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Amazon's Bar Raiser Interview: A Comprehensive Guide to the Process

Interview Guide Nov 04

The Amazon Bar Raiser interview is a crucial part of the company's hiring process, aimed at ensuring that the highest hiring standards are maintained. 

What the Bar Raiser Interview Looks Like

The Bar Raiser interview takes place during the Amazon Loop interview, typically conducted on-site. This interview lasts 30 to 60 minutes and is conducted by a Bar Raiser—a seasoned Amazon employee with a distinct role in the hiring process. Bar Raisers are impartial third-party figures who ensure that candidates not only meet but exceed Amazon's high hiring standards. 

They evaluate candidates based on Amazon's Leadership Principles, a set of 16 principles that guide the company's decision-making and culture.

What You Should Know About the "Bar Raiser"

  1. Intensive Training: Bar Raisers are no ordinary interviewers; they are Amazon employees who have undergone a rigorous 6 to 12-month training program, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to assess candidates objectively.
  2. Impartiality: These Bar Raisers aren't affiliated with the team you're hoping to join. They're neutral, impartial third-party figures, ensuring hiring decisions are based on merit and aligned with Amazon's leadership principles.
  3. Raising the Bar: True to their name, Bar Raisers raise the hiring bar. Their ultimate goal is to ensure you meet Amazon's high standards and exceed the top 50% of their existing employees. They're on the lookout for candidates who exhibit potential for long-term growth and impact.
  4. Identifying Bar Raisers: Identifying a Bar Raiser might be a challenge, but their experience often gives them away. They're typically the most seasoned individuals in the room, asking the insightful, nuanced, and culture-fit questions that truly test your mettle.
  5. The Veto Power: Yes, you read that right. Bar Raisers have the power to veto a candidate if they don't meet Amazon's high bar. That's why being prepared for this interview is of paramount importance.

Check out video guide that delves into the interview process and provides valuable tips tailored to each round of the interview

Decoding Amazon's 16 Leadership Principles

Amazon isn't just a company; it's a culture, and its 16 Leadership Principles are its guiding stars. These principles are at the core of Amazon's decision-making process, shaping its unique work environment and shaping its exceptional talent. Here's a glimpse of some of these principles and what they entail:

  • Customer-Centric Focus: Amazon values leaders who put customers first and go the extra mile to meet their needs. Be prepared for questions that delve into how you've exceeded customer expectations.
  • Accountability and Ownership: Leaders at Amazon take ownership of their work and prioritize the company's well-being over team interests. Expect questions that highlight instances where you've shown accountability and made decisions for the greater good.
  • Innovation and Simplification: Amazon thrives on innovation and creative problem-solving. You'll likely be asked about times when you've introduced fresh ideas or streamlined complex processes.
  • Strong Judgment and Effective Decision-Making: Decisions at Amazon are both data-driven and intuitive. Be ready to discuss scenarios where you've made critical choices based on diverse perspectives and risks.
  • Continuous Learning and Excellence: Amazonians never stop learning and pushing their boundaries. Anticipate questions about how you nurture talent, invest in personal growth, and consistently strive for excellence.

How to Answer Bar Raiser Questions?

Here are 6 tips to address Bar Raiser questions:

  1. The key to success lies in proactive preparation. Anticipate the types of questions that might come your way and identify relevant examples from your professional experiences. So, questions will typically be like recounting a situation where you faced failure or navigated a disagreement with a coworker, and more. Think of moments where you've demonstrated customer-centric focus, taken accountability, driven innovation, displayed judgment, or pursued continuous learning—your examples should embody Amazon's ethos and visionary principles. Jot down these narratives and refine them to emphasize the most pertinent points.
  2. The goal is to leave an Impact: Remember, Bar Raisers are interested in candidates who can drive transformative changes; so, focus on demonstrating your potential long-term impact at Amazon. Instead of simply recounting day-to-day tasks, highlight significant career milestones that have left an indelible mark. Did you enhance team efficiency? Did you drive remarkable sales growth, or play a pivotal role in a colleague's development? Share concrete results and anecdotes that spotlight your influence.
  3. Context is Key: Every story you share should be woven into the broader context of Amazon's Leadership Principles. Connect the dots between your experiences and how they align with Amazon's core values. This will paint a vivid picture for interviewers, allowing them to envision your potential contributions to the company's culture and success.
  4. Once you've identified your examples, it's time to practice, practice, and practice some more. Rehearse your responses out loud, multiple times. Aim to convey your instances succinctly while maintaining a natural and engaging tone. This will hone your ability to articulate your experiences clearly and confidently during the interview.
  5. Leverage Mock Interviews: For optimal preparation, consider engaging in mock interviews with an Amazon mock interviewer or coach. These experts are adept at identifying areas you should work on and can predict the specific angles a Bar Raiser might test you on. Platforms like Prepfully offer access to seasoned Amazon senior employees and recruiters who are more than equipped to guide you. You can book a session with them and gain personalized insights, and constructive feedback that fine-tunes your approach.
  6. Lastly, never rush into answering a question without a solid understanding of its intent. If a question leaves you uncertain, don't hesitate to seek further clarification. This will demonstrate your commitment to providing thoughtful and well-informed responses.

Practice the Bar Raiser with a Mock Interviewer

Remember, practice makes perfect, and by mastering the art of the Bar Raiser interview, you can position yourself as a top-tier candidate and increase your chances of landing your dream job at Amazon.

Simulate interview-like conditions with a current or former Amazon employee, who can provide personalized guidance and valuable insights. Simulate the interview experience with the guidance of experienced Amazon interview coaches available on platforms like Prepfully. Their insights, tailored feedback, and personalized guidance will fine-tune your responses and enhance your interview skills.

Frequently Asked Questions