Amazon Behavioral Interview: Overview, Examples & Prep Tips

What to Expect on the Amazon Behavioral Interview?

The Amazon behavioral interview is composed of two parts:

The first part, which assesses your past work experiences and performance levels, and is similar to interviews at other companies.

Hiring managers will evaluate how you perform under pressure and handle difficult questions. They also might ask questions to check if your answers align with your resume.

However, the second part is entirely different. In this interview section, the interviewers will ask you about certain situations in your work history, how you dealt with them, and what you’ve learned from them.

They’ll expect you to answer using specific structure and methods (STAR, CAR, Leadership Principles). The interviewer won’t tell you how to structure your answers, but these have become standard on Amazon’s interviews, and they’re even mentioned on their official pages.

You can learn more about these techniques further down the page.

Why Does Amazon Use Behavioral Interview Questions?

Amazon believes that to be a successful leader, one must deeply understand human behavior. Amazon behavioral interview questions aim to test candidates' ability to think on their feet, handle difficult conversations, and make decisions under pressure.

They evaluate job candidates based on their prior experiences through behavioral interviews. Tell me about a time when you… This common opening for these questions centers on soft skills like leadership, communication, cooperation, problem-solving, etc. In Amazon's situation, a focus will be placed on the 16 leadership principles, which we'll get into more quickly.

How to Structure Your Answers for Behavioral Interview Questions

Preparing well for the behavioral interview is essential if you want to answer questions with assurance and differentiate yourself from the competitors. The outcome of your interview is influenced by your response and the "manner" in which you respond. Why does that matter?

It implies that you should organize your response so that the interviewers learn all the pertinent information. Additionally, you must be careful not to overshare! How can you get the ideal balance?

Use the STAR or CAR approach to break down your answers' format when responding to behavioral interview questions.

The STAR method is a way of answering behavioral interview questions that allows you to provide concrete examples of your skills and experience.

While in comparison, the CAR approach method is a way of answering questions that allows you to provide specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound examples of your skills and experience.

It should take about 2-3 minutes to answer each question.

STAR Method

The behavioral interviews at Amazon may ask you many questions about how you handled and overcame difficult circumstances in the past, like give me an example of a time when…

When responding to such questions, use the STAR technique to give recruiters the proper background, knowledge of the circumstance, and, most crucially, your insights and takeaways.

Let's analyze it:

Situation: Essentially, this section should address the "When, Where, and Why" of the circumstance. Recruiters should be able to get a good notion of the basis of your response from it.

What role did you play in the incident or circumstance? That is the task for this section.

Action: The "Action" section should outline your major action items and subsequent actions. It should try to provide the "What, Who, and How" of the circumstance for recruiters. Aim to explain your reasoning behind your choices and what made you choose a particular course of action.

Result: Discuss the outcomes of your actions as your final point. Include a list of the lessons the project or event taught you.

The CAR Method

The CAR approach is another way to respond to behavioral inquiries. Context, Action, and Result, or CAR, are used here.

The STAR method and this approach are very similar. The "Situation" and "Task" components of STAR are combined to generate the "Context" in the CAR technique. The CAR technique leverages relevant instances from your previous experiences as lessons for future encounters.

Amazon’s Leadership Principles

Customer Obsession

"Leaders start with the customer and work backward. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers."

The guiding philosophy here is "the consumer is always right."

It all comes down to having empathy for and knowing your customers. Interviewers are interested in how well you understand Amazon's consumers, their needs, the value of their trust, and how each choice affects their overall experience. This also means that you must have a grasp of your clients' personal and professional interests.


Tell me about your project where you prioritized the customer's needs. Describe a situation when you had to deal with a difficult customer. Which business offers the best customer support, and why?


"Leaders are owners. They think long-term and don't sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company beyond just their team. They never say, "that's not my job."

When faced with a duty that must be completed, you cannot be the person who says, "That's not my job!" if you want to work at Amazon. While responding to ownership questions, you'll want to demonstrate your ability to take charge, make difficult decisions, and take responsibility for your errors.


Give me two instances when you went above and beyond what was expected of you. Tell me about an instance when you went exceeded expectations Describe an instance when you were required to work on a project with unclear objectives.

Bias for Action

"Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk-taking."

Amazon prefers to gain knowledge through experience, valuing outcomes above user research and projections. This contributes to their ability to move quickly and provide goods to clients immediately. Your interviewer wants to see that you can make progress and take calculated risks.


  • Describe a situation when you were forced to make a quick decision without data. What was the result, and what would you change?
  • A moment when you introduced a feature with known risks?
  • Have you ever been assigned a project deadline earlier than you had anticipated? What was the outcome, and how did you handle it?

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

"Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly."

Any group of wise leaders will eventually disagree. Your interviewer wants to see that you know when to challenge assumptions and, if required, escalate issues to senior leadership. They also want to know that you can understand when it is time to move forward despite your dispute.

Demonstrate your ability to strike that balance:

  • Describe a moment when you disagreed with a coworker or management and how you handled it.
  • Describe a situation when you disagreed with your team yet decided to move forward with their suggestion.
  • Tell me about an occasion when someone criticized your work.

Invent and Simplify

"Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by "not invented here." We accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods as we do new things."

Amazon strives to promote an innovative culture in all that it does. You can demonstrate your capacity to develop answers when there isn't a clear option by responding to questions that ask you to invent and simplify. Additionally, you'll want to demonstrate your ability to quickly and efficiently implement complex concepts.


  • Tell me about a moment when you provided a straightforward answer to a tricky issue.
  • Tell me about a moment when you worked on a project and recognized a chance to do something more significant or effective than the original goal.
  • Describe a moment when you discovered a more effective technique to complete a task that someone else was working on. What message did you deliver to them?

Dive Deep

"Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdotes differ. No task is beneath them."

According to the Diving Deep principle, Amazonians are expected to identify the source of an issue and provide a lasting solution. No matter how much extra work may be needed, the staff is expected to. It emphasizes keeping a balance, refraining from micromanaging, yet paying attention to specifics.


  • Tell me about an instance when you had to use many data quickly.
  • Describe a project where you have to conduct extensive analysis.
  • Tell me about the most challenging problem you have encountered or worked on.

Are Right, a Lot

"Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs."

Amazon demands that its staff develop ideas quickly and decide with little information. Before taking a step forward, show that you can take calculated risks and are at ease in challenging your ideas. Show what you've learned from past failures while describing them.


  • Tell me about a situation when you had to operate with incomplete data or information.
  • Tell me about a moment when you did not adequately manage your project, and something did not get completed on time?
  • Tell me about a time you were wrong.

Deliver Results

"Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle."

Getting results doesn't mean getting the outputs at any cost. It is about having the necessary inputs to generate the desired results while making every effort to reach the objective. This principle is linked with the customer obsession principle and the insistence on the highest standards.


  • Tell me about the most difficult project you've ever undertaken.
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with pressure.
  • What type of projects do you now prioritize?

Think Big

"Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers."

This leadership principle is all about having a big-picture, bold vision. What may appear to be an insurmountable or unreachable task could ultimately be a huge opportunity. Describe times in your life when you accomplished something that changed the game, helped address a bigger issue, or helped you achieve great success.


  • Tell me about your most notable achievement. Why was that important?
  • Describe an instance when you came up with an unconventional solution to an issue and how you realized it required a different thinking style.
  • Which is the biggest project you have completed?

Hire and Develop the Best

"Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take their role in coaching others seriously. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice."

Every new hire at Amazon is expected to "raise the bar." Interviewers want to see that you're interested in hiring someone with more knowledge than you. You should show that you love mentoring younger team members and have experience maximizing the performance of top performers. This leadership principle is always discussed in interviews for highly senior technical roles that include team building or people management in either just just their own team or beyond.


  • Tell me about a time when you assisted someone in advancing their career and what it did for them.
  • Tell me about an instance when you advised a peer. What is beneficial to them?
  • Describe a situation where you had to step outside your comfort zone to gain knowledge or contribute.


"Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size, or fixed expense."

Amazon holds that establishing a balance is key, even though this principle may appear contrary to the first one about being obsessed with the consumer. Delivering more value to the client while cutting costs is the core of frugality. Everything revolves around giving the best under constraints. Saving money doesn't only mean cutting expenses but also saving time and resources. It all comes down to handling things effectively.


  • Tell me about a time when you completed a project successfully without a budget or resources.
  • When was the last time you found a solution to reduce costs or keep a process simple?
  • What are some approaches to maximize your finances?

Learn and Be Curious

"Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them."

Amazon requires continuous improvement across the board. You'll want to demonstrate your interest in new ideas by looking into how they might be applied to the position. The generic interview questions in some instances above allow you to address this principle.


  • What is the most interesting thing you've discovered and used in your work?
  • Tell me about your biggest professional mistake and the lessons you took from it.
  • Tell me about a moment when you quickly picked up a skill to complete a task.

Insist on the Highest Standards

"Leaders have relentlessly high standards — many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders continually raise the bar and drive their teams to deliver high-quality products, services, and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed, so they stay fixed."

Rarely is anything regarded as "good enough" at Amazon. They want to know how hard you have worked to meet challenging standards and how you plan to work even harder in the future.


  • Tell me about a time when you achieved a challenging objective. What helped you to accomplish this?
  • How do you ensure that your priority at work is always workplace safety?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed to complete an assignment up to your expectations.

Earn Trust

"Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team's body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best."

Trust-building is crucial at Amazon. This principle emphasizes finding the truth rather than being kind to others. Respect, accountability, and transparency are key concepts. Interviewers are interested in learning how you handle mistakes, including if you own up to them, take corrective action, or assign blame.


  • Describe a challenging piece of feedback you have received and how you handled it.
  • How can you get the trust of a team?
  • A coworker usually shows up late to scheduled meetings. How would you respond?

Strive to Be Earth's Best Employer

"Leaders work daily to create a safer, more productive, higher performing, more diverse, and more just work environment. They lead with empathy, have fun at work, and make it easy for others to have fun. Leaders ask themselves: Are my fellow employees growing? Are they empowered? Are they ready for what's next? Leaders have a vision and commitment to their employees' success at Amazon or elsewhere."

This principle, introduced in 2021, focuses on establishing an atmosphere that is the best for its employees in terms of safety, output, growth, fun, advancement, and results.


  • Please describe a time when you went above and beyond for a worker.
  • Tell me about a time when you noticed a problem that would hurt your team. How did you handle it?.
  • How do you handle a team member that doesn't perform well? How do you spot a standout team member and support their career development?.

Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility

“We started in a garage, but we're not there anymore. We are big, we impact the world, and we are far from perfect. We must be humble and thoughtful about even the secondary effects of our actions. Our local communities, planet, and future generations need us to be better every day. We must begin each day with a determination to make better, do better, and be better for our customers, our employees, our partners, and the world at large. And we must end every day knowing we can do even more tomorrow. Leaders create more than they consume and always leave things better than how they found them.”

Amazon wants to be sure that you have what it takes to make an impact based on your actual abilities and scales. That you understand that you are a part of something larger than yourself, like your country and community (both local and global.)


  • Tell me about a time when you worked to support a cause greater than yourself. What effect did that have?
  • Tell me about a time when you left something better off than you found it., no matter how small.
  • Have you ever encountered a moral dilemma at work? What was your reaction?

How Many Stories Should You Prepare for Each of Amazon’s Leadership Principles?

Ideally, you should have at least one story for each principle. However, if you only have a limited amount of time to prepare, focus on the principles that are most important to you or that you think will be most relevant to the position you're interviewing for.

Examples of Behavioral Interview Questions for Popular Amazon Jobs

Software Development Engineer (SDE)

  • Tell me about a time when you identified errors in a project and what you did to rectify them?
  • Describe a time when you had to use your coding skills to solve a difficult problem.
  • Tell me about a complex algorithm that you have implemented.

Product Manager

  • Describe a time when you had to manage a challenging product launch.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision regarding a product.
  • What is your experience with the agile methodology?

Area Manager

  • Describe a time when you had to manage a challenging project.
  • What is your experience with leading and motivating a team?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision regarding a team or project.

Amazon AWS

  • Describe a time when you had to design a complex architecture.
  • What is your experience with Amazon AWS?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to troubleshoot an issue with a complex system.

How to Prepare for Amazon’s Behavioral Interview?

Study the Role You're Applying For

The first step is to read the job description and requirements carefully. Then, research Amazon's business model and what they look for in their employees. Try to find out as much as you can about the role you're applying for, trying to create your own sample answer along with each question, so you can come as prepared as possible.

Learn About Amazon’s Culture

From there, you should learn about Amazon's culture and how it might differ from other workplaces. This will help you understand the company's values and what they're looking for in their employees. Amazon is known for being a customer-centric company, so it's important that you're able to demonstrate your customer service skills.

Remember That It’s About How You Behave at Work

While your skills are important, Amazon is more interested in how you behave at work. This includes your attitude, work ethic, and ability to work well with others. Be prepared to talk about times you've exceeded or handled difficult situations.

Get Used to Explaining Your Thought Process Out Loud

During the interview, you'll be asked behavioral questions that require you to explain your thought process. This can be tricky, but it's important to remember that the interviewer is not looking for the right answer; they're looking to see how you think. So take your time and walk them through your reasoning.

Be Ready for Endless Follow-Up Questions

Finally, be prepared for the interviewer to ask follow-up questions. They might dig deeper into a particular story or situation, so be ready to provide more details. If you get tripped up, don't worry; just take a deep breath and answer as best you can.

Should You Prepare for the Behavioral Interview Even If You’re Applying for a Technical Role?

Yes, even if you're looking for a technical career, you should prepare for the behavioral interview. Even though your talents are crucial, Amazon is more concerned about how you would act in different professional situations. This encompasses your attitude, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. So be ready to discuss instances in which you overcame or managed difficult situations.

5 Questions to Ask at the End of the Interview to Impress Your Interviewer

  1. What does success look like in this role?
  2. What are the biggest challenges someone in this role would face?
  3. How would you describe the team/department culture?
  4. What are the company's values?
  5. What are the next steps in the interview process?

Tips to Calm Your Nerves Before the Behavioral Interview

  1. Remember that the interviewer is more interested in how you think than the correct answer. So take your time and explain your thoughts to them.
  2. Get plenty of rest the night before the interview, so you're well-rested and can think clearly.
  3. Eat a healthy meal before the interview, so you're not feeling sluggish.
  4. Dress comfortably to feel good about yourself and focus on the interview.
  5. Take some deep breaths and relax to feel calm and confident in the interview.


The behavioral interview is an important part of the Amazon interview process. To properly answer behavioral interview questions, you must study the role you're applying for, learn about Amazon's culture, and brush up on your skills no matter the role you're applying for.


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