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Amazon Technical Program Manager (TPM) Interview Guide

Learn how to prepare for the Amazon Technical Program Manager interview and get a job at Amazon with this in-depth guide.

Amazon's TPM roles are great for those with a solid technical and product understanding. The job is technical in nature and does require a technical degree or background. At Amazon, you'll be working at one of the most impactful companies of the century, with a product that impacts billions of people around the world.

Amazon hires TPMs most often from experienced professionals. While the e-commerce arm of Amazon is open to those from any background, AWS prefers those with an even stronger tech background.

You can begin your application process by searching for roles on Amazon’s careers page.

Interview Process

Recruiter Screening

You'll begin the process by speaking with a recruiter. The purpose of this call is to ensure that you’re a good fit for the role. It’s a fairly straightforward call about your background and fit for the role. Be prepared to elaborate on your work experience as listed on your resume, and be prepared to share why you are interested in the role to which you applied for, and why you want to work at Amazon.

Job Description Matching

Based on the call with your recruiter and your background, the recruiter will find available job listings that would be a good fit with different teams at Amazon. Usually, you'll apply to no more than 2-3 roles.

Phone Interview

You will then have a phone call with the hiring manager. This initial conversation will take one hour and has three parts, broken up into 15 minute chunks.

First, the interviewer would like to understand your program management expertise and background. These questions are either hypothetical ("How would you handle a scenario where...?") or experiential ("Tell me about a time where..."). To prepare, focus on reviewing your existing experience and drafting byte-sized snippets of your experience.

Second, you will be asked a few technical questions which assess your ability as a TPM. These interview questions are important as they'll often determine whether or not you'll interview as a technical program manager or a non-technical PM.

Third, the interviewer will ask you questions pertaining to Amazon's 14 Leadership Principles.. These will also be behavioral in nature.

The interview also begins and ends with a five-minute ice breaker and an opportunity to ask the interviewer questions. Generally, you'll only have one phone interview, but it's possible you'll have two if the interviewer is unsure about your candidacy.

On-Site Round

The on-site interview consists of 5-6 rounds, each round lasting 1 hour. You will start off with five minutes of introductions, then 50 minutes for your interview, followed by 5 minutes for any questions you may have for your interviewer. You can consider the on-site to be essentially an extended version of the phone interview.

A typical schedule will look like this: 10 AM to 12 PM - two interviews 12 PM to 1 PM - lunch 1 PM to 4 PM - three interviews

Throughout your day, you will speak with a mix of the following Amazon employees: product managers, technical program managers, software developers, software development managers, a bar raiser, and the hiring manager. Regardless of whom you're interviewing with, you will again be asked to speak on Amazon's 14 leadership principles.

All of these interviewers carry equal weight in the evaluation process (with the exception of the bar raiser). A bar raiser is an interviewer from a different business unit than the one that you are applying for. This bar raiser interviewer will be more senior than the level you are applying for and holds special veto power. Their responsibility is not to gauge your fit for the team, but rather they are looking for your fit with Amazon. Bar raisers ensure that candidates who get hired are at least better than 50% of the current workforce.

During the lunch hour, you will have the opportunity to grab food with someone outside of the interview committee. You will be encouraged to ask any questions you otherwise wouldn't be comfortable asking the hiring manager. Details of your lunch conversations will not be disclosed to the interview committee.

You will receive the results of your on-site interview within 24 hours.


If you've done well and there is a mutual fit, you'll receive an offer. Congratulations! You will have a phone call with an Amazon recruiter 24 hours after your on-site interview, where you will be asked for your expectations for your compensation. Your compensation for a TPM role will be a mix of base salary, joining bonus, as well as stocks.

While compensation depends on a variety of factors, those on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) team generally gets paid the most while those on the human resources team typically get paid the least.

If you performed well in the on-site, but the team did not feel there is a good mutual fit, you may enter a team matching stage where you speak with different hiring managers from other teams. You can expect these post-onsite questions to be more casual. To be on the safe side, you should still brush up on Amazon's leadership principles and have stories for how you embody them.

Sample Interview Questions

Amazon's behavioral interviews fall into categories based on their leadership principles.

Customer Obsession

Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.

  • Tell me about a time when you declined a customer requirement.
  • Tell me about a time when a customer gave you critical feedback.
  • Tell me about a time when you developed something for a customer that they did not ask for.
Featured lessons on Customer ObsessionCustomer Obsession: Pain Point
Customer Obsession: Pain PointVideo Answer


Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job."

  • Tell me about a time when you worked on a project outside of your scope.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to leave a task unfinished.

Invent and Simplify

Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here." As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.

  • Tell me about the most innovative project you worked on, why it was innovative, and what the challenges were.
  • Tell me about a time when you gave a simple solution to a complex problem.
Featured lessons on Invent and SimplifyInvent and Simplify: Simple Solution
Invent and Simplify: Simple SolutionVideo Answer

Are Right, A Lot

Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.

  • Tell me about a time where you made a decision without having complete information.
  • Tell me about a time you made a design decision where a lot of people had opposed you. Why did they oppose you?
  • Tell me about a time you made a design decision where a lot of people had agreed with you. Why did they agree with you?
Featured lessons on Are Right, A LotAre Right A Lot: Instincts
Are Right A Lot: InstinctsVideo Answer

Learn and Be Curious

Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

  • Tell me about a skill you recently learned. How did you learn it?
  • Tell me about an experience you went through that changed your way of thinking.
Featured lessons on Learn and Be CuriousLearn and Be Curious: New Skill
Learn and Be Curious: New SkillVideo Answer

Hire and Develop the Best

Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.

Note: This leadership is less frequently touched upon in the interview.

  • Tell me about a time when one of your team members had difficulty doing a project. What did you do?
  • Who is the most important person in your life and why?
Featured lessons on Hire and Develop the BestHire/Develop The Best: Team Member
Hire/Develop The Best: Team MemberVideo Answer

Insist on Highest Standards

Leaders have relentlessly high standards — many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and drive their teams to deliver high-quality products, services, and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.

  • Tell me about a time when everything was going well on a project, yet you worked on an improvement that no one had asked for. What was the improvement? Why did you think it was important? How would you measure success?
  • Tell me about a time when you raised the bar.
Featured lessons on Insist on Highest StandardsHighest Standards: Raising the Bar
Highest Standards: Raising the BarVideo Answer

Think Big

Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.

  • Tell me about a time when you initiated work on a project that both impacted a majority of your team and had a lot of opposition.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a bold and difficult decision.
Featured lessons on Think BigThink Big: Difficult Decision
Think Big: Difficult DecisionVideo Answer

Bias for Action

Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk-taking.

  • Tell me about a time when you had a conflict and you had multiple ways to resolve it. How did you evaluate your options? Which solution did you choose and why?
  • Tell me about a time when you made a decision too quickly and what you would have done differently.
Featured lessons on Bias for ActionBias for Action: Calculated Risk
Bias for Action: Calculated RiskVideo Answer


Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.

Note: This leadership is less frequently touched upon in the interview.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited time or resources.
  • Tell me about a time where you turned down more resources to complete an assignment.

Earn Trust

Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

  • How do you earn the trust of stakeholders?
  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked on a project that got delayed. How did you handle it? Once you know it would be delayed, explain the actions you took afterwards.
Featured lessons on Earn TrustEarn Trust: Mistake
Earn Trust: MistakeVideo Answer

Dive Deep

Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdotes differ. No task is beneath them.

  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem and you had to go through several hoops to discover the root cause.
  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem yet no one was willing to investigate since they thought it was outside their scope of ownership.
Featured lessons on Dive DeepDive Deep: Root Cause
Dive Deep: Root CauseVideo Answer

Have Backbone

Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.

  • Tell me about a time when an idea you proposed was not agreed on. How did you react?
  • What do you believe that no one else does?
Featured lessons on Have BackboneDisagree and Commit: Idea Proposal
Disagree and Commit: Idea ProposalVideo Answer

Deliver Results

Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.

  • Tell me about your proudest project.
  • Tell me about a time when everyone else on your team gave up on something but you pushed the team towards delivering a result.
Featured lessons on Deliver ResultsDeliver Results: Proudest Project
Deliver Results: Proudest ProjectVideo Answer


When Exponent spoke with a few folks who interviewed for the Amazon non-tech PM role, some had reported that they also encountered the following questions

  • How do you prioritize requests from multiple stakeholders?
  • What is your favorite and second most favorite leadership principle?
  • Which leadership principle do you least resonate with?

Hiring Decision

After your on-site interview, those who interviewed you will debrief together and discuss if the team got a positive signal for each of Amazon's leadership principles. All of the leadership principles are equally important.

You will be mostly evaluated based on the responses you provide to questions regarding leadership principles. Each on-site interviewer will be assigned two leadership principles, for which they will ask you questions. If any of your answers violates any of the leadership principles, that will be a red flag and send a negative signal.

For example, let's suppose you were working on a project and a critical co-worker, whom you needed something from, was on vacation. It would send a negative signal for the "ownership" principle to assume you can wait for your co-worker to return from vacation because their work is not in your scope of ownership.

The most important factor in your hiring decision is your ability to answer the behavioral questions. Be prepared to communicate clearly and succinctly. You should also be able to show in your answers to the leadership principles that you have the ability to think solutions that work well at large scale.

Learn everything you need to ace your Technical Program Manager interviews.

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