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9 Proven Do-s and Don’t-s for the Amazon Interview

Copyright © 2018 by Koalanda LLC. All rights reserved. For information or questions, contact

To Kerry.

The best rock-climbing partner I could wish for.

table of contents

about the author

Hi! I’m Nick.

In 2013, I joined Amazon and co-founded Amazon Game Studios in a series of direct pitches to Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. Amazon has since invested more than one billion dollars in the gaming space, by acquiring the game-streaming platform Twitch, developing its own 3D game engine (Lumberyard,) and building top-budget games in its internal studios.

I also became an Amazon Bar Raiser, one of that small number of Amazonians, who decide whether the company should hire a job candidate or not. In my three-year tenure as a Bar Raiser, I interviewed more than 350 job applicants and determined whether they raised the Amazon hiring bar.

Lastly, I was an Amazon New Hire Orientation (NHO) Host. NHO Host is the Amazonian with whom new hires spend their first day on the job. During that day, the NHO Host inculcates the new hires in Amazon’s culture.

In 2018, I left Amazon and $1M+ in deferred stock compensation to start a new company: Amazon Bound, to help prepare job applicants to interview effectively with Amazon.

Building anything worthwhile from scratch is scary but is also exciting and formative.

The future is now. This is the time to be a dragon.

what is your most valuable asset?

If I asked you, right now, what was your most valuable asset… How would you respond?

Would you tell me it’s your home? Or your 401k? Your real-estate investments? If you worked for a publicly-traded company, would you tell me it’s your employee stock grants?

Full disclaimer: I would disqualify any of your answers that listed intangible concepts like freedom, and family; like happiness, and health. These are, undeniably, the most valuable things we have, but that’s not what I am asking. I am asking you to choose your Number One quantifiable asset, in terms of its future cash-flow potential.

So, which one is it? I think that the answer is simple. If you are younger than, say, 60 – your most valuable asset is your Human Capital. What I refer to as Human Capital is the present value of your future professional earnings from the current point in time to the end of your career. Once you start looking at your net worth in this light, your professional outlook will change. It’s not about what you’ve accumulated to date, but about what you’ll accumulate in the future.

Human Capital quantifies your opportunity cost and gives you an unbiased framework to make future tradeoff decisions. Should you start a business? Should you invest in the stock market? Should you pursue a tenured academic career?

These are all valid choices, but how about a wholly different option? How about joining a FAANG company (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, or Google?)

Becoming a FAANG full-time employee is a no-brainer when it comes to investing in your Human Capital. And that is where I can be of service to you: I know Amazon’s culture cold and can share actionable advice to help you get employed there, if you really wanted to make that leap.

Another full disclaimer: becoming an Amazonian, first; and being a successful Amazonian, second; is not going to be easy. But it will definitely help your Human Capital soar. You will forever benefit from learning Amazon’s business and Amazon’s culture. And no one can take that away from you... Ever.

So, if you want to let Amazon invest in your Human Capital (by hiring you,) you should read this guide. It is a part of a broader program called Amazon Bound that I have developed to help job candidates get employed by Amazon.

This guide is most effective as part of Amazon Bound. However, even on its own, the guide will help you invest in your future self.

Good luck.

what is amazon bound and how this guide fits in?

9 Proven Do-s and Don’t-s for the Amazon Interview” is a smaller portion of the broader Amazon Bound program.

what is amazon bound?

Amazon Bound is a program that helps prepare job applicants to interview effectively with Amazon.

The program is designed by me, a five-year Amazon veteran, and a former Bar Raiser. Amazon Bound has three independent, yet related, parts that build on each other, like sequential steps in a larger progression:

Part 1: The Essential Course to Prepare for the Amazon Interview – By the end of the course, candidates learn to effectively present their professional experience in Amazon’s behavioral format. They also learn to confidently apply Amazon’s Leadership Principles when interviewing there. Most importantly, candidates accumulate a portfolio with written responses, all based on how Amazon interviews applicants today. The course focuses exclusively on Amazon’s practices but is likely to also help candidates interview well at other companies, which practice behavioral interviewing.

Part 2: The Complete Workshop to Prepare for the Amazon Interview – The workshop helps candidates craft their professional experience via Amazon’s behavioral SOAR (situation-obstacle-action-results) format. Candidates participate in Leadership-Principle case studies and write their top professional accomplishments and failures in the SOAR output. Candidates also present their accomplishments to each other and learn by doing, with instant feedback of what works and what to improve.

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
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