Bias for Action Interview Questions at Amazon

Bias for Action Interview Questions at Amazon

What started as an online marketplace to buy and sell books in a garage is now arguably one the biggest tech company on the planet. We cannot blame you if you have ever dreamed of working at Amazon. With best-in-class office spaces, attractive benefits like stock options, health insurance, food coupons, etc., Amazon is one of the most sought-after companies by graduates and seasoned professionals alike. We will discuss Bias for Action Interview Questions here.

Bias for action is one of the Leadership principles expected from any Amazon employee. This is one of the ten Leadership Principles that are engraved into every employee. Amazon also calls every employee a “Leader” regardless of your position within the organization. Therefore, your interview questions will be framed to assess your leadership abilities. Here, we will highlight some Bias for action scenarios that could appear when you are sitting opposite that hiring manager.

9 Leadership Principles of Amazon:

  • Customer Obsession: Leaders throughout the organization are expected to be obsessed with customer satisfaction. Priorities of the customers are always at the forefront of all the decisions. 
  • Ownership: This principle is self-explanatory. Amazon expects every employee to take ownership of their responsibilities.
  • Invent and Simplify: Leaders seek to improve things by invention and simplification.
  • Are Right, A Lot: Leaders have strong judgment and good instincts. Of course, they are right most of the time.
  • Learn and Be Curious: Leaders are expected to be curious about learning new skills to help them do their jobs better and grow within the organization.
  • Hire and Develop the Best: Amazon looks to hire the best talent pool and develop them within the organization. They have programs like Mentoring where a junior employee can work with tenured folks.
  • Insist on the Highest Standards: Leaders raise the bars and strive to achieve higher standards. 
  • Think Big: Employees are encouraged to dream big and chase their dream. You can often see junior employees running their own projects within the walls of Amazon.
  • Frugality: Amazon does not encourage reckless use of resources. They value employees who make the most of what is available to achieve big results.
  • Earn Trust: Leaders often strive to build trust within the organization and with their customers. This leads to better relationships and harmonious existence.
  • Dive Deep: Employees are expected to walk the extra mile to deliver results.
  • Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit: Leaders should respectfully disagree with others and commit to their opinions. 
  • Deliver Results: None of the other principles will matter if you cannot deliver results. Therefore, this is all employees judged based on the value they can bring to the organization.

What is Bias for action?

Simply put, you are more likely to act on your intuition, preceded by a good sense of judgment. Amazon values individuals who are resolute and quick to make decisions when a lot is at stake. Mistakes will be forgiven as Amazon truly believe in learning from mistakes but being fickle is not appreciated. In an interview, a bias for action is brought of either directly or indirectly citing real-life scenarios. 

What are the attributes of a candidate with a bias for action?

  1. A doer: Above everything else, you are all about the actions. You do not hang around trying to figure out the best way to approach a situation. You are quick to assess and take action. 
  2. Risk-taker: You believe in taking calculated risks to deliver results. You are not overwhelmed by situations requiring quick decisions. 
  3. Gritty: You will bend over backward to achieve your goals and targets. You are not discouraged by small setbacks and will come back harder to crush your goals. 

Bias for Action Interview Questions

Please be aware that the hiring manager might not use the exact words “Bias for Action” in the interview. It might come in handy to review the following Q & A.

  1. Have you ever experienced a situation when you had to take a quick decision?

    • I have, in fact, taken quick decisions multiple times. To cite an example, my team was in dire straits to meet the monthly quota of sales. I took up the responsibility without second thoughts and got on cold calls immediately. Thanks to my quick response, we hit our goals for the month, and I got a big commission. In the above example, a sales representative showed a quick call to approach new clients to meet the sales targets.

  2. Give me an example of a situation where you had to take a big risk.

    • My previous job required me to take high stake risks when dealing with my clients. On one occasion, I took a massive gamble with releasing the software, which was not cleared for release by the quality analysis team. However, since I was heading the project and had worked with my team for a long time, I decided to take this risk of releasing the software. The release turned out to be a successful launch, and the clients were satisfied. 

    • Please note that even though the stakes were really high here, the software manager makes a call based on the confidence she had in her team.

  3. Describe a time when you took action when it was not something that was expected from you.

    • I was a tenured engineer at my previous organization. On several occasions when our team leave would not be present on the floor, I would take proactive decisions to assign duties to the junior engineers. 

    • Here, the software engineer proactively assigned work to his subordinates to ensure that the time was well utilized even though this was not expected.

  4. Tell me about when you were left frustrated by your team’s lack of initiative, and what did you do to tackle this situation?

    • One of our clients was clearly unhappy with the project’s pace, and nobody in the team seemed to grasp the situation’s gravity. As the team lead, I called in a meeting and made it very clear to my team that we need to focus on our client and their priorities. This led the team to focus on the completion of the project. We were able to meet all the milestones, and eventually, we met the deadline as well.

    • In the above scenario, a team lead showed that they were gritty enough to motivate the entire team to meet the project’s deadlines. 

  5. Have you ever decided without consulting your superior? What was the outcome?

    • I was required to approve a leave for a subordinate who could not make it to work due to an emergency. My manager approved all our leaves. However, he was on leave on that day and would not answer any of my calls or even respond to my e-mails. I made a judgment call to approve the leave for the employee. I did not face any consequences as my manager was happy to know that I made that call without bothering him.

    • Please note that the interviewee gave a simple example of how she had to make a judgment call without consulting her superior.

  6. Please describe a situation where your project required you to learn something outside your scope of work.

    • I was asked to conduct a training session for new hires to run them through the tools we used to edit videos and images. I am a competent editor, but I had never trained anyone till that point. As nervous as I was, I completed that training session. In the future, I was asked to conduct many more training sessions and conduct orientation. 

    • The editor here took an action that is out of his comfort zone and was rewarded with more responsibilities which helped him grow professionally.

  7. How would you react if you saw your colleague take home the laptop charger that did not belong to them?

    • I know for an organization like Amazon, a missing laptop charger is no big deal. However, it is a matter of principle and also against the law. Therefore, I would not hesitate to report this behavior to my immediate superior, who can then decide how to handle this situation.

    • The candidate interviewing for warehouse executive demonstrated how he could make difficult decisions even if that would put him in a bad light among his colleagues. 

  8. Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.

    • When I was working in customer support in my previous organization, I once refunded the customer incorrectly. This put my supervisor in soup, and I was disciplined. This whole ordeal taught me that I could afford to slack in my job and focus. A small error on my part put the whole team in jeopardy. But I took ownership of my mistake and never repeated it. This incident put me under the spotlight, and I managed to turn this in my favor by delivering good performances. I was soon promoted to team lead.

    • This might seem like a simple enough question, but it is a good opportunity to showcase your leadership abilities, especially Bias for Action. Here, the team lead used this great example to demonstrate multiple Leadership principles like Bias for action, Ownership, and Earning Trust.

  9. Did you ever face a crisis in your previous work, and how did you diffuse the situation?

    • As a workforce executive, I was part of a team that ensured that the factory worked at maximum efficiency. We faced a crisis when the workers union staged a protest demanding more safety equipment. I took up the responsibility of talking to the head of the workers union and moderated the discussion between them and the upper-level management. We were able to reach a peaceful settlement, and the work could then resume as usual.

    • The warehouse manager showcased his ability to act quickly in a crisis. This showed the hiring manager that the candidate could be a successful warehouse manager.

  10. How do you cope with stress?

    • I practice meditation every day so that I can contain my thoughts. I try to stay in the present and try not to get overwhelmed by situations. I do not hesitate to open to my friends when the going gets tough and willingly listen to a different perspective they offer. I listen to calming music when I work, which keeps me grounded and at peace regardless of the work’s complexity.

    • The candidate here shared some personal details of her daily routine, which showed that she had taken steps to keep her mind healthy. This shows her bias for action.

We believe you understood the principle of Bias for action, and we hope this article will help you crack your interview and land your dream job at Amazon. 

Also read Amazon Warehouse Job Description

Bias for Action Interview Questions at Amazon

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