Amazon Business Analyst Interview Questions
Published in · 6 min read · May 26, 2020
6 min read
May 26, 2020
The Amazon business analyst job is a mix of technical data interpretation and business acumen. A successful business analyst will move into a career path of product management, analytics management, or business intelligence, all of which require depth as well as width of knowledge.
- Own the design, development, and maintenance of ongoing metrics, reports, analyses, and dashboards that monitor and to drive key business decisions.
- Embed analytics into day to day operations by supporting and translating business inquiries to analytical reports.
- Build robust operational and business metrics and make them highly visual and consumable across the workplace.
- Work with cross-functional teams, systems, and vendor data to build reporting systems and utilize metrics to find strong improvement opportunities.
The Amazon interview process is extremely consistent across the different teams. Once your resume is shortlisted, the interview starts with a recruiter screening or phone screen with a hiring manager. Then if selected in those initial rounds, you are invited for an interview loop of around 4–5 interviews in the same day. All of the interviews are based on Amazon’s 14 leadership principles to test your competency and may include technical interview questions.
Overall the breakdown in terms of focus in preparation should be mainly on leadership principles, a little bit on database system design, and lastly on actually coding, SQL queries, and product and business cases.
Check out a mock interview of an Amazon business case question.
Based on the level (L3/L4/L5), you will have 4–5 rounds in person. Out of these, there will be a couple of technical rounds and a couple of behavioral rounds. Behavioral rounds will be mostly to judge you on the notorious leadership principles of Amazon.
For Amazon’s leadership behavioral competency interview, the exact phrasing of the question may be different but the central idea remains the same between each leadership principle.
For each leadership principle, remember to craft a story around how you exemplified each one of these principles. For example:
- Customer Obsession: Took customer feedback and learned from their pain points to build a better product or process.
- Dive Deep: Solved a complex problem by diving into the issue head first.
- Bias for Action: Prioritized action and initiative for different projects.
- Ownership: A project where you went beyond the original scope.
- Earn Trust: Resolving a conflict between different team members and built a good standing relationship with customers.
- Invent and Simplify: A project where you made a system more efficient.
The interviewer will never state that they’re asking you a leadership principles type question. Yet know exactly how to craft a story that leads to one of the fourteen principles. It’s basically the elephant in the room!
Scenario Based Questions
For these scenario-type questions such as tell me about a time where you…etc, it’s helpful to think about the STAR method. The STAR method is a simple framework to elaborate on your work experience.
Situation: Setting the scene and give context.
Task: Describe what your responsibility was.
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions directly achieved.
For each part of the STAR method, let most of the discussion happen within the Action and Result section. You have to emphasize exactly what you did and the results from your actions. Don’t let the project discussion go over 5 minutes given the short time of each interview.
Also remember to think about having at least two to three projects and stories that you can confidently narrate and respond to follow-up questions. This reduces the risk that you don’t have any relevant examples for the scenario based questions.
The general technical questions to focus on would be:
- SQL queries and ETLs
- Business case questions
- Statistical analysis
- Product metrics
At least 1–2 rounds will be based on technical skills. For business analysts, the main skillset they are testing for is SQL, although it helps to know a little bit of Python, R, or data visualization tools like Tableau. Expect to see some easy to medium level SQL questions on Interview Query. There are also elements of data engineering such as raw data extraction, transformation, and loading data.
Generally, business analysts will write some ETL pipelines as well, so it helps to brush up key concepts. This will depend on the team and whether they expect business analyst’s to write ETL pipelines or not.
Example ETL questions would be like:
- How do merge upserts work?
- How can history loads be done?
Check out this mock interview on how a candidate answers a data engineering and ETL problem given by Amazon.
Amazon has moved almost completely to AWS internally so it will be good if you possess some AWS knowledge, especially the services related to databases. Additionally understanding how Redshift works should be beneficial in terms of SQL syntax that the interviewer will likely be familiar with.
SQL questions will revolve around your understanding of the basic SQL logic like JOIN conditions using multiple datasets, and how to calculate averages, max, min, sums, and other functions.
Refresh yourself on working with multiple datasets, creating new tables off of the data given, and creating a summarized output.
Python and R are more advanced tools that are not required, but will make your candidacy stand out. Most teams will rely on a data engineer for their Python needs and a data scientist to utilize R for statistical analytics. Knowing these skills will make you more valuable as an Amazon business analyst.
Additionally, the most common other technical questions to encounter are statistical analysis, consulting-style business case questions, and product insight generation which is interpreting impact of trends on a business. Expect some case-type questions in these tech rounds, questions like measurement and tracking of a particular performance metric, or automation of leadership reporting dashboards. These questions are commonly problem strategy type questions.
You are tasked with flagging users who post fake comments on Amazon to then give to the modeling team for further analysis. How would you initially go about filtering users who post fake comments on Amazon?
Find out what the best answers to this question above are on Interview Query.
- The Amazon business analyst interview is a combination of technical and business skills which combine attention to detail, logical reasoning, communication skills, as well as cultural fit and interest in the role pm on the team. For the cultural fit part, focus on the leadership principles above, as that really does defines the culture.
- There is also usually a bar raiser brought into the interview at some point (someone not directly on the team) who is able to be more objective and determine long-term suitability for Amazon.
- There may be questions on product roadmaps, prioritization, and stakeholder alignment. These could come up as a how would you question, instead of the typical tell me about a time when type question. For example, one question could be forecasting the run-rate, stock-up strategy, and discount-% of an Echo device for Black Friday promotions.
- A strange experience by a recent candidate was when they were asked to succinctly articulate 3 strong reasons to reject myself for the role I was applying for. These questions are expected to be under 10–15% of all the interview panels combined.
- Want more interview questions with solutions from Amazon? Find more on Interview Query.
- Check out my Youtube channel for more videos on data science interviewing tricks and tips.
- Read the business intelligence engineer guide for Amazon here