29 replies to Jeff Bezos’s Amazon Interview Questions (Part 1)

Inc.com published this article on 29 Interview Questions Amazon Uses and I would like to give it a shot (as-an-when basis). Here it goes.

1. “Who was your most difficult customer?”

The one that kept quiet. It is hard because you can force the horse to go to the river. But you can’t force it to drink. But the secret is to (1) Establish the form of communication. (2) Keeping the momentum. (3) Understand that he/she is a human and they decide best.

At the end of the day, he/she might not buy it now. Maybe later. If not this product, the other product from your store. Business is when needs are fulfilled. Economically speaking, supply meets demand.

2. “How would you introduce AWS in an elevator pitch?”

The solution that wasn’t available a decade ago. It is made available with a friction of a cost allowing you to replicate your applications that can serve your customer all over the world. Scalable is the keyword. If you don’t need it now. You will need it in the future because this is the future.

3. “What is the worst mistake you ever made?”

Not opening myself up for possibilities. Between 20 – 25 years old, my focus was to do ALL things possible my way, the way I want it to be. But now, 3 years later. I realised that although I manage uncover a lot of things, the secret is to allow openness.

In terms of learning and in terms of accepting that you can’t do all things by yourself. The secret to living is growing and in order to grow, we must learn. And to learn, we must be open. #kisahorangbiasa

4. “If your direct manager was instructing you to do something you disagreed with, how would you handle it?”

This isn’t the first time. During the first few, I found hesitation in myself, but sooner I realised that it didn’t do me any good. Despite the different personality that I have with my superior, but I always ask this question to myself everyday:

When is the last time you try something new?

So, I believe that I just need to do deal with it and treat it as something new. There must be something I can learn. Or if it is a vicious cycle, you will learn “how not to be someone”.

5. “Describe what Human Resource means to you.”

Anthony Robbins mentioned in his TED Talk that most people complain about lack of resources. “I don’t have enough staff”, for example. And human is part of the equation or resource.

Network = Net worth. So, human resource is putting the value to the time and energy spent by the people.

6. “What is the angle between the hour hand and minute hand in an analog clock?”

Depending on your time. I don’t have the exact mathematics calculation on top of my head but if you consider. 3am (hour hand at 3, minute hand at 12). That is a 90 degrees. And you can divide them into 3 which is 30 degrees for each distance between 1 and 2 for example. The rest, you can deduce from there.

7. “How do you detect whether or not a word is a palindrome?”

To be honest. I don’t know the effective way. But what pops on top of my head now is drawing a line in the middle of all characters combine. And check if left side is similar to right from the centre. Done.

8. “Do you know our CEO? How do you pronounce his name?”

Jeff Bezos. I have been pronouncing his name the way it should. Double checked it on several video sources.

9. “Here’s a string with numbers from 1-250 in random order, but it’s missing one number. How will you find the missed number?”

This is quite challenging. To be honest I don’t know how. Perhaps sort the numbers from 1 – 50, 51 – 100, 101 – 150, 151 – 200 and 201 – 250 and check the unfortunate column.

10. “Are you willing to work on your feet for ten hours, four days a week?”

Sure. I just need a standing workstation and permission to wear whatever shoes I want to wear.

11. “Do you think you’ll reach a point where you storm off the floor and never return?”

It is hard to say but so far I will know if I am “falling” and I will bring myself up again. I prefer to keep quiet and not say anything.

When you’re up to this point, ask yourself?

Is this worst then death? No. Good!

12. “Would you tell on an employee for stealing?”

It is code of conduct. I will personally tell him/her. Even in a single note but this will be on my personal record. If it happens again, it is time for face-to-face. If it happens again, HR it is.

Sometimes, people didn’t know it is “stealing”.

13. “How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?”

Just solve the problem if you can. If you can’t communicate, find a way to do so and solve the problem. People don’t care where you are coming from. Stay focus on the problems.

14. “How do you persuade people?”

I influence them with what I have done and what I am willing to do for them. Mutual understanding. Mutual respect. Perhaps we can reach to a mutual agreement and expectations.

Communicate effectively.

15. “Describe what happens in your browser as soon as you hit enter after writing a URL in the address bar.”

With my little knowledge, URL is mapped to an IP. Basically you will request for information (download) from that IP to be displayed. It will travel through the wire and go through the tunnel where the IP is located. Then the packets will be sent back to you and displayed on your screen.

(Part 1 – 15 December 2015, 5:30PM)


Image credit: ceoworld.biz


  1. “Here’s a string with numbers from 1-250 in random order, but it’s missing one number. How will you find the missed number?”

    On the fly a brute force O(n) solution would be to add up all the numbers and find the difference between that total and the true sum. Since you have a String of numbers you would have to convert the chars to numbers.

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