Amazon.com AMZN, which has become the undisputed e-commerce leader, recently announced (BusinessWeek, 4/9/08). But Amazon's new venture hasn't distracted it from recruiting. Indeed, Dustin Stites, Amazon's recruiting manager for MBA programs, says the company's hiring looks as aggressive as ever, if not better. Stites talked with BusinessWeek's Sara Hennessey about the perks of working at Amazon and what the company values when hiring MBAs. Here is an edited transcript of their conversation.
Q: Can you describe the company culture at Amazon?
A: Working at Amazon is great because it's a really dynamic organization that cares a lot about its employees and cares a lot about its customers. We're really all about customer satisfaction, and we thrive on being customer-centric and creating a great experience for our customers.
Q: Which schools does Amazon recruit at?
A: While we do target specific schools, such as Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, and Northwestern, we don't hire only from those schools, so we advise students who are interested in working at Amazon to visit our Website: www.amazon.com/college
Q: Has the weak economy affected recruiting at all?
A: Not at all. We're a growing global company that's looking for bright, energetic students to be the future leaders of the company. I expect we'll be hiring the same number of students this year, if not more.
Q: What are some tips in getting through the interview process?
A: As I'm sure is common in interviews with large companies, we use a lot of case study questions in our interviews, so prepping for those kinds of questions is probably a good idea. Practicing interviewing and situation-based questions with fellow classmates can also be very helpful.
Q: What is the biggest mistake MBAs make in the interviewing process?
A: Not being prepared. When students come to us in interviews unprepared, it shows that they're not interested and that they don't care about whether they're hired or not.
Q: What kind of candidate would fit in well at Amazon? What are you looking for?
A: Someone who really stands out to us is someone with the ability to evolve as an individual as well as be part of a team. We're looking for candidates with critical decision-making skills who are going to be dedicated to the high standard of customer satisfaction we pride ourselves on, and who are going to be committed to helping us build our business. Candidates who would fit in well at Amazon have the ability to keep pace with our growth, and have the ability to motivate others around them.
Q: Are there any special skills you look for when hiring?
A: Strong oral and written communication skills are key, as well as creativity and technical and analytical aptitude. Our employees are willing and able to directly impact the success of our organization, and are able to successfully develop and execute ideas and projects. Being able to communicate effectively with senior management as well as with customers is also an important part of being a good team player.
Q: How many MBAs do you hire every year and what types of jobs are available for MBAs?
A: We hire around 125 students globally, across the company every year, and about 100 of those positions are based in the U.S. We also offer a number of different positions for MBA students, including senior positions, management positions, and positions in operations and human resources
Q: Do you hire MBAs for internships too?
A: Yes, we offer MBAs full time positions as well as positions as interns.
Q: What kind of salary and benefits can hires expect?
A: Amazon offers a very competitive package of benefits that is well-suited to an innovative business. Also, our location is a perk in and of itself. We're headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, which is an incredibly beautiful area, and employees have ample opportunity to take advantage of it and to experience the outdoors. We also do a lot of fun things—like today is "Bring Your Dog to Work Day," and there's some puppy games being played outside as we speak.