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What we look for in new hires

A leadership recruiter shares insights from Alexa Shopping leaders.
on October 24, 2017
Our leadership recruiters get to work with some of our best and brightest business leaders. They look for talent that uses data beyond what one would see in KPI’s. How do you know what your customer wants and needs? How did you determine that was the right path? And yes, we love product talent that has machine learning experience.

As a product candidate, you can be certain that you will probably get a question that goes something like this: “How do you solve business challenges through machine learning?” We're looking for big examples that are different and challenge conventional thinking.

Read on to see what a few of our Alexa Shopping leaders look for when hiring.
  1. Jenny Blackburn, biztech leader, Alexa Shopping

    At Alexa Shopping we’re creating a brand-new way to shop – there are no tail lights to follow. We need technologists who are adept at operating in this highly ambiguous, blue sky space, who can identify problems and come up with innovative solutions.

    We love to see start-up experience, and diverse interests and backgrounds beyond the typical that show a candidate has insatiable curiosity and a self-driven desire to build something new.
  2. Vicky Gkiza, director of product management, Alexa Shopping

    For me, resumes that pop out the most are the ones of people with diverse background, where connecting the dots is not always obvious and their path is not linear.

    Candidates with such background have a wider range of experiences and as a result a more diverse skill set. They show creativity and persistence, which are both core leadership qualities.
  3. Abhay Saxena, principal PM, Alexa Shopping

    When hiring product managers, I generally look for people with proven track records of delivering customer value. Has this person identified a customer problem, and a solution, built it, and launched it? I find that the most successful product managers at Amazon show relentless focus on customer metrics to inform data-based prioritization, and a bias for action to deliver features. Lastly, I am looking for leaders. Does this person have the ability to inspire a vision for their team? Can this person be trusted by their team? Will this person do everything, not just tasks in their job description, for their team to be successful?
About the Author
Jeanne Skinner is a leadership recruiter for Amazon’s Consumer division, an avid drinker of Amazon Kool Aid, wife, and recovering helicopter mom.
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