I had a phone interview with Amazon. Is it true …

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    The phone interview is almost always a go/no-go. If the phone interviewer declines to move forward, your application is dead. On some occasions (maybe 10–20%) the interviewer is unable to come to a decision either way so a second phone screen may be scheduled.

    If the recruiter did not contact you within a day, the most likely reason is that the interviewer did not enter their feedback. This is not a rare occurrence; there are days when I do four interviews (on top of my regular job) and I simply don’t have time to enter feedback until the next day or a few days later.

    In my experience dealing with Amazon recruiters, they will get back to the candidate fairly quickly, doesn’t matter if the outcome is positive or negative.

    Yes, a decision was made in real time by the person(s) on the phone. That is the first screen and unless you were a complete failure, you would not hear about the results within a day.

    Job searches are very trying on the patience. That is why it is wise to cover the job market with a very broad net.

    Finally, realize that getting feedback about a job interview within a day is a miraculous event that rarely, if ever, happens especially when talking about companies with more than a handful of employees.

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    Yes it’s usually made right after but a day doesn’t mean anything. You are not the center of the universe. Recruiters can be overloaded with work just like everyone else.

    Try to keep the kremlinology when you’re job hunting down to a minimum. If you’re keeping a job hunting scoreboard then rack up your success points for completing a phone interview and use the momentum to move on to making some other point earning task like a cold call or going to an event where you can network.

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    Yes, usually the phone interview is a selection tool to weed out candidates who don’t meet specific criteria. However one day is a pretty short period. The interviewer might be doing multiple phone interviews over a period of a few days so if you don’t heart from them right away it’s not necessarily bad news. After a week, if there is no follow up, then it doesn’t look good. Best of luck to you!

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    For an HR or recruiter screen, I’m certain. I don’t think any major company has neglected to tell me they wanted to proceed with an on-site interview on the same phone call as the screen unless I wasn’t getting one. For a hiring interview, it’s less clear. Basically, if they don’t say they will send you an email with details on how to proceed at the end of the call, it’s not going to happen.

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    Amazon can move slow at times during the interview process.

    A few good phone interviews might take another few weeks before a face to face interview. And even after that it might take another few weeks or longer before things get ironed out and you get an offer.

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    Not necessarily. With any employer problems can arise if their first choice is slow to respond or accepts and then rejects their offer.

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    That’s not right always, in any company, they may take more than a day to make their decision.

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    I would recommend asking your point of contact, “when can I expect to hear a result on the process”. Based on my experience questions are king!

    Other Options:

    When you identify top performers what does their hiring process look like?

    Do you expect to turn away qualified people for the role?

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    The answer is “yes”, we do all submit written feedback, and “yes”, we do make the decision together.

    The process is basically this:

    • During the interview, we take detailed notes: what questions we asked, what the candidate said (this has to be summarized, but we try to capture the gist), some impressions that we get (she communicated X very well; he struggled with Y).
    • After the interview we file our feedback. This notes our decision – Hire, No Hire, Strong Hire, or Strong No-Hire (pretty rare at this stage). We also give our impression as to how the candidate did on the things we were supposed to focus on, including both competencies — coding, problem solving, OOD, etc. — and leadership principles, e.g. Customer Obsession or Disagree and Commit. For each of these we try to determine whether the candidate “raises the bar”, meaning is at least as good or better than the average current Amazon employee in the target position. Finally, we paste our detailed notes from the interview itself.
    • Then we get together for a debrief. This is led by the “bar raiser” (BR), who is a very experienced interviewer who is not on the hiring team. We usually start by reading everybody’s feedback (unless we had time to read it in advance). Then we spend some time talking about it, discussing things that maybe don’t come across clearly from the written feedback, asking questions, and generally trying to get a more complete picture of the candidate than any one of us could capture in our interview.
    • After a round of discussion the BR will try to guide the conversation towards a consensus decision. Sometimes that’s easy, sometimes not so much, but in the vast majority of cases we do reach an agreement within 15–20 minutes. However, ultimately the BR has veto powers: they can prevent a hire even if everybody else is inclined. That being said, I’ve never been on a loop where the BR had to do that.

    Amazon has a thing called “2&5 Promise”, which means that you should hear back from them in 2 working days following the phone screen interview or 5 working days after an onsite interview.

    If you meant how fast it takes the interview pane to reject a candidate, it is quite fast. The decision is made no earlier than on a meeting called “debrief”, where all the interviewers are putting together their partial feedback and casting their individual votes. Then everyone discusses any discrepancies and make a final decision (it is not a democracy, so the votes do not really matter, anyone can change their vote based on others feedback). If it is clear that the candidate does not have any chance of passing, they get rejected in a few minutes, and the discussion is moving towards the next candidate.

    As a follow-up, the interviewer panel might ask, how did we allow this candidate to pass the previous steps and get invited to the onsite interview. Maybe the process did not work properly, or the steps preceeding onsite interview need to be improved upon.

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