Amazon HQ2 lures thousands of job seekers who are curious about the company

(Arlington, Va.)—Call it the Amazon effect. At the e-commerce giant’s first hiring event at its HQ2 on Tuesday, thousands of job seekers began lining up early in the morning outside white tents to learn about job opportunities.

In Arlington, Virginia, the company is on track to achieve its goal to hire 400 people this year, Ardine Williams, Amazon’s vice president of workforce development, told YFi PM. Amazon HQ2, which is now in leased office space in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, employs 70 people and is offering 150 to 200 job openings, which include recruiters, product management and software development engineers on Alexa.

Amazon (AMZN) has set the goal of creating 25,000 jobs by 2030 in Arlington in exchange for performance-based incentives of as much as $573 million from the state and local government. The company announced Wednesday that there were more than 5,000 visitors to the career day event in Arlington.

“When I joined Amazon I knew a lot about the company as a customer, but I didn't know a lot about the company as an employer,” Williams told Yahoo Finance. “So this is an opportunity for people to learn more about the businesses that are within Amazon.”

Tasked with ensuring that Amazon taps into the right workforce in the Arlington area, Williams has been leading partnerships with both two-year and four-year universities. The company is also investing $700 million to train its workers across the nation.

Job hunters line up for an Amazon Career Day event, where recruiters help candidates build interview skills, prepare them for job interviews and give them more information on the roles within the company, at Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia on September 17, 2019. - Amazon is aiming to hire more than 30,000 people across the country by early next year. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Job hunters line up for an Amazon Career Day event at Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia on September 17, 2019. ( ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A ‘worthwhile’ event

On Tuesday, job seekers from all over the Washington, DC metropolitan area attended the fair. Some people waited on line for over an hour to get inside the tents. There were more than 20 informational booths covering different Amazon business units, including Amazon Web Services and Amazon Alexa. There were also booths for non-company roles, including selling on Amazon and delivering packages for Amazon. The company also offered on the spot resumé reviews and interview tips.

Some people who attended the session said most of the information provided is available online, but the event offered a face-to-face experience and gave them an opportunity to talk to current Amazon employees.

During one group Q&A, a current Amazon employee denied reports about long work hours and said work schedules are up to the employee, according to a person who attended the session but did not want to disclose his name.

Arlington is one of the six cities where Amazon hosted a Career Day event on Tuesday. Amazon said it has over 30,000 openings across the country right now. Amazon didn’t host such an event in New York City, where it pulled out from an HQ2 plan late last year, but the company said job opportunities are available across the country.

“I came today to learn more about the User Experience Design positions at Amazon Alexa,” said Aiste Cechaviciute, a Washington DC resident who heard about the event from her friend and waited nearly one hour in line. “I want to work for them, so it’s worthwhile.”

Write to Krystal Hu via or follow her on Twitter.

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