Update: Amazon Deals in Texas, Outside Companies Recruiting in the Valley

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVb2RW0SAXk&w=560&h=349]

Amazon makes Texas a jobs-for-taxes offer… Companies from outside Silicon Valley are looking for IT talent in Silicon Valley. And a question for you: Are you just venting in your blog comments, or do you really mean it? Watch the video, then click here to tell us what you think.

No Responses to “Update: Amazon Deals in Texas, Outside Companies Recruiting in the Valley”

  1. Sudhir

    Hello Mark,

    In response to your feedback “Update: Amazon Deals in Texas, Outside Companies Recruiting in the Valley

    I value your news and opinion regarding the job market..Please continue doing the good work.

    Appreciate it very much!

    Have a great weekend!


  2. Mark,

    I really do think the Amazon/Texas tax swap deal for 4.5 years is a good one: it’s a win-win for both Amazon — AND Texas. Texas is lucky to have some forward thinking people, not only in their legislators and executive branch, but also in the C levels of many companies here. Texas is creating more jobs, per capita, than just about anywhere else in the country.

    I think the 4.5 years moratorium on the taxes for Amazon will be a boost to the economy in Austin and Texas, as they build and fill positions in their expansion of their distribution centers.

    The only thing that might concern me is the failure to hold their end of the bargain due to technology as more people buy digital products versus hard copy. If the sales of hard copy product goes down, there may not be a need for “distribution centers” per se, of books. But, then again, I could be wrong: they have other durable goods besides books which can be fulfilled, such as housewares, office supplies, electronics, music and video. Even the music and video is being delivered electronically more these days, but the other durable goods may hold well for Amazon’s growth. If Amazon simply has a drop ship arrangement with manufacturers, then I suspect they may not be able to keep their end of the bargain and may end up going the way of Wal Mart in some cities.

    As to the Silicon Valley, I think it will be helpful to the economy in California, but until we get back to manufacturing and wean our economy off of the service sector, we’re not going to see any serious growth in GDP in CA.

    As to the grumbling of job seekers, they may have some legitimate complaints in certain sectors and regions. While there is job growth in some areas of the country, others are lackluster. And, yes, some H/R departments are out of touch with regards to certain fields, but overall, I believe they’re sincere in their efforts to hire the best for their companies.

    It may take some old fashioned “re-inventing” of one’s self (and resume) to see some change. I have always experienced tremendous growth during stressed economic times when people are challenged to put their skills under the microscope and revamp themselves.


    Ernest O’Dell – CEO
    Questar TeleCommunications

  3. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years. When I was hiring, I used to ask HR for ALL the resumes. What I found was that the people I wanted to hire were the ones in their discard stack – the ones with the plain, but techie resumes. The ones HR wanted to hire were the fancy resumes. My practice was to set all the parchment and designer folders aside and go thru the real resumes. I want to hire techs, not sales people.

    Over the last ten years I’ve worked as a programmer contractor on and off. During this time I also looked for staff work when not on a contract. What I found was that corporate HR is not hiring. They are doing busy work to make it look like they are. Because I have contacts in most of the companies I apply to, I know when jobs have been filled and closed, or when they’ve just been removed. Most of the jobs I’ve applied and interviewed for never hired. They go thru all the motions and then remove the job posting. Or they hired from within and filled some management requirement to interview outside.

    One large retail firm here in Illinois posts dozens of jobs for six month or more and never fills a single one. Mid-level management is told there’s a hiring freeze, but the posting stay up on the companies job board and the interviews continue.

    These days, I’m independent. Having developed my own business to the point where it supports me, I have no need to deal with these people anymore.

    As far as HR being out of touch, they never were in touch. I view them as oblivious. They are usually just repeating things they get from company management. I’ve seen internal references that no one outside would understand used in job descriptions. Form letter job descriptions used that are clearly off target for the job title. And then there’s basic mis-use of the English language.

    On Dice right now there are over 900 listings that contain the word “incumbent”. I’d hazard a guess that 890 of them are incorrectly using the word. Somewhere along the line someone misused it and over the years they’ve copied it from job description to job description as they cut and pasted and plagerized their way forward.

    This isn’t an issue limited to Dice, it’s rampant throughout the HR industry. Here’s some examples from page one of the Dice listings:

    “Incumbent must possess a minimum of 5 years experience ”
    Good, how many years do applicants need?

    “In this position, the incumbent will work with the sales force to influence carrier decisions”
    That’s great, what will I be doing if I get the job?

    “The incumbent will be proactive and enjoy putting their own stamp on projects”
    Good for them, will I get to do that too?

    These are the people that are keeping us from interviewing.

    • I have recently come to the decision that h.r. really do not know what they want. Because no one is
      telling them, Its more like hear fill this slot. then it gets passed on to head hunters, who have never worked in the industry. So they don’t know any better either! I interview for support positions the interviewers want some one who programs writes C++ & is willing to teach folks how to use win7.
      It really gets frustrating!!!! Oh I am learning C++ now..

  4. It’s not just the HR managers that are to blame. A lot of times they are just doing what people in the company are telling them to do. The ad for the position I currently have was written so poorly and so missed what they were really looking for that I didn’t even apply for it. It wasn’t until a friend inside the company recruited me that I even sent a resume. My brother sent in several resumes to a company with no response only to be recruited several months later on Linkedin.

  5. I think Texas is exhibiting a much more business friendly environment than California. Something that California should look closely into if it hopes to crawl out of the massive debt soon.

    However, if Texas accepts Amazon’s offer, it could set a precedent where promise of future employment replaces back taxes. Besides Amazon stands to gain a lot more than Texas, especially if there are chances that Amazon may go belly up in the next five years. Texas will try its best to avoid that event in turn offering a kind of security to Amazon. Wonderful!

    As for HR, that is an entire debate in itself. I agree to most of what Alan has to say about in-house HR. I’m not a HR person, but have talked to enough recruiters of all types, in-house, retained, contingent and staffing agencies. They have a difficult job of finding the right candidate. And lets face it, they are there to please the hiring company, after all that’s who pays them, not the candidate. Then there are only a handful of recruiters who think long term and view todays candidate as tomorrow’s hiring manager.

    The job-seekers do have legitimate concerns especially when they find out that the juicy carrots they are pursuing are actually fake props. Too many experiences like these can put a damper on anyone. Many have a long road and some make too many compromises to adversely affect them long term.


  6. Leo B. Jackson

    The help in finding work is when you, Mark Feffer, give the actual hiring manager’s e-mail address.
    Otherwise, looking for work by your suggestions is picking up an anonymous ad in the Newspaper, et cetera!!!

  7. Andrew

    Usually venting is when you get so tired of hearing BS, that you DO say what you REALLY mean… so I would venture to say that most of the comments really are what people mean. On the Texas-Amazon deal… Old Slick Rick, aka Rick Perry, is willing to sell Texas out if it means padding for his own pocket or a means for political posturing on his clawing to the top of the political food chain.

  8. I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of whining and sarcasm, especially coming from tech folks with less than 5 years of experience. In my experience, a lot of these less experienced workers expect management right out of school and the keys to the executive washroom shortly after that. It just doesn’t work that way. Everyone gets to pay their dues. That means getting out there, being told no over and over, then getting a position writing reports or maintaining a legacy app, then working your way up from there. It takes hard work and humility, and Mark can’t magically wave his hands and give you a job. No one can. His advice IS helpful; you just have to think for a moment about how it applies to you and take action and personal responsibility for your careers success.

  9. tedson

    Mark… good report. Can you fill us in on Amazon’s tax debt? That was a five year period you had shown where they didn’t pay tax? I presume in the state(s) where they are physically located? How do they get by with this, or is it that the states where they do business ‘eat’ the tax that is not collected? Thanks

    • Ted, the collection of sales tax online’s been a big deal for both sides: Companies don’t want the hassle of collecting it, plus it gives them an advantage over businesses that do collect. But states want the revenue, and more of them are starting to plug the whole that had the question of whether sales taxes applied for companies that were physically located out of state. In this case, it looks like Texas believes it will gain more in the long run by doing this deal with Amazon — the state gets 6,000 jobs and millions spent on construction of its new facilities (which will require some number of separate jobs be created to build them.) The five year period where Amazon didn’t pay tax, in this case, was in Texas only. The company’s doing similar deals in other states.

  10. alan smith

    I have been contracting in the New York City area, mostly, for going on 20 years, and have stopped entirely from submitting a cover letter with my resume.

    Depending upon the spot being advertised, I reply with one of 10 resumes….

  11. Mario

    I think an issue with Dice reporting is , for example , that you might say that there is a big market for people with Mainframe skills and then say there are hundreds of openings nationally . That works out to 3 openings in Boston today … Only . Making a career U-turn for 3 openings when you can’t get an interview in a field with hundreds of local openings does not make sense . Also, the ad requires 10 years of experience . You can’t get 10 years of experience by waiting for Mark on Dice to announce that Mainframes are Hot this year . You have to invest in a field many years in advance to take advantage when it happens to be “Hot” . The “Day Trader” career advice contrasts sharply and negatively with the “Long Horizon Warren Buffett” strategy required to be an industry professional .