Practice with Amazon STAR MethodStart Practicing
Amazon Star Method: Ace Your Interview {YEAR}

Amazon Star Method: Ace Your Interview 2024

The Amazon STAR method is a technique designed to help you answer behavioral interview questions and stands for:

  • S – Situation: The role you were in, the company you were at and what was happening
  • T – Task: What did you have to do in that situation?
  • A – Action: What your specific actions were
  • R – Result: What the outcome was, ideally with statistics and figures

The Amazon STAR method is an incredibly useful tool recommended by Amazon recruiters. It helps to cohesively showcase your qualities and skills when answering behavioral interview questions.

As recruitment for Amazon is so competitive, preparing answers and familiarizing yourself with the concept before your interview is essential.

To help, this article will explain what the Amazon STAR method is and how to apply it correctly during your interview.

What Is the Amazon STAR Method?

While Amazon is an innovative and desirable company to work for, the questions asked in the Amazon STAR method interview are standard practice across all recruitment drives.

You will likely be asked to ‘tell us about a time when you showed initiative in the workplace’ or ‘give me an example of when you demonstrated leadership qualities’.

Without preparation, these questions can be tricky to answer.

The Amazon STAR principle eliminates some of the stress by providing a template that gets your point across and impresses the interviewer.

The acronym stands for:

  • S – Situation: A description of the circumstance leading up to the skill being demonstrated. Don’t give too many details, just enough so that the interviewer understands the scenario.
  • T – Task: What were you doing and what was the goal?
  • A – Action: What you did specifically to achieve that goal. There is no ‘we’ in this section, just ‘I’.
  • R – Result: What was the outcome as a result of your performance? Try to include figures and statistics if you have them.

Amazon strongly encourages the use of the Amazon STAR methodology for several reasons.

First, it saves time by keeping your answers structured and concise.

Second, it allows recruiters to see how you function and problem-solve under pressure – a desired skill set for Amazon employees.

Third, these types of questions are not easy to answer. Having a set formula allows you to focus, which then allows the recruiters to see your potential.

Practice the Amazon STAR Method with JobTestPrep

What Does the Amazon STAR Method Interview Look Like?

Your Amazon STAR method interview will proceed like any other interview. There will be a discussion about the role and questions about your experience and skill sets.

The Amazon STAR method questions are based on the Amazon Leadership Principles and are as follows:

  • 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
  • Deliver results
  • Strive to be the world’s best employer
  • Success and scale bring broad responsibility

However, not all AWS STAR interview questions require the STAR format.

Only use this format if the question requires you to explain specific situations, tasks, behaviors and actions and you have statistics or figures to reflect your results.

You do not need to use the AWS STAR interview technique if the question asks for your opinion or thoughts about a topic.

On a typical interview day, your Amazon STAR method interview questions and answers might follow this format:

Amazon Star Interview Technique – Customer Obsession Question

‘Tell us about a win-win situation where you solved a customer’s problem to benefit the company.’

  • S – You were working as a customer service representative at Company X and took over a complaint from a profitable customer that a colleague couldn’t resolve.
  • T – You had to catch up on all previous correspondence and call the customer back with an innovative resolution.
  • A – You read through their purchase history and called the customer to ask them why they weren’t happy with the product and why they rejected the previous resolutions.
  • R – The customer explained, and you offered to have their previous two purchases serviced for free. They agreed and began to ask about new products scheduled to be released.

Amazon Star Interview Technique – Invent and Simplify Question

‘Tell me about a time you solved a complex problem with a simple solution.’

  • S – At Company Y, you worked in a team to find solutions for Problem A.
  • T – Your solution needed to be cost-effective and easy to implement.
  • A – After a brainstorming session, you decided to take the problem back to basics to develop a simple solution that met all the requirements.
  • R – The solution cost $X, was X% under budget, and improved operations by X%.

Amazon Star Interview Technique – Bias for Action Question

Tell us about when you had to prioritize work on three different projects.

  • S – At Company Y, I was assigned to three projects: A, B, and C. A and C were big budgets with lots of team collaboration. B was a solo project.
  • T – I needed to find a way to organize everyone’s tasks so no one fell behind.
  • A – I utilized project management software.
  • R – The result was improved efficiency and productivity across all three projects. Utilizing project management software streamlined communication and collaboration, ensuring everyone was aware of priorities and deadlines. We met project milestones, delivered high-quality outcomes on time, and proactively addressed bottlenecks. This demonstrated my ability to effectively prioritize work and manage multiple projects.

As you can see, the Amazon STAR interview technique helps break down the question, making it much easier to answer.

Example of Amazon STAR Method Interview Questions

Below are some Amazon STAR method examples and how they will sound when delivered in an interview.

1. Tell Me About a Situation Where You Took the Initiative to Resolve a Difficult Problem

When I worked as a customer manager at Company M, I created and implemented a process that reduced customer refund processing times from two weeks to just three days. The current refund process took far too long for customers and employees. The goal was to make refunds quicker and easier for everyone.

I created a system by listing the goals I wanted to achieve before analyzing the current process and identifying its problems. From there, I outlined a proposal strategy and interviewed employees to see if they had any thoughts or ideas about improving refunds.

Considering all the feedback, I then designed the new process and sent it to the IT department. Following their approval, I presented the new system to senior management, and they agreed to move forward with the changes.

The new three-day process saves the company $50,000 annually and has increased our customer rating by 40%.

2. Tell Us About When You Made a Mistake

At Company P, I was tasked with creating a new website and then managing it. One day, the site's performance dipped far below company limitations. My mistake was not noticing until several complaints came through our social media accounts. I explained the situation to my manager and informed them the issue would be resolved ASAP. I then began liaising with the engineering department and asked the social media manager to post an apology.

After understanding the problem, I worked through every page of the website, updating and changing anything related to slow speed. To avoid this situation happening again, I installed a new program to update me when the speed changes or if any of the images and downloads become bugged.

It took almost a full day, but the website’s performance remained consistent, and the new design improved UX by 46%. I also learned a crucial coding lesson that I shall never forget.

Amazon Star Method: Ace Your Interview
Amazon Star Method: Ace Your Interview

3. Tell Me About a Project That You Thought Was Small but Ended Up Being Big

In my previous HR role at Company Y, I was tasked with developing a training program for a new department we were building. While completing my research, I learned that a vast majority of employees asked if the training would be open to everyone.

Upon further investigation, it became apparent that the whole workforce felt there was a lack of training and development. During a catch-up meeting, I mentioned this discovery. Later that day, my manager informed me that I would now be responsible for developing a whole training and development program for all departments and levels.

My first action was to email all employees informing them of the update and that I will contact them again later for further research. I then focused on my initial task of setting up the program for the new department.

Once the program was in the testing and approval phases, I began work on the other programs. It took a year to get everything completed and signed off, but it was well worth it. I’m really proud of what I accomplished. Following the implementation of training and development, employee satisfaction improved by 69% and turnover was reduced by 54%.

If you need to prepare for a number of different employment tests and want to outsmart the competition, choose a Premium Membership from JobTestPrep.

You will get access to three PrepPacks of your choice, from a database that covers all the major test providers and employers and tailored profession packs.

Get a Premium Package Now

Common Amazon STAR Method Interview Mistakes

Once you have worked through a couple of Amazon STAR method examples, it is clear to see why recruiters want you to use it.

However, there are some mistakes you need to watch out for.

Too Many Details

In interviews, it is tempting to oversell yourself and make scenarios seem far more than they are.

Stick to the facts and focus on your actions and results, even if they don’t make for a great story. The recruiters want to see examples of your skills.

Not Enough Details

People talk too much or too little in stressful situations. In the first instance, you risk important details being swallowed by unnecessary information.

In the latter, you risk not sharing enough to impress your recruiters, which is why preparing for the Amazon STAR interview process is essential.

Lack of Results

Amazon is a data-driven company, and it wants to see tangible results. Your recruiters will not be satisfied with your results being that your manager was happy. It also makes your story seem more legitimate.

Outright Lying

Recruiters interview hundreds of people each year. They know when a story is true or not.

Not Sticking to the Point

Similar to giving too many details is telling a story and then veering off in several different directions, because you think they are more interesting or you just remembered that occasion.

Decide on an example and stick to it, even if you think of something better part way through.

How to Prepare for Amazon STAR Method Questions

Your time with the recruiters is short, and you want to spend the vast majority of that time impressing.

The best way to do that is to prepare your Amazon STAR method stories.

You can do this by:

Step 1. Understanding the Purpose of the Amazon STAR Method

When you understand that the goal of the method is to deliver important information in a cohesive and concise manner that impresses the listener, the Amazon leadership principles STAR method starts to make perfect sense.

You might even find yourself using it in other interviews.

Step 2. Familiarize Yourself with Amazon Leadership Principles

The Amazon Leadership Principles are extensive and not always self-explanatory.

Take some time to learn what they are and how you are expected to achieve them.

There are plenty of articles talking about the principles, as well as an explanation on the Amazon website.

Reddit forums are also a great place to look, as they also have advice about the recruitment process and Amazon STAR method interview questions and answers.

Step 3. Look at Example AWS STAR Interview Questions and Answer Them

The best way to prepare is to work through the common questions and answer them as you would in a real interview.

This also gives you the opportunity to think about the best Amazon STAR interview examples you have. There’s nothing worse than leaving an interview wishing you had said something you thought of too late.

Step 4. Practice the Interview With a Friend/Record Your Answers

Ask a friend, close colleague or family member to act out a mock Amazon STAR method interview. This way, you are still surprised by the questions but aren’t under the same pressure.

You can also video or voice record your answers so you can see how you sound and look.

If you fiddle too much or say ‘um’ a lot, the recruiters won’t see you as being confident.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Amazon STAR method is a tool designed by Amazon to help candidates answer their interview questions in a concise and cohesive manner. The acronym stands for situation, task, action and result.

The Amazon STAR method is just like any other interview and easy to pass if you have done enough preparation.

You can prepare for the Amazon STAR method interview through the Amazon website and JobTestPrep.

No, the Amazon STAR method is not timed. Your recruiters will have a standard block of time set aside for each interview.

However, some go on longer, and others finish much sooner. To keep on track, try to limit your answers to no more than two minutes.

The STAR method is not something you pass or fail. It is an interview technique, and only the most suitable candidates get the job.

You can improve your chances of succeeding by preparing in advance by making a note of all your best experiences, finding the figures and statistics that show how successful you were and deciding which to use for each question.

You will know if you did well on the Amazon STAR method, because your recruiter will either offer you the job or invite you to a second interview.

The purpose of the Amazon STAR method is to help you structure your interview answers in a way that showcases your skills in as little time as possible.

The Amazon STAR method is a tool to help you answer behavioral interview questions and is recommended for anyone interviewing with Amazon.

As they are such a big company with lots of departments and roles, anyone can apply for a role they are qualified for.

The Amazon STAR method is not something you pass or fail. It is a technique for answering interview questions. If you did not get the job, it is because other candidates were more suited to the role.

You can get example questions for the Amazon Star method interview on the Amazon careers site and JobTestPrep.

Depending on your location and current company policy, you might have the option to complete the interview remotely over a video call. However, it is likely that your interview will be face-to-face.

You can get a full guide for the Amazon STAR method interview at Amazon Careers and JobTestPrep.

Final Thoughts

If you are preparing for the Amazon STAR method, it means that you are one step closer to becoming an Amazon employee.

Before your interview, take the time to perfect your Amazon STAR interview technique by learning their leadership qualities and understanding what the recruiter is looking for.

Work through your past experience to find examples with tangible results that you can share in your interview and ask someone to run through a mock interview with you.

Finally, remember that you have applied for that role, because you know you are the right person to fill it, so make your recruiter see that as well.