The 3 Super Simple Hiring Rules That Gave Amazon It’s Success

Written by Andrew Nicholas on Jan 17, 2017


The road to a great hire can be a rocky one. There are questionable CVs, disappointing phone interviews and promising candidates who performed at interview but couldn’t carry that through to the job itself or struggled to adapt to the company’s culture. Sometimes hiring great people can seem elusive and it’s easy to lose sight of what it takes to hire outstanding people and what attributes they should have in common. After all, you want to ensure your next round of hires is just as great as your current team, if not better.

But how can you ensure your company ‘stands out’ when you are up against destination employers like Google or Facebook? It’s not going to be easy and you may not be able to match these corporate giants like for like, but you can be the best employer within your space – we touched on this with our recent blog post on how to become a destination employer and become a magnet for top talent.

Start With Simple Hiring Rules

Creating a set of rules that you live and breathe when hiring will lower the risk of making a bad hire – it may be five rules or just three, like Amazon.

As a destination employer, Amazon has used its three hiring rules to steadily raise the bar for new employees, improve candidate experience, reduce hiring mistakes and save time. 

So what are Amazon’s three simple hiring rules? Anurag Gupta, a General Manager at Amazon shares them below.

1. Identify Bar Raisers

Assign people already within your company to act as bar raisers and include them in every hiring conversation and interview loop. Bar raisers need to understand the job role inside out to know what talent is needed to fill the position. Use these bar raisers to determine whether a candidate is an improvement over existing talent or not. At Amazon, the hiring manager and the bar raiser must both believe the candidate can do that job and outperform 50 percent of the staff currently doing so.

2. Don’t Waste Your Time

Pay close attention to the ratio between first phone interviews and offers accepted. Be selective about the people you choose to engage with further along your hiring process. Being rigid about this will prevent you from inviting too many people for interviews, saving time and money.

3. Culture Trumps Strategy

Determine a crystal clear culture to ensure that your employees avoid the 100 day motivational dip. Determining a culture fit seems like the hardest dimension of the hiring process to secure. Dedicating a good portion of your job description requirements to cultural expectations means people can self-select whether they will fit the bill.

You Could Try Before You Buy

Web developer,, has a ‘try before you buy’ philosophy, offering a series of two-week consulting contracts to the five or 10 percent of applicants who make it through the company’s rigorous screening process. At the end of every evaluation period, a potential employee must present what he or she has been working on; the development staff then votes on whether to keep them, evaluate them further, or wave goodbye. For the candidate to be successful, the vote has to be unanimous.

Without having a solid hiring process in place, hiring managers increase the risk of making a wrong hire. Take a look at our infographic to see just how high the cost of a bad executive hire can be then adapt the steps above to suit your company and apply them as your golden rules.

What Next?

Once your hiring rules are in place, you can turn your attention to your hiring strategy. Download our Talent Hiring Strategy Checklist and make sure you’ve covered all the bases before you make your next hire.

Talent Hiring Strategy

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