Amazon Leadership Principles Questions: 50 You Can Expect To See In Your Interview

May 3, 2021

Amazon’s behavioral questions can be pretty tough on their own, but you also need to be aware of Amazon’s leadership principles in order to give the best possible answers to them. In this post, we will mention Amazon’s leadership principles, 50 questions that directly relate to them, and how you can use Tech Interview Pro, a proven program offering hundreds of coding walk-throughs that also prepares you for the soft side of the interview, to breeze through them.

As we’ve mentioned in our Amazon behavioral questions article, focusing only on coding can be pretty fatal to your interview performance because you will also be asked your fair share of behavioral questions.

But these behavioral questions have an additional nuance you need to be aware of: most of them are closely related to Amazon’s leadership principles.

And just to give yourself the best chance at success, it would be wise to learn what these principles are, even if you won’t be asked about every principle on your interview.

After that, going through our list of 50 questions should be a little easier as well.

Amazon Leadership Principles

#1 Customer Obsession

Leaders start with the customer and work backward. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust.

Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.

#2 Ownership

Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results.

They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job”.

#3 Invent And Simplify

Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify.

They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here”. As they do new things, they accept that they may be misunderstood for long periods of time.

#4 Are Right, A Lot

Leaders are right, a lot.

They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.

#5 Learn And Be Curious

Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves.

They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

#6 Hire And Develop The Best

Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion.

They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others.

#7 Insist On The Highest Standards

Leaders have relentlessly high standards: and many people may think these standards are unreasonably high.

Leaders are continually raising the bar and drive their teams to deliver high-quality products, services, and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.

#8 Think Big

Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results.

They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.

#9 Bias For Action

Speed matters in business.

Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. Leaders value calculated risk-taking.

#10 Frugality

Accomplish more with less.

Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.

#11 Earn Trust

Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully.

They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

#12 Dive Deep

Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdotes differ.

Simply no task is beneath them.

#13 Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting.

Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.

#14 Deliver Results

Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion.

Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.

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Amazon Leadership Principles Questions

  1. Who was your most difficult customer?
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to leave a task unfinished.
  3. Tell me about a time when you innovated on something and it went wrong.
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to work with incomplete data or information.
  5. Tell me about the most important lesson you learned in the past year.
  6. Tell me about a time when you made a wrong hire. When did you figure it out and what did you do?
  7. Tell me about a time when you raised the bar.
  8. Tell me about a time when you went way beyond the scope of the project and delivered.
  9. Tell me about a time when you took a calculated risk.
  10. Tell me about a time you had to rely on yourself to finish a task.
  11. What do you do to gain the trust of your teammates?
  12. Tell me about a time you utilized in depth data to come across a solution.
  13. Tell me about an unpopular decision of yours.
  14. Give me an example of a time when you were 75% of the way through a project, and you had to pivot strategy–how were you able to make that into a success story?
  15. Tell the story of the last time you had to apologize to someone.
  16. Tell me about a time when you had to work on a project with unclear responsibilities.
  17. Tell me about a time when you gave a simple solution to a complex problem.
  18. Tell me about a time when you had to use your judgment to solve a problem.
  19. Tell me about a time when you influenced a change by only asking questions.
  20. What qualities do you look for most when hiring others?
  21. Tell me about a time when you couldn’t meet your own expectations on a project.
  22. Tell me about your proudest professional achievement.
  23. Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?
  24. Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited time or resources.
  25. Tell me about a time when you had to tell someone a harsh truth.
  26. Tell me about the most complex problem you’ve ever worked on.
  27. Tell me about a time when you had to step up and disagree with a team member’s approach.
  28. What is the most difficult situation you have ever faced in your life? How did you handle it?
  29. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  30. Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult short term decision to make long term gains.
  31. Tell me about a time when you failed to simplify a process and what you would have done differently.
  32. Tell me about a time when you were wrong.
  33. Tell me about a time when you solved a problem through just superior knowledge or observation.
  34. Tell me about a time when you mentored someone.
  35. Tell me about a time when a team member didn’t meet your expectations on a project.
  36. Tell me about a time when you were disappointed because you didn’t think big enough.
  37. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
  38. Tell me about a time where you turned down more resources to complete an assignment.
  39. What would you do if you found out that your closest friend at work was stealing?
  40. Tell me about something that you learnt recently in your role.
  41. Tell me about a time when you did not accept the status quo.
  42. Tell me about a time when everyone else on your team gave up on something but you pushed the team towards delivering a result.
  43. Can you tell me about a time you obsessed over giving very high quality service to a customer?
  44. Tell me about a time when you took on a task that went beyond your normal responsibilities.
  45. Tell me about a time when you changed a process at work through either an innovative new way or simplification.
  46. Tell me about a time when you had your beliefs challenged and how you responded.
  47. Tell me about a time when your curiosity helped you make a smarter decision.
  48. Who is the most important person in your life and why?
  49. Tell me about a time when you were dissatisfied with the quality of something at work and went out of your way to improve it.
  50. Tell me about a time when you had to make a bold and difficult decision.

Why Tech Interview Pro?

These questions, on the surface, seem like regular behavioral questions.

The thing is, your answer really has to adhere to Amazon’s leadership principles if you want to ensure you impress your interviewers.

This only adds another thing to the list of topics you need to study during your interview prep, and there simply isn’t manu interview prep resources that can help you with the behavioral side of interviews, let alone something this specific.

So, what do you do?

I recommend you use Tech Interview Pro, an interview prep program designed by a former Google and Facebook software engineer who has compressed the knowledge he gathered from conducting over 100 interviews during his time into a single course.

And here are a few reasons why I recommend it.

#1 A Comprehensive Approach

Tech Interview Pro takes a thorough approach to its teaching, taking both the technical and behavioral aspects into consideration in its 20+ hours of video lessons.

Here’s TIP’s course outline, with the behavioral topics bolded:

  1. Understanding The Interview Process
  2. Four Axes of the Interview
    1. Coding
    2. Data Structures & Algorithms
    3. Systems Design
    4. Communication
  3. Interviewing Masterclass
  4. Data Structures & Algorithms
  5. 100+ Coding Sessions
  6. The Mock Interview
  7. Systems Design
  8. Transitioning Careers
  9. Negotiating & Accepting Your Offer

As you can see, TIP has a balance of both the technical and the behavioral, which is definitely more coverage than most of the tech interview prep courses out there.

#2 Private Facebook Group

Another neat feature that Tech Interview Pro grants its students is access to a private Facebook group with 1,500+ former students of the course.

Here are some of their success stories:

Tech Interview Pro Review - Success Stories
Tech Interview Pro Review - Success Stories
Tech Interview Pro Review - Success Stories

When you consider how many TIP students have landed jobs at FAANG companies thanks to the course, as well as how active and supportive the Facebook group is day to day, you realize that it’s really an invaluable resource to have.

#3 Created By An Industry Insider

Tech Interview Pro is run by an industry veteran who has reverse-engineered the hiring process to give you the best chance of success.

TechLead (Patrick Shyu) has grown his own websites to millions of users, spent his recent years working at Facebook and Google, and has conducted over 100 technical interviews for Google.

So if there’s anyone who can teach you how to ace your technical interviews, it’s this guy.

#4 Bi-Weekly Q&A Sessions

Every two weeks, TIP students can engage in Q&A sessions with the course’s founder, TechLead.

This is a huge advantage: after all, nothing’s stopping you from asking any of the questions featured on the list above, whether it’s a technical question or a behavioral one, and you can expect a thorough answer in return.

Another thing to keep in mind is that every Q&A session is recorded and ready to be accessed at any time, so there’s nothing stopping you from checking previous Q&A sessions too.

#5 Resume Reviews

Your resume will be the first thing a recruiter will see coming from your end, and making it look pretty won’t be enough: you need to make sure it knocks them out when they see it so that you can have a headstart into the interviewing process.

Considering this, TechLead will also personally review your resume and help you tailor it for the position and the company you seek to apply for.

#6 Lifetime Access

Lastly, TIP grants lifetime access to the entire course and private Facebook group, which means that you’ll be able to see new video lessons as they’re added, grow alongside the Facebook group, watch all of future Q&A sessions, and everything else.

TIP’s got your back, whether you want to land a job now or in the future.

In Summary

If you’re aspiring to work with Amazon as a software engineer, make sure you learn their leadership principles in order to knock your interviewers out with your answers to their behavioral questions.

That way, you’ll make sure you’re miles ahead of the other candidates competing for the position. Additionally, to give yourself the best possible chance of success, we recommend you prepare with a more comprehensive, battle-tested solution like Tech Interview Pro.

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