[TechSparks 2020] Amazon sidesteps the pitfalls of mishiring with these 10 recruitment commandments

Mishiring can have a severe negative impact on a company's work culture and productivity. On Day 2 of TechSparks 2020, Gaurav Arora, Head of Startup Ecosystem, APJ & Amazon Bar Raiser, AWS, shared the tech giant’s 10 commandments of hiring.

Amazon, which calls itself the earth's most customer-centric company, says it gets its energy fix from inventing for customers. Reason enough that the people on the team make the US-based ecommerce giant what it is today - valued at $1.7 trillion, it is one of the most valuable companies in the world, second only to Apple. 

The company is extremely fixated on making the right hiring choices, with Founder Jeff Bezos famously saying: “During our hiring meetings, we ask people to consider three questions before making a decision: Will you admire this person?  Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering? Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?” 

On Day 2 of TechSparks 2020, YourStory's flagship event and India's largest and most influential tech-entrepreneurship conference that has gone virtual for its 11th edition, Gaurav Arora, Head of Startup Ecosystem, APJ & Amazon Bar Raiser, Amazon Web Services, shared how Amazon is mitigating a risk that can every enterprise needs to avoid: mishiring. 

Amazon's 9th commandment is to focus on diversity and inclusion

In his masterclass on ‘Hiring the Amazon Way: 10 Best Practices for Hiring at Scale,’ Gaurav said mishiring negatively impacts the culture within the company and its cost is extremely high. 

Amazon employs around 613,300 people across India, especially for activities like warehousing, logistics, etc., which require immense human capital. A company with such robust operations can easily be negatively impacted by mishiring. 

How does Amazon avoid mishiring? The company has culled all its learnings into a 10-point formula that Gaurav revealed: 

  • Hiring is not a time-bound activity. Managers should be opportunistic, create roles for capable people, and keep hiring.
  • Always keep your company vision and values clear.
  • Raise the bar with every hire. 
  • Have a robust and a repeatable process.
  • Use data and evidence during interviews. Hiring at Amazon is done using a data-driven approach accompanied by several processes. 
  • Probe into details.
  • Never be ‘on the fence’. Hiring managers must take a stand when it comes to their opinion about a potential candidate.
  • Never compare candidates.
  • Focus on diversity and inclusion. 
  • Ensure a great experience for the candidate. 

Gaurav said companies must always think and brainstorm on how to improve the hiring process and make it a great experience for candidates. Some of the things that Amazon does is ensure a prompt response to candidates after a round of interviews/written test. He added that ‘candidate interview surveys’ help them improve their hiring process. 

The ecommerce giant “wants the best builders of all backgrounds to work and stay at Amazon because they are drawn to our mission, our culture, and our leaders”. 

Founder Jeff Bezos, in a letter to Amazon’s shareholders in 1998, wrote, “Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will be, the single most important element of Amazon.com’s success.”

Amazon continues to live by this dictum.

Gaurav summed up Amazon’s 10 commandments of hiring: “Think of building a robust hiring mechanism that is data-driven and backed by a clear understanding of company values and culture.”

For more information on TechSparks 2020, check out our TechSparks 2020 website. Sign up here to join the event. 

TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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