Blog - First impressions at Amazon

Added on Friday, 2018-04-27 11:47 CEST in categories Netherlands, Programming

Applying for a job

Last year's hiatus from work coincided with the birth of our daughter, which gave us a great opportunity to learn how to be parents, and to spend lots and lots of time with her. And as fun and rewarding as that may be, two things were missing: 1) a challenging and exciting job, and 2) income :P That's why late last year I started applying for jobs.

I applied to most of the tech giants, incl. Google, Facebook, and Amazon, and quite some local companies as well. I knew the tech giant interviews could be quite tough, so I spent a lot of time preparing with all the materials I received from the recruiters, which included the book Cracking the Coding Interview, and the LeetCode platform for solving programming questions.


The hiring process at Amazon went as follows:
  • I applied via a friend of mine who works at Amazon Video in London;
  • I received an online pre-screen assignment;
  • I was invited to London for 4 on-site interviews.
All of the on-site interviews consisted of two parts: one on Amazon's 12 leadership principles, which every employee is expected to show, and one on either programming questions or system design.

The leadership principle questions were along the lines of "tell me about a time when you …", during which I could showcase my experience.

Halfway during my on-site interviews my recruiter talked to me about possible next steps in the recruiting process, including picking a team. She then noted I live in the Netherlands, and asked if I might also be interested in joining Amazon there. I was pleasantly surprised to learn Amazon had a development center in the Netherlands, and even more so that it's located in The Hague, only half an hour from home.

The hiring process then proceeded as follows:
  • Just a few days later my recruiter brought me the good news Amazon would like to hire me, and I was given an overview of teams hiring;
  • I chatted with a few teams from both London and The Hague to see which one I'd like best;
  • I chose the WorkMail Storage team in The Hague, and got an offer.


Amazon WorkMail is an email and calendar service that integrates well with existing applications like Outlook. The storage team, which I'm now a part of, is responsible for WorkMail's storage back end, making sure data is stored and retrieved efficiently and securely. That's a lot more work than you may expect, so I expect to be kept plenty busy :)

The team has proven to be very nice, and very international; all of my colleagues have a different nationality :) We often go for lunch somewhere, and have already had our first work outing to an escape room. (With 8 programmers there was of course no way we wouldn't solve it in time :P)

The only thing that hasn't gone great for now has been becoming productive :) I'm sure eventually the overwhelming amount of tooling will be of great help when dealing with our large codebase, but a few weeks in I'm still mainly finding my feet.

P.S.: on the hapchance that I've sparked your interest, be sure to reach out if you want to work at Amazon too ;) We're hiring!