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The Role of a ‘Bar Raiser’ in the Tech Hiring Process


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A ‘Bar Raiser’ in the tech hiring process refers to an individual who plays a crucial role in maintaining high standards for talent acquisition within a company. This term, popularized by Amazon, represents someone who assesses job candidates against an established bar of excellence that ensures only top-tier individuals are hired.

The Bar Raiser acts as an impartial evaluator, providing valuable insights and ensuring the recruitment team maintains its commitment to quality throughout the hiring process. In this article, we will delve deeper into the responsibilities and significance of Bar-Raising (BR) as a Principle, exploring its impact on fostering a culture of excellence within organizations.

When Amazon launched the hiring plan for tech job candidates in 1999, it was called the ‘barkeeper programme’. 

The Importance of a Bar Raiser in the Recruting Process

In any hiring process, having a Bar Raiser is crucial. This individual plays a significant role by ensuring that only top-notch candidates are selected for employment. Here’s why the presence of a Bar Raiser (BR) is essential:

  1. Maintaining High Standards: BR acts as the gatekeeper, responsible for maintaining high standards throughout the hiring process. They help ensure that every candidate being considered meets or exceeds these standards.
  2. Unbiased Evaluation: To avoid biases and favoritism, it’s important to have an unbiased evaluation system in place. The Bar Raiser serves as an independent third party who evaluates candidates objectively and ensures fairness in the selection process.
  3. Ensuring Consistency: With multiple interviewers involved in the hiring process, there can be variations in assessment criteria and decision-making patterns. The Bar Raiser brings consistency by aligning everyone towards a common standard.
  4. Improving Quality of Hires: By raising the bar and setting higher expectations for potential hires, the Bar Raiser helps improve overall quality within the organization. They challenge candidates to demonstrate exceptional skills and abilities required for success within their roles.
  5. Reducing Bias Risks: Hiring decisions often involve inherent biases based on factors like race, gender, or personal connections. The role of a BR mitigates this risk by focusing solely on candidate qualifications rather than external influences.
  6. Encouraging Growth Mindset: A strong culture of excellence requires continuous improvement at all levels of an organization – starting from recruitment itself! Having a dedicated individual enforcing high standards encourages employees to develop growth mindsets and strive for excellence.
  7. Building Trust & Credibility: When job applicants know that there is someone impartial overseeing their evaluation, it enhances trustworthiness and credibility of your company’s hiring practices.

In conclusion, having a Bar Raiser in the hiring process is vital for maintaining high standards, ensuring fairness and consistency, improving the overall quality of hires, reducing bias risks, fostering a growth mindset, and building trust. Their presence helps organizations attract top talent and establish themselves as employers of choice in today’s competitive job market.

Defining the Role of a Bar Raiser

In the hiring process, a Bar Raiser plays a crucial role in maintaining high standards and ensuring that only top-quality candidates are selected. This section aims to define what exactly a Bar Raiser is and how they contribute to the hiring process.

Here are some key points about the role of a Bar Raiser:

  1. Independent Evaluator: A Bar Raiser is an individual who possesses expertise in assessing candidates’ qualifications, skills, and cultural fit within the organization. They act as an unbiased evaluator with no direct stake in the hiring decision.
  2. Maintaining High Standards: The primary responsibility of a Bar Raiser is to uphold rigorous standards throughout the hiring process. Their involvement helps prevent any compromise on quality by consistently raising the bar for new hires.
  3. Cross-Functional Expertise: Bar Raisers often come from different teams or departments within an organization, bringing diverse perspectives to candidate evaluation. Their broad knowledge allows them to assess candidates holistically from various angles.
  4. Cultural Fit Assessment: Apart from technical skills and qualifications, cultural fit is paramount during candidate selection. A Bar Raiser evaluates whether potential hires align with an organization’s values, ethics, and work culture.
  5. Collaboration with Hiring Managers: While not directly involved in daily operations or management decisions, Bar Raisers collaborate closely with hiring managers throughout the recruitment process. They provide valuable insights based on their independent evaluations.
  6. Decision Influence: As part of their role as evaluators, Bar Raisers have significant influence over final hiring decisions; however, this authority does not lie solely with them but requires collective agreement among all interviewers involved.
  7. Continuous Improvement Advocacy: Beyond individual evaluations, Bar Raisers also strive for continuous improvement by providing feedback regarding overall recruiting processes and suggesting enhancements where necessary.

The presence of a Bar Raiser in the hiring process helps organizations maintain a consistent level of excellence when it comes to selecting candidates. Their expertise, objectivity, and commitment to upholding high standards contribute significantly to building strong teams and fostering a positive work environment.

Qualities and Skills of an Effective Bar Raiser

An effective bar raiser in the hiring process possesses a unique set of qualities and skills that enable them to make informed decisions about potential candidates. Here are some key traits that distinguish an exceptional bar raiser:

  1. In-depth industry knowledge: A proficient bar raiser has deep expertise in their respective field, allowing them to accurately assess candidates’ technical abilities and industry-specific knowledge.
  2. Strong judgment: An effective bar raiser demonstrates excellent judgment skills, enabling them to evaluate whether a candidate meets the high standards required for the position.
  3. Exceptional interviewing skills: The ability to conduct thorough interviews is vital for a successful bar raiser. They must ask insightful questions that reveal not only technical competence but also critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and cultural fit within the organization.
  4. Unbiased evaluation: Maintaining objectivity throughout the hiring process is crucial for a bar raiser. They should be able to evaluate candidates solely on merit without being influenced by personal biases or external factors.
  5. Effective communication: Clear and concise communication is essential when providing feedback on candidates’ performance during evaluations or debrief sessions with other interviewers.
  6. Collaborative mindset: A great bar raiser works well with others as they often collaborate closely with recruiting teams, hiring managers, and fellow interviewers to ensure consistent evaluation standards are upheld throughout the process.
  7. Continuous improvement orientation: To stay up-to-date with evolving industry trends and best practices in talent assessment, an effective bar raiser actively seeks opportunities for professional development through training programs or networking events related to recruitment strategies.

How a Bar Raiser Evaluates Candidates

A Bar Raiser is an essential role in the hiring process at many companies. They are responsible for ensuring that candidates meet the high standards set by the company and maintaining the overall quality of hires. Here’s how a Bar Raiser evaluates candidates:

  1. Objective Evaluation: The Bar Raiser assesses candidates objectively, looking beyond initial impressions or personal biases. They focus on specific criteria related to skills, experience, and cultural fit.
  2. Structured Interviewing: A Bar Raiser uses structured interviewing techniques to gather relevant information from candidates consistently. This approach ensures fair evaluation across all applicants.
  3. Behavioral Questions: To gain insights into a candidate’s past behavior and problem-solving abilities, a Bar Raiser asks behavioral questions during interviews. These questions require candidates to provide real-life examples demonstrating their skills and competencies.
  4. Assessment of Leadership Principles: Many companies have defined leadership principles or core values that guide their culture and decision-making processes. A Bar Raiser evaluates whether candidates align with these principles through targeted questioning and scenario-based inquiries.
  5. Cross-Functional Collaboration: As part of the evaluation process, a Bar Raiser collaborates with other interviewers from different teams or departments within the organization to gather diverse perspectives on each candidate’s suitability for the role.
  6. Deeper Dive Interviews: In some cases, when further assessment is necessary, a deeper dive interview may be conducted by the Bar Raiser alone or together with additional colleagues who possess specialized knowledge in certain areas.
  7. Decision-Making Contribution: The input provided by a Bar Raiser significantly influences final hiring decisions made by considering both quantitative data (e.g., interview scores) as well as qualitative feedback gathered throughout the evaluation process.
  8. Ongoing Development & Calibration: To maintain consistency and improve future evaluations, Bars Risers participate in regular calibration sessions where they discuss evaluation methodologies and share best practices with other interviewers.

Remember, the role of a Bar Raiser is to uphold the company’s hiring standards and ensure that every candidate meets or exceeds those standards. Their objective evaluation process helps maintain excellence in talent acquisition while driving organizational success.

Benefits and Challenges of Implementing the Bar Raiser System

When implementing the Bar Raiser system in the hiring process, there are several benefits and challenges that organizations need to consider. Here is a breakdown of these advantages and obstacles:


  1. Maintaining high hiring standards: The primary benefit of having a Bar Raiser is ensuring that only top-tier candidates are hired. Their involvement helps maintain consistency in evaluating candidates against established criteria.
  2. Reducing bias: By involving an independent third party (the Bar Raiser) in the interview process, organizations can minimize unconscious biases that might influence hiring decisions.
  3. Improving diversity and inclusion: The presence of a Bar Raiser encourages diverse perspectives during evaluations, leading to more inclusive hiring practices.
  4. Enhancing candidate experience: A well-implemented Bar Raiser system fosters transparency by providing candidates with clear expectations about what it takes to succeed in the organization.


  1. Resource-intensive implementation: Establishing a successful Bar Raiser program requires time, effort, training, and resources for both recruiters and employees involved in the selection process.
  2. Potential resistance from stakeholders: Some individuals within an organization may resist or question the value of including additional evaluators like the Bar Raisers into their existing processes.
  3. Ensuring consistent evaluation standards: It can be challenging to align multiple evaluators on what constitutes a high bar for hiring while maintaining objectivity across different departments or teams.
  4. Navigating potential conflicts: In cases where there is disagreement between recruiters/hiring managers and the Bar Raisers’ assessments, resolving conflicts fairly without compromising quality becomes crucial.

Implementing a successful Bar Raiser system involves careful planning, effective communication among stakeholders, training programs for all parties involved in evaluating candidates objectively against predefined benchmarks.

How to Pass the Bar Raiser Interview at Amazon

  1. Move Fast: Amazon hires candidates who meet their bar without waiting for the “best” candidate. Before even applying, have all your materials ready and push the interview process forward quickly.
  2. Impactful Interviews: During behavioral interviews, focus on transformational career moments. Highlight major impacts you’ve had, such as increasing sales or team efficiency. Align your examples with Amazon’s leadership principles.
  3. Negotiate Confidently: Amazon’s initial offer isn’t their final one. Research typical compensation packages on platforms like to determine your ideal salary, then ask for 10% more to anchor negotiations.
  4. Win the Recruiter: Amazon’s recruiters are more focused on filling roles than saving money. After stating your desired salary, wait for the recruiter to respond. If they offer to advocate for you, you’re likely on the path to a competitive offer.


In conclusion, understanding the role of a ‘Bar Raiser’ in the hiring process is crucial for any organization striving to hire top talent. As an active participant and independent evaluator, the Bar Raiser plays a pivotal role in maintaining high standards and ensuring that only exceptional candidates are brought on board.

With their unique perspective and unbiased judgment, Bar Raisers challenge conventional thinking and push for excellence throughout the recruitment process. By setting a higher bar, they help companies identify individuals who possess not only the necessary skills but also align with the company’s values and culture.

By incorporating this practice into their hiring strategy, organizations can enhance their ability to attract top performers while fostering an environment of continuous improvement. The presence of Bar Raisers ultimately contributes to building strong teams capable of driving innovation and achieving long-term success.

To summarize, embracing the concept of a ‘Bar Raiser’ empowers companies to make smarter hiring decisions by upholding rigorous standards and selecting candidates who truly stand out from the crowd. By leveraging these insights in your own recruitment efforts, you can elevate your organization’s talent pool and drive positive outcomes for both employees and stakeholders alike.

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