Interviews

Interviewing with Amazon

Just like it is the case with all jobs, you need to prepare yourself for your Amazon job interview. The best part about preparing for an Amazon interview is that you already have too much information. Those who succeed in applying for Amazon jobs know how to deal with the interview. In this chapter, we will be looking at some of the ways to handle your Amazon job interview.

What to Know Before an Interview                

Before you go to your interview, you need to research. You need to have a clue about the possible questions that you might be asked. Here are some ways to research your interview

Research the skills and experience the company values.

You should ask yourself the skills and experience the company is looking for. For instance, we have seen that Amazon looks for people who value the company and the customers. You can look at the 14 principles of leadership and try to determine the key values that the company wants. Such skills and values should prepare you well for the possible questions. If you are given a situational question, you should answer with the interest of the company at the back of your mind.

Know key players in the organization.

Before you go for the interview, learn a few things about the management structure of the company. Learning basics about the leadership of the company and the key services offered by the company will be helpful. For the case of Amazon, you should have an idea of the company owners, the board of management, etc. You should also have an idea of how the business operates at all levels. You should understand the leadership structure and how the chain of command operates.

News and recent events about the employer.

Most companies are looking to hire individuals who are passionate about their job. If you are passionate about working for Amazon, you will have a lot of knowledge about the company. The fact that you are reading this book is a move in the right direction. You should be interested in everything that happens at Amazon and decide whether you want to have a career with the company. In most cases, interviewers will ask questions about current issues affecting the company. As we have already established, Amazon looks for people who can push the agenda of the company. They are looking for a person who will bring creative solutions to company problems.

Know the company’s culture, mission, and values.

For a company like Amazon, you should be very detailed when it comes to your understanding of its mission and values. The CEO of Amazon insists on hiring people who know about the history of the company. He attributes the success of the company to its key principles and values. If you are going to work at Amazon, you should make sure that you research the values. You should represent what the company believes in. You should also conceptualize their mission and vision. Every business looks to hire people who will help it achieve set goals and visions. If you do not know the vision and mission of a company, you may start working contrary to the company expectations.

Know its clients, products, and services.

The other important factor to consider before going to the interview is the operations of the company. What is the structure of the company, and how does it affect the clients? We have already looked at the structure of Amazon and how relevant it is to the company. We have seen that although Amazon relies on retail, they also offer merchant services. As we have seen, the company is dynamic and is always looking for innovative minds. If you are applying for an innovative department in the company, you should prove that you have what it takes to provide the right solutions for clients.

Find the inside scoop.

Besides doing research on the company and the values, you need the inside scoop. By inside scoop, it means having a connection that helps you understand how the company operates internally. While many companies have structures, the way they operate is different on the ground. If you want to ace your interview, you need someone to give you some tips on how the company hires its employees. While some companies hire individuals on merit, others hire on the basis of performance and personal values. For a company like Amazon, we have established that they look for values.

However, acing your interview also relies on the location of your job. If you apply for an Amazon job in New York, you may have a different experience from a person in Texas. You should have an inside understanding of the managers and the workers. This way, you get into the interview room knowing what to expect.

Know the person interviewing you.

The other factor you should consider before going to the interview is the person carrying out the interview. Having prior information about the interviewer may help you prepare well. Some interviewers are naturally harsh, while others are friendly. If you wish to succeed in your interview, make sure you have some knowledge about the person who will be conducting the process. With that said, it is never easy to get information about the interviewer. If you are lucky enough to have an inside contact, ask them about the interview process. Try doing research by talking to those who have worked at Amazon. You could get some pointers from your recruiter.

Recruiters are sometimes friendly and give out a few tips that will help you ace your interview. You can also link up with some Amazon workers online and ask about the interview process.

Research salary terms.

Before you go for an interview for your Amazon job, inquire about salary terms. Some jobs are advertised without an indication of the salary. If you do not want to appear greedy, you may avoid touching the subject of salary until after you are hired. However, sometimes the interviewer may push you by asking about your salary expectations. If you have an idea about the salary range for the type of job you are applying, the answer may be easy. However, in cases where you do not have any idea about the salary expectations for your job, you may end up quoting a figure that is too high or too low. Avoid such situations by researching salary. Thankfully, Amazon notifies the potential employees about expected salaries before the interview. If you are not informed about the salary, feel free to ask at the end of your interview.

Research company weaknesses.

Lastly, ensure that you have some information about the weaknesses of a company. Most companies are looking to hire people who can offer solutions to the available problems. If the company has issues, you should be able to provide durable solutions. Learn about the available problems and try coming up with solutions in advance.

Preparing for a Phone Interview                  

The Amazon phone interview often comes after you have successfully passed your online application. Thankfully, Amazon interviewers will notify you about the call in advance. It is much easier to prepare for a scheduled call than a random one. However, failure to check your email may lead to an ambush. The last thing you want is to answer an interview call in your bathroom. To ensure that you answer the call at the right time, check your email constantly. In case the call catches you off guard, politely reschedule.

This way, you avoid answering an important call unprepared.

There are a few things you can do to be well prepared to ace that phone interview.

Do your homework.

Before the interview, research on the company. In this case, we have already looked at enough details about Amazon. When preparing for an Amazon interview, you should strongly focus on the 14 leadership principles. You should also look at the keywords in the job advertised. Gather some background information about the company and, most importantly, search for current issues about Amazon. This book covers just about every detail you will need to ace your phone interview except for current issues. At the time you are reading the book, news about the company might have changed.

Ensure that you get a bit of current news about the company while preparing for your phone interview. To ace your phone interview, treat it as a face-to- face interview.

Polish your communication skills.

An interview is about communicating with the interviewer. You might be qualified for the job, but poor communication may show otherwise. Before the main interview, try practicing phone conversations. You can carry out a mock interview with a friend just to conceptualize the flow of communication. Polish your grammar to ensure that you get your tenses right. If you usually make mistakes in communication, try ironing them out. One way to deal with grammar mistakes in phone interviews is to speak slowly.

Take your time to process your sentences in your mind before speaking them out. If you are calm and composed, you will not have any trouble with your communication.

Create a comfortable environment.

This is particularly important if you do not have any experience. When the interviewer asks about your experience, you may get uneasy and uncomfortable. Having a comfortable environment will allow you to carry out your interview at ease.

A comfortable environment is particularly important for video calls.

Sometimes you may be required to answer a video call. To give the best impression, prepare your interview location in advance. Clean up well and use a place with balanced lighting. You should ensure that your internet connection is stable and that you have a microphone. Such necessities will make a video interview smooth. If you will be contacting the video interview on your phone, ensure that it has the ideal camera.

Bring a notebook.

While preparing for an interview, bring a notebook and pen. There are many instances when you are required to write something down. You may be needed to write an address or to note down some vital information. Having a pen and notebook around will reduce commotion during the interview.

How to Handle a Phone Interview                 

While proper preparation is important in ensuring that you ace the interview, your actions during the actual interview matter the most. Even with the best phone connection and a comfortable environment, what you say determines your success. Here are some tips on how to handle an ever-important phone interview.

Listen first.

Most people fail in handling phone interviews because they do not know how to communicate over the phone. This is the reason why I suggested you carry out a mock interview over the phone. In most cases, communications over the phone have a lag time of about 5 seconds. If you are quick to speak, your words may end up colliding with the interviewer. To avoid such a scenario, pick up the phone and listen. It is the interviewer who is supposed to lead the conversation.

If the interviewer takes a long time talking before you respond, note down the key points. In some instances, the interviewer might talk for about 5 minutes before allowing you the chance to respond. To avoid forgetting the questions, make sure you note everything important down.

While the conversation continues, be patient until the interviewer finishes speaking before you respond. To stay active in the conversation, use words such as yes, I understand, sounds family, done that before, etc. Such words help create a rapport with the interviewer and also showcase your experience in the industry.

Then talk.

When you are attending a face-to-face interview, you have a chance to make an impression with your non-verbal cues. However, a phone interview only relies on your voice. You must speak out what you think and communicate effectively. If you want to impress the interviewer, ensure that your words carry meaning and relate to the job being offered.

To avoid embarrassment, such as a hazy voice during the interview, drink plenty of water in advance. Avoid having to clear your voice every few minutes for effective communication. You should also sit in a comfortable posture that allows you to project your voice. You do not want to handle an interview with a muffled voice.

Take breaks and listen for a response.

To ensure that your words do not collide with the interviewer, take short breaks within your words. If you are answering a question, take a pause at the end of the answer. In most cases, interviewers may ask a follow-up question. If there are no follow up questions, continue with the conversation, and answer the other questions.

Smile as you speak.

Although the interviewer might not see your face on a voice call, your facial expressions determine the voice you put out. If you are happy and jovial, the person on the other end of the phone can tell. For a phone interview, you should not be happy but rather composed. Smiling will help you feel relaxed and communicate more effectively.

Create a positive ending.

At the end of the interview, finish on a positive note. Say something like, “Thank you for the call. I am positive about what I have heard, and I am confident that I can fill the position.” You could also ask about the next steps you should take.

Once you have finished your interview, you also have actions that you could take to give a good impression.

Send a thank-you note.

After you have finished talking to your interviewer, follow up with a thank- you note. You should be grateful for being considered for an interview. As we have already established, many people apply for Amazon jobs. Those who are considered for a phone interview are just a handful. If you can show appreciation, you will stand out from the crowd. In your thank-you note, express your impression with the interview and express your firm interest in working with Amazon.

Be patient.

As we have already seen above, the Amazon job application process can take as long as a month. After the interview, you may be anxious to know whether you are successful. At this time, you should be very patient and avoid sending desperate messages. Do not keep on calling or emailing your interviewer for a response. Emailing too much may sound as desperation, something that most companies do not tolerate.

After sending the thank you note, do not expect to receive a response instantly. In some instances, you will never receive a response. Wait for at least one week before you send a follow-up message. Do not send more than 2 follow up notes. If they are not replied, it’s probably because they do not want to reply. If you wait for three weeks without a response, send the final reminder. You could notify the interviewer that you are sending the final note just to confirm if the position has already been filled.

Face reality.

The reality sometimes might be harsh, but we have to deal with it. After 3 weeks without a response, chances are that the position has already been filled. However, losing hope should never be the case. Some individuals are called for the same position two months later. With that said, you should not stay around waiting for the offer after 3 weeks. Most Amazon jobs are filled in less than a month. If you have applied and did not receive a response in a month, you have not been considered. Considering that Amazon has so many positions to be filled, you could choose to apply for another one. Try reviewing your previous application process to see if there are some steps you would have done differently. In your next application, try correcting those mistakes, especially during the phone interview.

If you are successful in your phone interview, you will receive a call or an email notifying you that you have been selected for an in-person interview. Once you receive an email confirming the in-person interview, start preparing yourself.

Know before you go.

Before you attend your interview, prepare yourself. The first step to preparation is researching the company. Thankfully, this book has already provided sufficient information about Amazon. A potential Amazon employee should review the sections above regarding the work culture, types of people employed by Amazon, and the leadership principles. Try to look at the history and the growth of Amazon and the fundamental principles that the company has been operating on. Look at the business models and how they contribute to the profits of the company. Such factors are vital when you are attending an interview with Amazon. Most importantly, research on current issues regarding the company by reading news publications. If there are recent publications by the company or about the company, review them. Find problems that need solutions and arm yourself with possible solutions for the company problems.

Brainstorm solutions.

Every time you see an advertisement for a job, you should know that the employer is hiring to fill a need. Before you go out for the interview, try to contemplate the type of problems that such job presents. If you have some experience in your field, you should have an idea of the problems encountered. After determining possible problems, try finding possible solutions. As we have seen in the STAR interview process, providing possible problems and solutions will make you stand out. At the end of the day, every employer looks for creative individuals who will bring solutions to the available problems. Amazon, in particular, looks to hire dynamic individuals who are able to bring solutions to the company. Before you attend your in-person interview, make sure you can prove your competence as an individual in providing solutions to problems.

Prepare anecdotes.

The biggest undoing of most people during interviews is to waste time on baseless stories. If you do not want to end up beating around the bush, prepare yourself in advance using the PAR system. Problem, action, and result (PAR) is an approach where you outline situations that needed solutions in your previous experiences. Any person with previous work experience can succeed in an interview by using the PAR method. You should have 10 to 15 ready anecdotes while preparing for the interview.

When presenting your examples, always focus on the three key areas. Start by illustrating what the project was about. If it was a problem, elaborate it clearly. Elaborate on the objective of the project and the amount of time that was needed to bring the project to completion.

After describing your project, mention the actions you had to take to solve the problem. Every good employee should have the instincts to make the right decisions. When describing your action, you will be judged based on the employer’s view of a good employee. If the employer is looking for a person who is loyal to the company, you should tune your experiences in that line.

Your actions should be favorable to loyalty. In the case of Amazon, you are required to show loyalty to the company and bias towards customer service. In your examples, focus on showing your customer service and loyalty to your employer.

Finally, your actions should lead to a positive result. The results you see as positive might be subjective, depending on the objectives of the employer. If you are applying for an Amazon position, a positive result means a happy customer or a better future for the company. In your examples, provide an ending that is in line with the 14 leadership principles.

Plan an appropriate outfit.

Before you go out for the interview, make sure you have the right outfit. While preparing for your interview, get the right outfit on the eve of the interview day. It is recommended that you prepare two official outfits just in case of an accident with one. If your outfit gets dirty, you need to have a replacement on standby.

When attending an in-person interview for Amazon, make sure your outfit is professional. According to the 14 principles of leadership, all leaders are expected to present themselves in a respectable manner. You are also supposed to act as an example to others. Since Amazon considers all its employees as leaders, you should put your best foot in front in terms of dressing. Make sure you show up looking clean and tidy. Your professional look starts with your hair. Ensure that your hair is trimmed in a professional manner, and you dress decently. Avoid hoodies or jackets with writings.

When applying for any job, it is recommended that you dress similarly to the other employees of the company. If you plan to work as an accountant at Amazon, make sure you dress officially.

During the In-person Interview                   

First impressions are literally everything. A good, solid handshake can go a long way in conveying your confidence. Eye contact and engaging body posture are also key. Here are some tips for really nailing this interview.

Engage with your interviewers.

It is likely that you will be nervous during your interview; however, it does not mean that you should be silent. Remember that an interview is a conversation and not an interrogation. To be successful in your interview, be actively involved in the conversation. Avoid short answers that may not provide room for your interviewer to ask more questions. In most cases, interviewers ask questions based on how you answer the preceding question. If you give short answers such as yes and no, you may not provide the right platform for your interviewer to gauge your skills. An interview should provide the right ground for the interviewer to learn more about your personality and skills. When you are actively involved in the conversation, you provide the right environment for that.

Be more interested than interesting.

Do not try being impressive by making jokes. As much as jokes may lighten the mood, most times, bad jokes backfire. When interviewing face-to-face, you should show that you can be professional. For a company like Amazon, the aim is to hire people who are professional and competent at their work. Instead of working hard to be interesting, just show your interest in the conversation. Show your enthusiasm about the job and your thoughts about the questions being asked.

To ace your interview, you should be a good listener. First, listen and process the question before you answer. However, do not hesitate to ask questions or clarifications. In case there is a point you missed in a conversation, feel free to ask for clarification. At the end of the day, interviews are conducted by humans, and they understand that you are human. Feel free to ask questions and answer your questions calmly.

Don’t be afraid of silence.

Most people usually feel that silence creates awkwardness during interviews. As a result, they struggle to keep the conversation going to avoid silent moments. Silence is not bad, especially when you are asked a complex question. Do not be in a hurry to answer the question just to avoid a silent moment. Interviewers are not looking for a person who fills up space with empty words. If you want to stand out, take your time to think and process your words well.

In some instances, you may give out the answer, and the interviewer doesn’t instantly reply, creating an awkward silence. Do not feel uncomfortable in the silent moments. In some instances, the interviewer also needs time to process your responses. If you feel that the silence is too long, ask your interviewer if he/she needs more information.

Be conscious of nonverbal cues.

Non-verbal cues are very important in face-to-face interviews. Amazon only carries out in-person interviews to gauge your personal reaction to important issues. Non-verbal cues can sell out your emotions and strengths. When you are being interviewed by your Amazon recruiter, show them the best part of you by communicating calmly. Use your hands and face appropriately to help elaborate points. However, in case you get emotional, try hiding your emotions. An interviewer might ask a question that gets you angry. Do not be quick to react angrily. Suppress your emotions and put on a smiling face to show that you have sufficient emotional control.

At the same time, you have to watch out for non-verbal cues from the interviewer. If your interviewer notices that you are not paying attention to the communication, he or she might use non-verbal cues to trick you.

Show your enthusiasm.

Show your willingness to take up new challenges and face the problems that come with the job. Be inquisitive about the job, and try so much to show you are capable of handling the problems that come with the job. However, also try drawing boundaries. If you are asked about your previous experiences, do not be quick to brag about your experiences.

There is no doubt about the fact that you will encounter tough questions. The way you address such questions will determine your success in the process. For Amazon jobs, there are a few tips you could use to get past the hard questions.

Use the flywheel approach.

The flywheel approach is a business system where the customer is the center of all processes. In a traditional business setting, the approach was to develop products, market them, and sell to customers. In a modern business approach, the needs of the customer are first determined then the products are developed on the basis of customer needs. When answering interview questions, reason as a business owner. Look for ways to satisfy the customer in whichever capacity you are hired.

Use the 14 principles of leadership.

The other way to crack difficult questions is by using the 14 principles of leadership. The Amazon business is built around leadership principles. The best way to deal with the questions is to base your answers on the leadership principles. Every time you are asked a question, look at the key principles and give priority to the key values of Amazon. For instance, we know that customer care is a key principle to consider when answering questions.

Take time to process.

The other way to deal with difficult questions is by taking the time to process the question first. Take your time to determine the real purpose of the question. It is much easier to answer a question after determining the purpose. For instance, if an interviewer asks you about your experience on certain issues, they are targeting to determine how you can handle yourself in a similar situation. According to Amazon’s 14 principles, all leaders are required to make the right judgment most of the time. To show that you are the right fit for the company, you should make the right choice quickly.

Use the STAR approach.

As we have seen from the STAR approach above, it is much easier to answer interview questions if you use a similar experience. You can think of a scenario where you were required to solve a problem. The start method gives you good examples that can help you answer most questions in an interview. At the end of the day, interviewers will choose the people who can generate the best solutions for the company.

As we have seen, there is a way you can behave during an interview that will lead to disqualification. However, acing an Amazon interview is not as complicated. The fact that you have made it to the interview panel means that you are the right fit for the job. Here are some tips on how to act during the interview.

Always answer questions positively.

There is nothing worse than showing negativity on your interview day. No matter how complex the question might be, always put a positive spin on every answer. If you are being asked about your ability to perform a certain task, show positivity even if you have not performed a similar task before. You could say that your experience is limited, but you have been in a similar situation before. This way, you leave room for consideration. However, you should never state that you are blank on key issues. Most companies will not consider an individual who does not have prior experience. You should demonstrate that you have what it takes to help the company develop solutions to current and future problems.

Demonstrate that you can fulfill the job description.

The only reason why you are invited to the interview is that you are seen as a potential problem solver. You are seen as an individual who can handle the tasks listed in the job description. If Amazon is filling up for an accountant, you should be able to handle accountancy tasks. If you cannot fulfill the tasks provided by the company, you are not the right fit. To ace your interview, demonstrate your capability in completing the tasks. Use the right language used in your industry to prove your skills. Talk about your experiences and ask questions to demonstrate your experience.

Say you want the job.

Most people often fail in the interviews due to lack of interest. If you are looking for a job, you should demonstrate that you want the job. If you are asked if you want the job, do not beat around the bush. Strategically state your reasons for choosing the job and express your interest. While stating that you want the job is okay, do not sound desperate. Do not beg for the job or try to bribe the interviewer. Any attempts to bribe the panel may lead to failure in your interview.

Ask questions.

The other way to ace your interview is by asking questions. When you ask questions, you show your concerns about the job. Ask questions relating to the job description and the company. Your interest in the job and the company show your passion. While interviewing for an Amazon job, let your questions be related to the leadership principles. Everything at Amazon is centered on the leadership principles. Asking questions is a way of demonstrating that you understand the key values of the company.

Follow up.

Lastly, follow up on questions that you had asked. If you receive an answer, do not just get satisfied with all answers. Have follow-up questions to keep the conversation interactive. Follow-up questions also show that you are actively engaged in the conversation. By asking follow-up questions, you build rapport with the interviewer.

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