Ace the Amazon “Ownership” Interview with These Insightful Answers

If you’re gearing up for an Amazon interview, you’ve likely heard about the company’s 16 Leadership Principles, which serve as the backbone of their hiring process. One of the most crucial principles is “Ownership,” and interviewers will undoubtedly ask you questions to assess your ability to embody this principle. In this article, we’ll explore the top five Amazon “Ownership” interview questions and provide insightful sample answers to help you ace this essential aspect of your interview.

Understanding the “Ownership” Leadership Principle

At Amazon, “Ownership” means that leaders think long-term and act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They take responsibility for their projects and decisions, never shying away from challenges or saying, “That’s not my job.” Instead, they proactively identify and solve problems, even if they fall outside their immediate scope of work.

Here’s how Amazon defines the “Ownership” principle:

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.”

If you demonstrate ownership, you will:

  • Ignore boundaries between jobs and departments if necessary to get your project done. If you see a problem and it’s not in your department, you will try to fix it.
  • Manage every dependency and won’t make excuses if something goes wrong. You won’t say, “That wasn’t my job to take care of.”
  • Think about the impact of your decisions on other teams, sites, and the customer over time.
  • Consider future outcomes (scalability, long-term value, etc.).
  • Coach and mentor your team to understand the big picture, how their role supports the overall objectives of Amazon, and how it ties to others.

Top 5 Amazon “Ownership” Interview Questions and Sample Answers

Based on experience with clients, here are the top five Amazon interview questions related to the “Ownership” principle, along with sample answers that demonstrate this crucial leadership trait.

1. Provide an example of when you personally demonstrated ownership.

Sample Answer:

“When we were trying to penetrate the academic markets, it required a new way of interacting with the customer. No one was clear on what this method was. It wasn’t my job to create the marketing plan, but I could see that no one was having success with it, so I did research and figured it out myself. At our next meeting, I presented my method, and we implemented it. As a result of this initiative, we’ve made millions of dollars in this market, and I believe my marketing plan contributed to that success.”

This answer demonstrates ownership by taking initiative to solve a problem that was outside the candidate’s direct responsibilities. By researching and developing a new marketing plan, they helped the company succeed in a new market.

2. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond.

Sample Answer:

“While working on my most recent project, our customer asked to add a new feature to the product. While it was a reasonable request, it went beyond the scope of the project we had worked out, and there was no time built into the schedule for it. My manager decided that we couldn’t refuse and insisted that we rework the schedule. This change increased my workload by about 25% in the same timeframe. I did my best to complete the extra work in the time given by working later at night and also working some weekends. Although it wasn’t an ideal situation, we managed to pull it off, and the customer was satisfied with our work.”

This example demonstrates going above and beyond by taking on additional work to accommodate a customer’s request, even though it wasn’t part of the original project scope. The candidate showed dedication and commitment to delivering results by working extra hours and weekends.

3. Tell me about a time when you took on something significant outside your area of responsibility. Why was it important? What was the outcome?

Sample Answer:

“As part of a company rebranding, we were moving our site to a new domain. The old domain had gained significant domain authority over the years and, at the time, was generating trials worth $4.50 each, and we were getting approximately 1,000 per day. The goal was to complete the migration while protecting that line of revenue.

I didn’t see anyone treating this project with the sense of urgency or risk mitigation that I thought it needed, so I took over coordinating it, although it would have normally fallen to the marketing team to lead this effort. While I wasn’t an expert, I had researched best practices around site migration. I was convinced that the key was to migrate the content pages, set up 301 redirects, and have Google re-index the site as quickly as possible. It was inevitable that we’d lose some revenue during the migration, but I knew we could minimize it with decisive action and SEO best practices.

I led the team through the implementation, while carefully monitoring the organic traffic data during the migration. We completed the migration as planned. While we initially saw a decline in organic traffic (as expected), it recovered quickly. We had successfully migrated to the new domain and still met our B2C budget numbers.”

This answer showcases the candidate’s ability to take ownership of a critical project outside their immediate responsibilities. By recognizing the urgency and potential risks, they stepped up to lead the team and implement best practices, ultimately ensuring a successful migration while minimizing revenue loss.

4. Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome?

Sample Answer:

“Last year, we weren’t getting high enough conversion rates on some of our pages for our newest product. They were well below our goal. I was managing the team whose goal was to fix this. I coordinated our landing page optimization efforts, and we updated the user interface on 10+ landing pages in less than three months. We saw conversion lifts between 25% and 45%.”

This response demonstrates the candidate’s ownership in leading their team to improve conversion rates for a product. By coordinating efforts and implementing user interface updates, they were able to achieve substantial conversion lifts, directly contributing to the company’s success.

5. Give an example of when you saw a peer struggling and decided to step in and help. What was the situation, and what actions did you take? What was the outcome?

Sample Answer:

“At my current job, a recent product launch opened up an opportunity to enter into the financial sector, a new market for us. I had come from this world and knew it intimately. In truth, I was the best qualified person to plan how we would penetrate the market, but I was deep into closing a major deal and didn’t have the bandwidth. My colleague stepped up and was preparing a plan. When he asked for my advice, I saw that he was missing some of the key players in the space and would struggle to penetrate the market.

It wasn’t as simple as me telling him who he needed to talk to. In order to be successful, he needed to approach it in a specific way. The incumbents are very entrenched in the financial sector, and it’s more about the relationships than the products themselves. It was a lot to talk through. I asked him if he was free for dinner, and we worked together on his plan through dinner and well into the evening. I laid out for him who specifically he needed to approach, and how to manage the relationships. I also mentored him on having patience as these deals would take time to develop but would be worth it in the end.

He closed his first deal with a bank in Germany five months later, which would lead to a string of opportunities. We expanded the team, and the financial sector became a major line of business for us.”

This example showcases the candidate’s willingness to step in and help a colleague, even though it wasn’t their direct responsibility. By recognizing their expertise and taking the time to mentor and guide their peer, they contributed to the company’s success in entering a new market and securing valuable deals.


Demonstrating “Ownership” is crucial in Amazon interviews, as the company values leaders who take responsibility, think long-term, and act in the best interest of the entire organization. By preparing insightful answers to these top five questions and providing specific examples that highlight your ability to embody this principle, you’ll increase your chances of impressing the interviewer and landing the job at Amazon.

Remember, the key to acing these questions is to showcase your initiative, problem-solving skills, and commitment to the company’s overall success, even when faced with challenges outside your immediate scope of work.

AMAZON LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES Interview Questions & Answers!


How do you answer ownership interview questions?

Employers understand that everyone makes mistakes while working. They want to know that you take ownership of those mistakes and learn from them so that you can avoid that same mistake in the future. In your answer, take responsibility for your error and explain how you would handle it differently next time.

How do you demonstrate ownership on Amazon?

This principle signifies your ability to take charge of a process from start to finish and showcases how effectively you can work within a team. Ownership is not limited to participating in team efforts; rather, it demonstrates your initiative, accountability, and dedication to delivering results.

What is the best way to answer an interview question on Amazon?

To answer any of Amazon’s interview questions, you’ll need to use the STAR method to frame your answer around one (or more) of their leadership principles and use data to support your answer while including something about the company’s peculiarities.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *