Prep Guide for Amazon Behavioral Interview

Getting a job at big tech companies can be quite challenging - this stands especially true for FAANG and similar giants. The interview process at these companies is generally very rigorous and tests the candidate on various metrics. 

 · 12 minutes

Getting a job at big tech companies can be quite challenging - this stands especially true for FAANG and similar giants. The interview process at these companies is generally very rigorous and tests the candidate on various metrics. 

Amazon’s interview is no different. In fact, the Amazon interview also tests the candidates on various behavioral questions. 

Modeled after the 14 Leadership Principles (which we’ll talk about later) incepted by Jeff Bezos, this behavioral interview is designed to give the interviewers an understanding of how the candidate handles complex workplace scenarios. Amazon gives behavioral questions as much weightage as technical questions before making the final selection.

In this article, let’s look at everything you must know in order to prepare well for an Amazon behavioral Interview, along with some of the commonly asked Amazon behavioral questions. 

Amazon Behavioral Interview

Before we get down to the details, it’s important to know what exactly Amazon's Behavioral Interview is all about.

Broadly speaking, these are the questions that focus on obtaining information regarding your past behavior, conduct, outlook, and attitude in earlier positions. This information reveals a lot about you in terms of how you carry yourself in the workplace, and hence Amazon focuses a lot on the answer to these.

Based on your answers, the interviewers can deduce the kind of skills you have, how your overall performance so far has been, and whether you gel with Amazon’s workplace culture. Behavioral questions also give the interviewer a glimpse into how you think, and if you demonstrate Leadership Principles, you’ll find it easier to sail through this round of the interview.

Importance of Leadership Principles

Leadership Principles matter more to Amazon than you think. Depending on the role you’re interviewing for and the seniority of your profile, you will be checked on different Leadership Principles. These principles are all behavioral based, but you should know the 14 principles in order to be able to correctly support them with examples from your experience. Here’s the list of the Leadership Principles that you should look into:

  • Customer Obsession
  • Ownership
  • Invent & Simplify
  • Are Right, A lot
  • Learn and Be Cautious
  • Hire and Develop the Best
  • Insist on the Highest Standards
  • Think Big
  • Bias for Action
  • Frugality
  • Earn Trust
  • Dive Deep
  • Have Backbone; Disagree & Commit
  • Deliver Results

Answering the Behavioral Questions

The STAR framework can be followed to tackle Amazon’s behavioral questions. This framework is just to help you properly organize your answer so that you don’t miss out on any essential information. Here’s how it goes: 

  • Situation / Task: Talk about the situation you faced - answer the where, why and when. 
  • Action: Talk about the actions you took in the said situation. Answer the what, how and who in this stage. 
  • Result: Describe the results that your actions gave. For this, use numbers and metrics to talk about your results. 

If the STAR framework doesn’t appeal to you, you can use the more succinct, CAR framework. Here’s how that goes:

  • Context: Describing the situation and setting the scene for your example. The key is to choose an example that demonstrates the quality being seeked by the interviewer. 
  • Action: Explaining the action you took in the context. Don’t make vague statements here, be specific in your words. 
  • Result: Detailing what outcome your result provided. Talk about numbers, facts, statistics and metrics while talking about the result. You can also quote feedback from your previous managers or teammates while talking about the results. 

Preparing for Amazon’s Behavioral Interview Questions

In order to properly prepare for your behavioral interview questions, always go through the job description carefully. Get an understanding of which (out of the 14 principles) would be most needed to excel at your job role. Thenbacktrack and find other instances from your career so far where you made use of those leadership principles and helped solve a problem for your organization. 

Beyond that, here are some behavioral interview questions that you can start preparing: 

  • Elaborate a situation where you solved a problem that had multiple possible solutions. How did you come about finalizing your solution?
  • Explain a situation where you took a risk which resulted in you falling. How did you get back up? 
  • Describe your best and worst experience while leading a project. 
  • What is your process of motivating your teammates or promoting a healthy and collaborative work environment?
  • How do you leverage data to improve your workflow and processes? 
  • Discuss the time you successfully delegated a project. 
  • Tell about the time you mentored someone and helped them succeed. 
  • Discuss the time you mentored someone.

In case you don’t have good answers...

This is a legitimate question that might arise in your mind after reading the above questions. If you don’t have a good answer off the top of your head, try recollecting a personal situation in response to the behavioral question. The answer need not be necessarily work related, but try to keep such answers limited. 

You should prepare yourself beforehand to tailor your examples toa few of the Leadership Principles given by Bezos, which will make the interviewer relate to your answer better. 

Tips For A Successful Behavioral Interview

You must remember that behavioral questions don’t have any correct answers per se. There can be more than one right answer as they are pretty much subjective questions. That said, here are some tips for you to keep in mind while preparing for the Amazon behavioral interview questions.

Research extensively

Before the interview day, you should properly research the scope of behavioral questions that might be asked based on your role and expertise. While it’s difficult to figure out the exact questions you might be asked, researching will definitely give you an idea of the type of questions that can be asked, which will prove helpful during the interview. 

Brainstorm different situations and perspectives

Pick situations and events from your past and look for alternative solutions, situations, and perspectives and brainstorm on different paths that might arise on those solutions. This is an important trick to learn in order to ace behavioral questions. You should be able to introspect and look at complex scenarios from different lenses. 

Write down various situations

Once you have brainstormed, write down the various situations and paths you thought of and try to elaborate on them, so that you don’t stumble at all during the interviews. Make sure to dive deeper into the scenarios based on the STAR framework so that you don’t miss any important pointer in your answer. 

Explore your role

Amazon undoubtedly has good hiring standards. The more you research about and understand your role, the more clarity you’ll have and the better you’ll perform during your interview. The questions you get asked will mostly be aimed at finding whether or not you’re a good culture fit for the company, and the research you do beforehand will help you make a good impression. Apart from that, the research will also give you a good understanding of the behavioral skills and requirements for the job - which will, in turn, give you some clarity of the questions you might be asked. 

In Conclusion

Amazon Behavioral Interview Questions might be tricky if you aren’t well prepared. However, if you’re prepared, these questions are all about giving the interviewer an insight into how you operate in a workplace. These questions are extremely important, and answering them in the right manner will give you an edge over others in clearing the interview.