An Introduction To Amazon Leadership Principle

Interview process in general is tricky, it wants your time and investment. Often companies have several rounds of interviews testing candidates on a different parameter in each round. When interviewing for FAANG we might often prepare for the technical round rigorously, while other rounds which are equally important might get ignored. Candidates spend hours and hours on data structure and algorithm questions, however, the same cannot be seen for behavioral round until the company you are interviewing for is Amazon.

Amazon has its unique approach to behavioral questions; it has its set of 16 principles that it places at utmost importance. These 16 principles shape the question of the behavioral round. These 16 principles are

  • Customer Obsession
  • Ownership
  • Invent and Simplify
  • Are right, A Lot
  • Learn and Be Curious
  • Hire and Develop the Best
  • Insist on the Highest Standards
  • Think Big
  • Bias for Action
  • Frugality
  • Earn Trust
  • Dive Deep
  • Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
  • Deliver Results
  • Strive to be Earth's Best Employer
  • Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility

Their first principle is 'customer obsession'

Understanding customer obsession

There is a general saying "customer is king" after all, they are the backbone of any business, no business can be called successful if it does not have satisfied customers.

Here is what Amazon says about customer obsession.

"Leaders start with the customer and work backward. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers."

Customer Obsession might sound extreme but these words are exactly what Amazon means, they are not exaggerated. Amazon wants to add people who are aware of the importance of a valuable customer and are willing to dedicate their work to customer satisfaction.

So how can you show your intent for customer obsession in the interview?

While answering their question about customer obsession frame your answers in such a way that they cover these points

  1. You are ready for customer criticism and are willing to get the customer feedback
  2. You are going to keep your customers a priority
  3. You are willing to restart any work/project if at point you believe it won't add value to the customers.

You don't have to be direct about it based on the questions they ask you can give examples and show the panelist that you carry this motivation.

What questions can you expect?

Customer obsession questions revolve around customer service, you can either expect straightforward questions like

  • Tell us about your most challenging customer experience

Or it could be an implied question like

  • Often different customers have different needs, it can be exhausting to cater to all of their demands, what would you do in this case?

This is a kind of trick question; the first line creates a cushion in your mind and that might blow out a negative response to this question. So how should you answer these questions?

Understanding the question

The first question is to understand the question, interviewers are not going to spoon-feed you all the information. You have to be very attentive and alert to each wordplay, even if they try to trick you have the presence of mind and use common sense. Often candidates get even the silliest questions wrong by overcomplicating them, you do not want to do that. If the question is about, what challenges did you face during customer service, do not go on about how your boss was great especially if that does support your answer to the question.

Keep solutions ready

If you are asked about a problem have your solutions ready, if you are asked about what problems you faced, be quick to tell how you solved that too. You want to be seen as a problem solver hence while explaining a difficult situation mention how you tackle that situation.

The STAR Method Amazon wants

Amazon has mentioned on their site the structure they expect the answer to be in. STAR stands for

S- Situation

T- Task

A- Action

R- Result

Let us take a question and try to answer that

Q. "Was there any situation when you had an unsatisfied customer? Did you try to regain their satisfaction and trust?"


Give an example of your previous experiences, or any particular situation that fits the question. You can mention your company, what was your position, what was the problem, and with whom it was arising (A regular customer or a major client)


What were you working towards when such a situation arose? Was it due to the complexity of the task?


Hero time. What did you do to come out of that situation? Were there any consequences? What exact steps did you take? Explain everything you did in detail, like "I listed all of their grievances had a meeting with them, and promised to deliver a better product if they could give us some time"


In the end, talk about your results, what did you accomplish? Were you successful in tackling the situation, it's nice to be humble but give yourself enough credit for your work.

This was one of the 16 principles of Amazon; do not worry we remember our promise we will cover every principle so you do not have to wander for the answers for your next Amazon interview.