Amazon leadership principles questions for SDE interviews?

May 12, 2019 10 Comments

I have a phone interview in a couple of weeks for an SDE role, could someone give an example of a leadership principle question? It doesn't look like your standard behavior interview, and while I understand the SAR method (to a degree) how would one use it to apply to leadership principle? will it be generic questions where they're looking for my answers to match them or? Would I be quizzed on all 14? Could someone give a sample?


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TOP 10 Comments
  • Amdocs Kutagawa
    From the top of my head I can remember: "Give me an example of a time you challenged the status quo"
    May 12, 2019 0
  • Amazon / Eng NutelIa
    Tell me about a time your team wasn’t moving fast enough? What did you do about it?

    Tell me about a time you didn’t have the technical expertise to do your job? What did you do about it?

    Try to have examples that line up with the level you are interviewing for. For L6, make sure your examples show scope and influence outside just your team.
    May 12, 2019 0
  • VMware / Eng liftkarade
    I too have an interview in few weeks and all I have to say is to heck with the guy who came up with LP questions. In reality do they make any difference?
    May 12, 2019 4
    • Amazon / Eng NutelIa
      It’s a decent IQ test. You also get to see how the candidates communicate and how well they can explain a technical problem.

      While it’s not perfect, I get more signal from it than the LeetCode portion of the interview (which is easy to prep for).
      May 12, 2019
    • VMware / Eng liftkarade
      Well, if I am honest with my LP answer I am definitely not getting the job as it happened to me during 2015. At that time I was not aware of LP and one of the question was what you did for a conflict and my answer based on true events was - after explaining the conflict I said I reasoned with another developer and we didn't came to any common ground so we approach some one senior more experienced. Now sure this is an honest answer but I will be rejected for this as I don't have so called leadership quality. Now I have grown since and become more independent but still I am not who like to be a leader and be followed. so I have no choice but to fake answer?
      May 12, 2019
    • Amazon / Eng NutelIa
      That example is fine. Even L8s can have disagreements in which an L10 has to make a call. The LP is called disagree and commit.

      Just keep in mind the example needs to show scope:
      - Disagreement over a bug fix - L4 scope
      - Disagreement over architecture impacting whole team - L5 scope
      - Disagreement over tech stack impacting a whole org - L6 scope
      May 13, 2019
    • Amazon / Eng NutelIa
      If you have no examples for L6 scope you won’t get it. Amazon doesn’t promote when hiring so they’ll place people at the same level they’re currently at.
      May 13, 2019
  • Amazon / Eng Troll Food
    Borrow other people's example as your own and make them believable.
    May 13, 2019 0
  • New / Eng wQck55
    No, in my experience it is not necessarily the “follow me” leader sense of the word that they are looking for. When it comes to prep, I would say go through them and see if you can find a story from your past experience matching the LP and then try to see if it fits the question once it comes up. Interviewed for an L6 position (got downleveled to L5 but apparently not because of the LP part) and I don’t have particularly many/good “leader” stories. Answering honestly worked perfectly fine for me.
    May 13, 2019 1
    • VMware / Eng gearlt
      Thanks for explaining your experience. But I think we still need to sugarcoat the stories.
      May 13, 2019


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