How does Amazon make hiring decisions for interviews

Why was I asked general, non-technical questions during an interview? [closed]

I survived the first phone interview on Amazon last week and they asked some basic technical questions during the interview.

Today I had my second phone interview and I prepared well for another technical interview, but it wasn't technical at all.

After introducing ourselves, he asked questions like:

  1. Why do you like to program?
  2. What do you dislike about programming?
  3. What do you expect from a new job?
  4. In the last project you worked on, how did you ensure that the project was implemented according to the client's requirements?
  5. Was there a project that while developing it felt like the design was bad, and if so, what did you do to fix the problem?
  6. As an engineer, how would you keep up with the new technologies?

When I explained to him a current project I was working on, he asked me why we made a particular design decision and if it was my decision.

I wondered why he was asking me such questions. Since English is not my first language, I assume that one of the reasons was to test my language skills.

And most of the answers I gave him were very brief and since I felt like he was expecting more, I tried to think of things to say and ended up just babbling. Overall, I think the interview went really bad because I couldn't get my points across to him.

Why have I been asked these questions and what answers do the interviewers expect?


There are open questions. They are tailored to how easily you can describe your views on your practice. The main goal of these questions is to get you talking, not to test your knowledge of English (even if your communication skills can be tested this way), but to see if you are passionate ( Why do you like to program? Details of your latest Knowledge) Project? ) about what you do and whether you feel invested in your practice.

You will also be asked to see if you can create a distance and judge in your practice that you know your weaknesses. ( What do you dislike about programming? )

There are also some questions that can be considered OS detection questions ( Details about your last project? ). That's because the last thing anyone wants on a team is someone who is lying. So you need to research exactly what you claim to have done.

Then there are the questions about your development as a competent programmer ( How do you keep up to date with the new technologies? ) And your ability to constantly develop yourself without being constantly asked to do so.

Overall, these questions are typically asked to help establish a connection and determine if you are a fit for the company and its culture. It's totally subjective. The goal is to see if communication is easy and ideas can be easily exchanged. If you feel like you've done badly because that connection didn't work out, maybe it is better that you move on to the next company.

These are soft questions that don't have a right or wrong answer, but are designed to determine how you think, what kind of personality you have, and whether your personality fits your culture. This is something that non-English speakers as well as those from another culture can have trouble with, especially Asian cultures.

The biggest problem I see when asking these types of questions to people of Asian cultures is that they have a huge problem with admitting personal mistakes in thoughtful and positive ways. Many Westerners see the ability to admit their mistakes and suggest how to improve as an admirable quality (this can be influenced by Christianity and religious need to admit their mistakes to God?). Most of the people in Asian cultures I've worked with have viewed this type of introspective admission as an exceptional sign of weakness, and I can respect that point of view too. Not all westerners understand this.

Another problem I see is the inability to say no to a manager. This is another cultural difference between highly respected Western values, as we see it as more important to be independent and creative than to be submissive, soothing, or respectful.

These cultural barriers can be overcome by either side by respecting and better understanding different points of view and the strengths and weaknesses of the other culturally shaped values.

EDIT: My answer seems to have sparked some controversy, so I'll clear up a few points. These are not based on any scientific evidence or studies that I am aware of. My answer is based entirely on what I believe to be Asian studies, philosophy and world history courses that I took at university, as well as several close friendships with people from many cultures around the world.

I would also like to make it clear that I am not talking about racial differences, but only about cultural differences. In my opinion, the more we are aware of each other's background, the less we judge those who differ from us. I am not saying in any way that one culture is superior to another. If you believe that recognizing cultural differences is indeed discrimination, then I understand and respect your opinion, but I humbly disagree.

Regarding the reason , Why if they have asked these types of questions, I ask these types of questions in every interview I do. When I hire someone, I want to know how they deal with different situations, how they try to solve problems, how they deal with stressful / negative situations, etc.

Someone who knows a particular programming language is only a small part of the hiring decision. Knowing the future employees will make you smart decisions who is responsible for their actions, etc. more important.

As far as answers can be expected ... honest ones. I appreciate it when someone responds with details and is willing to admit their role (both positive and negative) in different situations. Questions like "What do you like about programming?" Tell me more about a candidate's personality than programming.

They didn't ask you any questions because you're not a native English speaker. Questions like these are typical for an interview. The technical questions are asked to learn more about your skills and technical background that you can bring to the team or company. However, companies also want to hire people who are well suited to the culture and who can contribute in other ways, possibly outside of their primary role, or grow into new positions within the company.

The questions about what you like and don't like about programming could be an indication of your work ethic and your ability to learn in the future and adapt to your developmental responsibilities. They want to see how passionate you are about the work you are going to do and make sure you are not someone who comes in, does your time and goes without enjoying the work you are doing. In organizational behavior, it is common knowledge that employees who enjoy fulfilling their responsibilities are more productive and tend to contribute to the team's performance.

Asking what you expect from the position gives the interviewer an insight into why you are looking for the position. You want to know if you are looking for a 40-50 hour / week paycheck job or if you have a passion for your area of ​​expertise. You want to know what your company is looking for in terms of personal and professional development and growth. Here, too, it is about a cultural match with the team and the organization. Companies not only look for employees to fill a job, but also contribute to the company's knowledge and skills. To do this, they need to know what to expect from a happy, productive, and helpful employee.

Questions about previous projects are designed to educate you about your decision-making, leadership, and personal interactions. This is partly technical and addresses concerns about your ability to make informed technical decisions or to learn from your mistakes. You will also identify your abilities to work with other people, recognize your own shortcomings, and learn from mistakes.

All of these questions also relate to your ability to communicate with other people about yourself and your wants and goals. Software development is as much about communication as it is about designing and creating software systems. Therefore, for these subjective, open questions, it is important to be able to think and explain yourself clearly to the interviewer.

From an interviewer's point of view, you should provide answers that are honest and complete. Don't go into every detail - the interviewer will ask for more if they want to. However, discuss enough to get an idea of ​​how you think, act, and respond to different situations. They want to know about that.

I'm a fan of examples so let's have some. Who would you most like to hire?

Why do you like to program?

  • I like to program because I like problem solving and computers.
  • I program because it's my job.

What do you dislike about programming?

  • I don't like programming alone, I prefer to work in a team.
  • I don't like commenting, unit testing, and using VCS.

What do you expect from a new job?

  • I expect to be challenged, learn, and succeed in my new job.
  • I expect a wage increase.

The other answers explained why these questions are often asked in an interview. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of ​​the range of answers.

Wow, the answers here are great! I was all ready to deliver my own, but hit the mark so completely that I only have a thing or two to add!

First of all, a key requirement for managing teams - a developer's salary isn't cheap. The learning curve for adding a new person to a team is substantial. It's not just the cost of the person learning to fit into the team / company, but also the time the team takes to bring the person up to speed. A team should help eachother. So when a new person joins, everyone should be willing to meddle a little to help the new guy and invest a little extra time to make sure the first attempts at communication are clear. That will mean a drop in overall productivity - a worthwhile trade, but not a cheap one.

So ... the manager needs to know:

1 - Is the adjustment period for new ones Employee minimal - How a person poses problems, what a person does when they see a problem, and how a person interprets what they hear are all good indicators of how that person works in a team environment. NOTE: There is no such thing as perfection here, and sometimes a long training period is worth it, depending on the team chemistry.

2 - how long will the new guy stay- What if you love the new man? - If he leaves in a year, you lost money when you hired him. Even for a miracle worker, it takes about 3 months of barely productive time from the new man, and then another 3 of the most productive time. The new type is only up and running after about 6 months. At the end of a year, his productivity begins to amortize that early phase of non-productivity and team drainage. If the new man files his resignation around this time, you will typically experience a net loss. The team feels burned down, you haven't achieved the overall efficiency you hoped for, and you've invested a fair amount of capital in it. Asking - if the person wants a radically different corporate culture, then no more persuasion will hold him back. NOTE: It is almost impossible to diagnose this in new college graduates. 9 times out of 10 they don't have enough experience to really tell you what they want - they're not clairvoyants after all!

I ask this kind of question because the ability to code or solve technical problems is just a fundamental foundation of how you conduct yourself in the business. The interviewer tested communication, motivation and behavior.

The interviewer in your case seems interested in:

  • Can this person communicate effectively with their teammates to work as a team?
  • Does this person have a real interest in the IT industry and do they really love what they do?
  • Would it be nice to work with this person?

Language skills are not a criterion.

However, if you have trouble describing your project and interests, I would have doubts about your ability to follow complex discussions and whiteboard sessions (over noisy conference bridges) or to present your design and solutions to teammates and managers.

Technical skills are a bar you have to be to get through competent But good communication combined with a real motivate are what really makes you outstanding in the long run, and that's what we care about most.

Disclaimer: I do not advocate Amazon's guidelines in any way and the above statement is only my personal opinion.

I think with questions like these, the interviewer is just trying to get you to think outside the box (not just tech savvy) when it comes to problem solving and communication skills. Also, it's important to know that employers are interested not only in the technical skills you acquired in college or university, but also in your interpersonal skills and your approach to various real-world scenarios. In summary, before someone applies for a position in a company or firm, you should read some background information about the company and also find out which skills are most likely to be expected of you in the interview, and not just skills for your professional role.

Like others here, I always ask questions like this when I interview.

The three things I try to get out of an interview are: 1.
Passion (love for solving problems and getting results) 2.
Ability to understand and explain problems and solutions at different levels for different target groups. 3.
Personality (ability to fit in with the rest of the team)

I also try to approach these issues in a way that makes the tone relaxed and talkative. I want to know what the person will really be like after they have settled in with the team and the company.

Knowledge of specific technologies and syntax is not the most important factor in a world where these technologies change every few years. It sounds like they pre-filtered you on the phone with some technical questions to make sure you are a legitimate candidate, and then tried in person to figure out what kind of programmer you are and what decisions you make. In the long run, it's much more important to have someone who good choices as someone who knows the syntax of the programming language.

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