Amazon Phone Interviews: 6 Tips to Impress your Recruiter

The ultimate guide from a former Amazon recruiter

September 5, 2022
Table of Contents

Being interviewed by any big tech firm can be a challenge. In our conversation with former Amazon recruiter Tays Heyer, we bring you the ultimate guide to maximising your chances of success during the Amazon interview process.

With years of talent acquisition experience at the fulfillment center, Tays shares his key takeaways from hiring a high volume of successful candidates.

After reading this article, you will know how to apply for roles, prep your resume, pass the screening stage, and get on that first call with your recruiter.

The Interview

Any interview with a FAANG company is likely to be the most daunting part of the hiring process. Each organization has its own time limit for covering the conversation. Tays shares how you will be assessed in a typical 15-minute interview.

Tays Heyer says, "what really always stood out to me, and always still stands out to me, is your elevator pitch or your elevator speech. What kind of impression can you make on somebody in the first 30 seconds?" 

When you start your initial conversation with the recruiter, the first few seconds are critical.

During high-volume recruitment drives, it is essential that you have a well-rehearsed elevator pitch that can be used to spark a meaningful conversation that speaks to your qualifications and professional experiences.

With this in mind, it is natural to wonder how recruiters screen so many resumes. Do they use software to look for keywords in bulk applications, or do they manually lookout for the most suitable candidate whose resume crosses their desk?

How to tailor your Resume?

Heyer recommends tailoring the resume specifically to the position you are applying for. For example, he says, "Make sure you highlight your preferred qualifications when you submit your resume." 

Amazon recruiters manually review the resumes, looking for the knowledge, skills, and abilities that typically translate into success at Amazon. 

On the Amazon website, applicants can filter job postings based on the key requirements of the role and tailor their resumes accordingly. Remember, you don't want to apply for a variety of positions where your qualifications, skills and experience are not transferable. Take a narrow approach to the application process by really thinking about how your strengths and qualifications can help your CV stand out.

While tailoring your resume, it is essential to customize the keywords. Tays recommends a site called Jobscan Co. On this site, you can upload your resume and the job description, which helps you identify any missing keywords. Once your CV lands on the desk of the hiring manager, they will manually look for these keywords. Take note of the Job Description Keywords and how they can be incorporated into your resume.

How to reach out to Big Firms?

The most effective way to reach out to large companies like Amazon is through referrals and networking. Cold calls are less likely to be successful than warm calls so leverage your network wherever possible.

Heyer says, "If you have former colleagues that work at Amazon, stay connected with them. Reach out to them and inquire about available positions. Continue to build relationships with them. When you do find the right role, you can ask for a recommendation, 'Would you send my information to the hiring manager or the recruiter to review?'"

How long does it usually take for a recruiter to get back to you?

Tays explains that in an ideal situation, you would hear back from your recruiter in 5-7 business days. This can vary depending on the workload, priorities and hiring process for each position.

Note: If a position is still open a few months after it was posted, consider whether it is still worth applying. For older jobs, it is far more likely they have a candidate on hand for a loop interview. 

Be aware that each phase of the interview process occurs in stages so applications placed too late after the job has been posted may not even make it to a first-round interview. A general rule of thumb is to avoid applying for jobs advertised more than 30 days ago.

There is a lot of back and forth between the hiring manager and the recruiters during the requisition process. Once the hiring manager and recruiter are clear on what leadership principles, top performer traits and candidate profiles they want to focus on, they will then liaise directly with the applicant.

Remember, each phase of the recruitment process is distinct. Recruiters will advocate for you to the hiring manager if they believe your background and experience will translate into success.

Following that initial screening interview stage, you will then meet with the hiring manager if you have caught their eye. In general, the interview process will take into account your relevant experience, your elevator pitch and the scope of your current role.

What does a successful run-through of a resume look like?

Starting with the most recent version of the document. Tays recommends giving the recruiter a high-level overview. Present your work experience and qualifications, followed by your roles and responsibilities in your current position/prior roles.

Definitely mention your promotions, accomplishments, and career accolades. Such career progressions highlight the tasks you were expected to perform beyond the scope of your role.

Make sure to ask thought-provoking questions at the end of your interview. Having a better understanding of the job, the hiring manager, and what's expected of you will ensure you can continue to build your journey and prepare for what's next.

If you get rejected in the recruiter call, how do you know if you should apply for a different role?

Heyer recommends using rejection as an opportunity to build rapport with the recruiter. These individuals often receive millions of emails a day, so use the decline as a springboard for feedback. Remember, just getting noticed is a huge accomplishment, so don't allow a small setback to prevent you from applying for other positions where you could be a suitable fit. Get as much feedback as you can, especially on where your skills and experience could align with other opportunities.

What are the biggest mistakes people make in recruiter calls, and how to ensure your interaction is memorable?

Tays recommends expressing gratitude for the recruiter's time and feedback, as well as why you were motivated to apply. Stay excited about upcoming opportunities that may come from these smaller interactions while being thoughtful about your overall experience.

  • Don't make the mistake of being unprepared. Use mock interviews with colleagues and associates to gain valuable feedback that your recruiter may not provide.
  • Don't forget to practice articulating challenging questions that might catch you off-guard. For example, 'why are you looking to leave your current role'. 
  • Avoid negative remarks regarding your current or previous employer.
  • It's a red flag if you don't ask questions at the end of the interview, avoid appearing overconfident, and don't make assumptions about the role.
  • Be careful not to embellish or overstate what you have achieved over the course of your career. This can potentially sabotage the application.
  • Don't treat the interview as a means to an end. Any step in the hiring process is an opportunity to build a relationship or learn something new.

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