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Emma Donery
Emma Donery

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FAILED INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE - Cracking Amazon without Luck

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It starts with "WE ARE HIRING"

After carefully reading the job description and checks off everything on the JD , gets satisfied with the requirements, culture and of course the awesome benefits, It's now time to hit apply. After a while, the email pops

"Congratulations, We have received your application and your profile interest us and we think you might be a good fit for the role. We would like to set up an interview with you?"

This comes with a lot of excitement, anticipation and anxieties. You prepare to rock and crack the interview and then wait for the next big thing (You're hired). Unfortunately ๐Ÿฅบ, that heartbreaking ๐Ÿ’” email pops up again ๐Ÿ‘‡

Purple & Blue Bright Colourful Retro Welcome Email Newsletter.png

Hello devs ๐Ÿ‘‹

Every one has ever received that rejection email right? It is often frustrating after having great hopes and high expectations. I have been there too. In this article, i am going to share my experience with Amazon interview process (which you already know i failed) as well as the lessons i learnt.

How I applied to Amazon?

Earlier this year, a recruiter approached me on linkedin to apply for a role of SDE1 at Amazon, i applied for the same. After several phone screens and assessments, i got my rejection email at third step. Despite feeling disappointed by the email, It was a very pleasant experience that taught me a lot about hiring, coding difficulties, and how to prepare for interviews. For me, a failed interview is never a loss, its always a lesson.

Amazon is always hiring. check out their careers page


Having some experience with data structures and algorithms, i went ahead to polish my skills in this. I decided to dedicate at least two hours a day to solve problems on leetcode and hackerank.

Interview process

Online assesment

Platform : HackerRank

Sections :

  • Coding (70 minutes): It consisted of 2 DSA questions.

  • Work Style Assessment (20 minutes): It was based on Amazons Leadership Principle.

I Solved both questions with desired Time and Space Complexity.

After two days, I got a mail informing that I have cleared the online assessment and my interviews will be scheduled shortly.

Interview round 1 ๐Ÿ”ฅ

My first interview i was extremely nervous. However, the interviewer was so AWSome (Intentionally ๐Ÿ˜‚) and composed. He helped me feel comfortable by strucking a personal convo which eased my nerves. During the interview, he asked a few follow-up questions on past projects. Then he jumped into DSA. He told to me that he will be asking 2 DSA questions and I have to code both of them. The first one was a straightforward (tree traversal problem) which i did not find a lot of hustle solving. Second one was a dynamic programming question.

Interview round 2 ๐Ÿฅบ

I was asked a system design question that i was not able to answer. I had no idea about system design but he was very helpful. He explained each and every requirement in detail but i could still not crack it. Bad Luck ๐Ÿ˜”

Verdict : Rejected


I was so optimistic about the interview but after i failed, i decided to learn from that. Below is a list of the lessons i learnt from my failed interview with Amazon.

Lessons and tips I learnt from the failed interview ๐Ÿง‘๐ŸŽ“

  • Research about the company before the interview
  • Being well prepared
  • Exposure and application of leadership principles
  • Application of data structures
  • Knowledge of system design
  • Theres More to Being Qualified for a Job.
  • Always have a backup plan

Research . Research. Research ๐Ÿ”

Before going to any interview, make sure you have enough information and knowledge about the company. On my case, i am positive i did do extensive research about the role. However, i feel like i never did a lot of research based on questions asked during the interviews, otherwise i would have cracked the system design question with ease.

Learning enough about the organization demonstrates your interest and dazzles the interviewer. You wish to find out about the company's ideals and history. Also, it helps come up with questions you should ask. This is one of the most critical parts of an interview because its your chance to impress the interviewer. Here are some of the ways i learnt on doing thorough research

  • Look for the company website and familiarize yourself with their services. Specifically, take a look keen on their "about page".
  • Explore their social media accounts to get to see their current trends
  • Googling the company name and reading any press releases or other information available.
  • Look for employees and chat them up to het to understand the company culture
  • Look at employee testimonials NB : Obtain as much information as possible about the role you are interviewing for

Being prepared

I was prepared for the interview but not in all areas. However, i discovered ways of preparing myself better next time. ๐Ÿ‘‡

  • reread the Job description
  • Revisit the resume
  • research possible questions and try answering
  • Stage a mock up - Practice answering interview questions with a friend or family member

Exposure and application of leadership principles ๐Ÿ’ก


Amazon is famous for its 16 leadership principles and you will be given a list of questions. Read all 16 Leadership Principles on the official site of Amazon and try to relate your real life incidents with the answers of LP questions. I also learnt how to answer questions based on the STAR method.

Application of data structures ๐Ÿ“š

When interviewing for tech-based roles within FAANG companies, having the knowledge of data structure and algorithms is a must. Many question revolve on solving a coding problem using the best optimized way possible. Having a solid understanding od data structures and algorithms, how to implement them in an optimized manner and where to use them is essential.

Knowledge of system design ๐Ÿ—ผ

Honestly, I had no idea he would ask questions on this topic. Even when i did my research during preparation for the interview, i came along very few scenarios where system design was implemented so i did not prepare on this scope. It just hit me by surprise. Assumptions are deadly. "Why is it that often the questions and topics you skip always find a way of locating and embarrassing you?"๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Theres More to Being Qualified for a Job ๐ŸŽญ

Soft skills are as important as hard skills. Hard skills should go handy with soft skills. Learning hot to answer behavioral questions in an interview is very essential. I read somewhere that " it is not the skill but the will". Some companies or recruiters go in search for soft skills and train hard skills later. However, having a combination of the two is a gain. We tend to focus so much on the hard skills that we forget we are humans and will need the soft skills in real life application.

Always have a backup plan ๐Ÿ’ฏ

It's possible that your job interview went quite well. You could tell the interviewers were pleased, and you felt good about the whole thing. However, whatever how well you believe the interview went, don't pin all your expectations on it. Always have a fallback strategy. After a job interview, don't wait weeks to hear back. Spend that time honing your skills. Sometimes a rejection can break your heart and diminish your morale. It's better to try various places,

Best Code Interview Prep Platforms

Final Thoughts

Most people let failure stop them forgetting that everyone fails at something

Henry Ford once said " Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."

Every time i fail on an interview, i get to discover on the areas i could have improved.

Make it OK to fail, if you want to succeed Xavier Dagba

See rejection as a redirection; a course of correction to your destiny.

A failure is only failure if you don't take anything out of it, and there's a lot to learn from job rejections. So, analyze the entire interview and pinpoint what might have gone wrong. You'll figure out a way to avoid such a scenario again.

Looking forward to hearing about your failure stories and the lessons learnt from them. Share your experiences and feedback on the comment section. I will really appreciate.

Let's connect ๐Ÿš€: Twitter | Linkedin | Instagram | Github

Happy Interviewing ๐Ÿ˜

Emma Donery is a software engineer passionate about data science and also a freelance technical writer. She love writing articles that inspire and help other developers become better at what they do. In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, nature walks and listening to music.

Top comments (3)

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Mim Ahmed

Thanks for share Emma

emma_donery profile image
Emma Donery

Welcome and Thank you too for the warm feedback

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Buddhadeb Chhetri

Thank you this is very helpful