Amazon Interview Guide   Customer-centric company


About Amazon

Amazon is a multinational technology company based in Seattle that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.  Amazon is the Earth's most customer-centric company.


Headquarters
Seattle, WA
Founded
1994 by Jeff Bezos
Status
Public (AMZN)
Employees
~ 710,000
Leadership
Jeff Bezos(CEO), Brian Olsavsky(CFO)
Industry
Commerce,Internet, Cloud
Revenue
~ $232B
Income
~ $10B
Overall Rating
(3.7)

Mission & Culture



Mission

We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.

Vision

To be Earth's most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.


Approach 

Amazon is guided by four principles:

  1. customer obsession rather than competitor focus, 
  2. passion for invention, 
  3. commitment to operational excellence, 
  4. long-term thinking.

Customer Obsession

Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.

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."

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 we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.

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.

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.

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. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.

Insist on the Highest Standards

Leaders have relentlessly high standards — 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.

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.

Bias for Action

Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking. 

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.

Earn Trust

Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

Dive Deep

Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.

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.

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.


Company



  • Amazon is a very fast-paced, high-performance company that uses data to make its decisions.
  • The behavioral questions asked in the interview are heavily focused on Amazon's 14 leadership principles.
  • Amazon software Engg. the interview focuses heavily on the problem-solving questions involving data structures and algorithms only.
  • Amazon hires fast as well as fires the employee fast who are not able to meet the expectations.
  • Amazon does not have a hiring committee and hire or no hire decisions are made by the hiring manager and the bar raiser.
  • Amazon has a separate job ladder for engineering and management.
  • Amazon offers an RSU vesting schedule of 5%, 15%,  and 40% over 4 years.
  • Amazon generally asks for writing a sample before the interview.

IC Levels

  • SDE I (L4)
  • SDE II (L5)
  • SDE III (Senior SDE L6)
  • Principal SDE (L7)
  • Senior Principal SDE (L8)
  • Distinguished Engineer (L10)

Management Levels

Amazon employees are organized across 12 levels of hierarchy.

  • At Level-12 - Jeff Bezos.
  • At Level-11 are CEOs (AWS etc.) and SVPs.
  • At Level-10 VPs 
  • Level-9 - Senior Directors
  • Level-8 is for Directors 
  • Level-7 for Senior Managers 
  • Level-6 Line Managers

Amazon has a large number of diverse products from software to hardware. The following are some of the key products:

  • Retail goods
  • Amazon Prime
  • Amazon Fresh
  • Amazon Pantry
  • Amazon Video
  • Amazon Music
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Amazon Books
  • Amazon Studios
  • Amazon Care
  • more...

Amazon also owns 40+ subsidiaries. The following are some of the important subsidiaries:

  • Whole Foods Market - Whole Foods is a prominent grocery store chain. 
  • Ring - Home security company Ring
  • Zappos is the leading footwear and apparel website in the world. 
  • PillPack - An online pharmacy company.
  • Twitch -  Live streaming video platform.
  • Audible - Audible sells and produces audio entertainment, information and educational programming on the Internet.
  • and more..

The top 10 competitors in Amazon's competitive set are Walmart, eBay, Alibaba Group, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, Apple, Sony, and Flipkart.

In the on-demand video segment, Amazon competes with Netflix, Hulu, and Disney, etc.

It competes with Google, Microsoft, and IBM in cloud offerings.

  • Medical, prescription drug, dental and vision coverage
  • 401(k) savings plan
  • Paid time-off and Holiday overtime pay
  • Resources to help improve your overall well-being
  • Discounts on Amazon purchases
  • Adoption Assistance
  • Maternity and Parental Leave

Software Engineer



Process

  • Online Assessment Test
    • Two online assessment tests. The first test is a quiz and the second assessment test involves solving two coding problems in a fixed time.
  • 1-hour technical phone interview with an engineer.
    • The interview generally asks a bit about yourself LP principles and one or two medium-level algorithmic coding questions.
  • An onsite interview with 5 rounds and 1 lunch interview.
    • The 5 rounds of interviews mostly are geared towards candidate solving algorithm problems on a whiteboard along with one System Design depending on your experience.
    • The candidate talks to one interviewer in each round.
    • Also, technical knowledge based on your job role and your soft skills are evaluated based on your answers to LP-based behavior questions all throughout the onsite interview.

Notes

  • The interview process takes 6-8 weeks on average.
  • All phone or onsite interview as 1 hour each.
  • Each round is a mix of coding/system design and behavioral questions based on LP.
  • Coding during the onsite interview is on a whiteboard.
  • After the interview, each member of the interview panel submits their feedback about the candidate responses to the technical questions and LP principles and the hiring manager makes the final decision.
  • Given an input stream of strings, find the most frequent string.
  • Find the longest palindromic substring.
  • Copy a LinkedList with Random Pointers.
  • Given a non-empty 2D array grid of 0's and 1's, an island is a group of 1's (representing land) connected 4-directionally (horizontal or vertical.)
  • Given a sorted array of integers in increasing order (can contain duplicates), return the last index of a specified target integer, or return -1 otherwise.
  • How to shuffle a deck of cards?
  • Determine if a 9x9 Sudoku board is valid.
  • Given an input string, reverse the string word by word.
  • Construct a binary tree from a string consisting of parenthesis and integers.
  • Return the k-closest points to the center of a cartesian plane given an array of coordinates.
  • Write a function that rotates a 2-dimensional array clockwise or counter clockwise 90 degrees depending on a given parameter.
  • Given a non-negative integer num represented as a string, remove k digits from the number so that the new number is the smallest possible.
  • Finding intersection of two lists of strings.
  • Given a list of weighted edges between nodes, find the minimum cost spanning tree.
  • List down the paths in a binary tree that sum up to the given sum.
  • Sort out the top K frequently used words by users.  
  • Given a non-empty string s and a dictionary wordDict containing a list of non-empty words, add spaces in s to construct a sentence where each word is a valid dictionary word. Return all such possible sentences.
  • Given an array of meeting time intervals consisting of start and end times, find the minimum number of conference rooms required.
  • Given a string, determine if a permutation of the string could form a palindrome.
  • Given a binary tree, find the length of the longest consecutive sequence path.
  • Design Instagram.
  • Discussion and designing LRU cache.
  • Design a garbage collection system.
  • Design a system to capture unique addresses in the entire world.
  • Design a recommendation system for products.
  • Design a toll system for highways.
  • Design URL Shortener.
  • Design Instant Messenger.
  • Design Elevator system.
  • Design distribute caching system.
  • Design Amazon Locker Service.
  • Design Amazon Best Seller Item Service.
  • Tell me about your most innovative project?
  • Tell me about a time you handled pressure.
  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict with your manager.
  • Tell me about time you took a risk and you failed?
  • Tell me about the time when you took an initiative to solve a complex problem.
  • How did you handle a task where you had a deadline that you couldn’t meet?
  • Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.
  • Tell me time when you have to make a pivot and choose a different approach or solution.
  • Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.
  • Tell me about the time when you had to learn something new.
  • Tell me about a time you had an innovative idea that had a positive impact.
  • Tell me about a time you had to work with a difficult coworker.
  • Tell me about a time you had made an organization wide change.

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