Fake recruiting posters poking fun at Amazon are popping up around Seattle — the latest fallout from a New York Times article that depicts Amazon as a grinding workplace that spits out those who can’t keep up or don’t fit in.
“Are you a sociopath? Amazon wants you!” read the signs that are pasted to street poles and gym bulletin boards near Amazon’s South Lake Union headquarters. “Have a conscience? Don’t worry, our work environment will strip it from you in no time! Apply today! #AmazonJobs.”
— Shannon Houghton (@MsHoughton) August 18, 2015
— Ansel Herz (@Ansel) August 18, 2015
The signs appear to have been posted this week, just after the New York Times published a 5,700-word in-depth exposé on Sunday that included cited several cases of alleged employee mistreatment, depicting managers who were unsympathetic to employees even when they were faced with illnesses or family issues.
The New York Times interviewed more than 100 current and former Amazon employees for the piece and wrote about an environment where workers are frequently driven to tears, others are weeded out after encountering medical issues, and a competitive stack-rank system encourages employees to undermine one another.
Jeff Bezos disputed the account in a memo to employees. “I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company,” he wrote, in part.
Several former Amazon employees who spoke with GeekWire said the article was factually accurate but not a complete or fair picture of the company.
Fake recruiting posters aside, the article could be a setback for Amazon in the highly competitive market for tech talent, damaging the company’s reputation among sought-after engineers.
The Times’ story described how employees who adapt to Amazon’s system and excel are dubbed “Amabots,” while outsiders dub those who’ve worked in the hard-charging environment as “Amholes.” It seems anti-Amazon activists in Seattle prefer simply, “sociopaths.”