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in Interview-Experiences by Expert (107,490 points) | 1,262 views

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It is possible to clear an Amazon interview in 10 days, but it will require a lot of hard work and dedication. A good way to prepare is to review the basics of data structures and algorithms and practice solving problems related to each of them. You should also research the types of questions that Amazon commonly asks so that you can be prepared to answer them. Additionally, it is important to practice coding on a platform in order to hone your skills. 

by Expert (500 points)
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Status: 10 YOE
Position: SDET 1 at Amazon
Location: Remote
Date: October, 2022

 

My recruiter said that no Online Assessment round was required, since the team wanted to fill the position quickly. I was then scheduled for a phone interview the follwing week with one of the team member.

 

Phone Interview

 

  • LP : I was asked 2 LP questions "Tell me about a time when...." . The interviewer also asked some follow up questions based on my answer. The questions were pretty generic, so as long as you have some good stories that align with the question, you should be good.
  • Coding: we started off with a easy problem using Sliding Window approach. I talked through my approaches and coded my solution in about 15 minutes. The interviewer then asked a follow up questions, and I was able to come up with a solution quickly after that. I was then asked to write some test cases for this problem.
  • This round went well. There was some time left at the end of the interview, so I was able to ask the interviewer a few things about the team, the project, etc.

 

Later that day, I received an email from my recruiter saying that I did well in the phone interview and I was asked to provide my availability for final 4 x 45 mins interview. I gave myself 4 weeks in between, and provided my availability a month later. After a couple days, I got a confirmed date and time for my final on-site interviews.

 

My recruiter was very kind and scheduled a 1 on 1 with me to prepare me for the on-site interview. She gave me some tips and pointers for how to answer the LP questions, and based on the level that I was interviewing for, which LP I should be focusing on more. Then we went over the details of the interview day.

 

Onsite Interviews (4 rounds)

 

Round 1

 

  • The interviewer was a senior QA on the team.
  • We started off with introduction and some LP questions
    • Tell me about a time when you face difficult challenge
    • How do you manage difficult co-worker
  • Then he moved on the technical questions.
    • I was given an existing website, and there are some new features being added to it. He wanted to know how I would test these features. A lot of talking through my approach, and different kind of testings that I could think of. Then I was asked to provide some test cases to test the GUI, performance, load, etc. I think there was something in particular that the interviewer was looking for, but I don't think I was able to figure out what it was exactly. We then had a few minutes at the end for me to ask questions. I forgot what I asked, but it was a very open conversation and she gave me some insight into what she was working on.
  • I thought this round went OK. It was not as well as I would have hoped for. I gave it 4/5

 

15 mins break

 

Round 2

 

  • The interview was my direct hiring manager
  • We started off with introduction. She then discussed a few experience on my resume, as it relates to the team that she wanted to learn more. I was happy to talked about my previous experience and provide in-depth explaination on the situation and what I achieved. This went on for about 15 minutes. Then she asked LP questions:
    • Tell me about a time when I take cutomer feedback to improve my products/services + follow up questions
  • After this, she moved on to the coding part with just 20 mins left. It was a problem focusing in Sliding Window. I was afraid that I would run out of time finding the most optimized solution. I explained my approach as brute foce, and asked her if I can started coding with this approach and then I'd optimize it afterward as it'd help me to see the problem better. She agreed, and I coded the brute foce approach. I provided space and time complexity. Then I stated that there exists a better approach that could provide constant space & time complexity. She gave me a kudo for identifying that. I talked through a few approach. I could tell that I was close to a solution but I was missing something, and she gave me a hint. With that hint, I was able to finalize my solution and coded it before time ran out. There was only 2 minutes left, so I asked her the keys to succeed in this role.
  • My rating: 4.5/5 since I needed a hint to solve

 

No break between Round 2 and Round 3

 

Round 3

 

  • The interviewer was a senior manager
  • He started the interview with OOD problem to display all files with a certain size or file type. I was unprepared for this type of question. I spent a lot of time asking for clarification, and just trying to understand what I was asked to do. I scrambled quite a bit, and eventually came up with a brute force solution. Then he asked me to do a recursive approach. Took me another 10 minutes to get it done with a few bugs that he helped me to fix. During this time, he also gave me some hints and I asked some clarifying questions about his hints/approach. A lot of back and forth between us. Honestly, I felt like I just wanted to dig a hole and crawl into it, wishing it was over. It was not my best performance at all. It was 30 minutes into this interview. We wrapped up this portion and he moved onto the LP.
  • Similar to Round 2, we discussed 1 or 2 bullets on my resume. Then I was asked this question:
    • Tell me a time where you missed a deadline
    • I provided my answer using STAR method and we had a pretty good conversation. Since my line of work in the public sector is quite different from AWS, there was a lot to talk about. I had 1 hr break between Round 3 and Round 4, we went over the 45 mins mark. Our conversation went well. I think he learned a lot about my background and how I would be able to apply my skill sets to the AWS team. I also learned more about the project, the bigger picture, what direction they were heading to. It was really informative for me, since there wasn't much time for me to ask the hiring manager about these things.
  • My gut feeling: 2.5/5 at best. Although I think I nailed the LP portion, I felt like I bombed the technical part. I was just glad that this round was over.

 

Took a break. Had some drink. Tried to calm myself down

 

Round 4

 

  • It was the same interviewer that interview me on the Phone Interview round.
  • We recognized each other, and had a quick chat, and forgo the self introduction. We started off with LP:
    • Tell me a time when you went above and beyond (or something like that)
  • This technical round was a LC Medium. It was one of the popular problem tagged with DFS, BFS, and Matrix. If you do LC, you cannot miss it. I explained my approach, provide space and time complexity, and quickly coded my solution using recursive. She then asked me to solve it iteratively and some follow up questions.
  • My rating 5/5.

 

Interviewed on Tuesday, received the offer on the following Monday.

 

Preparation:
I started Leetcode somewhere around May. I have been gridning it until October and have completed about 450 problems at that time.

 

  • Consistent is key.
  • First two weeks, I tried to focus on each problem types at a time to identify my weakness. I discovered that I really need to study everything. I do understand some of the concept already, but I was too slow to recognize the pattern, and solve it effectively.
  • Grind 75 / Blind 75 is a good start. I must have completed it twice before practicing company tagged problems
  • Don't try to memorize the solution. If you do it enough times, it'd become muscle memory. You'd memorize those pattern/answer automatically.
  • You should be well familiar with templates for Binary Search, BFS, DFS, Trees traversals, Backtracking, etc.
  • If you feel burnt out, take a break from leetcode, and prepare your stories for LP.
  • Try to have have 4-5 good stories for Leadership Principals. Try to have as much details as possible. Each of these stories easily could have 2 LP in it. There's a lot of guides, sample answers, and tips on YouTube.
  • I strongly recommend to find people to do mock interview with you. I was terrified of it. But the more you practice, the better you'd be speaking your thoughts, and translate that into code. I hated it but I have to admit that because of these mock interview, I find myself more comfortable during the coding interviews.
  • About a week prior to the onsite interview, I revisited Grind 75 and redid all problem there to ensure that I am well verse in these patterns/approaches.
  • I also completed interviews with Visa, and Google prior to interviewing with Amazon, so that helped as well.

 

By no mean I am a good coder. But I can tell that I am so much better than I was couple months ago. Same with the behavioral/LP interviews. I now feel comfortable just talking about my experience with my prepared stories that would fit into what they ask for. Interviewing is a lot about luck, and the only thing you can do is to prepare. Be prepared.

 

Good luck with your journey!

by Expert (107,490 points)