you arrive.
    Mar 18, 2018 3
    • OP
      This is amazing advice. I will continue to prepare while keeping this is mind. Definitely makes sense, you don't want to sound like a disengenuous snake oil salesmen. Thank you!
      Mar 18, 2018
    • I have an on-site with Amazon coming up soon. It'll be my first time interviewing with a FANG company, I've always worked at startups or SMBs in the past.

      I had a coffee with a hiring manager and he moved me straight to the on-site, so I feel like they're definitely interested.

      My concern is that I don't have a CS degree and I've never had a ton of practice with CS puzzles.

      Can a candidate with great LP/culture fit make it with moderate algorithm knowledge or do you really need to be awesome in both?
      Mar 31, 2018
    • Gap / Eng randUser
      Oh man I just realized I accidentally said dive deep in one of my responses bc I couldn't think of an synonym at the time.

      And did u get an offer duca?
      Jun 5
  • Microsoft p416g512ss
    Only real principle is being dishonest. You will never get a job by being honest and open. They are looking for the most sneaky and smart.
    Mar 16, 2018 2
    • Amazon nWep84
      Right, someone who has practice dealing with politics... like at Microsoft ?
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Amazon
      1600_oink

      Amazon

      PRE
      Electronic Arts, Google, Nokia, Citrix Systems, Cisco
      1600_oinkmore
      For LPs, it's not so much about honesty vs dishonesty. It's more about saying words that the interviewer wants to hear....and that can be a hit or a miss.
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Amazon / Other Mimic
    There's no blacklist, but they will be aware you've interviewed for the other roles. If the roles you're applying for are in the same domain it's okay, but if they're all different they will think "well this person isn't passionate about the job, they're passionate about the company", which may be taken badly or well depending on the hiring manager.

    Most people there prefer radical candor, so be open, honest and confident about the value you bring. It's an amazing place to work and I hope we get it right and hire you!
    Mar 16, 2018 2
    • OP
      Thanks a lot, I really appreciate that. Yeah I actually completely changed job function from marketing to SFDC admin from 2012 - present. Been doing consistent SFDC work for the past five years so hope it isn't counted against me.
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Amazon / Other Mimic
      It depends. If you love it, and they're looking for those skills, and you promote it as one of your strengths, it should be fine.

      Make sure you have 1-2 stories for each of the leadership principles. I don't mean bullshit stories, I mean examples of experiences you've had in which you exemplified the LPs.
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Amazon JWdr84
    If you really are acing the technical evaluation and not getting offers, then the easiest explanation is that the hiring manager on the panel picked up some red flags in the interview or the panel's written feedback. Something that indicates that you would be difficult to work with in a team setting. Contrary to what others might say about Amazon culture, being confrontational for the sake of being confrontational does not get you far. When you're discussing confrontational situations in your previous experience with your interviewer, make sure you can thoroughly articulate the opposing position. Convince your interviewer that you kept team cohesion and morale up while steering them in the right technical direction, and you will do just fine.
    Mar 16, 2018 1
    • OP
      This is wonderful advice. It's hard for me to swallow this because I'm actually a very mutable and nice person.. at least that's what I think haha. Regardless, in my stories about disagree and commit, I may have painted myself in a poor light, so will definitely work on that portion. Thank you!
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Amazon oiTb65
    Rememer to reflect on how you use the leadership principles in your day to day job solving technical issues. They might seem like contradictory at times but thats a part of the reflection.
    Mar 16, 2018 2
    • Amazon 🐶eat🐶
      Basically bullshitting skills, you will need it a lot at Amazon
      Mar 16, 2018
    • OP
      Nice advice, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng FPJr99
    Mutable might also be taken as negative. "Have a backbone, disagree and commit" also means to raise voice and contest if you are not comfortable with another person's point. So being a silent spectator in a critical discussion and just agreeing to whatever others said, might not always be good.
    Mar 16, 2018 1
    • OP
      Makes sense. Hard to convey that perfect balance though. I'll keep iterating my LP example. Thanks!
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Amazon nWep84
    OP, there’s a specific way to prepare for an Amazon interview. PM me and I can tell you how it’s done.
    Mar 16, 2018 1
  • VMware theese
    fwiw, i was told leadership principles can be trained but i was lacking in algorithmic skills
    Mar 16, 2018 0