As a leading force in the world of online retailers, Amazon is one of the best places to start your career. Unfortunately, being accepted to Amazon is not an easy task. The company is well-known for its high standards and extremely difficult and thorough selection process.
The typical Amazon recruitment process consists of three key stages: the online application, the telephone interview, and the onsite assessment day. Many applicants also need to take one or more online assessment tests.
Since there is a wide range of jobs available at Amazon, each requiring a different set of skills, the recruitment process may differ from one applicant to another in the types of assessments and their order. Below we will go through the most common assessments in the Amazon selection process. The order of the stages follows that of the Amazon non-tech grad schemes.
Throughout the recruitment process, you are assessed against a set of 14 values, known as the Amazon Leadership Principles:
|Customer Obsession||Ownership||Invent and Simplify|
|Are Right, A Lot||Hire and Develop the Best||Think Big|
|Bias for Action||Frugality||Learn and Be Curious|
|Earn Trust||Dive Deep||Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit|
|Deliver Results||Insist on the Highest Standards|
These principles are extremely important to Amazon. They guide every action or decision taken by the company, from strategic planning to employee selection. Thus, it is crucial that you become familiar with them. You must show that you know what the Amazon principles are and refer to them at every stage of the recruitment process. This is particularly true for the telephone interview and onsite interviews.
The first stage of the recruitment process for any position is the online job application. Amazon’s online application form has several sections, including personal information, work history, CV, and cover letter. Make sure your CV is tailored to the job for which you are applying and that your cover letter refers to the leadership principles.
Every selection process at Amazon includes one or more phone interviews. The interview usually lasts between 20 to 45 minutes and is designed to find out more about you and your skills. The interviewer may ask about your CV and your motivations regarding the position for which you are applying. You will probably be asked some competency-based questions as well. In some cases, you may also be asked to answer a maths question.
The Amazon competency-based interview is designed to help the interviewers get an impression of you, your skills, and your experience. The competencies your interviewers are looking at stem from the Amazon leadership principles as well as the specific requirements listed in your job description.
Ahead of the interview, make up a list of examples that can be used to describe your skills as well as when you have used them in the past. Sketch out answers using these examples and build them around the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Research the area you are applying to as well as Amazon itself.
Below is a list of questions that have been asked in a range of Amazon interviews in the past (either in telephone interviews or in face-to-face interviews). The exact questions you will face during your interviews depend on the scheme or job for which you are applying. However, the following sample questions give a good idea of the kind of things Amazon is looking for.
Time is allocated at the end of the interview for you to ask questions. Try to think of a few questions in advance, but also be flexible and ask questions about topics that come up during the interview. Ahead of the interview, review your CV and think of examples from your previous work experience that can be used to answer questions. Remember to also refer to the leadership principles in your answers.
To help you prepare for the Amazon phone interview, we have included an experts’ guide for interviews in our practice pack. Our pack also includes numerical drills with which you can rehearse some basic concepts. These will help you tackle the maths problem you may be presented with during the interview.
If you are successful in your phone interview, the next stage of the assessment for Amazon’s non-tech graduate programmes (such as the Amazon Finance Graduate Scheme, the Amazon E-Commerce Graduate Program, or the Junior Account Manager Intern Programme) is a set of online tests. These tests are used to evaluate your analytical skills.
The most widely used Amazon test is an online numerical reasoning test delivered by either CEB SHL or Kenexa. Another popular Amazon online assessment test is the verbal reasoning test. We will discuss these two types of tests in more detail below.
Candidates for other jobs may need to take different assessment tests relevant to the role for which they are applying. In such cases, the tests may be delivered at a different point in the recruitment process. If you are applying for one of Amazon’s tech-related graduate schemes, for example, you probably need to take the Amazon coding test. This test is delivered either before the telephone interview or as a part of it. Some people may also be required to take the Amazon Excel test.
The selection process for almost every position requires taking an Amazon numerical reasoning test. This test is designed to assess your analytical skills, which are a key component of the work at Amazon. On the test, you need to understand and interpret numerical data presented in the form of a table or a chart and then answer questions relating to it. Working out the answers often requires performing calculations involving percentages, ratios, conversions, etc.
The most common type of numerical test Amazon uses to evaluate candidates for graduate and managerial roles is the CEB SHL Verify Numerical Reasoning Test. On this test, you are presented with sets of data, each followed by three multiple choice questions. You have 25 minutes to answer 18 questions. (Some candidates face the Kenexa Numerical Reasoning Test instead.)
Our preparation pack offers you practice materials for both the CEB SHL test and the Kenexa test. It includes practice drills and video tutorials to help you master the basic concepts required for successfully passing your Amazon numerical test. The pack also contains hundreds of table/graph questions to sharpen your data interpretation skills.
Many candidates applying for Amazon may also be asked to take a verbal reasoning test. This test measures your ability to understand and analyse written information. You are given a passage to read, followed by a series of questions relating to it.
The most common type of verbal test Amazon uses to assess applicants for graduate and managerial roles is the CEB SHL Verify Verbal Reasoning Test. On this test, the questions take the form of statements. Your task is to decide whether each statement is true, false, or you cannot say based on the information provided in the passage.
The timing for this test is very tight—you only have 19 minutes to answer 30 questions. In order to deal with the time pressure and achieve a good score on your exam, we advise you to prepare for it in advance. Learn how to answer true/false/cannot say questions and practise CEB SHL-style verbal reasoning tests with our Amazon Numerical & Verbal Tests preparation pack.
The final stage of any Amazon recruitment process is the onsite interviews and/or assessments. You may be asked to take any number of the following assessments as part of this stage.
For some roles, you may be asked to prepare in advance a presentation to be delivered at the assessment centre. Topics may vary based on the job or programme for which you are applying.
For some on-site assessment days, you may be asked to undertake a written exercise or a case study. These include reading a brief on a work-based scenario and answering a question in a report based on what you have read, or drafting an email to a customer.
Most applicants experience up to four onsite interviews, each lasting around 45 minutes.
The interviews are usually held by members of the HR department or the hiring team. It is also likely that one or more of your interviewers will be an Amazon 'bar raiser'. Bar raisers are employees in charge of interviewing potential candidates from other parts of the company. Their goal is to make sure a candidate not only fits Amazon’s values but is also better than most employees currently working at the company (that is why they are called bar raisers). Amazon bar raisers can veto any applicant they interview, so it is important to make a good impression on them.
There are different types of questions you may face when interviewing at Amazon. Most interviews consist of competency-based questions, but some include technical-related questions, maths problems, or riddles. See some examples of Amazon interview questions.
Some applicants may find that their interviews involve role plays. In this case, the interviewer simulates a real work situation, playing the part of a client, a colleague, or a manager. You are asked to take on the part of someone in the job for which you are applying, and the interviewer assesses your response to the situation.
In order to successfully pass Amazon's rigorous recruitment process and get a job offer, you need to excel in each and every stage of the process. This requires putting a lot of hard work into your preparation. To help you with that, JobTestPrep’s experts have created two unique preparation packs:
JobTestPrep wishes you the best of luck in your preparation for the Amazon assessment.
Amazon, CEB, SHL, Kenexa, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of these trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website. Our materials are designed to help you prepare for the types of assessments you will encounter, but they are not identical to them.