Amazon has changed how the world shops online and stands as the largest online retailer in the world. In July of 1994, Jeffrey Bezos started the company, but at the time Amazon strictly had a concentration on books that were sold out of his garage. Bezos was beginning to see the internet revolution take place and decided that quitting his job at 30 years old to begin an internet start-up that had room for growth. Clearly, a lot has changed since the start-up of the company. Now with a click of a button, you can purchase anything from household items, toys, electronics, beauty products, clothing, and even groceries. On May 15, 1997, Amazon offered stock to the public at $18 a share. In 2001, Amazon started becoming a profitable business and recorded a revenue of $1 billion, making a profit of $5 million. Today the company employs over 600,000 people and in 2017 it made a net revenue of $178 billion dollars.
Since the company opened 23 years ago, Amazon.com has always made sure that their mission statement stands true to what is most important: the customer shopping with them. The corporate mission and vision statement of Amazon.com is: “Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” The company states that “Earth” is the market, and one day the would have intentions of being a global company, which ultimately did happen. The company has dozens of offices in more 30 different countries around the world. The corporate offices are all over, from North America, starting in Santa Monica, the home of Amazon Studios, to Brooklyn, the home of Amazon fashion, to Canada, India and all over Europe.
The purpose of a staffing strategy is to recruit and retain employees that do jobs that match with a company’s overall goals. The four basic goals of the staffing functions are identification, recruiting, development and retention. Now Amazon’s staffing strategy is simple “make sure people really want to work for you” Jeff Bezos issued an interesting policy to new hires. After a year, if a new Amazon associate does not want to be working for the company, Amazon will pay their associates to quit. This was originally done by another company named Zappos an online shoe store which Amazon bought back in 2009. Similar to Zappos, Amazon calls this “pay to quit” and it is quite simple once the employee stays for over a year Amazon offers their associate to quit. The first year the offer is made it is for $2,000 then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. Amazon hopes that the employee does not take the offer because they want to retain their employees that have spent a lot of time with them and acquired a lot of skills and knowledge with the company.
Many ask why Amazon does this and the goal of doing this activity is to encourage the employee to take a moment and think about what they really want because, in the long run, a person staying at a place where they do not want to be is not healthy for the employee or the company. For that reason, Amazon eliminates the employees who do not like the job or simply do not want to be at the company; and in doing so, Amazon retains its talented employee pool which in the long run will benefit the company because it will increase employee morale. Also, if employees enjoy what they do in the atmosphere in which they work, they are more likely to stay with the company, helping make a positive work environment which will strengthen the employees commitment to the organization and its goals.
Sources and Recruitment Methods for New Recruits
Amazon.com has job postings all over the internet, from their direct website to recruiting websites, LinkedIn, and even interviews that require traveling. If you look online, Amazon has over 14,000 job postings alone on Indeed.com. The job postings range from delivery drivers, shift managers, account executives and so much more. Some of these job postings are even hiring events that allow candidates to be hired on the spot. The job postings that are hiring events give the candidates the ability to RSVP to the event, details on what to prepare for, how to dress and what the expect.
Miriam Park, Amazon’s director of MBA and university recruiting, states that Amazon does not have a specific hiring season and the company always wants top talent at any given time. Park vocalizes that Amazon tries to use as many recruiting sources as possible to find their talent and that LinkedIn is a great source for candidates to follow along with the company. “Applying on Amazon jobs is a great way to apply, but if you also know an Amazonian, reaching out and asking for advice on which roles would be a good fit so you can receive a referral,” Miriam Park.
Jessica Cronin, an Amazon senior recruiter for their supply chain technology, stated that a handful of good hires are not noticed through applications via Amazon.com. Cronin said that LinkedIn is her first choice when looking for new talent and from there will contact the candidate to see if they are a good fit. If Cronin sees that the candidate could have potential for multiple roles, she will align them with a different recruiter within the company.
Amazon has various selection methods that begin with an online application. Individuals first step is discovering the opportunities within Amazon. Amazon’s website is structured to search for a potential job of interest for the potential employee. These questions involve the job of interest, warehouse location, business category, and job category. Once the potential employee has found a job of interest, the online application is presented with the click of a button on “Apply Now.” This online application involves personal information and a questionnaire of scenarios that may arise at a work site.
Next, if accepted into the following steps, a phone interview will be conducted. In the phone interview, potential employees are screened as well as asked personal questions. The phone screening allows the employer to inform the candidate on the basic job descriptions, expectations of the job, any resume gaps or previous roles in organizations. In these phone interviews, a scripted interview is created in order to be organized and gives the candidates an equal opportunity with the same questions.
Then to follow is the in-person interview. This interview is typically a one-on-one interview with the hiring manager or in some instances the staffing representatives. The staffing representatives are typically for entry-level jobs that require less experience and minimal educational levels. Throughout this interview, there are questions regarding the candidate’s work history, qualifications for the job, availability, and skills. In some instances, talent assessments are given to candidates to perform the skills set and the ability of performing effectively.
Before concluding the hiring process, Amazon will run pre-employment checks on the potential candidate. Pre-employment checks involve background checks, drug test, and reference checks. Once this is completed the job offer is sent out to the candidate to begin the onboarding process. Once the newly hired employee has completed the required documents for Amazon, the training of the employee begins. Every job category has its specific form of training to ensure that all tools and skills are given to employee in order to succeed in their job. All employees are expected to “Raise the Bar,” for the following employees to join the organization.
Although Amazon has shown tremendous success overall as a company and in their human resources department, there are still areas of improvement that can be addressed to improve amazons recruitment and selection methods. Jeff Bezos discussed in an interview how he would rather interview “50 candidates and not hire a single one if they didn’t seem fit.” This philosophy has led to one of the most difficult hiring processes to undergo through not just taking a toll on the applicants but also on the recruiters as well.
Amazon has a system of “bar raiser” in place which are full-time employees that are considered the “gatekeepers” of the organization being able to terminate an applicant at any moment if they do not believe an individual will improve the company. Although Amazon does see success from these practices it does create some problems like time constraints since it can take a considerable amount of time to commit to an individual that is able to pass through all the rigorous recruitment practices. This time conflict can also interfere with the applicant as well because they have to commit to such a long recruitment process and even then they can still take another offer from a competitor, leaving Amazon with a smaller pool of potential employees.
Another area of concern is that due to the fact employees are used as bar raisers this can generate cognitive biases towards the person applying. A simple bias someone has towards another can be of great impact if an individual continues through recruitment and there are many bar raisers that are in contact with applicants through the process, all of them having the same ability to drop an individual at any time. Overall, no recruitment practice is perfect and Amazon does have its flaws but as a whole, the company has had success with the way it recruits its employees and is always trying to improve upon the foundation they have set out already.
Since the start-up of the company 23 years ago, Amazon has grown and developed a huge impact on online shopping, focusing on the customers and trying to be accessible worldwide. Having over 600,000 thousand employees, it’s interesting to learn the different strategies it practices to employ and retain its workers. Similar to Zappos, if the employees work for Amazon for a year, they will pay them to leave if they are no longer interested in working for them. Amazon simply wants employees that want to work there.
It also has a variety of different recruitment methods, mostly online postings through their website or other recruitment websites. However, the most popular is through LinkedIn. If interested in working for Amazon, there is an online application that can be submitted. Afterwards, if selected, the next step is a phone interview, then an in person interview, in addition to a pre-employment check. The hiring process is difficult, and although selective, Amazon has shown its methods work but will continue improving to maintain its growth and success.