Getting ready for a product manager interview is usually very nerve-wracking since you may be bombarded with tons of complex questions. When it comes to larger organizations like Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Apple, it can be harder. The largest organization among them is Amazon, and to prepare for it, you need to practice with various Amazon product manager interview questions.
In this article, we will cover the following to help you prepare for your Amazon product manager interview:
- The complete interview timeline and process
- Typical Amazon product manager interview questions
- Tips for interview preparation at the end
Let’s dive right in.
The Complete Amazon PM Interview Timeline and Process
The entire Amazon interview process and timeline can be summed into seven steps that can take between 4-6 weeks.
The recruiters at Amazon tend to follow the same process and timeline for most product management jobs. However, the product manager job usually requires a little more effort from hiring managers as the PM role is one of the most important at Amazon.
If you ask Amazon employees, they all go through rigorous interview processes, such as software development managers, technical program managers, or senior product managers.
Furthermore, the process is similar regardless of where you apply; for example, if you apply in Amazon Austin, New York City, Seattle, or even in small cities like Fargo, or internationally in countries like Singapore.
In any case, the following seven steps are how the average Amazon PM interview process goes.
- Step One – The prospective candidate submits their resume, cover letter, and any relevant referrals.
- Step Two – The HR recruiter will email, call, or do both to contact the candidate.
- Step Three – There will be a series of phone screens; two phone interviews where you answer questions of a basic nature.
- Step Four – The hiring manager assigns a take-home exercise of one or two pages.
- Step Five – The last interview is actually a series of onsite interviews that can range from six to seven interviews with various employees.
- Step Six – The hiring committee reviews the entire application and interviewer recommendations.
- Step Seven – The candidate will receive an offer.
Amazon hires around 800 to 1000 product managers each year across the US. You can apply to multiple product manager jobs at any given time. Always make a note to use an effective product manager resume guide to develop your resume and use product manager cover letter templates to create customized cover letters.
Amazon Product Manager Interview Questions
Massive tech companies like Amazon have tons of products that require several product managers working together. Everything from Amazon Prime, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Kindle require multiple product managers.
You can check out Amazon product manager interview questions submitted by employees on Glassdoor and to get an idea. The following list is a summation of all the Amazon product manager interview questions, including various phone and site interview questions. It can be hard to nail your dream job at Amazon down, but you can prepare for it effectively.
It’s best to decode and conquer each type of question before going for your interview.
A large part of the Amazon product manager interview process relies on Amazon’s Leadership Principles. Set forth by Jeff Bezos, the 14 Leadership Principles are a test for every product manager, and the questions around it account for more than half the interview questions.
The following are Amazon’s Leadership Principles, along with examples.
- Customer Obsession – Give an example of any customer feedback recommendation you gave.
- Bias for Action – Rewind any moment in your career where you found it hard to meet a deadline.
- Invent and Simplify – Describe and explain the most innovative idea you’ve had for a product.
- Are Right, A lot – Is there a time where you ran a successful project that didn’t have much support?
- Think Big – What’s your most significant and noteworthy achievement, and why?
- Frugality – Has there been an instance where you were successful with a project without any resources or a budget.
- Insist on the Highest Standards – Describe your process for ensuring standards when delivering projects and products.
- Ownership – What is that one time where you made a crucial decision without approval from upper management?
- Have Backbone, Disagree and Commit – Do you remember a time where you disagreed with your manager or boss?
- Dive Deep – What is the most complex product you’ve managed?
- Deliver Results – Describe any project, your role in it, how you managed it, and what the outcome was.
- Hire and Develop the Best – Was there a time when you hired or trained people smarter than you?
- Learn and Be Curious – What is the most recent thing you’ve learned in product management?
- Earn Trust – What’s the best way to deal with coworkers or employees who turn up late?
Make sure you go through each principle thoroughly.
The second most important responsibility of product managers is to develop a product vision and product roadmap. It’s crucial to make them realistic and achievable; you can use SMART goals to describe them.
The idea behind strategy questions is to check how well you can adjust to changing conditions and new products. Recruiters also assess what aspects you take into account when making crucial product decisions. Some of those aspects can include marketing, pricing, competition, and more.
In any case, your answers to strategy questions should showcase a structured approach and excessive creativity. The following are some of the typical Amazon product manager interview questions related to strategy.
- What exactly is the Amazon business model, and why does it work?
- If Amazon had to acquire one company, what would it be, and why?
- Should Amazon targeting e-commerce stores for more reach?
- Amazon is about to be introduced in a new country; what’s the best way to do so without being too direct.
- Does the pricing of Amazon Prime or Kindle seem too high? Should it change? In what way and why?
Each strategy question will be based on a singular product and problem that’s occurring daily.
Product managers need to be quick thinkers and find patterns and develop estimates. Estimation questions don’t necessarily require the right answer, but an estimate close to the right answer.
Recruiters also check how you develop your estimates and the process you’ve used. The more assumptions you make, the less likely your answer is right. It’s also advisable to make use of complex calculations, such as standard deviation, and avoid simple calculations.
There is a certain pattern to the Amazon product manager interview questions that can be seen in most interviews. The primary subject may change, but the general idea would remain the same.
The following is a list of some of the common estimation questions.
- How many people use AWS each year on average?
- What’s Amazon Prime’s market share in the streaming industry?
- How much does the average Amazon buyer spend on Amazon products?
- What do you think is the price of maintaining entire Amazon servers?
- Out of all the people in the world, how many would have used Amazon or heard of them?
Answering these questions provides a rough estimate of who you are as a person, and whether you’re a good fit.
Product managers need to be able to conduct proper tests using tangible data. Product managers usually have at least three KPIs to follow for success.
It’s imperative to understand various metrics and data analysis techniques. You may be asked to present complete answers to each question, including explaining each metric.
In any case, you can expect the following questions during your Amazon product manager interview.
- How would you measure the success of AWS for SMEs?
- Is launching a new and improved Kindle a good choice?
- How would you determine what show Amazon can invest in for a TV show?
- Is Amazon’s revenue extremely high, or are they saving on costs?
Each analysis question requires a well-crafted reason with your answer.
Product Design Questions
Product design is an important part of product management because it allows PMs to develop new product features. At the same time, you can also work on improving any current product.
The idea behind product design questions is to assess your overall creativity, customer empathy, and the ability to use a structured approach.
While other companies have a greater focus on product design questions, Amazon considers it not so important. However, such questions are still repeated in the interview.
The following is a list of the common product design questions.
- Name any product you love and any product you absolutely despise and explain your reasoning for both cases.
- Provide recommendations on how to improve key Amazon products, such as the Kindle, Amazon Prime, and more.
- Think of any non-Amazon product and explain how you would make it better or improve upon it?
- How do you design a product that’s catered to a specific group of people?
Each answer to these questions can be a bar raiser for you. It’s best to make sure you get your answers consistent. For that, you may need to do continuous mock interviews.
While technical questions may seem like they are under the domain of technical product managers, it’s not entirely true. Product managers are also expected to have a decent amount of technical understanding and experience.
You won’t get any direct coding-related questions, but you may have to explain concepts in great detail.
Therefore, each technical question in the interview may seem out of place, but when you look closely, you can answer them easily. The following questions are some of the more technical questions asked in Amazon product manager interviews.
- How does Amazon Web Services (AWS) work, and how can you utilize it?
- Explain the concept and model of AWS to a 14-year old freshman?
- Use an analogy to explain any complex product management concept to a 65-year old retiree.
- Explain the idea behind ACID transactions?
- How would you set up and implement a scalable web service architecture?
You don’t have to necessarily use technical jargon to explain your answers.
You may also get some typical questions that are there to assess how ready you are for the interview. Some of those questions may include the following.
- Tell me about yourself in one line?
- Why Amazon? What makes Amazon a good choice for furthering your product management career?
- Do you believe Amazon product managers get the exposure they need at their jobs?
You can necessarily prepare for these questions. However, your answers should feel fluid and natural.
It’s best to read up and go through various Amazon product manager interview questions to prepare for your interview. Your skills, abilities, and capabilities play a huge role, but you need to articulate that effectively.
On the side, you should consider developing new skills, getting certifications, and doing mock interviews. You can also go through typical product manager interview questions to cover all fronts.
In any case, when you believe you can answer most, if not all, of the questions, you should consider going for an interview. Keep in mind that Amazon product manager interview questions change each year; therefore, you should update yourself on the latest Amazon best practices and products.
Have thoughts that you'd like to contribute around the associate product manager role? Chat with other product leaders around the world in our PMHQ Community!