Holly Lee Coaching

Landing a job at Amazon: Onboarding

Getting a job at Amazon is the ultimate dream. Along with the job incentives, the unique work environment, the brand name Amazon is bound to head start your career upwards. Say you got the job, you went through the entire recruitment process and proved your worth, what next? The onboarding process is usually the first step in your journey. Through this article, we will help abate your nervousness. You will find out what onboarding looks like at Amazon and how it is different from others! However, don’t fret if you are not already at this stage. We will also discuss the values that Amazon holds and expects in its recruits to help you ace the recruitment process.

Onboarding Process at Amazon

Self-service and self-driven onboarding

In other companies, Onboarding is guided and supervised. The new recruit is spoiled, I dare say, and spoonfed instructions. However, Amazon is different. The onboarding process at Amazon is self-guided. The manager is usually too busy to be present throughout the new recruit’s journey. What Amazon has done is that they have created a template for the manager to fill. They enter the recruit’s name, start day, position, team, their peers, their guidelines for the first week and subsequent one or two months, and so on. This guideline is then handed over to the recruit and they are responsible for walking themselves through it all. The guideline contains access to Amazon’s learning portal which includes videos, blog posts, talks, step-by-set guides, and even quizzes. Unlike other companies where onboarding takes place after the employee joins on the first day, Amazon conducts pre-employment onboarding. The amazon email access, employee credentials, and important documents are sent to the employees before they even enter the door. The goal is to get them to work on day one and not waste any time.

Stay on top of your game through improvisation

This is a neat, concise, extremely underestimated version of what you can expect from your onboarding process. The actual program is fast-paced, and you are required to bring yourself up to speed through the training materials provided and through socialization with peers. This can be very overwhelming for many new employees, some of them might be tying loose ends from other jobs when the onboarding material is given to them. Managers at Amazon are too wrapped up in their own work to answer each query of yours. However, through weekly personal check-ins, they stay in the loop and ensure you can comfortably communicate your worries and questions. As a new recruit, the wise thing to do would be to spend some time with peers who have formerly worked in your current position. Get to know how and what you should be doing, and get started. 

Now, this self-guided onboarding process does not work for everyone, and that is how Amazon weeds out the best people from the rest based on their specific self-driven values. An example of how you can perform well through onboarding is by improvising the template provided to you. See what suits you best, and how you can perform well within it. 

Experience of a new recruit at Amazon

A new recruit who recently landed a job at the Amazon Alexa Platform shared her first week’s experience with us. She explains that while she was with the recruiting leader during her first week of onboarding, he had barely any time to spare for her to get her up to speed. Everyone at Amazon, however, was kind enough to answer any questions she had. Though it was up to her to come up with good questions, and know who to ask and when. Within the first few days, she was already required to write an executive report for a senior manager in the Alexa platform! Long story short, if you are not a self-starter, you will not go anywhere in Amazon. 

Getting a job at Amazon Web Services 

Now that we have seen how the onboarding works, let us take a step back and see the recruitment process. You do not need a referral to get selected for AWS. Step one is straightforward: send in your resume. If the Human Resources Manager is interested in you, you will be selected for a Phone Screening. Amazon provides a complete guide on its jobs page for familiarizing you with the screening process. If you make it through the screening, you would be forwarded to an in-person interview.

Amazon Interview Tips for Diversity

The interview process is the best time to demonstrate who you are and what you offer to Amazon. During the interview, we recommend using the STAR Method: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Since all important companies, including Amazon, rely on behavioral questions during the interview process, the STAR method provides a coherency to your answer. Questions may include: Talk about the time you have resolved a complex problem or tell us about a project you are really proud of or Tell me about a personal failure of yours and how you managed its outcome. It is the person they are interested in. The skills the recruits bring, the values they hold, the initiative and creativity they radiate. These values are called Leadership Principles at Amazon and are the first thing you are screened for in the interview. There are about 14 LPs that Amazon cares about, and you must prepare for each of them.  The typical college degree is not the standard for recruitment at such companies. They need to see your education personified in you, in your behavior, in your manner of speech, in your thought process.

Who makes the final cut?

Amazon does not care where you came from. The Amazon recruitment process does not see the labels of the big shot companies you have previously worked for such as Apple or Google or Facebook or T-Mobile. Rather, many people from unheard-of companies have landed job offers at Amazon by virtue of their leadership capability and excellence. If you think you are a self-driven individual who is capable of working in this unsupervised working environment, Amazon is not far from your reach. You simply have to prove it to them during the interview screening process. The questions test the leadership ability, competencies, and behaviors you possess. You will be weeded out if you do not match the criteria. For Amazon, there really is no compromise on these values. 

Amazon Diverse Workplace 

Unlike other companies, Amazon has its own model of diversity and inclusion, patterned according to its Leadership principles. An employee should embody principles including an obsession with earning customer trust, taking ownership of the company, simplified innovation, strong judgment from multiple perspectives, a learning attitude, coaching others for success, relentlessly high standards, dream big, act fast, resourcefully frugal, respectful of others, work on all levels to get the job done, agree to disagree, and finally efficiency to deliver results. An employee embodying these LPs gets recruited, and diversity comes with them. What Amazon has done is to make structural changes to provide an equalizing work environment for people of diverse identities. In doing so, they have attempted to reduce any chance of discrimination happening during the recruitment process. If a person’s identity will not interfere with their productivity and efficiency, it doesn’t matter anymore. The highlight is their skills, not their identity. 

Since 2018, they hold annual Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) to discuss multiple perspectives on the inclusion of people from diverse identities—gender, race, ethnicity, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability, culture, education, professional and life experience, and other factors. Resultantly women lead some of their leading platforms such as Amazon Fresh, Amazon Web Services Public Sector, and Amazon delivery experience for the customers. As per official data, 29.3 percent of managers at Amazon are women, globally. While in their US headquarters, up to 26.5 percent of employees are African Americans, 32.1 percent are White, and others belong to Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and other communities. Amazon is continuously working to improve these numbers.


I will conclude this article, by reiterating the need to self-analyze yourself objectively and compare them to the demands of the company you are applying to. Some people simply are not suited for the unsupervised work model like Amazon’s. And that is okay! However, if you are a self-driven, capable person who can brand their skills confidently and take initiative, Amazon would be right up your alley. Beware, Amazon does not believe in diversity for the sake of politically correct diversity principles. They hire exceptional people, and these people bring diversity to the table. You have to earn your position on the table. Do your best, and leave the rest to your luck.