Amazon is known for its demanding work environment and because of this, all employees must be top of their game.
But how does Jeff Bezos go about selecting the best of the best to work with his team? According to his 1998 letter to shareholders, Bezos ponders a tried-and-true 3-question formula, which not only helps visualize the potential employees work ethic but also whether they will help raise the bar and ensure cultural fit within the company.
That said, we couldn’t help but notice that Bezos’ test could also easily apply to our own personal relationships. The following are Bezos’ guiding questions for bring on new talent — and how they could be used to determine whether or not a new relationship may be something special or potentially toxic.
Will you admire this person?
“I’ve always tried hard to work only with people I admire, and I encourage folks here to be just as demanding,” Bezos says, “If you think about the people you’ve admired in your life, they are probably people you’ve been able to learn from or take an example from.”
Spending time with those you admire will not only make for a more positive experience overall, it will also naturally help with your own personal growth.
It’s common knowledge that you are the average of your five closest friends. What kind of person do you want to be? If you’re surrounding yourself with people who you admire, it’s likely that you will end up adopting the attributes you most admire.
Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
While Bezos is seeking to understand a person’s capacity for innovation and work ethic with this question, it’s not a bad idea to take the level of effectiveness of a new relationship into consideration as well. Will they leave you carrying more emotional labor than you’re ready to take on, or are they available to share the work of maintaining a healthy relationship?
Ensuring a new relationship sets off on the right foot has a lot to do with making sure both parties are ready to share the emotional labor. The last thing you want in a new relationship is somebody who takes more than they give — emotionally or otherwise.
Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?
“Many people have unique skills, interests, and perspectives that enrich the work environment for all of us. It’s often something that’s not even related to their jobs,” Bezos writes, “One person here is a National Spelling Bee champion. I suspect it doesn’t help her in her everyday work, but it does make working here more fun if you can occasionally snag her in the hall with a quick challenge: ‘onomatopoeia!’”
Perhaps the most obvious but easily overlooked question of them all: what will set this new person apart from the others in your life? What do they bring to your personal circle? Will their passions be compatible with your own? You can tell a lot about someone by what they’re interested in pursuing and what they’ve accomplished in the past.