Update 02 December 2016 This post received attention on HackerNews and Reddit, as well as other Internet imageboards, please see those pages for additional discussion. If you'd like to view the source code for this page, it is hosted on GitHub.
This document is intended to show my process with getting an Amazon interview this year. So far, it has been a terrible experience, and I have refused to continue with the next step due to strong privacy considerations.
I hope this is informative to others interested or currently applying for an internship at Amazon.
First, I applied online, and a
couple months later, I got an e-mail with a link to two online
The first part was a relatively normal "debug this code" multiple choice test, I was given 24 minutes for 7 questions. Most of them were simple off-by-one or boolean logic errors.
The second part was a logical reasoning assessment. I had 35 minutes for 24 questions.
Update 02 December 2016 I have received a cease and desist notice from Aspiring Minds, the company who created AMCAT, the test I received. I originally had a few questions from the test below, which are now removed. To describe the images, they were 1) a reading comprehension question 2) a "find the odd one out" pattern matching question 3) a question about what can be inferred from mathematical statements 4) a mathematical "find the pattern" analogy question
Second, I received a second online assessment, facilitated
via proctor.io. I first
had to install Google Chrome (Chromium worked), which
I did, and then install the Proctorio extension and allow it to
operate in incognito mode. Then I received these
In particular, I am not a fan of tracking physical location, all running applications, or other browser tabs (I'm not sure how this works with Chrome's sandbox, though).
At this point I refused to continue, sending the following e-mail to the recruiter at Amazon. If any other potential interns get a similar test, please strongly consider the privacy implications of such a testing platform, and consider a similar response.
Hi, I received an online assessment from Amazon for a software engineering internship interview. However, this assessment raises extreme privacy concerns: The following information will be collected during the duration of the exam: Your microphone Your webcam Your physical location Your clipboard Your mouse location Your browser size Your browser tabs and windows Your head movements Your eye movements Your mouth movements Your entire screen Any website you visit Any other applications running Number of display screens connected These are unacceptable requirements (along with the 'must use Google Chrome' requirement). I can suggest alternatives: I am available for an on-site interview <during these dates>. I am also available for a video chat at any time. Are either of these possible? Thank you for your time, <my name>I have not yet received a response, but I will update this document when I do.
This page was archived on the Internet Archive on 01 December 2016.
My final note is to ask a question. To what extent should personal
ethics play in deciding where a (software) engineer should work?
What if the engineer has no other choices for a job, and needs to (make rent/pay the bills/eat food)?
It is true that it'd be pretty easy to circumvent the tracking, by placing paper over the webcam, running the browser in a virtual machine, spoofing data to the browser, and so on. However these are infeasible for most non-technical people, so I don't think it's a real solution.
Update 12 December 2016 First I received an e-mail from Amazon saying that there were no other alternatives to taking the Proctorio test. When I again refused, I was told that Amazon will not be continuing the interview process with me.