Holly Lee Coaching

How to answer Customer Obsession interview question | Amazon Leadership Principles (get any jobs!)

On the very top of Amazon’s Leadership Principles is “Customer Obsession”.

Amazon defines Customer Obsession as the following:
“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.”

From Amazon’s website

Out of all the 14 Leadership Principles, this is the most important. Every behavioral question must impact the end customer. Amazon’s obsession with customers is holistic. This mindset is the reason why Amazon continues to be a top global leader. 

In this article, we share the following:

  • Why and how Amazon is Customer Obsessed 
  • What you need to do to prepare for the interviews
  • How to answer interview customer obsession and behavioral related questions 
  • Understand how Customer Obsession fits into the Amazon Leadership Principles
  • There’s a video of Holly going into details too 

How Amazon is Customer Obsessed and why you should be too 

Amazon is the world’s most customer-centric company and they have done decades of research to reinforce their customer obsession philosophy. 

Their customer obsession philosophy is to have their leaders start with the customers and work backward. This allows the employee to understand what the customer wants and to be honest, most of the time the customer does not know what they want. This is where it is up to the employee to work out and decipher what they need and deliver to their needs. We must constantly be working out how to make our customers’ lives better by reducing their costs and finding their needs.

Interview Preparation: How to understand Amazon Leadership Principle and how to showcase Customer Obsession

Amazon Leadership Principle sets the foundation for behavioral questions and is not just filling a position for top talent. It is how these talents will come in and impact the organizations by implementing the four core Leadership Principles from Amazon. 

If you are in the job market these four core leadership principles from Amazon will help regardless if you are looking for a position at Amazon. All companies that are selling a product and providing services would have behavioral questions about their customers.

As you are preparing for your job interview specifically for Amazon or top tech companies you need to pause and think about the following questions:

  • What size is the company?
  • What is the scope of the role?
  • Do you have the right skills for the role?
  • Do you understand the environment?
  • Are you relatable?
  • And most importantly, do you understand their customer?

Prepare & Research: Invest in yourself, prepare for the interview.

Research is the key, everything you need to know is online. Do not wait for the recruiter to prepare you, get ready to make the recruiter’s job easy.

By the time you accept to have a conversation with the recruiter or take an interview you need to ask yourself have you done everything necessary to be prepared for the position in the company and do you have the credentials to back you up.

When you show up unprepared you’re not only wasting your time but you’re leaving a bad impression and generally when you interview with any employer and don’t succeed they’re looking at reinterviewing you anywhere between six months to a year or more later.

Imagine you didn’t make it through the interview process and you are a people manager which has a lot to do with leadership and customer obsession, you’ll probably have to wait for another year or longer to revisit with that organization.

Make sure that you do not accept a job interview until you are 100% prepared.

You’re competing with 1000’s of candidates who are applying for the same position. Preparation and research is key. 

Example interview questions asking about your customer obsession

  • Share an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  • Tell us about a time you handled a difficult customer?
  • Tell us a story of the last time you had to apologize to someone.
  • When do you think it’s ok to push back or say no to an unreasonable customer request?
  • How do you develop strong client relationships?
  • Most of us at one time have felt impatient when dealing with customers. Can you tell me about a time when you felt this way and how you dealt with it?
  • Tell us about a time you used customer feedback to change the way you worked.
  • Tell us about a time you had to compromise in order to satisfy a customer.
  • How do you get an understanding of what the customer’s needs are?
  • How do you anticipate your customer’s needs?

Two Resources to help with your research and interview preparation 

1. Glassdoor

You should use Glassdoor.com to find the positions available and the skills required for that role. Glassdoor allows you to look at specific companies, their jobs available, and their teams working around those roles.

Glassdoor can also show potential questions that the interviewer will ask, and some individuals who use the platform who have been to an interview with that company will give you example answers to use for the interview questions.

It is a great resource and right at the top of my list of websites that will help you get your dream job.

2. Linkedin

All recruiters will use LinkedIn.com to get a better understanding of the individuals who are applying for their newly listed jobs. They will investigate your connections to see who you potentially know and what your network looks like. They will also review the previous companies you worked for and determine if those companies will have any relevance to the position you applied for.

After doing your research on the company and the role, you would by now have a better understanding of the position and you must make your LinkedIn relevant to that position.

Storytelling around customer obsessions using the STAR method.

To stand out from your job interview, storytelling will help you stand out. Introducing you to the STAR method. ‘STAR’ stands for SITUATION, TASK, ACTION, and RESULT. If you use the STAR method for every single behavioral question then I guarantee you will have more confidence and a smile on your face in the interview. 

I would highly encourage you to craft three different types of examples using the STAR method for customer obsession questions.


What was a situation in which you had to work out what the customers’ obsessions were? Think of where the customer may have been lacking and what did you discover? 

Employers love to hear an area where you have failed or where you have done better because they wanted to see if you’re self-aware if you’re actually doing all your due diligence in diving deep in understanding what is the root cause of the problem


What did you task yourself to do with the situation at hand? What were the opportunities for you to tackle the customer’s issues?


What were the actions to get these tasks done? What did you do to help the customer?


What were the outcomes of your actions? What were your end results?

Holly Lee’s STAR Interview Accelerator

Are you feeling stuck on how to prepare for your job interview with Amazon, Google, or Apple? Holly can help you accelerate your preparation for your job interview with her 20 years of industry experience. 

You will gain confidence and clarity on landing the right role using the STAR method.

Find out more about Holly Lee’s STAR Accelerator!