14 Amazon Leadership Principles Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

amazon leadership principles interview questions

Do you want to start a job at Amazon? The company recently hit a market value of one trillion dollars and is constantly looking for new talent to join its ranks. Regardless of what position you are aiming for, you need to prepare for the Amazon leadership principles interview questions.

What Are the Amazon Leadership Principles?

Written by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the Amazon leadership principles provide the framework for all operational activities in the company. They establish a corporate culture that encourages competition, challenge, and a customer-centric mindset. Much of the company’s success is attributed to the implementation and close following of those principles.

The Amazon leadership principles interview questions aim to check whether you are a good fit for the company’s rather unique corporate culture.

Common Amazon Leadership Principles Interview Questions

There are a total of 14 Amazon leadership principles, and you are guaranteed to be asked questions based on some of them. Of course, it all depends on the position you are pursuing and your past work experience. Let’s take a look at some common Amazon leadership principles interview questions for each of the principles and what answers you are expected to give in order to succeed.

1. Customer Obsession

“Tell us of a time when you failed to meet a customer’s expectations. What exactly happened, and what did you do to fix the situation?”

One of the fundamental principles at Amazon is that customers come first. Prepare a story that shows you going the extra mile to fix a problematic situation with a client — we all have one of those. Make sure your story is genuine, and elaborate on how you took responsibility and resolved the situation to the client’s satisfaction.

2. Ownership

“Give us an example of a time when you took on a task beyond your usual responsibilities.”

“That is not my job” is not a phrase you will hear at Amazon. Employees represent and work for the company, so no task should be beneath or above them. Give an example of a situation that shows you taking the initiative and working towards your company’s betterment, even though it was not in your usual line of work.

3. Invent and Simplify

“Tell us about a time when you altered a work process, either through innovation or simplification.”

Employees at Amazon are expected to always be looking for new ideas and ways to improve the processes within the company. Share a story of how you invented something or found a simple solution to an otherwise complex problem.

4. Are Right, A Lot

“Give us an example of an occasion when you were wrong.”

Leaders are smart and have great instincts and strong judgment. However, they need to own up to their mistakes and learn from them. We have all been wrong at least once in our career — pick an occasion that shows you and your company eventually benefiting from your mistake.

5. Learn and Be Curious

“Tell us about a time when you inspired change only through asking questions.”

Amazon got to where it is by constantly learning, discovering, and improving. Tell a story that shows how a company benefited from your curiosity and attention to detail. Show how proactive you can be and how your observational skills helped your company thrive.

6. Hire and Develop the Best

“What is the best hire you have ever made?”

Leaders at Amazon are expected to recognize talent and develop new leaders. Think about who your best hire was and what you did to coach, develop, and train them. Pick someone who went on to be an exceptional asset to your company, thanks to your mentoring skills.

7. Insist on the Highest Standards

“Tell us of an occasion when you motivated your team to go the extra mile.”

Employees at Amazon need to have exceptionally high standards and always seek ways to move the bar even further. Give an example of a situation where your leadership drove your team to improve a product, service, or work process. Also, show that you have the ability to constantly raise the bar.

8. Think Big

“What is the professional achievement you are most proud of?”

Amazon is not a place for people who do not aspire for greatness. If you think small, you will remain small. Think about an achievement that showcases both your skills and your desire to leave a mark. Prove that you are an asset to any company.

9. Bias for Action

“Give us an example of a time when you recognized a problem and took steps to fix it instead of waiting for someone else to take care of it.”

Taking risks is part of Amazon’s corporate culture. Many decisions are reversible, and acting quickly is essential in business. Share a story of a time when you recognized a problem and took the initiative to fix it yourself. It does not matter if you succeeded or not — this question is all about you proving that you are proactive and willing to go fast.

10. Frugality

“Tell us of an occasion when you had to work with limited resources and time.”

Another important tenet at Amazon is that you must be capable of accomplishing more with less. Limitations encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Give an example of a time when you were constrained, yet managed to provide exceptional results despite the situation.

11. Earn Trust

“Which of your qualities do you value the least?”

Leaders need to be self-critical and vocal about it. Also, they do not fear being embarrassed by their own shortcomings, but acknowledge them and work to better themselves. Be candid about your less-than-perfect qualities and how they affect your work.

12. Dive Deep

“What was the most complex and difficult task you have ever worked on?”

Amazon values attention to detail, constant monitoring, and skepticism towards metrics. Give an example of an exceptionally difficult task that you are proud of having completed.

13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

“Give us an example of a time when you challenged the established work order.”

Employees at Amazon are expected to be vocal about their opinions and challenge decisions they do not agree with. You should not make compromises in order to keep things peaceful. Share a story where you did just that in order to improve the workflow within a company.

14. Deliver Results

“What do you consider the most difficult situation in your professional life so far? How did you approach it, and how did you deal with it?”

KPIs are extremely important. Even if there are setbacks, employees at Amazon must deliver the best possible results on time. Think of a situation where you managed to succeed despite insurmountable odds.

How to Prepare for the Amazon Leadership Principles Interview Questions

Take the time to study each of the principles, and come up with specific examples from your career where you have demonstrated the company’s values. Make sure your stories are relevant and show you in the best light.

Of course, do not be afraid to admit to making mistakes — make sure you elaborate on the important lessons they taught you. Preparing for the Amazon leadership principles interview questions will ensure you make the right impression and get the job you want.

Nicole Middleton
Nicole calls herself a typical millennial girl and thrives on her share of social media, celebrity gossip, and all things viral content. She’s a big fan of pop music and plays the guitar as a hobby.