How to Get a Product Management Job at Amazon
Amazon. What is there to say about them that people don’t already know. Amazon is the biggest Internet-based retailer on the planet by total sales and market capitalization. They started as an online bookstore, but since then, they have expanded into other goods. The latest project Amazon has been working on is harnessing A.I. and deep learning to create cutting edge products.
As the fourth most valuable public company in the world with over 150,000 employees, Amazon is one of the hardest companies to get a job in. They have a unique culture, and they work hard to find candidates that fit in the company. However, with so many employees, getting a job there is not entirely impossible.
Here’s how you can get a product management job at Amazon
To become one of the great Product Managers at Amazon you need to have about 5 five or more of professional experience in either product management, financial analysis, and/or marketing. Preferably you should have product and program management background and at least some experience in leading medium to large projects. However, these are only preferred qualifications.
To apply for a Product Management job at Amazon one does not have to know coding or be an engineer. However, a good candidate should have a good enough and well-balanced technical background meaning that he/she is able to collaborate with technical teams to implement solutions and can understand technical concepts, as well as, discuss it with technology stakeholders and leaders in the organization.
Depending on the position an applicant is applying for the qualifications change a lot. To apply, for example, for a Product Manager job in Retail Operations & Initiatives in Amazon a candidate needs to hold Bachelor’s degree either in business, engineering, marketing, design or related field and be excellent at using Excel or Access.
The main abilities which Amazon require are that the applicant is a good leader and influencer with business, operations and technology expertise. He/she should have the ability to own the long-term vision, strategy, and roadmap for the product, and be able to work autonomously. A great applicant will excel at problem-solving, knows how to work in a team and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
You don’t need to be an Amazon user yourself, but you need to understand that it’s a very customer-centric company. If you haven’t already researched how Amazon manifests itself in how they operate, do it now. Understand that everything Amazon does is done with the intention to add value to the customers.
Interview questions at Amazon
Some questions may be very technical, but mainly they’re behavioral based. They want to hear about your experiences and certain situations that you handled well or some that you handled poorly but learned something from them. Prepare for the interview by going through every big project you’ve been part of in the last few years. Evaluate how they were risky and how you made decisions.
Here are examples of some Amazon interview questions:
Skills — How can you translate your skills towards Amazon?
Leadership — What is your take on leadership?
Problem-solving — Tell me about a time you had a difficult job to solve.
Decision making — Tell me about an unpopular decision.
Innovating — Tell me about your greatest innovation.
Failure — What have you learned from a failure?
To help you crack the product management interview check out this webinar video with Dan Corbin, Senior Director of Product Management at Return Path.
The interview process
Amazon employs over 150,000 employees in 32 countries, in 133 locations and they are constantly hiring for new talents. They’re not only hiring online, but they also attend military events, conferences and university campuses to recruit people that are interested in tech. Here’s what the process is like:
- Takes somewhere between 3 weeks to more than 4 months
- Send out an online application or reach out to someone you know at Amazon and get a referral. Amazon also reaches out to people directly on LinkedIn or GitHub.
- Phone call with the recruiter
- Phone screen with hiring Product Manager
- Homework assignment
- On-site interview
On top of jobs, Amazon also offers internship programs for undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. candidates to do in the summer. They last about 12 weeks. There are plenty to choose from regarding disciplines, but for main parts, the options are:
- Undergraduate interns: software engineering, business analysis, or retail.
- MBA interns: management roles with operations management, program management, and retail operations.
- Ph.D. candidates: places in applied research teams.
Interns are not different from the full-time employees as they are treated the same. They get paid for the work they do and help with relocation. After the 12 weeks, the interns are very often offered a full-time job in the company.
Amazon Jobs Day
Amazon offers a huge amount of ways to get employed by them. They’ve made it easy. You can reach them from so many directions. Yet another way is their Jobs Day.
Amazon organizes a hiring event once a year in about 12 different locations. The purpose of this is to have an open doors session for people interested in working at Amazon to come and tour their fulfillment centers and observe people while they’re working. The doors will be open for four hours on that day.
By attending the event might get you a job at Amazon because they have on-the-spot job offers for full-time and part-time positions.
Going for a job at a such a behemoth company which also happens to be a household name is naturally a little intimidating. But at the end of the day, it is just a company, and it is just a job you are going for. So try to relax, and show them why you’re the best candidate for the role.
As well as making the above company-specific preparations, prepare as you would for any other interview. Think of the questions you want to ask, as well as thinking about what you’ll be asked. Be confident, act natural, and you’ll sail through.