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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos hired this applicant ‘on the spot’—here are the 2 interview questions asked

CNBC Make It | Ann Hiatt | Nov 2, 2021

Jeff Bezos2 - Amazon's Jeff Bezos hired this applicant ‘on the spot’—here are the 2 interview questions askedPeople always want to know how I got Jeff Bezos to take a chance and hire me to work directly for him at Amazon in 2002.

I submitted my resume to Amazon without much thought. To my surprise, I was called in for a first-round interview for a junior assistant role. I had no connections at the company, no computer science degree, and absolutely no experience working for a CEO.

My job interview experience at Amazon

My initial interviews at Amazon were dizzying in volume and pace. I had back-to-back interviews with all of the senior assistants, some of them lasting all day.

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One interview took place in a dark office with just the glow of a code-filled monitor and a weird multicolored rotating nightlight in the corner. But I had known enough tech people in my life and was used to the awkward settings. I just chalked up the encounter to one of those personalities uniquely suited for the tech world and was unfazed by it.

A few months later, after I had not heard back and was beginning to lose all hope, the phone rang: An Amazon recruiter asked me to come back for a final interview. She apologized for the long, drawn-out process and promised me that this would be the last one.

What she didn’t tell me was that it would be with Bezos himself.

The 2 interview questions Jeff Bezos asked me

Bezos started the interview by promising that he was only going to ask two questions and that the first one would be a “fun” brainteaser.

1. “I want you to estimate the number of panes of glass in the city of Seattle.”

I was momentarily terrified.  And then we did the math.  We got down into every possible scenario, group, anomaly and ways to account for these exceptions. It felt like I talked it through for hours while Bezos filled the whiteboard with numbers. I’m sure it actually took more like 10 minutes.

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I remember feeling a thrill when he wrote down the final estimate. He circled it. “That looks about right,” he said.  Phew!

He then asked me the second question:

2. “What are your career goals?”

Grit, ambition and energy is more valuable than a specific skill set

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