In a recent Mashable article, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos discussed his hiring process as well as three questions that make the difference when hiring. Here’s what can be taken away from the article:
We all know Amazon as the world’s biggest leader in online shopping, but at one point it was just an idea. How does a small startup business transform into a massive online vendor?
By hiring the right people.
In his 1998 letter to shareholders, Bezos wrote, “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person. It would be impossible to produce results in an environment as dynamic as the Internet without extraordinary people...Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will continue to be, the single most important element of Amazon.com’s success.”
This philosophy has created one of the most in-depth hiring processes in the world. This rigorous screening process takes a toll on both the candidates and the workers. Despite the exponential growth at Amazon over the years, the process still takes place and continues today. Amazon, currently made up of approximately 110,000 employees, is more-than-willing to spend hours and hours when it comes to screening candidates.
According to Valerie Frederickson, a human resources consultant who has worked with several Silicon Valley companies, “There is no company that sticks to its process like Amazon does. They don’t just hire the best of what they see; they’re willing to keep looking for talent.”
Bezos swears by three critical questions before hiring a single candidate.
1. Will you admire this person?
Admiration is the first bit of criteria on Bezos’ list. Most of the time, candidates admire the people working at their desired company, however Bezos wanted hiring managers to admire the candidate. According to Bezos, admiration meant that this was a person who could be an example to others.
2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
Elevation is the next goal for new hires. Bezos said, “The bar has to continuously go up. I ask people to visualize the company five years from now. At that point, each of us should look around and say, “The standards are so high now--boy, I’m glad I got in when I did!”
3. Along what dimensions might this person be a superstar?
Having an interest in the company’s culture is the third and final thing Bezos looks for in a new hire. He seeks someone who will help cultivate a fun and interesting work environment. It doesn’t need to be related to the job either - Bezos gives the example of how a National Spelling Bee champion would be an ideal candidate because of not only how well-rounded they are, but how they are truly unique.
So, if you’re interested in building your team from the ground up, get a good idea of your company culture and shape it into your hiring process. Stick to your guns and take the time in finding the perfect person for the position. Regardless of whether you agree with this philosophy or not, something should be said for how successful Amazon (and other tech companies) has been over so many years and if Bezos attributes this success to his hiring process, we’re buying it.