[Amazon] My onsite Interview Experience

Hi guys,
In this post, I want to share my experience interviewing with Amazon for E5 position (I want to go for Applied scientist but somehow this was my entry).
In total, I have 5 interviews, which went from 10AM - 4 PM. It was quite a long day.

  1. First Round:
  • Leadership Questions: 2-3 questions
  • Technical: Design a tinyURL service (would recommend groking design system, our lovely Pathrise perks :slight_smile: ) Expect to go through all the steps in the design. In the end, he asked about what could be malicious intent (people can try to route certain web to their own website).
  1. Second Round:
  • Leadership Questions: 2-3 questions
  • Technical: Asking about merge 2 sorted list, discuss several approach (2 pointers, binary search). Extend it to Merge K-Sorted List. Extend by what if the list are too large to store in memory.
  1. Third Round:
  • Leadership Questions: 9-10 questions. This is so horrendous for me lol
  1. Fourth Round:
  • Leadership Questions: 2-3 questions.
  • Technical: Design a system to assign problem (error ticket) for a hierachy of employees. For example, if we have 3 levels of employees: Developer, Manager, Director. A ticket will be push upward until it got resolve (someone is available). Need to ask a lot of questions, for example: who generate the ticket, what are the information on the ticket, what if not one from the hierarchy are available. I strongly recommend the object oriented course in educative. Talk about the actors (user diagram), work flow, class diagram, and implemented everything. Extend by what if several tickets are generated, how to assign (need some locking mechanism for the array of developer or such). In addition, what if there are more than just 3 level of hierarchy.
  1. Fifth round:
  • Leadership Questions: 2-3 questions.
  • Technical: Design an Amazon locker, so that a deliver guy can find the best locker to store an item, and user to retrieve the item. This one was quite confusing for me. I need to go through several scenarios to understand the requirement such as: best locker means best weight or dimension or something else? What if an item stay in a locker for too long? Can the user return the item to the locker to return to Amazon? How can the system differentiate that? Very interesting round, I first implement a quick and naive way to assign locker, then improving it but have some false negative. Pretty interesting round.

Overall, the interviews are quite interesting. They focus heavily on Leadership skill, like really a lot. In addition, I was caught of guard because of 2 system design questions and 1 O.O design. I was thinking of only 1 system design lol. The whole process took exactly 1 day, I interviewed on Monday and got offer on Tuesday. The compensation went out of this Friday lol. I am so amazed by their speed and coordination. I am not sure if I could discuss about the compensation, but it is lower than the offer from Facebook . If you guys want to converse, please let me know. Would love to share my experience :slight_smile:

Btw, I also interview with Google, but it was more than a month ago, and I just got their reject on Friday. I only remember some of the questions, I wonder if I should share them at all

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Thanks for sharing your experiences, Huy! I enjoy reading your posts! They’re insightful and candid.

Would be great if you shared your experience with Google as well even if you can only remember parts of it. Adding some commentary about how you felt in about what you remember is useful, too! And congrats on your offers! :smiley:

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Thank you so much for such encouraging word, I will write up Google interview next week.

Thanks for writing about your interview, Huy! Do they really drill you on the leadership questions? Also, how did you cater your answers without knowing which leadership principles they were looking for?

Thanks and congratulations on your offers!

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Hi Neal,
I think they really care about the Leadership questions. In each interview, even technical, expect 15-20 minutes for the leadership questions. To classify their questions to the leadership principles, there is no fine line. Some questions tackle quite a few of them such as tell me about a time when you make a mistake and how did it affect your team. This one can be viewed as ownership: Owning your own mistake, dont delay the consequences (sacrifice short term result for long term). It can also be seen as learn and be curious when I use this to show how I learn about my mistake and reach out for expertise in the subject. Furthermore, you can gear it toward bias for action as well. So in a sense, it depends on how you want to drive your answer.
I do not know if this applies for other. But the interviewer gives me a list of interviewers and on what LP they want to focus on. This can serve as a guideline, but the interviewers not necessary have to abide to it.
On the behavioral round, expect very deep, detail list of questions. One hour seems like 2-3 hours since my interviewer is the manager of the team, and he really want to make sure I have personalities that match well with the team.
Overall, expect lots of leadership principal. At the same time, brush up coding skill wells, since you only have 30 mins to answer 2 questions, or even 3.
Good luck :slight_smile:

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Oh, wow. Seems like they really care about the leadership questions. Looks like you just have to know the leadership principles well enough to be able to relate a random question to the leadership principles, was that kind of your experience? Oh, that’s interesting. You were given which LPs each interviewer was looking for?

Wow, 30 minutes for 2/3 questions? That seems extremely tight. Were you able to finish all of yours?

Hi, you can try to find behavioral questions, they sent me a worksheet on what kind of question I can expect. Somehow, Pathrise forum does not allow update pdf, so I will just copy paste it here

Summary

Leadership Principle Worksheet
This worksheet was designed to help you align your experience with Amazon’s Leadership Principles. To best prepare for
your interview, please write down a couple of detailed examples from your experience that relate to each of Amazon’s
Leadership Principles.
Customer Obsession: Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep
customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers. Example 1:




Example 2:



Ownership: Leaders are owners. They think long-term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They
act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job.” Example 1:





Example2:__________________________________________________________________________________________




Invent and Simplify: Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to
simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here.” As
we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time. Example 1:




Example 2:




Are Right, A Lot: Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives
and work to disconfirm their beliefs. Example 1:




Example 2:




Hire and Develop the Best: Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize
exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously
their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like career
choice. Example 1:




Example 2:




Insist on the Highest Standards: Leaders have relentlessly high standards—many people may think these standards are
unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and drive their teams to deliver high quality products, services
and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.
Example 1:




Example 2:




Think Big: Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires
results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers. Example 1:




Example 2:




Bias for Action: Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study.
We value calculated risk taking. Example 1:




Example 2:




Frugality: Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no
extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense. Example 1:




Example 2:




Learn and Be Curious: Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about
new possibilities and act to explore them. Example 1:




Example 2:




Earn Trust: Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even
when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume.
They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best. Example 1:




Example 2:




Dive Deep: Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics
and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them. Example 1:





Example 2:





Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit: Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree,
even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not
compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly. Example 1:





Example 2:





Deliver Results: Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely
fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle. Example 1:





Example 2:




I can also share my interview schedule

Summary

Your schedule is as follows, but is subject to change:

TIME INTERVIEWER TITLE
10 AM Yuri Shalfin Sr. Software Dev Engineer
11 AM Rohit Poduval Software Dev Engineer
12 PM Vivek Nadimpalli – Lunch Buddy Software Dev Engineer
1 PM Nathan Smith – Hiring Manager Sr. Software Dev Engineer
2 PM Vishal Agrawal Sr. Software Dev Engineer
3 PM Ashwini Bhat Software Dev Engineer

I was able to finish all mine. I think partly because I have done quite a bit of Leetcode problem ~700 problems. I was able to identify what type the questions are and proceed from there.

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Would you be able to send me that worksheet? My email is justnealpatel@gmail.com

I was given a list of questions and am trying to relate those questions to the leadership principles. Oh, wow that’s a lot of Leetcode questions haha. In the end I feel like it’s very important to be able to recognize the different types of patterns present in Leetcode questions.

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Hi I have included it in the summary, you should be able to retrieve it from there. I also sent you to your email. Good luck in everything.

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Thank you for your support Huy! :slight_smile:

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Can you please send me worksheet as well at imaayush11@gmail.com

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Done :slight_smile: Good luck to you buddy

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