A talented and educated labour force is one of the assets drawing investors to Slovakia. This is the case of Amazon, the US electronic commerce and cloud computing company, which after its corporate office in Bratislava launched a returns centre in Sereď. So far, they are satisfied with the quality of the people they have hired, said Georgina Yellowlees,
head director of the pan-EU talent acquisition team at Amazon. In order for the pool of prospective workers not to dry out, they are starting to cooperate with universities.
The Slovak Spectator spoke with Yellowlees about hiring workers for Amazon’s returns centre in Sereď, the used methods and more.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): Companies in Slovakia have been complaining about a lack of qualified people. What has Amazon’s experience been when looking for employees for its new returns centre in Sereď?
Georgina Yellowlees (GY): Our job is to make sure that Amazon is a first choice employer in the region. Amazon is a great place to work, offering a very competitive compensation package and multiple career growth opportunities, so it shouldn’t be difficult. Our recruitment process for the new fulfilment centre in Sereď is underway in line with our plans and we are very satisfied with the quality of the people we have hired.
TSS: Has there been anything that has surprised you here in Slovakia?
GY: One of our leadership principles states that we always hire and develop the best. We have found a wealth of talented people in Slovakia and we continue hiring for our operations centre as well as our corporate office in Bratislava. I’m also impressed by the interest of the local universities in learning about Amazon and our mutual cooperation.Amazon returns centre in Sereď already in operation Read more
At Amazon, we always carefully select our investment locations and it is important to us that the local community is happy with our presence. Firstly, our centres employ many people, so we need to locate our investments where there is a large pool of potential employees. Secondly, our investments are very large, so we need to be sure that we utilise them well. Also, transparent legislation and rules that permit timely new construction and operations are essential. Access and good infrastructure are also important. We are very happy to have found all these elements in Sereď.
TSS: What kind of people Amazon is looking for?
GY: We are looking for highly analytical people from various backgrounds and with varying expertise who are analytical, can do math fast, think quickly and make quick high calibre judgement decisions. At Amazon, you are expected to solve complex problems which often means you need to lean into, and be comfortable with ambiguity. Leaning into ambiguity means being courageous and taking risks.
TSS: How do you search for talents at Amazon?
GY: We look for talents in multiple places across Europe. We hire from campus’, from pools of MBA, Master’s, PHD graduates and interns, from industry directly, and we have also recently launched a dedicated military hiring team that works across the European landscape. Further, we are investing in hiring and supporting ‘Returnees’, those are individuals who may have been out of the workforce for a period of time, and need support in finding roles ideal for their unique situation and greater development opportunities. We are analysing different local markets to understand the demographics, making sure to bring diversity into the workforce. This allows us to reflect our customer based in our candidate pools.
TSS: Amazon uses its own escape room when searching for new talents. How does this work? For what professions or positions at Amazon is such a method suitable?