Columnist Laurie Ruettimann aims to clarify HR’s role in dealing with unacceptable behavior in and out of the workplace.
Columnist Alison Maitland argues for new workplace guidelines that offer flexibility—as long as the rules are drawn up with worker input and agreement.
Columnist Michael Raynor notes that the most important things are the simplest to understand, the hardest to do, and, as a result, the easiest to lose sight of.
Occupy Wall Street isn’t just about inequality—it highlights the growing gap between companies and consumers.
Interviewing with Jeff Bezos
By Richard L. Brandt
Early on, the interview process for new hires at Amazon was as demanding as going through oral exams for a Ph.D. in subparticle physics. Each candidate would go through interviews with several employees, then with Jeff Bezos, who would also grill all the other interviewers. He would create elaborate charts on a whiteboard listing the candidate’s qualifications, and rejected anyone about whom he had the slightest doubt. References were asked to list the candidate’s greatest strength and worst mistake. In the interview, candidates were hit with random tough questions such as, “How would you design a car for a deaf person?” (The best answer: Plug your ears and drive around to see what it’s like to be a deaf driver.) In meeting to discuss the candidates, questions asked ranged from, “What do you admire about this candidate?” to, “What is he terrible at?”
“One of his mottos was that every time we hired someone, he or she would raise the bar for the next hire, so that the overall talent pool was always improving,” said Nicholas Lovejoy, who joined Amazon in 1995 as the fifth employee. Bezos put the philosophy this way: Five years after an employee was hired, he said, that employee should think, “I’m glad I got hired when I did, because I wouldn’t get hired now.”
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