Amazon's Hiring Process: Everything You Need to Know

Amy Culver |
Amy is our Lead Copywriter at Snagajob, where she loves to use her word nerd powers to help workers and employers connect. Her first hourly job was as a cashier at Chick-fil-a.

Thinking about working for Amazon? Not sure what to expect?

Everything to know about the Amazon hiring process

Last year, Amazon passed Microsoft to become the largest company in the world

And that was over a year ago!

Maybe you’ve considered applying for Amazon jobs in the past, or maybe you’re considering applying for one right now. Either way, applying to the Seattle-based giant can be daunting.

Don’t worry, though. We here at Snagajob salute you and, more importantly: We’re here to help.

Thinking about working for Amazon and not sure what to expect? Let’s take a look at the process.

The most important question

It goes without saying, but the most important question before applying to a job should be why? 

Why do I want to work here? 

If you can answer that, then you’re already in a better position to own the application and interview processes. And with a well-known company like Amazon, both are sure to test you.

Ready to deep dive into the Amazon hiring process?

Getting started

Ever heard of the Five Ws? They’re basic information gathering questions; who, what, when, where, why.

By now, you’ve answered who (Amazon), when (applying now) and, hopefully, why. It’s time to answer the what and where.

Amazon might be headquartered in Seattle, but they’re a global company. Whether you’re moving to a new city or looking for an opportunity in your current area code, chances are your “Amazon jobs near me” Google search will spark positive results. 

Beyond that, what is it that you want to do? The nice thing about employment at Amazon is that the company offers a diverse array of opportunities, both full and part-time, salaried or hourly. See for yourself here

You can also perform your search by “team” if you know the role you’d like to fill at Amazon, or if you’d like to do more research. Check out their teams today.

Once you know what you want to apply for, it’s time to do the heavy-lifting. That is, putting together an eye-catching application and preparing yourself for a potential interview.

Applying for a job at Amazon

Now that you know what type of employment at Amazon you want, it’s time to apply. The first step in this process should be learning more about the company.

Ugh, more research? Yes. You want to make a good impression, right? That means putting together a cover letter that highlights why you would be a good fit at Amazon. Not to mention tailoring your resume to the job function…what past experiences best align with the role?

Hear this from Amazon founder, CEO, and president, Jeff Bezos: “We continue to aspire to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and we recognize this to be no small or easy challenge. We know there is much we can do better, and we find tremendous energy in the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Meaning? Amazon wants ambitious and innovative people to help them reach their goals, and this is true no matter the position. 

Maybe you’re looking for opportunities with Amazon Flex. Perhaps Amazon warehouse jobs sound like your bread-and-butter. Or maybe your fingers fly across a keyboard like a conductor leads a symphony orchestra.

Again, no matter the position, Amazon wants creative people. “Pioneers,” if you will. People who don’t run away from problems. Instead, they devise innovative solutions.

Are you this person? Good. Once your cover letter and resume are prepared, it’s time to apply. 

Amazon’s application process requires you to create an online profile. Write your login information down somewhere, because you’ll need to check this profile to see your Amazon job application status.

Unfortunately, there’s not a set timeline for when/if you’ll be called for an interview. Pending the job, it might be a few weeks or longer. 

Regardless, it never hurts to always be prepared. Let’s explore the interview process.

Interviewing with Amazon

Previously, the Amazon interview process would feature both phone and in-person interviews. However, with the coronavirus pandemic, you can expect a phone interview and, if all goes well, a virtual interview afterward.

Did you get contacted based on your application? Congratulations! Remember that research you did when putting together your job profile? Do more of it. Now.

The phone interview is your chance to separate yourself from the pack. An easy way to do this is by knowing as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing with.

For example, Amazon lives and dies by what its teams call Leadership Principles. In fact, they evaluate job candidates based on these principles and how you’ve applied them in former positions. Take a look at the full list here

Amazon also likes to ask behavioral-based interviewing questions. These entail reflecting upon past challenges and how you faced them. A few examples include:

  • Describe a time you took the lead on a project.

  • When did you take a risk, make a mistake or fail?

  • Tell me about a time you worked on a team.

And guess what? We got your back on that last question.

Amazon’s a data-driven company, so be sure to take this into account when speaking. There’s a good chance that their behavioral-based questions also function as STAR interviewing questions, so let’s refamiliarize ourselves with the STAR method.

Answering questions with STAR

We’ve discussed the STAR method before, but if you can’t find your remembrall, here’s the basics of a STAR answer:

  • Situation: Quickly describe the situation. It’s best to focus on a specific moment, like an event or a team project.

  • Task: Explain the goal or task you worked toward. Think of this as the point in the narrative where you faced a challenge, deadline or obstacle. 

  • Action: Detail how you worked with the team to tackle your challenge. Be very specific, listing the steps you took to solve the problem.

  • Result: What was the outcome of your team’s venture? At this point, specificity is your best friend. Use specific examples with specific numbers, if possible.

S-T-A-R. The STAR method is a winning strategy when tackling interview questions. 

Prepping for the virtual interview

So, you destroyed your phone interview (in the best way) and are onto the next phase. Nice work!

Ironically, the pandemic environment has made the already nail-biting process of interviewing for a job even more stressful. This is because we’ve been thrust into the world of virtual interviews.

Don’t worry, though. A virtual interview doesn’t have to feel strange, and there’s several things you can do pre-interview to make sure everything plays out smoothly.

1. Do you research

Are you sick of hearing us say this yet? Sorry, it still applies. Each virtual job interview is different, so make sure you read Amazon’s procedures regarding equipment, dress code, etc. Give them a look here.

2. Prepare your space

Find a well-lit area in your home so that your interviewer(s) can see that beautiful face of yours. Not to mention, it’ll prevent you from looking like a brooding super villain. Always a good thing.

Make sure your space is quiet, too. Laptop cameras and audio tend to pick up background noise easily, so test your equipment beforehand. This will also give you a chance to make sure your internet connection is healthy and ready to work wonders for you and your future.

3. Take a deep breath

It’s okay to be nervous, but think of this as just another interview. Easier said than done, we know. However, consider this: Your interviewer? Same level of discomfort when it comes to this new virtual environment that we find ourselves in. Rejoice in that—you’re not in this alone. We’re all in it together. 

Feel better?

This has been your comprehensive guide to applying and interviewing at Amazon. And no matter the job, no matter the location, we want you to be as prepared as possible.

Have more questions? Let us know in the comments below! 

Interested in learning more about Amazon and its many opportunities? Check out the company’s blog here.