During the Amazon interview, you should absolutely expect behavioral interview questions based on Amazon's Leadership Principles.
The Amazon recruiter may recommend that you prepare for the interview using the STAR method.
In this article, I'll explain what STAR is, how to use it, and what you should do before an Amazon interview.
What is the STAR Method?
STAR is a Way to Answer Behavioral Questions
The STAR method is a structured way of answering behavioral interview questions. Behavioral interview questions usually start with "Tell me a time..." or "Give me an example..."
By having you share an example from your past, Amazon interviewers hope to deduce how you might perform on the job in the future. It's reasonable to expect that if you were put in a similar situation, you would do no worse than how you performed in the past.
Here are some examples of behavioral interview questions, relevant to Amazon:
- Customer Obsession. Walk us through a time when you helped a customer through a difficult process and what that looked like.
- Frugality. Tell me a time when you came up with a clever way to save money for the company.
STAR Method Defined
STAR stands for:
- Situation. What was the situation you or your previous employer faced?
- Task. What tasks were involved?
- Action. What actions did you take?
- Results. What were the results of those actions?
Here's an example, recently featured in The Guardian, of what it sounds like when applying the STAR Method in the interview:
- Situation: “A customer rang up complaining that they’d waited more than two weeks for a reply from our sales team regarding a product query.”
- Task: “I needed to address the client’s immediate query and find out what went wrong in the normal process.”
- Activity: “I apologised, got the details and passed them to our head salesperson, who contacted the client within the hour. I investigated why the query hadn’t been answered. I discovered that it was a combination of a wrong mobile number and a generic email address that wasn’t being checked. I let the client know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order.”
- Result: “The client not only continued to order from us but posted a positive customer service tweet.”
Why does Amazon want you to use the STAR Method?
STAR Method is a good checklist to ensures your stories are complete and satisfying. Your time is precious, and their time is precious. Last thing the Amazon recruiting team wants is to miss out on a great candidate becuase you've had trouble explaining
What should you do before the interview?
- Brainstorm one interview story for each one of the Amazon Leadership Principles.
- Format your story so that it follows a framework whether it's the STAR method or my personal favorite, the DIGS Method™.
- Practice your stories with a partner. If you're looking for a practice partner, you can try finding one here.