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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

does working at amazon suck?

I have been contacted by their HR department a couple times over the years and never persued in parge because the job would require me to move. They have an opening near my house and contacted me again. When I passed, they got back to me to ask me to change my mind.

They would not talk money before the interview. I generally dont waste my time unless I know the company can afford me. I wont work for less. If I am too expensive, I would rather not waste my time. In part since you never know when you will need a job and I would rather not pass on a job and then need a job and in part cause interviewing isn't fun. Its work.

I told them what I was making and I would want an increase to leave and I got 'noted' and 'there is more to working at amazon than money' (usually means 'we dont pay too well and want long hours').

Doing government contracting... project is up for recompete. Government is in sequester. Managers like usual are confident of winning continued work (they always are). No reason to mistrust them. However, need to keep options open.

if something happens here, is it worth to work at Amazon? Or do they totally suck and I should put the folder with 'going to lose my house its either amazon or turning tricks'.
Bob Smith Send private email
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Working? *Interviewing* at Amazon sucks.
Bring back anon Send private email
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The answer: http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Amazon-com-Reviews-E6036.htm

Off topic: I find your hard line on interviewing very strange.

Amazon *can* afford you. The question is: are they *willing* to pay you as much as you want to make.

Or to put it differently: are you able to convince them you're worth as much as you think you are.

I've interviewed a few times and *never* was compensation discussed before hand. How could it?

I interview. The company makes an offer, which partly depends on how well I did in the interview.

When the offer was too low, I countered. When they couldn't meet my expectations, I rejected the offer.

Given that an interview is at most an investment of 8 hours and I do it only every couple of years, I don't see what the problem is.

More importantly: your expectations (knowing salary before passing the interview) is at odds with how things work.

I don't see how any company, Amazon included, would commit to a salary before vetting you.

The answer you got from the recruiter (one where they don't promise you that you'll make at least $X) is the only one you can expect.

For one, a recruiter doesn't make salary decisions. Second, it would be stupid for anyone to weaken their negotiating position by setting a salary minimum.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
If you are able to interview somewhere during lunch that is fine. Also if you are desperate for a job because you're incompetent, then you do whatever it takes.

Let's assume the case where you are competent and not desperate.

Usually interviews involve hours of phone screening, followed by a plane trip, hotel, rental car, and all the planning involved in that.

99% of jobs out there are trying to hire people at far below market rate.

It's a complete waste of time for anyone with talent to interview at those places, because even when they make the offer, you can't accept it. Sounds like Amazon is one of those places from the comment they made when you said your requirements.

Any company that can't give a salary range in advance of the interview isn't worth your time.
Scott Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Krzysztof's answer gets +100 internet's (speaking as someone whos been on both sides of the recruitment table).

You may not enjoy Amazons culture and thats something you can *guess* at from glassdoor etc - but its unrealistic to expect salary promises before hand, best you could expect is a range.

On the other hand consider where has the contact come from - why did they contact you? If its for a specific reason then thats very good for your rate changes. If its just part of a general crawl (esp if its coming from recruitment 'conultants') then less good.

Oh - careful not to get the Tin Hat stuck on too tight light Scotts ;)
Ryan Wheeler Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Except he didn't ask for a salary range.

He asked Amazon to commit to a minimum salary, presumably a high one. No sane company would do that. Furthermore, a recruiter doesn't have the authority to make such promise.

But in case anyone's wondering: http://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Amazon-com-Senior-Software-Engineer-Salaries-E6036_D_KO11,35.htm

His reading of understandably non-committal response ("they won't guarantee at least $X therefore they wouldn't pay me $X") is wrong. They won't guarantee minimum because that's not how hiring works.

By your logic "it's a complete waste of time for anyone with talent" to interview at Google. They pay better than almost anyone but they won't guarantee a minimum salary before an interview. No one will.

Very few companies posts salary range and for big companies you can research this yourself on glassdoor.com.

Finally, a strange definition of "market rate" if it's only offered for 1% jobs. That sounds more like "top 1% rate".
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
I don't think you should interview, you already have a negative attitude towards them and probably made up your mind already.

Every company I have interviewed with have asked me either my current salary or my salary expectations before the interview in order to avoid wasting everyones time. So I disagree with the comments that it would be crazy to talk money before interview. It's very reasonable to politely note in advance that you are currently on $N and you would be looking for somewhere in the region of $N*1.1 - it doesn't commit them to anything before the interview. You really don't want to finish a 4 week interview process and find out that the budget for the position they are trying to fill only goes up to $N*0.75 + free t-shirts + free lunch + unpaid overtime, "because there's more to working here than just money".

If actually you have a completely open mind and your contact is well connected; maybe you can arrange a pre-interview visit to look around and have some light discussion. You might find the work interesting; who knows ?
koan Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Ryan's response is inflammatory and counterproductive. By "tin hat" clearly he means "tin foil hat", a comment made about supposed "conspiracy theorists" who believe "conspiracy theories", things such as that the NSA is monitoring people's communications, or that the CIA is kidnapping and torturing people.

Nothing in my post was a conspiracy theory.

People who don't have sound arguments or reasoning based on specific articulable facts love to trot out the old ad hominem as a sign of the failure of their reasoning process. They don't like what someone has to say - such as that it is very reasonable to ask for a range as I said, or as the OP required, to verify that his current salary would not be more than any offer should he receive one. Since they don't have any rational way to explain their unreasonable position, they engage in attacks against those who speak common sense, such as to suggest they are a "conspiracy theorist", someone who believes the NSA is monitoring people's communications, or that the CIA is kidnapping and torturing people, even those things have nothing to do with the discussion at all.
Scott Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
In the McCarthy era, when faced with uncomfortable truths, truth-speakers were labelled communists and blacklisted from their trade. Some had their houses firebombed, or were rounded up and bussed into the desert when they tried to organize labor parties.

Likewise, in the Soviet Union, when someone criticized the government they were labelled a homosexual and sent to Siberia for reeducation.

What should be said of those who engage in McCarthy or Stalin style tactics in the 21st century?
Scott Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Krzysztof Kowalczyk's comment is another typical propaganda technique to silence truth speakers.

He quotes me by saying "it's a complete waste of time for anyone with talent" and then says "they won't guarantee a minimum salary before an interview". This of course suggests that I made a claim that it is a waste of time to interview without a GUARANTEED salary offer before an interview.

Of course that is not what I said at all. Krzysztof Kowalczyk's comment is a lie. Krzysztof Kowalczyk is a liar and a propaganda artist.

Making straw man arguments where one lies about what the truth-speaker has said is counterproductive to useful discussion of these issues.

What should we say about someone who uses these tactics in the 21st century? Is this someone who should be listened to or trusted?
Scott Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013

> Likewise, in the Soviet Union, when someone criticized the government they were labelled a homosexual and sent to Siberia for reeducation.

Just for the record: usually not homosexuals, but тунеядцы (social parasites). It makes some sense, because if one is not working, not paying taxes, not participating in governance at all, why the right to criticize is assumed?

Homosexuality was a separate accusation line, and did not require any anti-government critic.

They also weren't usually sent to Siberia, but to 101km mark from any major metro area. "На 101-й километр" was the phrase. The right to go to Siberia one has to earn!

BTW Siberia is not as far/bad as you think. I love it dearly. Most of Russia is Siberia anyway. :)

Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
> What should we say about someone who uses these tactics in the 21st century?

How's 21st century is suddenly different?
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Apparently it is not, it's still 1939. If anything things may be regressing in ways.
Scott Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
I don't know Bob Smith from John Smith, and this is just a conversation between avatars, so excuse my rudeness.
"never persued in parge because the job would require me to move"
It appears that English language writing proficiency is not a job requirement.

"They would not talk money before the interview. I generally dont waste my time unless I know the company can afford me."
This has very little to do with the current century, it has a great deal to do with the current labour supply.  Until the late nineties, if an applicant wanted to talk money before the interview, the interview never took place.  I don't understand why that is no longer always the case, perhaps there are interview quotas for HR staff, or perhaps the number of potentially qualified applicants is so small that it is difficult to find anyone to interview if you reject people who only want to hear how much you are willing to pay them for the privilege of adding their names to your payroll.

"I told them what I was making and I would want an increase to leave and I got 'noted' "
Dude, this was a telephone interview, so technically you failed to prevent them from interviewing you without talking money.  Amazon just saved itself the expense of flying you in for a face to face interview and probable job offer (that they would regret later).  IF you hear from Amazon again, they must be truly desperate.

"interviewing isn't fun. Its work"
Right, in fact, it is the type of work commonly referred to as marketing.  You can use interviewing to research the job market as well as marketing your skill set.  Even if you decide the position doesn't interest you, it is a free opportunity to hone your marketing skills, and the real key to marketing your time and skills is building a reputation.  You might want to consider trying to get job interviews from time to time just to build up your reputation.

"Doing government contracting"
As part of a business to government contract, or an employee to government contract?  The difference isn't that important, either way your market value depends on reputation which depends on customer service, and your customer is whoever contracted you to perform work for them.

"the folder with 'going to lose my house its either amazon or turning tricks'"
There's an expression that there is no whore like an old whore.  I would recommend taking steps to move up in class before you become an old whore who can't turn tricks for coffee money.
Howard Ness Send private email
Saturday, July 20, 2013
House Hunter: "I am looking to buy a house!"

Real Estate agent: "Tell me more. What is your budget? What area are you looking? What are your requirements?"

House Hunter: "I want to look at all of them, east coast, west coast, country, city, don't matter."

Real Estate agent: "OK, we'll start with local listings. But I need to know a range. Are you looking more to buy a $10 million mansion, or a $10,000 trailer?"

House Hunter: "That's my private business! But show me the BEST that you got, cos I want the top 1%"

Real Estate agent: "So apparently you are looking for top end properties but don't want to state your budget."

House Hunter: "That right."

Real Estate agent, after showing 250 houses.

House Hunter: "Let's make an offer on this house."

Real Estate agent, "OK, the listing price is $24 million."

House Hunter: "I offer five dollar, cause that's all I got."
Scott Send private email
Sunday, July 21, 2013
about glassdoor: they are unreliable. Look up any company. All negative. People with positive things to say, don't post

@scott: Market for is about $40k less than I currently make. I would want more to leave. The number I gave amazon was large. To put this in perspective, I had 3 offers when I switched jobs in january at my current pay and I did not spend alot of time interviewing. That being said, I work in DC and there is now sequestering. So I don't want to take an interview and then pass on an offer due to money. If I do that, they probably wouldn't hire me, if I actually needed a job. I did not apply to amazon. They contacted me. Not sure where they got my resume. Just a bit concerned about federal budget issues. There are times when the government changes funding initiatives and whole teams just get slashed.

That being said I won't quit for a lower paying job. My concern is that if they offer me a job and its not what I want, I won't take it. Why would I leave for a pay cut? Parallel move is a pay cut (raises are pro-rate, health insurance deductibles reset to 0, etc...). If I pass on the job, I am concerned that if I NEED a job, they wouldn't hire me. It is better to pass on the interview, then the offer cause you burn a bridge. Do you get what I am saying?

Also, there are a number of artidcles on the web with how Amazon treats people who work i warehouses. No they wouldn't make me do backbreaking labor. However, it often tells you alot about company culture with how you treat parts of your company. I have read blogs by ex-Amazon employees about insane hours. Im a 40 hour/week kind of guy. I have a life AND I live in the DC area so there are alot of employers.

I saw your post about 'flying' someone down for an interview. I wouldn't fly for an interview because I don't want to move. If you saw my resume you wouldn't interview me because of all the job changes. If you saw my salary requirement you would probably snicker. Im not your type of candidate. I'm ok with that. I have some specialized skills that you probably don't need. So there is no need for you to want someone like me. Its just business on both sides.

for the record, I won't accept a job without a good technical interview. I can tell the difference. I have had companies gush over me and there interview was a joke. If they don't know how to screen, I don't want to work with them. My response to a tough interview is 'good it means you screened the other guys well'. Tough interviews don't need to be LONG interviews. I prefer places where people are good. Its just less headaches and frustrations.
Contractor Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
@howard ness: wrong. Amazon got back to me multiple times asking me to reconsider coming in for an interview. I politely told them, I wasn't on the market and decided to stay at my current job. They then asked me twice by email and once with a call to reconsider coming in. I am smart enough not to reveal what I really think.
Contractor Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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