Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Amazon's Unusual Hiring Process - Can it Work for Your Company?

Amazon may have some unconventional ideas (drones to deliver packages, sending you things before you even buy them, to name a few), but one of its most unusual forms of business is the hiring process.

For their higher paying jobs, Amazon employs a system that allows for fellow employees, not just the Human Resources department, to give the approval or disapproval for potential hires.

This team of people, called “Bar Raisers,” number close to several hundred employees and come from a variety of different departments. Their main task, on top of their current job duties, is to interview potential candidates from a range of different job titles and departments. After a series of intense questions, the Bar Raisers determine whether or not a candidate moves on to the next hiring phase.

Created in the company’s earliest stages by its founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, Amazon believes that this program has helped weed out potential bad hires and has helped make the company as successful as it is today.

And it seems to be working – Amazon now has 110,000 employees, with that number increasing almost daily. However, because of the fast growing demands of Amazon hiring, these Bar Raisers are expected to do double the work, interviewing up to 10 candidates per week, including all the additional paperwork and meetings associated with the hiring process, causing more and more Amazon employees opting out of the Bar Raiser title for fear of falling behind in their own position.

Yet, Amazon’s interview process is very important for a business that is expanding at a growing rate. As companies grow, departments tend to become more insulated and isolated from each other. Amazon believes that their hiring technique helps break that insulation, allowing new hires to become familiar with different departments and gain a glimpse at the whole picture.

While most companies do consult other department heads or team leaders on new hires, Amazon is taking an extremely unconventional approach to their hiring process. Yet despite its flaws, it’s an idea that all companies can benefit from and possibly adapt to their own hiring process and needs.


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