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Old 05-25-2012, 03:19 PM
 
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congrats! the in-person interview is long so make sure you get a good nights sleep the night before.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,651 posts, read 2,782,361 times
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There are many sites which discuss the Amazon interview. Typically HR gives you a general interview first and then you may interview with up to 5 other people from both your group and other related groups. Each interviewer gives his feedback to the hiring manager and then preps the next interviewer on things to ask you, weak areas to probe, etc...

The most important part to remember is that they don't expect you have all the answers - they want to 'watch' how you think and how you problem-solve. So ask clarifying, probing questions, think out loud, and if you can think of a couple solutions - describe them both and their pros and cons.

Just a note - No engineer I know has an undemanding work environment (or expects one). It is the nature of the field, but Amazon seems to burn through them at a pretty fast clip - so much so that they've developed a bit of a reputation for it, and it's one of the reasons they tend to pay even a bit higher than the rest of the industry. Everyone I know that has worked there has burned out in 5 years. That doesn't mean it was a bad experience. In fact they all have great admiration for the company and their co-workers, but found the pace unsustainable in the long run. I'd say just be prepared to have some boundaries, push back and negotiate for your personal space. Most engineers don't burn out because others force them to - we generally do it to ourselves.

Have a kick-<expletive> interview!!
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:20 PM
 
3,117 posts, read 4,584,910 times
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The saying as it goes amongst IT professionals up here is that "Amazon is a great company to be from".

They try their damnedest to load their techies with cash, incentives, concerts, fancy events, etc.....but the reality is they absolutely work you till there's nothing left of you. It's a great launching point for someone just graduating uni or someone with no family, but there's definitely a point where Amazon ceases to be the right fit for someone. At the end of the day, companies in Seattle like F5, Microsoft, Nuance, Google and the like will basically offer you the same ballpark of pay & perks and light years more work/life balance without the signing of one's soul away. Especially for the senior level talent.

I've never worked there, but I also don't know anyone that's made it 3 years, either.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Seattle
620 posts, read 1,300,015 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanathos View Post
The saying as it goes amongst IT professionals up here is that "Amazon is a great company to be from".

They try their damnedest to load their techies with cash, incentives, concerts, fancy events, etc.....but the reality is they absolutely work you till there's nothing left of you. It's a great launching point for someone just graduating uni or someone with no family, but there's definitely a point where Amazon ceases to be the right fit for someone. At the end of the day, companies in Seattle like F5, Microsoft, Nuance, Google and the like will basically offer you the same ballpark of pay & perks and light years more work/life balance without the signing of one's soul away. Especially for the senior level talent.

I've never worked there, but I also don't know anyone that's made it 3 years, either.
I was there for three years then I left for grad school and now I am back. I've a few pals that have been there over 5 years but all of them are outside of the engineering side. Sales, HR, and the like.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:26 PM
 
3,117 posts, read 4,584,910 times
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Originally Posted by The Siobhan View Post
I was there for three years then I left for grad school and now I am back. I've a few pals that have been there over 5 years but all of them are outside of the engineering side. Sales, HR, and the like.
A fair enough statement, but most people who go to work for Amazon aren't going to be in sales or HR. Those are pure 8-5 jobs. The guys in software engineering or operations are the ones being asked to put in the 80-90 hour weeks..........and watching the guys in sales get the best parties, in all probability (which is just standard at any company)
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Seattle
620 posts, read 1,300,015 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanathos View Post
A fair enough statement, but most people who go to work for Amazon aren't going to be in sales or HR. Those are pure 8-5 jobs. The guys in software engineering or operations are the ones being asked to put in the 80-90 hour weeks..........and watching the guys in sales get the best parties, in all probability (which is just standard at any company)
That's not accurate. In the team that I am in right now, we are in the middle of downtime and people are doing 60 or so hours a week. By August, it will be bumped up to prepare for Xmas. Unless one is a contractor, there aren't any jobs at Amazon that are the standard 8-5. Even in my old role, I still was expected to log a few hours in the evening and over the weekend. The SDEs and such keep the site going, but the other roles are what keep the products listed, the products shipped, etc.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:17 AM
 
21,989 posts, read 15,706,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Siobhan View Post
Even in my old role, I still was expected to log a few hours in the evening and over the weekend.
That's true anywhere. I remember years ago when a 2:00 a.m. email would get someone's attention. No one even notices anymore. I was buying tickets to the King Tut exhibit a few days ago and had a question. I sent an email to the link at around 1:00 a.m. Within ten minutes I had a response and exchanged emails with someone.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:33 AM
 
3,117 posts, read 4,584,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Siobhan View Post
That's not accurate. In the team that I am in right now, we are in the middle of downtime and people are doing 60 or so hours a week. By August, it will be bumped up to prepare for Xmas. Unless one is a contractor, there aren't any jobs at Amazon that are the standard 8-5. Even in my old role, I still was expected to log a few hours in the evening and over the weekend. The SDEs and such keep the site going, but the other roles are what keep the products listed, the products shipped, etc.
You've proven my point for me. You're talking about how this is your slow time and you're still putting in 50% overtime. The average engineer will put in 10% elsewhere. Which brings into play something I always have to lecture younger techies on: The concept of salary dilution. Every hour you put in over 40 hours in any given week dilutes your total worth to a lower level, because you're putting in more work for the same money. One has to do the math to determine if the extra 5-10% Amazon might pay is a fair trade-off for the extra hours they have you put in vs. Company X (or in the case of the other blueblood tech companies out here, the 1-2%).

If you're at 50% OT during your slow period, then what are you at during the ramp-up? 75% some weeks? 100% others? 120% at the peak? At that point, your (just for ease of numbers) $100,000 salary is worth less than $25 an hour, which an administrative assistant can earn.

Again, I'm not dissing Amazon, I'm just pointing out why their turnover is so high - people start to realize that if they have an offer from Big Fish Games for $120,000 and an offer from Amazon for $130,000, that extra 10 grand is worthless if you're too exhausted to spend it or you have to work twice as hard to get it.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:10 AM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
5,002 posts, read 12,356,425 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanathos View Post
You've proven my point for me. You're talking about how this is your slow time and you're still putting in 50% overtime. The average engineer will put in 10% elsewhere. Which brings into play something I always have to lecture younger techies on: The concept of salary dilution. Every hour you put in over 40 hours in any given week dilutes your total worth to a lower level, because you're putting in more work for the same money. One has to do the math to determine if the extra 5-10% Amazon might pay is a fair trade-off for the extra hours they have you put in vs. Company X (or in the case of the other blueblood tech companies out here, the 1-2%).

If you're at 50% OT during your slow period, then what are you at during the ramp-up? 75% some weeks? 100% others? 120% at the peak? At that point, your (just for ease of numbers) $100,000 salary is worth less than $25 an hour, which an administrative assistant can earn.

Again, I'm not dissing Amazon, I'm just pointing out why their turnover is so high - people start to realize that if they have an offer from Big Fish Games for $120,000 and an offer from Amazon for $130,000, that extra 10 grand is worthless if you're too exhausted to spend it or you have to work twice as hard to get it.

I totally agree with Xanathos on this point. I'm in the electronics/software/integration/avionics/etc. side of things at Boeing and the only time we get 50% overtime is when executives messed up (again) and we're saving their butts (again). That typically only happens when a new airplane program comes along and the bean counters in their usual way skimped at the beginning only to lately realize how they have to catch up. So, call it every 5 years or so there's a new airplane program and there's 50% overtime for about a year. Then it settles down to a routine and troubleshooting normal issues that come up in service and planning for the next new thing (right now 737MAX and new 777 derivative and Tanker).

Of course there's other positions that are 24/7/365.25 and are very high stress (like aircraft-on-ground, flight test, and some sales), and some are seemingly lemming like jobs that folks can scan in in the morning, log in, then leave for 5 hours, do 2 hours of work, then leave.

Anyway, there's more to life than work and I'm happy with my 8-5 job (more like 7-3:30). I'm pushing my own tech project and we'll see where it goes. If its my own baby I might be more inclined to do overtime.

I highly recommend anyone saying that 50% OT is "downtime" seriously reconsider their life choice in career and employer if they have the chance.
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:09 PM
 
Location: WA
4,242 posts, read 8,773,186 times
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You've gotta make it 3 years to get your stock vested. Or at least 2 so you can keep your full signing bonus.

My understanding was that the pay was a little below industry average. You get in, do your time, and then go on to more exciting things. Like Microsoft, its a good place to be from, but yeah, not a lot of people stay for the long haul.

A good goal would be to get into a group where you don't have to wear a pager.
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