After you have completed the Amazon Online Assessments and the phone interview, you will be invited to undergo an Amazon Virtual Interview, or a series of Virtual Interviews, before Amazon management decides whether or not to hire you for the position.
While many candidates might feel that, having completed the Online Assessment and the phone interview, they have the job almost ‘in the bag’, the Amazon Virtual Interview is actually very challenging.
Unlike interviews at many smaller companies, where the interview stage is only a brief formality, the Amazon Virtual Interview is intended to challenge candidates in several ways.
In this guide, we are going to go through all the ways in which the Amazon Virtual Interview can trip novice candidates up, as well as aspects you need to pay attention to.
The Amazon Virtual Interview is a remote interview process, which has replaced the in-person interviews that were once used after the phone interview stage. Typically this is the last stage of the candidate selection process at Amazon before company management decides whether to hire the candidate.
The Amazon Virtual Interview is conducted using Amazon Chime, a proprietary Amazon system. You will need to have a webcam installed and active so you can participate in the interview.
In the past, this stage of the Amazon hiring process required candidates to go through an onsite interview by Amazon management. However, during the global coronavirus pandemic, the company decided to switch over to using the Amazon Virtual Interview process in lieu of the face-to-face interviews.
While the Amazon Virtual Interview is different in some respects from the in-person interviews it has come to replace, for all intents and purposes it plays exactly the same role in the hiring process – it is the last, decisive stage.
Currently, almost all Amazon positions that require an onsite interview have switched to remote interviews.
For most positions, the Amazon Virtual Interview process is going to be centered around discussing the behavioral aspects of your personality that might be relevant to your job.
Where other employers will ask you to discuss your resume, Amazon interviewers will talk about your behavioral characteristics and the way in which you will handle challenges at work.
If you’re interviewing for a software developer position or any other position where you’re asked to write software code, the interviewer might also ask questions about your coding assignment – typically they’ll ask you to explain why you resolved a problem in such a way.
During your Amazon Virtual Interview, the interviewer will ask you questions about different situations that came up in your work experience, or situations that might hypothetically turn up, and the way you would deal with them.
You must demonstrate the ability to deal with these situations in a way that is consistent with Amazon’s workplace culture, as expressed in Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles.
Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles are the core of Amazon’s workplace culture. Amazon employees are expected to take the leadership principles very seriously, which is why you should thoroughly familiarize yourself with them.
Different positions stress different aspects of the principles – for example, for customer-facing roles, Customer Obsession is a very important value, while a development role would stress them less – but you should have good knowledge of all the 16 Leadership Principles and practice answering questions in a way that discusses how you would apply them in the workplace.
Every interview question is intended to gauge your compatibility with one (and more often two) Leadership Principles.
Interviewers try to assess responses by comparing them against a bar that’s been set for a given role.
Because there’s no way to meaningfully quantify interview answers, every Amazon Virtual Interview includes multiple interviewers who will then vote on whether to accept you for the role you’ve applied for.
An interviewer is supposed to vote to hire a candidate if they believe that their performance in the interview is better than that of half (fifty percent) of interviewees.
Typical behavioral questions in the Amazon Virtual Interview are designed to test your ability to implement the Amazon Leadership Principles.
Here are some examples:
Amazon interviewers expect candidates to answer the questions based on the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
In simple terms, you are expected to first clearly describe the situation in which the issue arose, then describe what your task was in that scenario, and follow up by describing the action you took to achieve your goals and the result of this action.
You may have observed that this format is useful for discussing both successes and failures. Amazon interviewers will want to ask not only about situations you succeeded in, but also ones where you were not successful.
Be ready to talk about your past failures as well. Everyone experiences failure sometimes, and Amazon wants to be sure you can deal with failure in a mature and professional way.
Like in a physical interview, you should have all of your relevant documents ready on hand (in the form of a digital copy on your computer that you could send to your interviewer if they ask).
You should not need to go ‘fishing’ for these files on your computer but instead to be able to rapidly retrieve and send them. This includes your resume and any relevant certificates and work samples.
Prior to the interview, you should make sure all the computer equipment that is needed for the interview – your webcam, microphone, and so on – works and that Amazon Chime starts smoothly on your PC. If you are trying to resolve those problems during the interview, this will come across as unprofessional.
Much like during a face-to-face interview, you should be dressed neatly and professionally (although a full suit and tie is probably not required!).
You should be aware of the time that the interview is meant to last and answer the questions appropriately.
Keep some water and some light snacks next to your computer so that you can keep yourself hydrated during the interview.
Of course, you should keep it professional as well, if you’re constantly chewing during the conversation that might give a bad impression to your interviewer.
If the time of the meeting has come and you experience technical difficulties, exit and reenter the Chime chime bridge.
In the event that that does not work, you can use the toll-free number in the interview invitation to call in. Send an email to your recruiting contact immediately if you cannot reach them by phone.
Amazon uses competency-based interviews so that the interviewer can focus more on personality traits and the person’s compatibility with Amazon’s workplace culture (the Amazon Online Assessment stage is intended to provide information about your technical skills and professional knowledge).
You will receive a response about the result of the hiring process by email (typically within a week, but some positions have a longer response time).
In the rare case that you have been invited to an in-person interview, please refer any inquiries about changing it to a remote interview to your contact person at Amazon.
The Amazon Remote Interview is a remote video interview, conducted through a video conferencing tool known as Amazon Chime.
Every round of the Amazon Virtual Interview is typically 45-60 minutes long.
The number of interview rounds depends on the role you’re applying for. For some roles it is as little as one interview, while some more advanced roles might require as many as four rounds of interviews.
Amazon is an equal opportunity employer that does not treat employees differently on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, identified gender, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, disability, age, or any other legally protected status.