Amazon.com
3.4 of 5 2,796 reviews
www.amazon.com Seattle, WA 5000+ Employees

Amazon.com Reviews

Updated Apr 16, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.4 2,796 reviews

                             

87% Approve of the CEO

Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

(2,044 ratings)

65% of employees recommend this company to a friend
2,796 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "You're surrounded by smart people who challenge you to grow constantly"
    in 264 reviews
  • "You learn a lot about leadership principles and how to manage people"
    in 78 reviews
Cons:
  • "Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel"
    in 438 reviews
  • "Pathetic culture-no work life balance/poor pays shares are deceiving/Extremely political"
    in 100 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

  • Culture & Values
         
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  • Approves of CEO

83 people found this helpful  

Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others

Software Development Manager (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for more than 3 years

ProsAmazon is doing lot's of cool stuff...but lots of boring stuff too. There are really well run teams...and very badly run teams. The experience for software managers and engineers is all over the board, from really run low operational load teams to teams where people burn out after a year.

 - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. You can generally expect that anyone who's been here for more than 2 years is competent and motivated or they wouldn't have survived. You can count on them as long as your priorities are aligned. There aren't many slackers here, and they don't survive long.
  - We work on so much stuff that there's always an opportunity to find amazing cool stuff to work on (note that it's an 'opportunity', one that you have to pursue)
  - A chance to make a huge difference
  - A place where you can learn a lot about all kinds of things, both technical and about yourself
  - Amazon encourages high mobility - even your manager can't prevent you from moving to another team within 6 weeks (normally, more than a few months under unusual conditions).
  - Your friends and family have actually heard of the place you work and have at least a vague notion of what Amazon does without you having to explain

Cons- You're responsible for your own career progression and finding the places and teams that are doing the stuff you want to do. No one is going to take you by the hand and help you with that.
- Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. The strong survive and the weak perish (metaphorically speaking) and the 'bar' is constantly increasing. The level of performance that would have been acceptable five years ago will get you canned today. It's a kind of crucible that'll help you develop a harder edge, if you can survive, that can serve you well in your career and in life, but it's often not a pleasant experience.

I wouldn't recommend it as a place to work for just anyone.

Advice to Senior ManagementStack ranking is a horrible practice since it's rife with favoritism. It's also not Amazonian in that it's not data based (arbitrarily designating a certain percentage of employees that must be put on performance management isn't a data driven criterion) and it's not frugal (effectively forcing an individual out of the company in one division who would make the grade in another is either retaining someone who doesn't meet the bar or a waste of talent). The goal is to force managers to actually make the hard decisions about how their team members compare with each other (not everyone can be exceptional), but it has more defects than virtues. Replace it with a common comparison of each person against the bar for their position, based on data. The percentages that are assigned to each performance category will turn out how they turn out, but there will be an evaluation mechanism that's fair and frugal.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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130 people found this helpful  

Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into

Marketing (Former Employee)
Seattle, WA

I worked at Amazon.com full-time for more than 3 years

ProsThe name will precede you. This company can legitimately be called a "Disruptor" and perhaps even a world-changer. Customers love it and it's amazing to watch it all unfold at times. It's a pleasure to be even a small part of that.

Even low-level employees are given some ownership, more than they might in some other places. Processes like the customer service andon cord demonstrate this.

Pay is mostly good, with some caveats (see the Cons section).

You will learn a ton. You'll be put through the ringer, but will emerge stronger for it. It's been said that a year at Amazon = two years elsewhere. That's definitely true. You'll learn business, supply chain, tech, retail, you name it. You're surrounded by smart people who challenge you to grow constantly. That was one of my favorite parts about working here.

You can bring your dog to the office, dress code is casual, and South Lake Union is a fun neighborhood to work in. Seattle is stunningly beautiful in the summer, too (if you have time to enjoy it, that is.)

Bezos is one of the few CEOs I've seen who earns the glowing reputation. He's a genius and a visionary. It's exciting to work in his company, though the thought of what will happen when he moves on is also a bit frightening.

Cons"Work-life balance" means different things to different people, so I'm not going to say it's bad here per se. That said, long hours are the norm at all levels across the company, and usually that's required and expected just to keep up. Expect 60 hours as your baseline year round and 70 or more during Q4. You should expect that your time and mental energy for kids, hobbies, etc. will be extremely limited. Plan accordingly. Whether this is a negative will depend largely on the individual; just ensure you know where you stand on this before you sign an offer letter.

That Amazon is a massive company with tons of smart people at all levels can actually be a huge negative. You might be a solid individual contributor, but so is absolutely everyone else - and you're all fighting for the same attention. It can be very hard to stand out, and you have to ensure your manager and your manager's manager know what value you bring at all times or you're toast. (You may still be toast regardless.) That means politics, backstabbing, and stack ranking do occur, despite some claims to the contrary. People definitely look out for themselves and themselves alone here; it's not a collaborative environment. It's also very easy to get the sense that you are a highly expendable cog even if your contributions bring significant value to the company. Plan to fight for yourself hard here, and be prepared to not get much acknowledgment or praise. Even if you do prove yourself well, know that advancement opportunities are limited. Most transfers in my observation were lateral, with big new hires being external. I've heard that the strategy of many people is to do a few intense years of lateral moves which can then be leveraged into a higher position at another company.

Compensation is a mixed bag. Salaries are just average, but you get a huge signing bonus and stock which vests in strange increments over four years. Since the average employee lasts less than two years, you will not see most of that stock and you may need to repay some of that signing bonus (usually awarded over two years) if you leave or are pushed out. Raises are very, very small each year - your salary will not substantially increase even with a good review. Most people work startup hours, so their effective pay rate is pretty low. Additionally, the company espouses frugality as a core value. While this can be a positive, it also means they're downright cheap on some things, including hardware. Employee perks are pretty much nonexistent, and that's compared to most big companies and not just the Googles of the world. Benefits like health insurance and 401k match are mediocre at best. No free Prime accounts. No paid parental leave; moms get disability and dads get zip. (As in zero. None.) I did mention earlier that this isn't the most kid-friendly company to work for.

Advice to Senior ManagementIt's great to work at a place that highly values customer experience, so please keep that up. Work on your compensation - it's not competitive when compared to other tech giants. If I'm going to work as hard or as much as I did, at least I'd get free haircuts and food and massages at Google. Hell, even some paid paternity leave would be a start.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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1 person found this helpful  

Interview process

Executive Producer (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for less than a year

ProsVery methodical, very thorough. Appreciated the screening based on leadership principles. Process provides great overview of team. Bar raiser helps to strengthen character and reinforces confidence when the discussion goes well.

ConsLong process for all day interviews. More time for questions from candidates would be beneficial. More discussion for understanding levels and compensation.

Advice to Senior ManagementAdd an orientation to how levels work in the company.

– I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

Fast paced environment , 110% expected everyday!

FC Associate (Current Employee)
Haslet, TX

I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for less than a year

ProsAmazon has great benefits and a four day work week, unless Voluntary?mandatory is called. As a Full time blue badge associate you receive Paid time off, unpaid time, and vacation time. You also receive stock that vests after TWO years and a monthly bonus based on certain performance factors.
Open to suggestions for improving processes

ConsFavoritism
Pay cap on lower tier positions
communication between management and associates can be limited
Favors interview performance over experience

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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New Hire Experience

Warehouse Associate (Current Employee)
West Columbia, SC

I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for less than a year

ProsFast Paced
Great Benefits
Set Schedules
Opportunities for Advancement
Guaranteed 40 hrs

ConsShort Breaks
Lots Of Walking
Long Hours
No Off time During Holidays

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Sort of like a law firm

Corporate Counsel (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for more than a year

ProsBe a mini GC. You get a lot of responsibility and, depending on the role, can become a true generalist. Other companies will love to have you.

ConsVery big company. Very slow moving. It is also a large legal department so advancement isn't easy. Very long hours.

Advice to Senior ManagementThe GC is not a great leader. He is very aloof and does not really lead the department. While the lawyers are excellent, the department is not a well oiled machine.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Amazon Temporary Assignment

Inbound Receiver (Current Employee)
Reno, NV

I have been working at Amazon.com as a contractor for less than a year

ProsState of the art equipment

ConsHard to move to a permanent position

Advice to Senior ManagementHelp your team members move into full time permanent positions

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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challenging, a dog eat dog environment.

Process Assistant (Current Employee)
Breinigsville, PA

I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for more than 3 years

ProsSmart people where you learn so much from. Great opportunities to grow .

ConsSteady stream of new managers proves to be difficult to gain exposure.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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The largest startup in the world

Software Engineer III (Former Employee)
Seattle, WA

I worked at Amazon.com full-time for more than 5 years

Pros1. Good pay at higher levels (SDE 3+)
2. Excellent range of opportunities - work from UI to the largest web services infrastructure in the world to machine learning to consumer products (Kindle).. If you get bored of one team, moving to another is straightforward.
3. High achievers are rewarded well
4. Super focused and competent senior management

Cons1. The frugality (cheapness) gets old after a while.
2. Growing as an individual contributor after the SDE 2 level is made ridiculously tough and is completely team dependent; an SDE 2-3 promotion in a technically strong team might take years (or never happen) with the same promotion take a few months in some other teams
3. Uneven quality across groups and teams - there needs to be a consistent hiring bar.
4. Employees are treated largely as cogs. The pager hell is real and can be bad depending on the team.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Customer Support

Customer Support (Former Employee)

I worked at Amazon.com as a contractor

ProsGreat place to learn and to pick up new skills quickly. Management really cared about what you had to say and took your thoughts on board. Great atmosphere and social work environement- there were always plenty of extracurricular activities organized for staff.

ConsIt was very competitive as all the temp hires were vying for permanent positions. There was no sense of job security. The company's call centers are very strict on attendance and have points systems in place- so if you miss a day because you are sick, you receive a point. Three points and you're out.

Advice to Senior ManagementTo more clearly outline how many permanent positions there will be available for temp staff.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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