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Amazon

Amazon’s Talent Scout Has Tech’s Toughest HR Job

Last month, Amazon’s top human resources executive, Beth Galetti, told a group of employees at a company all-hands meeting how seriously she takes Amazon’s leadership principles, a collection of 14 company proverbs with titles like “bias for action” and “have backbone; disagree and commit.” Ms. Galetti told employees she has a list of the principles in her bag, in the conference room she uses at work and on her phone.

“It’s like learning the Amazon language,” she said at the meeting.

Every tech company has someone in charge of recruiting new employees and supporting those already there, but it is difficult to find one with needs as extraordinary as Amazon’s. Ms. Galetti is in charge of a recruiting pipeline for one of the biggest workforces in the tech industry, encompassing everyone from artificial intelligence experts to grocery store baggers to hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers. She is doing so at a time of unprecedented public scrutiny of Amazon, where its hunt for a new headquarters to fuel its demands for talent sparked a ferocious backlash from political figures and activists.

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'One of the challenges is there’s no benchmarks to look at to see how to do it,' Susan Harker, a former Amazon executive, said about running human resources at the company.