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Amazon Likes Workers Who Are ‘More Missionary Than Mercenary’: CEO Andy Jassy

‘Being open to challenge your most closely held beliefs and learning is one of the most important characteristics of long-term employees here,’ Jassy says of working at Amazon.

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‘We Want Missionaries’

As many U.S. workers look to start a new career chapter during what LinkedIn is calling the “great reshuffle,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy says the Seattle company likes job candidates who are “more missionary than mercenary.”

“We want people who care most about the mission of what the team and the company are trying to accomplish and will put the goals and the mission above the goals of themselves,” Jassy said during Amazon Career Day. “Mercenaries tend to prioritize themselves over the team. We want missionaries and then people who are humble and realize they don’t know at all. The second that you believe you know what there is to know is the second you’re really unwinding as a professional. We learn so much every few months here. Being open to challenge your most closely held beliefs and learning is one of the most important characteristics of long-term employees here.”

Jassy is one of those long-term employees. He joined Amazon in 1997 and became its CEO in July after leading its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud division since its launch in 2006. He shared his insights on career topics and his own career journey with Devin Banerjee, LinkedIn’s editor at large for business and finance.

“The economy is doing quite well, which is great,” Jassy said. “But as we all know, the economies will go through fits and starts over time, and so people want to pick places that really fit with passions they have and what they want to work on. And I think you want to pick a company that has some impact in the world and that is growing, and whose future growth prospects are promising, and where you can imagine building a long career.”

Jassy, of course, plugged Amazon as a “pretty unusual place to build a career.”

“It’s an amazing place if you want to have an impact on the world,” he said. “We really exist to help make customers’ lives easier and better every day, and we relentlessly innovate to make that so. A lot of people talk about missions like that, but it’s really hard to walk that walk.”

Job opportunities at Amazon span a broad array of functions across its businesses, ranging from software development engineers and product management, to marketing and design, to machine learning/artificial intelligence and research science, to fulfillment centers.

“We’re growing in our retail business, in our AWS business and our advertising business and our devices and Alexa business and our entertainment business,” Jassy said. “It is a very early stage in the history of Amazon, and if you’re somebody who likes to have an impact on the world, I think it’s hard to find a place that’s more exciting to work than Amazon.”

Click through to read what else Jassy had to say about job interviews, what Amazon looks for in job candidates, his Amazon career, mentorship and other career-related issues.

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