#1 Amazon Interview Mistake

published on 15 September 2021

We’re going to focus on the top1 of the Amazon interview mistakes candidates make and it actually falls into two parts.

Part 1 – Amazon interview mistake

It’s not having results. Yes that's my #1 observed of all Amazon interview mistakes. Amazon, indeed any employer is interviewing you because they want you to deliver results for their organization. They pay you and their expectation is that you will return more value to their organization than they're paying you to be there. If you want to convince your interviewers that when you join Amazon you're going to do that, you’ll have to give them some real data. Explain how you improve things for your previous employers. It can be any metric. It doesn't have to be a sales metric or a kind of a customer facing metric. There are lots of people in organizations that do jobs that are high up the funnel that can't come up with those type of metrics. Some examples could be:

  • Time saved in doing a particular task
  • The number of people saved on doing a particular task
  • The efficiency of a particular process.
  • Error rate improvement of a particular process
  • Increased accuracy of something

Anything where you can show it started at point A and ended up at point B because of your contribution.

Exceptions To The Rule

There are some exceptions to that rule. Some Leadership Principles are hard to come up with metric results for, for example Earn Trust. In Earn Trust examples you're likely to be talking about a scenario with a particular individual or maybe a group. Often that example is about the relationship and how you have managed a particular relationship. In many cases, it is quite hard to put a specific metric to improving a relationship. That’s OK and will be understood by your interviewer.

Part 2 – Amazon interview mistake

It's all well and good to present a metric but your Amazon interviewer is going to be thinking about whether, quite honestly, they believe that metric. They may decide to test the believability of your metric. To do that they'll ask you how you actually measured it. You must always be ready to talk about the methodology. You don't have to proactively mentioned that methodology, but you really have to be prepared to speak about it in case your interviewer asks you.

As an Amazon interviewer, on a number of occasions did catch out candidates on this point. My follow up question was often to ask how they measured their results and on a number of occasions the candidate wasn’t able to credibly explain it to me. That led to questioning my belief about the metrics that they gave me, which then undermined that candidate with me and sent up a red flag on Earn Trust.

A red flag on Earn Trust will be talked about at debrief and other interviewers will question the data that you gave them if they didn't ask you about the methodology you used. So have metrics to support your examples where ever possible and be clear on exactly how it was measured in case you’re asked.

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