Amazon Career Day is here again, and it sold out FAST. NBD. I got you covered. Not to brag, but I’m a Fortune 500 pro. They’re hiring 33,000 corporate and technical folks this right now with an average salary of $150,000/year. That’s nearly $5 billion dollars!
So here we go, step-by-step, the best way to get hired at Amazon.
The Best Way to Get a Job at Amazon (Step-By-Step)
#1 Revamp your resume.
Ensure it’s ATS friendly (see below) and quantified.
- No photos or graphics.
- No colors — just be safe and use only black font.
- No columns or tables.
- Use industry language and jargon — no flowery or creative words. Be boring as possible.
- If possible, use Word doc file not PDF, as I’ve been hearing that PDFs are sometimes not as readable.
- Name your filename with full name and the role you are applying for e.g., “Cathryn Patterson VP Technology.doc”.
- Use all the keywords of the job posting (if the job posting has a typo in the keyword, don’t correct it).
How to Go Through the Amazon Hiring Process
#2 Read the hiring process THOROUGHLY.
In 2020, their process is 4 parts:
1. Online Application – BTW, they don’t like cover letters either. “Being a peculiar company, we don’t accept cover letters. Just ensure your resume is up to date and you’re all set.”
2. Assessments – These are personality tests — they’re trying to figure out whether you’d be a good fit for their “peculiar culture and Leadership Principles”.
3. Phone Interview – This is the Round 1 Interview where they will conduct Behavioral-Based Interviewing.
Learn their Leadership Principles — they obsess over them. Make sure your answers hit as many of them as possible!
4. In-person Interview – which is actually a remote Web Conference Interview now, using their in-house Chime tool
The same as above except you do it FACE-TO-FACE via webcam using the STAR method which is super old school — Situation Task Action Result. See below for my answers to Amazon’s Sample Interview Questions!
*Software Engineers have to do all of the above plus Code Reviews.
**Warehouse / Fulfillment jobs have a different process (click here).
How to get an interview at Amazon
#3 Prepare your resume with the right keywords from the job posting and submit online.
Do this for every job you are qualified for. Tailor for each job!!!
The Best Way to Get an Interview at Amazon
#4 When you are contacted for an interview, prepare for the interview as follows:
✅Prepare your Interview Area (buy lighting, just in case, and if you want)
Believe it or not, first impressions count, and lighting is a big deal in a remote interview. If they can’t really see you, then how do you think that will go?
If you can’t afford these lights, a decent alternative is for you to schedule your interview in the morning near a well-lit window, but I kid you not, it makes a difference (check out my YouTube to see why.
- ,Affordable & Portable Right Light that attaches to any Laptop
- ,Affordable Studio Light Set that I use for my TikToks (to be Interview Ready)
- ,Pro Studio Lights that I use for YouTube Quality (and CEO level)
- ,My WebCam that is surprisingly still one of the best on the market for picture and audio quality (it’s kinda old though)
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✅Prepare your Answers for Interview Questions (not just theirs, but common ones as well) using the STAR method.
- SITUATION: Describe the situation that you were in, or the task that you needed to accomplish. Give enough detail for the interviewer to understand the complexities of the situation. This example can be from a previous job, school project, volunteer activity, or any relevant event.
- TASK: What goal were you working toward?
- ACTION: Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail, and keep the focus on you. What specific steps did you take? What was your particular contribution? Be careful that you don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project. Let us know what you actually did. Use the word “I,” not “we,” when describing actions.
- RESULT: Describe the outcome of your actions and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Provide examples using metrics or data if applicable.
✅Install the Chime tool
For the printable Get Hired at Amazon Checklist, please subscribe below and , click here.
Amazon’s Sample Interview Questions and My Real-Life Answers
1. Tell me about a time when you were faced with a problem that had a number of possible solutions. What was the problem and how did you determine the course of action? What was the outcome of that choice?
Situation: Often as a PM in the past, I would be faced with someone leaving, and replacing that person with someone because of urgency was always a tough decision. In a very short 6 month project, I remember facing this issue: A) hire someone expensive with a lot of experience but no degree, B) hire someone cheaper with little experience but a Ph.D., or C) suffer longer and keep looking for the right candidate, but risk project success.
Task: I needed to hire someone right away because the project was ending soon, but the work was critical and required someone highly skilled.
Action: I bit the bullet and hired the expensive person with a lot of experience and no degree because even though they had no formal education, I knew they could do the work. But I did get them to lower their rate 10%, so there’s at least that.
Result: The project finished on time and was successful. Even my profit margin got hit at the end, I had to sacrifice cost to ensure quality and schedule for the customer’s sake. I had to deliver on time and on schedule, no matter what. That’s what you do when you lead. You make difficult decisions when life hands you lemons. Normally, I throw them back, but the schedule was way too impacted on this one.
2. When did you take a risk, make a mistake, or fail? How did you respond, and how did you grow from that experience?
Situation: When I got my PMP certification, I failed the first time. I was already a Sr. PM and I thought I knew better. I figured that I had taken the boot camp and I was good at tests, so that was enough for me to pass, even though everyone told me to take a week off afterward to study because it’s such a hard test if you don’t prepare. But I didn’t listen, and I worked the day before the test, and failed miserably because what I didn’t realize was that it was a memorization test — not a logic-based exam!
Task: I wanted to get my PMP certification before PMBOK 5th edition, which would add 150 more pages for me to memorize.
Action: I took a week off immediately, carried PMP flashcards with me everywhere I went, read the PMBOK 3 times over, finished 3 PMP practice tests, and lived/breathed/ate/slept PMP for a week.
Result: I almost missed my test and my reliable car would not start. But I borrowed the neighbor’s car and I scrambled my way to the test center with only a minute to spare. I somehow passed. It was a huge learning lesson for me. I learned that I can never let my ego get the best of me again.
3. Describe a time you took the lead on a project.
Situation: The first time I took lead on a project was the first time I worked at a huge Fortune 500 — it was at Boeing. I was told to take over the Code Peer Review Workshops for my boss. It was a quarterly workshop for 250 software engineers. Basically, public speaking at 23 years old. My biggest fear ever, at that point.
Task: I inherited this old PowerPoint training slide deck, that was riddled with typos and errors. The engineers tore me apart in this huge Marriott hotel ballroom, as I fought back tears.
Action: The first thing I did update the slide deck thoroughly. The second thing I did was join a Toastmasters group to learn how to speak in public better. The third thing I did was do mock presentations in front of my friends and learned how to say this: “I don’t know, but I can find out for you.” That response has been my go-to and saved me so much hassle over the years.
Result: After the first and subsequent training sessions, I got better and better at giving those workshops and speaking in public. I even got a Boeing Accomplishment Award for taking lead on this effort. It was something I was really proud of when I was young. I can honestly say if you ever want to learn how to overcome your fear of public speaking, do it in front of a bunch of software engineers — they will grill you so badly that you’ll feel like you can speak on Capitol Hill!
4. What did you do when you needed to motivate a group of individuals or promote collaboration on a particular project?
Situation: Working for a company whose corporate culture might not be aligned with its employees is common. One team I led supported several production environments and seemed to have a lot of miscommunication issues. They did not know each other and barely talked to each other (always IMing instead of talking).
Task: I wanted to get them to really know each other and remove the passive-aggressive behavior.
Action: When I first got on the team, I had one-on-ones with each team member to learn about each of them and have them learn about me. Then, I laid low for 30 days to observe how they all worked and the process because there’s always a reason why people do what they do, even if it seems wrong. After 30 days, I instituted small improvements to bolster team cohesion e.g., leader boards. I instituted a silly leader board that ranked team members by humor. It was random and made no sense, but it made them laugh.
Result: They actually talked! They IM’d less, argued less, and the communication was clearer. Engineers are competitive by nature, whether with themselves or others. Every day, they looked forward to seeing who made the list and who was on top. It was a conversation starter, too. It got them to really get to know each other.
5. How have you leveraged data to develop a strategy?
Situation: Data is my middle name. I mean “Rly Though?” I use data in everything I do. All the time. Even in this post. Data drives everything. Metrics and statistics. Meaningful data is what drives smart decisions. When I made the decision to do this social media campaign on Amazon Career Day, it was after doing analytics on how few people did research on it from the perspective I took!
Task: I wanted to provide strategic job advice to job seekers wanting to get hired at Amazon and getting one of those 33,000 jobs and getting paid $150K!
Action: I researched online everywhere about Amazon Career Day and pulled every number I could find.
Result: I created comprehensive step-by-step tutorials on YouTube, etc. You will be able to get an interview and get hired!
What you can do to get hired at Amazon
#5 Search LinkedIn for the Amazon Recruiter or Hiring Manager!
I normally never endorse contacting the company’s recruiter or hiring manager, BUT because Amazon is such a HUGE company, I think you should!
Search on LinkedIn CONTENT for the following words: “I just got hired at Amazon” and “I just got a interview at Amazon”.
One post was from an Amazon Hiring Manager who posted his own job listing and who you could seriously DM on LinkedIn!!!
Another one was from an intern who thanked three recruiters who you could message about getting an internship!!!
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of big companies because it’s like dating a supermodel, it’s harder to get a raise or promotion, but one thing that I do think is pretty cool about Amazon?
They try to work on minority or gender pay gap — hopefully, it’s still merit-based though. According to their site, “women earned 99.3 cents for every dollar that men earned performing the same jobs, and minorities earned 99.1 cents for every dollar that white employees earned performing these same jobs.”
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