Amazon isn’t really known for having the softest work culture.
And according to Shivan Kaul and Raj Kesavan, two software engineers who recently interviewed for jobs there, Amazon seems to have an equally rough online job assessment process.
Both Kaul and Kesavan shared their experiences on each of their blogs recently. Their frustrations are aimed at ProctorU and Proctorio, two separate online proctoring companies hired by Amazon, but they give a good look into how some online job assessment tests could rub off the wrong way by trying to remotely monitor every small detail of the candidate.
“The normalization of privacy violation has never felt more real,” Kaul writes.
For those who don’t have the time to read their blogs, here are some of the highlights about Amazon’s online exam:
- Kaul is an engineering student at McGill University. Kesavan is a student at Berkeley. They both applied for engineering positions at Amazon.
- For the job, they had to take two online assessment tests.
- They were asked to download a software, which takes control of your computer.
- According to Kesavan, some of the things that get “collected” during the exam include: microphone, mouse, webcam, browser size, head movements, eye movements, and mouth movements, among many others.
- ProctorU shuts down all running apps and blocks you from taking any screenshots.
- Proctorio blocks you from opening new tabs or windows and makes you disconnect all additional monitors.
- Kaul was asked to clean up his desk. But since it was too messy, he took the exam on his bed instead.
- Kaul also had to remove bed sheets and show the proctor through the webcam that there were no cheating materials nearby. He was only given one bathroom break, for 5 minutes.
- Kesavan refused to take the exam, and sent Amazon a list of all the information ProctorU’s software tried to “collect” from him.
- In Kaul’s case, the software suddenly acted up and he had to wait nearly an hour trying to get it fixed. So he quit. “The absurdity of what I’m doing – waiting to get access to my own machine – outweighs the patience I have for someone trying to do their job,” he writes.
To be fair, the controlling measures seem to be standard for most of these third party proctoring company-managed exams, so it’s hard to entirely blame Amazon for it.
But Kaul told us he had a completely different experience with Salesforce, where he interned this year after taking the same type of online exam for the position. Salesforce didn’t have a third-party proctor, but had someone from its engineering team give the exam instead.
Kaul declined to further discuss his experience with us, but said that he’s been able to get an offer from another software company based in California. He also points out in his blog post that he “respects Amazon as a company” and he’s heard from current employees that the company is “overhauling” its interview process.
We were able to confirm that Amazon is no longer using these proctoring software. Amazon has also previously denied the NYT report that described it as a “bruising” workplace, calling the story “biased” and a “disservice to its readers.”
The original version of this post did not distinguish between two separate services, Protorio and ProctorU, which were described by the two student blog posts.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.