Lessons in tech hiring from industry leaders

The tech world is full of competition and fueled by blood, sweat and tears, and this statement is especially true at Amazon, according to a recent article by The New York Times. The source explained what it is like to work at the tech company, highlighting the “unreasonably high” standards that Amazon has for its employees. Susan Harker, recruiter at Amazon, told the news provider that her employer is trying to innovate and break ground, both of which are impossible without “shooting for the moon” and creating a challenging work environment. It all starts with hiring at Amazon.

“Amazon’s fifth rule is ‘hire and develop the best.'”

Valued at $250 billion, according to The New York Times, Amazon encourages employees to exceed their limits and shatter barriers from Day One during the job interview process. The tech leader gives all its staff members little laminated cards detailing 14 corporate leadership principles that not only act as inspirational material, but are actually practiced every day. The fifth rule states, “Hire and develop the best.”

“Amazon is OK with moving through a lot of people to identify and retain superstars,” Vijay Ravindran, former seven-year employee at Amazon, told the source. “They keep the stars by offering a combination of incredible opportunities and incredible compensation. It’s like panning for gold.”

And it seems like this strategy is working. Amazon continues to hire great talent, and the company just unseeded Walmart as the No. 1 retailer. Why change? In fact, Liz Pearce explained to The New York Times that Amazon will only create a different onboarding process if data tells it to, “when the entire way of hiring and working and firing stops making economic sense.”

The similarities between other industry-leading tech leaders and Amazon is clear: Their hiring works. So, let’s take a look at some other big names in enterprise IT and technology markets and discover the best hiring practices and policies.

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook might still be perceived poorly by many individuals following the release of the Jesse Eisenberg-starring film, but the social media company attracts plenty of tech talent and continues to pave the way into the 21st century of IT. In a public question-and-answer session, the founder and CEO of Facebook explained his secret to finding the best tech professionals.

“I would only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person,” Zuckerberg said, according to Inc. magazine.

By applying this technique to talent discovery, hiring managers are essentially vetting job candidates based on their personality more so than talents.

How do you measure the potential of candidates?
Measuring potential candidates

How do you measure the potential of candidates?

A list of tech leaders would be incomplete without mentioning Microsoft, one of the founding fathers of modern enterprise IT. Luckily, Raquel Garcia, technical recruiter at Microsoft, sat down with Vault to discuss the Microsoft hiring process.

Garcia explained how the huge tech company finds new hires, listing almost a dozen different application methods that Microsoft provides for prospective employees. For example, once college students finish internships at competitors, Microsoft approaches them. This is a great method for finding new hires with corporate experience.

Additionally, Microsoft searches for new employees in Facebook groups, at coding contests and even at technology blogs with tech pro contributors. The key to this strategy is getting on the ground floor of the tech community and becoming a core part of that world.

Is it surprising that the social media and technology company that operates a platform with a 140-character limit asks its prospective employees short, intriguing questions? Twitter’s strategy is to set apart the creative thinkers from the interviewees who memorize a list of answers.

“Interview questions should inspire potential new hires to think outside of the box.”

Business Insider compiled some of the most interesting questions that Twitter asks in job interviews. Some of the gems include:

  • “How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?’
  • “What is your favorite meme?”
  • “Discuss a brand that you feel does good marketing vs. a brand that does bad marketing.”
  • “How does Twitter need to adapt in order to stay relevant?”

Interview questions should inspire potential new hires to think outside of the box and demonstrate their personality. Hiring managers need to look for interesting thought processes and pay less attention to the answers.

While replacing Steve Jobs is impossible, Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO, is a a great fit. In fact, the decision to appoint Cook as the new company leader demonstrated Apple’s approach to hiring, according to The Executive Board. The source explained that the industry disrupter takes its time to find the perfect person to fit each role, and sometimes data is critical in that process.

If corporate success isn’t having a verb named after the brand, then what is? All hiring managers should spend some time googling onboarding tips from Google executives, or they can just keep reading.

Laszlo Bock, head of people operations at Google, told CNNMoney that his employer often finds the best employees from schools that aren’t in the Ivy League. And the source noted that Bock sees around 25,000 resumes every year, so he must know what he’s talking about.

Onboarding in the tech industry is easier than it seems, but only if hiring managers leverage the industry-proven tactics explained above.

Lessons in tech hiring from industry leaders
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