Jinesh Codes

Ace the Amazon Leadership Principle interview questions

January 13, 2022 | 7 Minute Read

Categories: Interview   Amazon

One of the major differences between interviewing at Amazon and other FAANG companies is their approach to the behavioural interview.

While other companies prefer to have a dedicated behavioural round (For ex. Googlyness for google interview.), amazon makes sure to include a behavioural component as a part of every onsite round. It is just one of the things that makes Amazon peculiar. These questions are generally about discussing a situation that demonstrates a specific leadership principle in action.

I had recently interviewed for Amazon, and one of the things that made me stand out as a great candidate was my performance on Behavioural and Leadership principle questions. I have decided to prepare this Guide on Ace the Leadership principle interview questions.

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Table of Contents

What are the Amazon leadership principles?

The Amazon Leadership principles are 14 core values that guide the company’s functioning and its employees. Feel free to skim through them on Amazon’s official site, but you are not required to remember all of them.

Based on your past experience, only a subset of these leadership principles would be applicable to your interviews. To me, the following 5 LPs seem appropriate for SDE-II interviews:

  • Customer Obsession
  • Learn and be Curious
  • Deliver results
  • Dive Deep
  • Earn Trust

If you are unsure which LPs you should consider prepping for, feel free to talk to your recruiters to clarify expectations. Recruiters are your friends.

There is a debate around whether we prepare for the Behavioural round. The argument against preparing examples beforehand is that you could sound a little too rehearsed in the interview. I am afraid I have to disagree with this, as it is a scheduled interview where you are expected to come prepared, and sounding rehearsed is better than spending 5 minutes of interview doing “Emm.. you know what.. In my … um…organization. I was working on …. Ummm. a project.. Emm.. you know”. You get the gist.

Also, while we are on this topic, I cannot stress enough that it is entirely okay to ask your interviewer for a couple of minutes to organize your thoughts and then give a well thought out answer. That is always better than the alternative where you are unsure of the following statements and take five pauses in just one answer.

I recommend preparing 5-6 strong work examples and stories covering one or more LPs each. This will ensure you can answer the interview question while maintaining an excellent flow of information. These work examples need not be fancy or complex. What matters most is that the example is well received and understood by the interviewer. Plus, well-prepped stories are compelling, and the interviewer can see how you feel and can resonate with them. Also, stories are a great way to illustrate your experience.

Here is a sample question where you can demonstrate your experience applying customer obsession: Discuss a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?

There are multiple ways to answer the above question; I recommend following the STAR method while answering any Leadership principle related questions. STAR stands for “Situation - Task - Action - Results” read more on STAR method.

Other than this, I also recommend doing a few mock interviews that include LP and behavioural questions before the actual interviews. This will help you find weak areas in your answer and give you time to improve upon them.

Good luck preparing for your next change!

Here is a list of questions I had prepared for:

Customer Obsession:

  • Discuss a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?
  • Discuss a time when you had a difficult interaction with a customer. How did you deal with it? What was the outcome? How would you handle it differently?
  • Talk about a time when you were able to anticipate a customer need that they did not know they needed yet. How did you know they needed this, and how did they respond?
  • Talk about the time when you asked for customer feedback. How did you leverage feedback to drive innovation or improvement? How did the customer and your team respond?
  • Talk about a time when you evaluated the customer experience of your product or service. What was the result, and what did you do next? Sometimes customers make an unreasonable request; talk about a time when you had to push back or say no to a customer request. How did the customer respond? Would you have done anything differently?

Learn and be curious:

  • Describe the time when you had to work outside of the comfort area. How did you identify what you need to be successful, how did you go about building the expertise to build your goal, and were you able to meet your goal?
  • Talk about a time when you realized you needed a deeper level of subject matter expertise to do your job well. What did you do about it, what was the outcome, and was anything that could have been done differently?
  • Talk about a time when you did not know what to do next or how to solve a challenging problem. How do you learn what you did not know, what were the options you considered, how did you decide the best path forward, and the outcome?
  • We all have things about ourselves that we want to improve at work. Give an example of something you have worked on to improve your overall work effectiveness and the process and impact.

Deliver results

  • Give an example of a project when you were able to deliver a project with a tight deadline, the sacrifices you needed to make, and how it impacted the final deliverable and the outcome.
  • Talk about a time when you had a significant, unanticipated obstacle to overcome in achieving a goal. What was the obstacle, and were you eventually successful and thing differently.
  • Talk about a time when you not only met a goal but exceeded expectations. How did you do it, what challenges did you face, and the results?
  • Talk about a time when your team was working towards a mission, or a goal that I did not think was achievable. What did you do, and what was the impact?

Dive Deep

  • Talk about a situation that required you to dig deep for a root cause. How did you know you were focusing on the right thing. What was the outcome, and is there anything you could have done differently?
  • Talk about a time when you were trying to understand a complex problem, and you had to dive into the details to figure it out, who did you talk with, and where did you have to look to find the most valuable information.
  • Walk me through any big problem or issue which you had to solve. What were your contributions, and what was the impact?

Earn Trust

  • Talk about a critical piece of feedback you have ever received. What was it, and What did you do about it? Describe when you needed to influence a college that had a different opinion about a shared goal. What did you do, and what was the outcome?
  • Talk about a time when you were not able to meet a commitment? What was the commitment, and what were the obstacles? what was the impact on customers and your teammates?
  • Give an example of when you uncovered a significant issue with your team or product. What was it, and how did you communicate? What did you do to address the problem?
  • Talk about a time when you improved morale or productivity within your team.
  • Example of time when a team member was struggling to keep up or fit in, and you decided to step in and help out. Why did you think that he was struggling? Why did you decide to step in and support, and how did it impact your work. What was the outcome?

Other:

  • Talk a little bit about yourself (The general ice-breaker)
  • Tell me about a time you had to disagree with your manager. How did you manage the situation? Would you have done anything differently?
  • Self-reflection is a key to becoming a great engineer. Can you reflect and discuss something you are weak and how you plan to work on it?

More resources to Prepare for Behavioural Questions and LP Questions:

Feel free to read other posts related to interview prep and experience on jinesh.codes/interview

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