How to Get a Job at Amazon
9 min read
How Hard Is It to Get a Job at Amazon?
First things first: Is pursuing a job at Amazon really worth it? What are the odds of being hired?
Working for Amazon is one of the most coveted career choices around, often with hundreds or even thousands of people competing for a single position. But don’t let that scare you off! There are steps you can take to make yourself the perfect candidate for your Amazon dream job. With a little research and preparation, you can be head-and-shoulders ahead of your competition.
Where Can You Find Amazon Job Opportunities?
Amazon is hiring all year, every year. Just visit their careers page to find job openings and decide where you might fit in their organization.
Here’s how to get the information you need:
- Enter a keyword or job title into the ‘Find Jobs’ bar, select your location, and hit search.
- You’ll then have the option of adding additional filters, such as:
- Job type
- Job category
- Distance from your location
- Business category
- …and more. (The more specific you are, the more fine-tuned the results will be.)
- Then, just click through the listings and see if anything jumps out! You’ll see opportunities for a wide variety of sectors within the company, such as fulfillment centers, student programs, and even remote work for Amazon or its subsidiaries.
If you’re not sure exactly what type of job you want at Amazon, look through the categories and teams to get a feel for what’s available. You’ll be amazed at the options!
You don’t have to find Amazon job options through their website’s job board, though. Other job posting sites — as well as their public organizational chart — will have openings you learn about and can apply for.
What Do You Need When Applying for a Job at Amazon?
Preparing to apply for a job at Amazon may not take as many materials as you’d expect. The two things you’ll probably need are:
The great news is that you won’t need a cover letter. In fact, Amazon doesn’t even allow them in an application. Just ensure your resume is up to date and you’re all set.
Even if you don’t have a resume, Amazon won’t write you off. While they recommend that you do include a resume, their website states that:
“If you don't have a resume, it is still okay to apply. Just be sure to fill in a brief description of your background, experience (with dates of employment), educational achievements, and skills. This information is necessary to evaluate candidates. Applications without this information will not be considered.”
Generally, however, references are more important. Anything that you can provide, such as a good word from a former employer or even a testimonial from a coworker, will help you stand out from the crowd.
If you want more guidelines on what you’ll need to apply, Amazon has published a new online guide to help prepare candidates for the application process.
What Is Amazon Looking for in an Employee?
The requirements for an Amazon employee can vary widely depending on what position you’re after. For example, some technical positions, such as software engineers, will require specific degrees, while other jobs, however, have less concrete educational requirements. That information will be provided in the job description.
But across the board, Amazon’s focus is on character more than anything else. What will truly separate you from the pack is found in their 14 Leadership Principles. Those principles include tips like:
- Invent and simplify
- Learn and be curious
- Insist on the highest standards
- Think big
- Earn trust
No matter what position you’re applying for, Amazon evaluates every candidate based on those principles. Study them, commit them to memory, and be ready to demonstrate how you embody them. Think up examples of ways you’ve lived those principles in your past, and share them once you reach the interview stage. If possible, have a former employer or colleague give those examples in their references.
In the end, that could do more to land you your dream job than anything else.
What Does Amazon’s Hiring Process Look Like?
Amazon’s hiring process is unique in several ways. Here’s the general flow of how to get a job at Amazon once you’ve applied:
1. Waiting Time
After submitting an application, all you can do is wait. If Amazon isn’t interested, you won’t hear anything back. They’ll only contact you if they want an interview.
You can check the status of your application by logging into your application profile for updates.
If Amazon is interested, they’ll reach out to you and set up a phone interview with an Amazon recruiter. For these interviews, Amazon uses “behavioral-based interviewing,” a system designed to uncover how a candidate thinks and behaves in situations relevant to the job they’re applying for. The interviewer will ask questions about past challenges and situations you’ve faced and how you dealt with them.
These questions are unpredictable and change from candidate to candidate. However, there are some questions you can (almost) always count on, such as:
- “Tell me about a time when you handled a crisis.”
- “Describe a time you had to think quickly to solve a problem.”
- “Tell me about a time when you failed at a project or task.”
- “Describe at least one way you’ve been innovative.”
- “What’s something you disagreed with a supervisor or manager about in the past? How did you handle it?”
Regardless of what questions you get, Amazon gives away the key to answering them well: the STAR method. STAR stands for:
In practice, that means that when you’re asked, “Tell me about a time when you took a leadership role,” you’d answer by giving a situation you were in, the task you had to complete, the way you completed it (in this example, through taking a leadership role), and the results. Amazon recommends that you abide by that format for all your answers.
The Amazon recruiter doesn’t have to be the only one asking questions, though. In fact, curiosity is one of Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles, so you can impress your interviewer by coming up with questions in advance. Ask about projects, initiatives, team culture, the scope of the position, or anything else you can think of to demonstrate your curious and interested nature.
3. Work Assessments & Simulations
If the interview goes well and Amazon decides to move forward with the hiring process, they’ll begin testing your skills and abilities. The type of assessments they’d perform will depend on what position you apply for. Broadly, though, Amazon uses two types of assessments: work style assessments and work sample simulations.
Work style assessments are focused on the company’s culture and the 14 Leadership Principles. Your interviewer will ask you questions to get a better picture of your work style. This takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete.
For its work sample simulations, you’ll have to complete tasks related to the job you want. This usually takes 20 minutes to an hour. For example, for a technical role, Amazon might arrange a video call and ask you to write or review code or perform some other task to demonstrate real skill. For other roles, they might ask you to:
- Explain data from a chart
- Resolve a hypothetical problem
- Answer a customer question
- Perform several tasks at once
- Find an answer that requires you to look through multiple sources
4. Joining the Team
What happens after your assessments? In some cases, Amazon may fly you in to meet their hiring team for an in-person interview and an opportunity to meet with your potential teammates.
If you’d like to know more about those teammates, check out Amazon’s organizational chart to see who you’d be working with and how reporting structures are aligned.
...And that’s how to get a job at Amazon. Sound intense? Well, it certainly can be. However, it doesn’t usually last very long — often only a matter of a few weeks or a couple months at most. You should always hear back from a recruiter within two business days of a phone interview and five business days of an in-person interview.
If you don’t, reach out and politely inquire about the status of your application.
What Should You Do If Amazon Doesn’t Hire You?
If Amazon doesn’t turn out to be an option after all, don’t give up on finding your dream job. The internet is full of job posting sites with openings for tech jobs and more. With a little digging and some patience, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
And if you’d like a little help, the public organizational charts we publish are a fantastic way to find the perfect position in a thriving company. Click here to find out what career opportunities are waiting for you.