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I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Melbourne (Australia)) in April 2021.
Applied for the SDM role, an AWS recruiter reached out to explain the process, initial 1 hour screening meeting (virtual). After the call, the recruiter called to inform that the next step is the Interview Loop. I had to sign an NDA at this point. They also wanted to know my salary expectations written down in response to the same email.
The Interview Loop process included me having to submit a written essay before the first 1-on-1 interview. The whole process consisted of 5 1-hour interviews. The interviewers were a combination of SDE's (software engineers), TPM (project manager), HR and the hiring manager, who was also in the same role I applied for. The questions followed "tell me about a time when ...." and the STAR response format.
My overall experience was positive. However, your success will depend heavily on the team that your application will land with. There's no way you can see this before the interviews. I also applied for a role based in Australia. So the interviewees were from the Australian AWS talent pool.
In my case, I found most team members to be junior, except for the 2 SDEs. The 2 SDEs were awesome. I engaged well with them, not just for the behavioral questions, but also during the technical Q&A. Top notch talent. Unfortunately, while I was going through the interviews one by one, I noticed some interviewers lacked good listening skills, and generally not very experienced (including the hiring manager).
That's when I realized that I might have applied for the wrong team/role :).
No offer. According to the recruiter, although I strongly aligned with Amazon's leadership principles, I wasn't a good fit for the team. No surprises there.
It was a good learning experience. I always wanted to experience Amazon's recruitment process that everyone keeps talking about. The process was good. However, as a senior leader within a large corporation myself (in my current role) I can confirm that the interview process is flawed, and prone to failure due to individual bias and prejudices. So please do not take a negative result personally. It will not be a reflection of you as a professional.
If you've read somewhere that "Amazon doesn't hire for the role, they hire for Amazon." That's also not correct. Because the recruiter was not aware of any subsequent followup that will end up with my profile (+ 6 hours worth of interview notes they collected and a written essay) being sent to other teams for consideration.
Overall, the whole process took close to a month. Thankfully, due to the pandemic, all interviews were through video conferencing. From a total time commitment point of view, I spent around 6 hours on interviews, approximately 1 hour (in total) on calls with the AWS recruiter throughout the process and around 1-2 hours writing the essay.
I will seriously reflect on my observations above before either applying for roles, or responding to Amazon engineering recruiters in the future. I do recommend everyone try the process, at least once though.