With a strong hiring legacy aligned to the business, the core of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) recruitment strategy is built upon its customers. This is justified as the AWS team was crowned with three highly coveted awards in the recent Asia Recruitment Awards 2020, Singapore virtual ceremony:

  1. Best Career Website - In-House: Gold
  2. Best Regional Recruitment Strategy: Bronze
  3. Best Candidate Experience - In-House: Bronze

We take an exclusive look into how AWS ensures its recruitment strategy is robust, relevant and business-oriented. 

Q What is your organisation’s recruitment strategy, and has it evolved in recent times? 

Our approach to recruitment at Amazon Web Services (AWS) hasn’t changed. We are looking for builders - that’s how we refer to ourselves at AWS – who can help us build and innovate for our customers.

Recruiters, hiring managers and bar raisers are passionate about finding the right person for the job and what that means for the future of the business they support. That hiring legacy is something that all Amazonians take seriously. It has a broad and long-lasting impact on the creativity and viability of the products and services we create for our customers.

Very important in our recruitment strategy is making sure potential candidates demonstrate the attributes covered in our 14 Amazon Leadership Principles (LPs), such as ‘Learn and Be Curious’ or ‘Customer Obsession’. The LPs are the foundation and culture of Amazon.

Q Share with us your winning recruitment strategy! What were the key business drivers behind this strategy, and how have you executed it successfully?

AWS is focused on hiring well, rather than hiring quickly. Teams identify candidates who can best deliver on behalf of customers, personify our LPs and are the best long-term fit at AWS. We want to hear from our candidates how they have solved business challenges for customers in their career – and we're looking for examples that are different and challenge conventional thinking.

At Amazon and AWS, we do experiment with new ways to hire but we also have core steadfast initiatives that support our talent programme.

Q No execution is free from unexpected hurdles. In what shape or form did you experience challenges, and how did you overcome them?

It is very important at AWS that we are able raise the bar with every candidate, every interview. That can be a challenge but we don’t compromise.

Amazon created the Bar Raiser programme – an evaluation process which is rooted in our LP’s to ensure AWS is hiring people who will innovate on behalf of customers, and bar raisers are a critical component.

The Amazon Bar Raiser programme brings objectivity to interview loops and, in an effort to fuel innovation at Amazon, helps make sure every new hire has growth potential and brings skills and abilities that are better than 50% of their would-be peers in similar roles.

A bar raiser is unique because they will not be involved in the day-to-day interaction with the interviewee, so are completely focused on making hiring decisions for Amazon, not for a specific team or role. They maintain a long-term vision — rather than focus on an immediate hiring need.

We believe leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion - and Bar Raisers are a mechanism we use to ensure hiring managers stay true to that commitment.

Q On to the most important part – results! How did you measure the ROI or milestones of this initiative, and what are you most proud of?

The most obvious when it comes to results is meeting our annual recruitment targets. Then there are the results we need to deliver for various initiatives throughout the year. The Bar Raiser programme, for example, which provides diverse, unbiased points of view during the interview process – now has more than 3,600 bar raisers at Amazon, and that population continues to expand and diversify.

Q What is the extent to which your organisation has invested in digitalisation of the recruitment process? 

At AWS, we are always looking for ways to enable and make it easier for our recruiters to do more meaningful work. We remove the barriers for them like manual operations, and enable more self-service where possible. We’ll continue to develop and use our own applications in the recruitment process.

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