What excites you about working at Amazon
Just apply! Application tips from an HR expert
At the turn of the year, many people have made good resolutions. For some, this certainly includes changing jobs in order to break new ground or advance professionally. Even within Amazon, positions are repeatedly filled by internal applicants because the company supports its employees in taking advantage of new opportunities and developing themselves further. But Amazon is also looking for external impulses, people who bring different experiences and backgrounds to the company. Time to take a look at Marzjanna Wollnik, Senior HR Regional Partner and formerly Senior Recruiter for the retail sector, to find out what the application process at Amazon actually looks like and what she advises applicants.
Hello Marzjanna! Tell me, how does an application process at Amazon work?
You can't say that in general terms. That depends on which position you applied for and for which country. Nevertheless, our application processes are transparent. In almost all cases, the candidates submit their application in the first step via our applicant portal. This is followed by online tests, initial telephone interviews and one-on-one meetings at Amazon. There the applicants meet at least four Amazonians spread over half a day. We are interested in what experiences they have had in the past and what they have learned from situations. We also try to find out to what extent our Leadership Principles are important principles for them to act on.
What stands out particularly positively in applications, what is important?
Recruiters at Amazon first look at the candidate's résumé. That's why a well-structured CV that also includes information on activities, positions and responsibilities is half the battle. By the way, structured does not mean seamlessly for us. Gaps in the résumé are not an exclusion criterion. Time out can be important. When someone has taken a sabbatical or written a book, we look forward to exciting stories that the candidate has to tell. It is important that the overall picture of the application is correct. Sometimes there are also positions that are open for six months or more, because we like to wait for the right person.
What is the most important question you have asked applicants as a recruiter?
In the first telephone interviews in particular, I kept asking two questions: Why did the candidate apply to Amazon and what questions does he or she have to Amazon? The answers show me whether the applicant has dealt with Amazon and how much experience they have. Only those who have learned what is important for him or her can ask the right questions.
What should applicants expect from personal on-site interviews? Is there a dress code?
No not true. We will send the candidates information and tips for their day on site beforehand. It is important to us that you feel comfortable and what you have to say. Clear, structured answers are impressive. Applicants should argue with data and facts and also demonstrate passion and willingness to take risks.
One interview that stuck in my mind was with an applicant who had just finished maternity leave and who impressed me with her passion and determination. She was convinced that a career and family could be reconciled. This certainty impressed me and all of the other interviewees. This colleague has been working for us since then and we don't want to miss her and her excellent work any more!
Perfect transition: What would you advise women who have just come out of parental leave and want to get back into the job?
Amazonians should definitely stay in contact with their manager in order to discuss all the options open to them. In this way, various questions can be answered together in advance: How many hours would the colleague like to work, how would she like to organize her daily work and much more. Because in general Amazon offers different models: Regardless of whether it is “work from home”, job sharing or flexible working hours, we will find a suitable solution for all of our colleagues. That is why many mothers and fathers work part-time for us.
Before starting the application phase, I generally recommend updating your own LinkedIn profile - preferably in English. Many recruiters, including those at Amazon, address suitable candidates via the platform. It doesn't hurt to keep in touch with the recruiters and have an initial conversation with them. Because sometimes you only know at second glance what exactly is behind a job at Amazon.
Studies show that women are still less likely to apply for top jobs. One reason: women tend to rate their chances of success in the competition for management positions as lower than men. What would you say to a friend who decides not to apply for a job at Amazon on the basis of this reason?
I would say: just apply! Even if you have the feeling that you are not meeting all expectations. Let's be completely honest: there is no such thing as the “perfect” candidate. We know that we are dealing with people - and every applicant is individual. All of them have different experiences, skills, talents and backgrounds. Therefore, applicants should not prevent themselves from applying by expecting themselves to have to meet all requirements in full. Good arguments and personality count more to us.
Finally: What tips do you have to convince in the job interview?
Tip one: Proper preparation for a conversation is the be-all and end-all. We let ourselves be convinced by stringency and fact-based arguments.
Tip two: We think it's good when applicants also use the interviews to find out for themselves whether a job at Amazon is right for them.
And tip three: update your LinkedIn profile and get involved in an initial meeting with the recruiter. It doesn't hurt to keep options open.
I have a special tip for female applicants: women often tend to sell their successes as the team's achievements. Be self-confident in the interview and make it clear what you have achieved individually! Because that's what matters.
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