The complete guide to getting a job at Amazon's white-hot self-driving startup, according to its hiring director
- Amazon bought the self-driving startup Zoox in 2020.
- Insider asked Zoox’s director of hiring what she looks for in job applications and interviews.
- She said she prioritizes specificity and enthusiasm about Zoox.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Zoox is taking a different approach than most autonomous-vehicle companies, developing the technology behind its computer-operated driver and a custom vehicle that will use it. The startup’s approach received a strong vote of confidence last year when Amazon reportedly paid more than $1 billion to acquire it.
Zoox is looking for employees with a similar belief in its strategy, Georgina Salamy, Zoox’s director of talent acquisition and insights, told Insider.
Insider asked Salamy what she looks for in job applications, interviews, and follow-up notes.
Here’s what she said.
Zoox is looking for problem-solvers with persistence
Salamy said Zoox is looking for candidates with strong problem-solving skills who are excited by the idea of tackling difficult projects that require persistence.
“What we’re working on is very unknown and requires creative problem solving skills and out-of-the-box thinking,” Salamy said.
On your résumé, be specific about your accomplishments
Make sure your résumé describes what you contributed to the projects you’ve worked on, rather than focusing only on how those projects have helped your company, Salamy said. Being a team player is good, but make sure your résumé is making an argument for you, not your coworkers.
Proofread your résumé 10 times, then have someone else do the same
Salamy recommends proofreading your résumé 10 times to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors, then having someone else do the same. Submitting a résumé with one mistake won’t disqualify you from getting an interview, but it won’t help your case.
“That small thing that could have easily been avoided, it might have a bigger impact than you’d expect,” Salamy said.
Do your research before your interview
Salamy pays close attention to the way candidates answer two critical questions during interviews: “Why are you interested in working at Zoox?” and “What is your ideal job?”
Zoox is taking a different approach to autonomous-vehicle technology than most of its competitors. For Salamy, it’s important that job candidates understand those differences and are excited by them. Having a general interest in self-driving cars isn’t enough.
“If somebody doesn’t have a compelling reason for why they are choosing Zoox over any other company in this space, it doesn’t sit well,” Salamy said.
For the second question — “What is your ideal job? — it’s a positive sign if a candidate says they embrace being challenged and held accountable, appreciate working with smart colleagues, and want to build a product that has transformative potential.
“These are all things that are super important for us because of the complexity and the scale of what we’re doing,” Salamy said.
Use a follow-up email to show you were paying attention during your interview
After the interview, don’t send a formulaic “thank you” note. According to Salamy, it will help your case if you send a follow-up note that makes specific references to your interview, like what you learned about Zoox or whether anything your interviewer said concerned you. Adding those kinds of details show how interested you are in working at Zoox, Salamy said.
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