Amazon's Hiring Bar has two separate requirements; any job applicant who wants to work for Amazon must meet both of them. If the candidate fails either requirement, the result will be a "no-hire" decision.
What is Required to Raise Amazon's Hiring Bar?
The first requirement is whether the candidate is better than 50% of Amazon's employees, at that level and job function. Amazon defines being better, by evaluating the candidate's actual performance, results, and contributions; not the candidate's background or credentials. In addition, the 50% benchmark applies to internal Amazon employees only; not to other external candidates.
The second requirement is whether the candidate has upside potential to have a long-term impact at Amazon. Specifically, long-term impact at Amazon means whether the candidate can consistently excel at Amazon's Leadership Principles and functional competencies.
In addition, Amazon does not choose the best candidate among all available candidates applying for a position. The company evaluates candidates only and solely against Amazon's Hiring Bar. Amazon is willing to wait to make a hiring decision until they find a candidate who unequivocally raises Amazon's hiring bar.
Who Decides if a Candidate Raises the Hiring Bar?
The main person who determines whether a candidate raises the hiring bar is the Amazon Bar Raiser. The Bar Raiser must reach a hire consensus with the Hiring Manager for the position, in order for Amazon to extend an offer to the job applicant. It is even better if the entire interview-loop team also agrees with the hire decision. The Bar Raiser leads the Amazon interview team (including the Hiring Manager) in a multi-step process to decide if the candidate raises or lowers the Amazon bar. This decision is strictly based on behavioral data about the candidate's performance that Amazon obtains during the interview loop. Behavioral data means that the candidate has to describe specific examples from her professional experience that illustrate her ability to perform in accordance with Amazon's Leadership Principles.