In this article, I’m going to discuss one of the most common questions asked during interviews at Amazon which is “Tell me about yourself.” Most of the people in my community have requested me to talk about Amazon, behavioral questions and Q/A.
I have started a series where I try to answer an interview question every Tuesday and coach my clients about how they should be answering. My 20 plus years career as a technical recruiting leader and trainer allows me to bring this content to you so if you find my tips and advice helpful then keep reading.
Adding Value to Your Answer
One of my clients who were asked to speak about them answered this question by adding their journey from a tech nerd to a developer to a TPM but I still thought there was something missing in their story. Most recruiters are interested in knowing how you added value to your career. Who have you impacted with your career? What is your ROI? What is your achievement in the area?
Recruiters also want to know how you were able to use your achievements to save company XYZ from losing money or potential loss. In addition to that, don’t forget to mention the kind of clients or customers you worked for in the past.
The ‘tell me about yourself’ question is a 60-second elevator pitch. To get more information, you can check out my first video where I talk about 60-second star methods.
I advised the client to frame a statement along the lines of something that tells the recruiter about their technical experience as an engineer and later as a developer. After that, they should mention their role as a project manager in the last APC years in which they helped startup as an architect solving some of the complex system’s problems.
Furthermore, it is wise to state your purpose of applying for the job position and link its relevance as an organic move from your previous jobs. Try including actual examples of the problems that you’ve solved.
Framing Your Answer the Correct Way
Instead of adding big words in one long sentence, you should learn to break them up into different sentences with credible examples. For example, if you have a background in the supply chain where you have upwards of one-year experience in a supply chain planner position.
In this case, it is important to highlight how many years of experience you have. You can also mention any operators you’ve worked with to exhibit your leadership qualities.
Mentioning your customers in the form of a one-liner is enough. Let the recruiters know why you’re interested in the position and give your reasoning for that.
Using the Right Titles
While framing your answer, make sure to opt for the more suitable word. One of my clients described themselves as a ‘highly skilled technical leader with 10 plus years of experience, expertise in mobile cloud computing and VF test automation.’ They also stated they had been a technical advocate for major telecom operators and had deployed complex solutions and solved various complex problems. The person could’ve opted to say ‘I’m an expert’ but that is not a very good decision.
The fact that they used the word ‘leader’ instead of ‘expert’ is a really good move. The next thing the client should do is elaborate on their role as a leader in the cloud computing and test automation industry. They can end it by mentioning the type of customers they have worked for and how they made a difference in their lives.
Preparing For an On-Site Interview at Amazon
Another person asked me for advice on how to prepare for a five to eight hours interview session. The simplest way to prepare for an Amazon interview is to include everything you talked about with other employers. However, this doesn’t mean you put all your eggs in one basket because Amazon will not welcome that. Prepare for your interview like it’s going to be anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour depending on the position that you’re being interviewed for.
The best way to do well in the interview is to answer those behavioral questions really well. Someone asked me if a candidate is penalized from future positioning if they’ve been rejected from the process. I have just the tip for those of you who have the same question. As soon as you’re done with the interview, note down the type of questions the interviewer asked you and think of the way you answered them and be honest with yourself.
Important Factors to Take Note of When Answering Interview Questions
Candidates don’t need to have specific interview questions as I’ve mentioned before but it’s important that they know their credentials extremely well. Interviewers ask you questions ranging from asking about your background and how you answer those leadership principles. You can also mention your management experience and talk about the most complex situation you’ve solved and how you have satisfied your customers’ needs in the past.
You should also talk about a time that you wish you could go back to and do something differently where you failed. Recruiters are known to ask a lot of questions related to this topic during the screening process.
But the most important thing is that you need to know your background exceptionally well and your achievements and what you have done to impact your former companies. And don’t forget about the leadership principles because it is truly the foundation of behavioral questions, no matter if you’re tech or non-tech.
Whenever you’re asked to tell something about yourself, make sure that you appear very concise and straight to the point and try to keep it to three sentences. If that is not possible then try to make sure that you have answered the question allowing the interviewer to have a look at your career and why they should hire you and what you promise to bring to the table.
While answering this question, you need to make a statement that helps you stand out from the crowd and allows your qualifications to really shine. Craft your words in a way that they add value and meaning to your answer. Try to really nail this answer because it will be responsible for setting the tone of your remaining interview. Make sure you don’t drag your answer and keep it concise yet powerful. Also, don’t forget about the behavioral questions and leadership principles when you’re preparing for an interview at Amazon. Amazon is one of the toughest and hardest environments I’ve ever worked in in my entire career but it helped me grow and I want to share my top tips and advice with you all.