By Mario McKellop
In the past 23 years, Amazon.com has gone from being a plucky startup to the third-most valuable brand on planet Earth. The digital commerce leader has achieved its near unparalleled market capitalization by adhering to one core value: to relentlessly strive toward innovation. And the main way Amazon has been able to maintain its innovative edge is by recruiting unconventional thinkers, over-performing leaders and tirelessly dedicated workers. Here are a few Amazon recruitment strategies that executives can employ in their own companies.
Be Appealing to Millennial Workers
One of the key reasons that the word “disruptor” has entered the business lexicon in the last few years is due to the rise of a new generation in the American workforce. Millennials are all about finding success through disrupting industries that have fallen into complacency. Century-old corporations that once formed the bedrock of American business have found themselves displaced in the last decade by agile young firms that have achieved remarkable growth via disruptive technology and strategy.
Amazon has protected itself from the disruption wave by making itself extremely appealing to Millennial workers. As noted by CNBC, it has done this by identifying workers’ career priorities—like flexible hours and plentiful advancement opportunities—and making those things part of Amazon’s company culture. Executives that ignore the career priorities of the largest demographic in the US workforce risk leaving their companies open to potentially terminal disruption.
Don’t Settle for Second Best
Amazon has earned a reputation as having some of the most rigorous hiring standards in American industry. It subjects its non-warehouse potential hires to extensive testing as well as hours of one-on-one interviews. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has even been known to give speeches to his interviewees outlining why they shouldn’t accept a position with Amazon. While these hiring practices may ostensibly seem strange, they play a critical role in the company’s continued success.
By making its barrier for entry particularly difficult, Amazon ensures that its workforce is not only remarkably talented, but also singularly dedicated. The company has no problem passing on A+ players that aren’t willing to commit to its culture of working long, hard and smart. As a result of maintaining such high standards across the board, the tech giant grew by 54 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017.
Utilizing Bar Raisers in the Hiring Process
Another unique aspect of Amazon’s hiring practices is that it utilizes “bar raisers.” Bar raisers are Amazon employees who are not part of the company’s recruitment team, but play a big role in assessing new applicants. These trusted employees assess the potential hires competencies, intelligence and capacity and submit a report into the company’s interview management system. The bottom line is, if the bar raisers decides that an applicant won’t make Amazon a better place, that person is removed from the hiring pool.
While some of these strategies may seem needlessly oblique, they have produced results that any company should envy. As such, smart executives should consider taking a page out of Amazon book when it comes to recruitment.