Strategies To Ace The Bar Raiser Round

published on 16 September 2021

The Truth About Bar Raisers

I'm really sorry but there aren't any special strategies to ace the Bar Raiser round. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to leverage your anxiety to make money.

I was trained by Bar Raisers, I was a Bar Raiser and I trained Bar Raiser- trust me I know what I'm talking about!

These are some myths I need to dispel

  1. There are Leadership Principles Assigned to the Bar- NO your Bar Raiser is assigned their Leadership Principles at random like all other interviewers.
  2.  They are specific questions that a Bar Raiser is likely to ask you- NO they use which ever question from the Amazon Interview Question Bank that they like, or make them up like all other interviewers.
  3. There are special things a Bar Raiser is looking for in your answers- NO they're looking for exactly the same behaviours as all other interviewers.

Now let me tell you the truth about Bar Raisers

Who is an Amazon Bar Raiser?

An Amazon Bar Raiser is an Amazonian, who on top of their day job, is responsible for facilitating the final round of interview. They are one of the Panel of interviewers you will meet.

Why are Bar Raiser used?

Their purpose is to ensure that every new hire, is raising the quality bar of the overall population, hence the name Bar Raiser. They are typically someone who is not connected to the team that is hiring.

This is so that they can be as objective as possible, and not be influenced to hire someone for any reason other, than their ability to raise the bar- such as pressure to fill the role.

Will the Bar Raiser work in the area that the role is being recruited for?

More often than not, no. Sometimes they will be from a parallel team but they are just as likely to come from a completely different business area. This is possible because they aren’t testing you for your technical skills, they are gathering evidence on how you demonstrate the Leadership Principles.

This means, unlike normal interviewers, who will only interview around their own skills area- a Bar Raiser interviews across an infinite range of job families. Getting the type of interview experience, no one else in the organisation does.

You are nominated by another Bar Raiser or your manager, because your skill as an interviewer and meeting facilitator has been noted. You then go through a training process to develop the skills to be a Bar Raiser.

This is known as being a BRIT (Bar Raiser In Training) and you work with a Mentor who is a qualified Bar Raiser.  There is no fixed time frame for this training. A BRIT qualifies as a Bar Raiser, when their Mentor is able to write a compelling case for them to graduate.

The case has to demonstrate evidence, that the BRIT is able to handle the full range of potential scenarios they might face in a de-brief. That case is presented to a Panel of Core Bar Raisers (the creme de la creme of Bar Raisers) for approval.

What function do they serve in the process?

They have 2 main roles. The first is administrative. They are responsible for ensuring the makeup of the panel of interviewers is in line with policy. For example, everyone has done their “Making Great Hiring Decisions” training, they have had sufficient interview experience to run a solo interview and if not, ensure they have an experienced interviewer to shadow them.

The second is to facilitate the “de-brief” where everyone on the Panel meets to decide to offer you a role or not. They must make sure all of the relevant evidence to make a decision is discussed and dissected. They must make sure a decision is made based on evidence not opinion or emotion

Do they decide if a candidate is hired?

Part of their responsibility is to try to get everyone on the Panel aligned on the same decision. But that isn’t always possible. In the event the Panel can’t agree, it is up to the Hiring Manager and the Bar Raiser to make the final decision. However, if the Hiring Manager and the Bar Raiser can’t agree, the Bar Raiser has the power to veto the Hiring Manager’s decision.

Can a Bar Raiser force a Hiring Manager to hire a candidate?

In reality, no. An outcome where a Hiring Manager is forced to take a candidate who they do not believe in, would not end well for any of the parties involved. A really good way to think of a Bar Raiser is as a Quality Assurer.

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