I talked to Amazon 8 times before they hired me. Here’s what the notoriously difficult interview cycle was like and how I nailed it.

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  • Tara Larsen is a former administrative assistant at Amazon and Microsoft.
  • He had 8 interviews with Amazon before starting a job as an executive assistant.
  • Using the STAR method, she references Amazon’s 16 Principles of Leadership and demonstrating ‘Amazonian’ qualities during interviews will help candidates stand out.

Amazon’s interview process is notoriously demanding, and my experience was no exception. But I got the part and later became the interviewer myself.

Here’s what the hiring process was like for me and what I recommend to anyone interviewing to become an executive assistant.

I just finished my Amazon interview because a girl at the grocery store complimented my shoes.

Sneaker talk “I work at Amazon” (his) and “I have an Amazon interview next week!” (Me too). We swapped numbers and started texting, sending voice notes, all about what to expect in an Amazon interview. It’s time for me to convey the good.

So suppose I compliment your Doc Martens in the chip aisle, and let me tell you how to prepare for an Amazon-style interview.

My step-by-step 8 interview was as follows

The first was a phone screen with the recruiter.

I applied to You are very nice Amazon EA roles are cold. No internal routing. In the age of digital networking and LinkedIn messaging, I was surprised to get a call from an employer. I applied for at least 20 open administrative assistant roles and only got a response from one. I even had to ask the recruiter to resend me the job description because I couldn’t figure out what role it was for. I’m glad I asked because she also told me about the most important skills in the job description that a hiring manager would like to see:

  • Copy editing skills with attention to detail for preparing and editing legal documents
  • Familiarity with Boardvantage and DocuSign

Great, I had the chance to talk about my time as an Editor (admittedly, only for two terms) and was very knowledgeable in DocuSign contracts (as a productive college apartment funnel). “This is excellent,” the recruiter said on the phone. “He really wants an editor. This job is in our Legal department, so really mention your grammar skills when interviewing him.”

I always recommend asking You are very nice job related questions. Recruiters want you to be hired because filling a role makes them look good. Ask them if the hiring manager is looking for something specific to improve the workflow of their team or if they want any additional information not included in the job description, because the recruiter can give you some extra tips that might inform the position.

Next, you’ll do a single interview with an executive assistant like me. These conversations are important but most important. The EA interviewing you won’t be on the hiring manager’s team and has no stake in the actual hiring. At this stage, in my experience as an interviewer, we were told to look for someone with rapid competence, able to resolve unknown issues and act as the first point of contact on behalf of a manager.

After this conversation, the interviewer will reject or reject the made candidate by recording a few notes and choosing a thumbs up or a thumbs down emoji on the candidate portal. Yes really. An emoji can determine if you’re in an official loop.

This is where your interview experience turns into an Amazon experience: the interview loop. These interviews will include behavioral questions on Amazon’s 16 Principles of Leadership. Didn’t you hear them? Good luck forgetting them after your cycle.

My cycle consisted of five 45-minute interviews with the hiring manager (vice president of legal), three other Corporate Advisor members, and an executive assistant from an adjacent team.

Know Amazon’s Leadership Principles like the back of your hand

Each interviewer in the loop asked me behavioral questions based on two or three. Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles. Uses Amazon LPs (these are love abbreviations) to measure success within Amazonian culture. Be familiar with LPs, keep these in mind when answering questions, and be prepared to tell an interviewer which Leadership Principle you best describe.

Behavioral questions sound like this:

  • Mention a situation that required you to dig deep to get to the root cause. How did you know you were focusing on the right things?
  • Describe a time when you felt strongly about something but the team decided to go in a different direction. Did you hit the subject?
  • Describe something innovative you did and how it simplified your problem.

A Google search will show you frequently asked questions associated with each LP, and preparing your answers can help you feel more confident. But the trick is not to guess what Leadership Principle is behind every conversation. Even more important is to show them that you know how to execute it, using the LPs as a guide. They want someone who can row alongside Mr. Bezos’ moving ship, and the ability to act within their own culture’s measure of success is what makes an island stand out as an already functioning Amazon.

Because the Amazon interview followed the same format: (1) behaviorally-based Leadership Principle questions; (2) The STAR method (but later), the negotiations began to mingle. The only difference between each interview were the specific LPs that guided each interview’s questions.

At least twice in each interview, I let them know exactly which Leadership Principle comes to mind when answering a question. I wasn’t worried about whether it was the LP mentioned at the back of the question bank, because every Amazonian knows that LPs work best when paired with another.

I said things like “…where did I do some” Invention and Simplification,” or “…this reminds me of LP, Gain Confidencebecause…” and “…where I learned a thing or two about Deep Diving“They knew exactly what I was doing and it showed them that I was prepared by learning to interview like an Amazonian.

They won’t ask you for assumptions or brain teasers. Interviewers are required to follow this LP-based, behavioral question style, but the hiring manager can be freelance. Especially for an EA position, hiring managers often rely on other interviewers to gauge a candidate’s proficiency when asking conversational questions to see how well you can communicate together. My manager didn’t ask many of my behavioral questions and instead wanted to have a conversation with me to get an idea of ​​what our relationship would be like.

He asked non-business questions, such as whether I thought the written word had a stronger place in the arts or business (he saw that I had a degree in English Literature). I told him that art was my first love, but there is the power of speaking clearly, concisely and truthfully, which is invaluable in business.

“Clear, concise, and true. I like that,” he said, and I finally breathed for the first time in the entire loop.

If you don’t answer questions using the STAR method, a good Amazon interviewer will warn you until you answer them.

The STAR format is: Status, Task, Actions, Results. When answering a behavioral question, be clear about the situation, what task you are asked to complete, the actions you take, and the consequences of your actions. The employer will likely advise you to use this format in your interviews. Here’s what mine told me in an email:

“Be prepared to answer behaviorally based questions using the STAR Method (Status, Task, Action, Outcome). These allow us to better understand how your work history aligns with our Leadership Principles.”

To prepare for this, I made a list of work experiences that I would likely share in my interview and practiced speaking about them using the STAR format. Using this format has helped me to make clear the impact I’ve had in my past roles, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

A week passed after my cycle and they took me in for a final interview with EA and the organization’s Senior Vice President at number eight.

Although I rarely used Excel when I got the role, this EA got me questioned in Excel. I remember you asking me how to add the sum of multiple cells. It was basic stuff, but I couldn’t remember which keys did the trick. I made something up saying “Ctrl this” and “Command, change that”. This was the part I knew I stumbled upon in my interview process.

Fortunately for me, he didn’t ask any follow-up questions and kept talking about other software tools I needed to master: Salesforce, Visio, and Word (but the most technical Word formatting tools you think Amazon EAs use).

No matter the company, there is a certain camaraderie between EAs and you can use this to connect with your EA interviewer. In this latest interview, we talked about the nature of being an EA, the style of the executives I work with, and joked about how helpless they would be without us. Maybe even made for this Excel question.

Besides using the STAR method for an Amazon executive assistant interview and working on Leadership Principles, my biggest tip is to show them you’re an Amazon EA. You are the kind of EA who can adapt to learning and doing anything. EA capable of playing the role of Project Manager, Operations Manager and administrative assistant. Show them that you are a problem solver. Tell them how you’ve made a team’s life easier. Explain how you stay organized for yourself and a manager.

Preparing for an Amazon-only interview is the practice of what it means to be an Amazonian. This is what they really want; Joyful Inventor and Simplifier.

Tara Larsen is a freelance writer and editor.