What it does: e-commerce, operations, internet and retail technology services.
Best known for: The company joins Apple, Google and Facebook as the Big Four group of technology companies.
Staff stats: More than 600,000 people worldwide.
The good bits: IT roles, which are the bread and butter of Amazon, earn six-figure salaries per year on average.
The not so good bits: Amazon has drawn public criticism for its reportedly poor working conditions, especially for front-line employees in the warehouse and delivery units.
Hiring grads with top marks in: Engineering, Information Technology, Communications, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Psychology.
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 after leaving his position at a Wall Street firm. Bezos changed the company’s name to Amazon from Cadabra Inc. in 1995 after a lawyer misheard the latter name as ‘Cadaver’. The current name reflected Bezos’ belief that Amazon would have been the biggest bookstore worldwide.
The company has since expanded from selling literature to becoming a diverse online retail marketplace of consumer electronics, clothing, food, furniture, software products, toys and even jewellery items. The arrow beneath the name ‘Amazon’ on the company’s logo supposedly means that clients can buy anything from A to Z on the e-commerce website.
More than 130 million people visit the USA website every month. Amazon also invested in its EC2 infrastructure for server capacity development to prevent outages, especially during the Christmas shopping season. The system makes its nearly impossible for attackers to crash the website. Among other recent investments include a cashier-less, physical Amazon Go grocery store in the USA and a business launch in Turkey.
Graduates should expect up to six stages in the hiring process, particularly for IT roles. The first round involves two sections of written tests that will test a candidate’s logical and technical skills.
The second stage provides at least three coding questions with medium difficulty. Candidates should be strongly familiar with the data structures of arrays, strings, and matrices to answer the questions. Applicants will advance to an interview with the hiring manager after passing multiple technical skills related to the job. An HR interview should be the final step if the company makes a formal job offer.
Applicants for non-IT roles should expect an Amazon recruiter to contact them via email or LinkedIn. You will need to answer questions through a phone call that should last up to 30 minutes. Another one to three phone calls from the hiring manager and senior members of the department might be necessary. Candidates will speak with at least four people during the on-site assessment after passing multiple phone interviews.
You may also meet one of more than 3,300 ‘Bar Raisers’ during the interview process. They make sure that every potential new hire is a good fit for the company. If you receive an offer, you can negotiate the terms before the recruiter sends the final paperwork.
The company recruits interns by visiting different campuses every year. Most of its technical internships happen during the summer, lasting between 12 and 16 weeks. Those who pursue a salaried position as associates can pursue different roles through Amazon’s five growth and development initiatives:
Career Choice programme
Amazon Career Skills (onsite or virtual classes for personal and professional growth)
A2 Tech (an associate-to-technician transition programme)
Training for powered industrial equipment
Affinity groups for social interaction among employees
Amazon’s compensation package usually consists of a base pay, sign-on bonus and Restricted Stock Units. Benefits also vary for regular and full-time employees based on their location. They can include medical, prescription drug, dental, and vision coverage; paid time-off and holiday overtime pay; and discounts on Amazon purchases.
The company has its own unique minimum wage rate at $15 per hour for USA employees. All employees in the USA, including part-time workers, receive 401(k) contributions from the company. The company scrapped stock awards and bonuses in exchange for a higher minimum wage. More than 16,000 employees from 10 countries also availed of the Career Choice Programme, which subsidises 95 per cent of tuition fees in high-demand degrees.
The company describes members of its workforce as Amazonians. Amazon observes a dog-friendly workplace environment, which began in 1996 with one Welsh corgi named Rufus. The company also invested $700 million in training employees across different sectors from corporate offices to retail stores, as part of its Upskilling 2025 initiative.
Amazon also attributed its commercial success to the so-called Day One philosophy, which means the company still adopts a start-up mentality despite its large-scale development.
The company allows employees to use their best judgment on what’s best for clients. The level of trust seems high given that Amazon hires competent individuals. Customer-facing roles may require you to be flexible either by working early or late at the office.
Most employees agree that Amazon is a good place to work and establish their careers, due to relaxed HR regulations and leave policies. Some areas for improvement include milestone rewards for long-time workers and transportation assistance for women.
Employees in the Manila office are happy with a casual work environment and approachable colleagues. However, some individuals struggle to cope with the Day One philosophy because of abrupt changes that can happen daily.
Amazon’s biggest rivals include Walmart, eBay and Alibaba Group. Google and Microsoft are among its indirect competitors.
Amazon has invested in sustainable projects designed to reduce its carbon footprint to net-zero by 2040, including the use of more than 100 million of new recyclable mailers.
Amazon has faced allegations of poor working conditions as well as accusations of sourcing and selling counterfeit Apple products in 2016.
The e-commerce group also drew criticism for not paying federal income taxes between 2017 and 2018. However, several tax loopholes allowed the company to pay zero taxes.
Graduates with a customer-centric approach for their work ethic will have a strong chance of joining the company. The tedious hiring process can place significant pressure on candidates, with the added difficulty of passing an interview with Amazon’s Bar Raisers, who have the influence to reject your application. However, those who prove themselves worthy can reap lucrative benefits, especially for IT and software engineering roles.