2 senior Amazon employees and an apprentice share their top tips for a job interview at the tech giant, including using data to prove your success

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2 senior Amazon employees and an apprentice share their top tips for a job interview at the tech giant, including using data to prove your success
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. Mike Blake/Reuters
  • Amazon is known for its rigorous, behaviour-based interview process.
  • Three current employees shared their interview tips during a panel discussion on Tuesday.

Pay attention to Amazon's leadership principles, use data to prove your skills, and ask questions - that's the advice from three Amazon employees on how to succeed during an interview at the tech giant.

The company is known for its policy of only hiring "bar-raisers." Amazon says it prioritizes traits over qualifications, and candidates are vetted through a series of behavior-focused questions.

At the Black Tech Fest on Tuesday, panelists discussed the realities of working in an Amazon head-office role. The three-day event is hosted by the UK non-profit Colorintech, which works to get people from underrepresented backgrounds into the industry.

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Amazon employees talked about their career journey and were asked to provide their top tips on how to prepare for an interview with Amazon. Here's some of the best advice from two senior Amazon employees and one apprentice.

Remember Amazon's leadership principles

Andre Campbell, senior manager of global sports and entertainment at Amazon Web Services (AWS), said Amazon's longstanding list of leadership principles are a guide for how Amazon and AWS do business. They include "Customer obsession," "Learn and Be Curious," and "Ownership." Earlier this year, the company added two more principles to its list.

"I would recommend really looking at them, seeing the ones that excite you, and crafting career stories and experiences which really address a number of those leadership principles clearly in your preparation," Campbell said.

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Use the 'STAR' method

Lettie Ndlovu, a solutions architect apprentice at Amazon Web Services, said that applying the 'STAR' method can be a helpful way to craft career stories during your interview.

STAR stands for:

  • Situation you had to deal with
  • Task you were given to complete
  • Action you took to in relation to both
  • Result that happened, and what you learned from it.

It is a common technique for answering interview questions, and it's designed as a simple framework for focusing on how your skills match a job description.

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Ndlovu recommended preparing three to five examples. "Try to make them different and if you have negative ones, always have a positive twist at the end as to how you got a good outcome," Ndlovu said.

Provide data to back up your words

Amazon is a data-driven organization, Campbell said, and "quantitative examples are highly valued" when you're talking about your career experience.

For example, you might say you boosted the attendance of an event by 30%, Campbell said.

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If you don't have experience yet, clubs and societies can set you apart

If you don't have direct experience yet, think about how to stand out and demonstrate the skills Amazon looks for, Grace Acquah, regional lead EMEA student programs, campus attraction, and engagement, said.

"List any sort of clubs or societies that you're part of that could really demonstrate good leadership, teamwork and skills that could be applied in the world of work," Acquah said. That could include volunteering.

Reach out beforehand

Use LinkedIn to connect with someone who is doing that job already at Amazon, and ask them for tips about what it's like, Ndlovu said.

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Networking is something Amazon recruiters recommend, Tom Lawrance, a former MBA recruiter for Amazon, previously told Insider. He said a referral will raise your chances of getting hired.

Ask questions and work out how you can fit the role

At the end of your interview you will be invited to ask questions about the role, Campbell said.

Think about those questions beforehand, and use them to learn more about operating within the role and the wider team, he said.

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