How to ace your Amazon interview. Eventually. | KUOW News and Information

How to ace your Amazon interview. Eventually.

Dec 12, 2017

Amazon has 3,500 jobs available in Seattle right now. That’s down from what we’ve seen over the last few years. But it’s still a lot of growth.

Even though Amazon competes with other software companies for talent, it remains very picky.

KUOW's Carolyn Adolph met one frequent job candidate in a coffee shop in Georgetown.

His name is Sameer Arshad, and he’s interviewed at Amazon a few times. “Every time I interview for Amazon, they turn me down, and they say, ‘Oh, you’re not a culture fit. Sorry.’”

The interview is famously intense. But when you fail at an Amazon interview, you can get many more chances.

“It’s not a one-and-done scenario,” said Reilly Whiting, a former Amazon recruiter who now recruits at the Seattle startup OfferUp.  “If you come in and you interview, and you don’t do well, that’s not the end of the road."

With some preparation, people can better their chances, Whiting said. “Think about the questions you were asked. Think about how you answered the question. And then think about how you can improve upon that for next time.”

Arshad is willing to keep playing that game. “I’m okay with this,” he said, shrugging.  “I’m happy to come in and interview in another part of the company and learn more about this company.”

But, he said, he’s not sure it’s a good fit for him.  From the outside, it seems to be a demanding culture: “Give us your evenings and weekends sometimes. Work on call once every five weeks. Give us your life.”

Arshad has many opportunities to reevaluate: He said he receives emails from Amazon recruiters every month or so.

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