How to Hire Better than Amazon

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A recent blog post by leading venture firm OpenView Venture Partners opines about the value of Amazon’s cross-team interviewing strategy (find it here:  While it identifies several advantages, it also suggests a number downsides to this approach.  The fact is, virtual interviewing technology can make this a win-win and neutralize all the disadvantages of identified in this piece while supporting all the advantages.

Time Commitment.  Virtual interviewing is time and cost efficient.  In the time it takes to conduct one telephone or in-person interview, as many as ten or more virtual interviews can be reviewed and evaluated.  Furthermore, virtual interviewing avoids the “relay-style” process that is in use in many organizations.  It also means that MORE current employees can be brought into the hiring process, if desired.

Elongating the Process.  Larger numbers of interviews does not translate to longer time-to-hire.  Since virtual interviews are recorded, and available to all stakeholders simultaneously, candidate evaluations can be done concurrently.  This not only means that the time-to-hire cycle time is shortened, it also means that recruiters and stakeholders are calibrated, ensuring all parties are in sync with what consititutes a good candidate from one who’s not.

Building Consensus.  Traditional interviewing methods make it very difficult to gain broad stakeholder consensus.  In many cases, it’s simply impossible (or at the very leat, not practical) to get everyone affected to interview a candidate in a timely fashion.  Virtual interviewing enables all relevant stakeholders to have a vote through the use of easily configurable evaluation and scoring forms.

Companies that adopt virtual interviewing get the added benefit of consistency and fairness in the interview process.  Virtual interviews are conducted using the same group of questions, normally in the same order, and recorded for future reference (and for potential compliance audits!) ensuring each candidate is afforded the same opportunity to shine.  Individual recruiter bias is minimized, if not eliminated, which can be valuable should a candidate later claim that he or she wasn’t fairly evaluated.  Furthermore, candidates who might not be available for interviews during the recruiters’ working day can now be included in the process, improving to overall quality of the candidate pool.

Certainly Amazon’s hiring success has something to do with the culture of the organization as well as its interviewing protocol.  However, every organization can effectively implement a cross-team interviewing strategy similar to Amazon’s, at a lower organizational cost, by investing in virtual interviewing technology.

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