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Amazon's Interview Process

Former CFO at Deliveroo & Finance Director, EMEA, Amazon

IP Interview
Published on April 5, 2020

Why is this interview interesting?

  • The pillars of Amazon's talent selection process
  • Audit mechanisms in the recruitment process
  • Leadership starts with a focus and a deep interest in people. Without people, there's nothing to lead.
Executive Bio

Philip Green

Former CFO at Deliveroo & Finance Director, EMEA, Amazon

Philip Green spent almost eight years at Amazon, culminating with the role of Finance Director of EU operations. He then took on the role of CFO at Groupon, followed by the role of CFO of Deliveroo. He currently is Director and CFO of theatre and entertainment producer Jamie Hendry Productions, as well as CFO of robotics and AR gaming business Reach Robotics, and advisor to several high-tech digital start-ups.

Interview Transcript

How did Amazon look at developing a leadership pipeline or talent pool?

I think in the early days, the rigour around recruitment was probably the most important thing. I defined it as a straitjacket when I first arrived; interviewing people on competency and being very focused on, “You have a job to play in this interview, and you’re interviewing on two competencies.” That’s your job, being incredibly focused and saying, “This is what I’m here to do, and if I don’t do it well, I’m letting the entire team down.”

When you’re interviewing somebody, you’re part of a team. That was a real, first sense of commitment. I’ve got to represent the team properly and do a good job on the competencies. I’ll get called out if I haven’t. I’m going to have to sit down and present my feedback on the competencies, and people will question my feedback, why I came to that decision based on the questions I asked.

There’s even a lot of audit mechanisms around that recruitment process. You go back to, “How do I create greatness?” If you’re not doing good interviews, people will stop asking you to interview people. If you’re doing great interviews, you’ll get asked to do more of them. Having people who are great at interviews doing more of them, they get better, and the people around them will realise what good looks like as well. You’re constantly improving the quality of the organisation, and that should lead you to better recruitment decisions.

Attitude and experience matter, but then you get away from traditional things. People often mislead experience for a CV. Experience is never written on a CV; it’s just where you worked and how long. Experience is through conversation and getting into examples of what people actually did. That’s where we dive into what experiences people have had.

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