ACQ2: The Acquired Interviews

We're joined by former Amazon, Microsoft and Bulletproof executive Anna Collins to discuss how high-performance organizations structure their hiring and interview processes. Whether you're a small startup or a big public company, as Anna puts it, there is no more important question than who you put "on your bus". Anna distills what she's learned across 20+ years and making thousands of hires into actionable, must-listen advice for anyone aiming to grow their organization in a high-performance manner (or on the other side, anyone looking to join a high-performance company!).

Anna's LinkedIn:

Transcript link:


“I believe that structure is what is required for creativity and for humans to actually connect. If you have chaos, that is the opposite of having the ability to connect and having a good candidate experience. It’s all about being human and you need the structure to facilitate that and to be productive.” – Anna Collins

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Show Links:

14 Leadership Principles of Amazon

33 Competencies of MSFT


Show Bookmarks:

[01:30] – Introduction of Anna Collins

[08:22] – Anna’s path to Business School

[09:42] – Peer Mentoring and Leadership at aQuantive

[13:35] – Leadership and Interviewing at Amazon / Microsoft

[20:26] – Balancing Standard Process and the Human Element in Interviewing

[25:05] – Anna’s Interview Playbook

[32:35] – Iteration of the Job Description and the pool of Available Talent

[34:50] – Balancing Previous Work Experience in Interviewing and Hiring

[39:37] – Anna’s rules on Interviewing and Interviewee Experience

[44:24] – Behavioral Interviewing and Good Questions

[50:50] – Questioning with Purpose

[56:00] – Last thoughts on Interviewing


People Worth Knowing:

Kathy Delaney Smith (Harvard Basketball Coach)

Mike Galgon (Pioneer Square Labs)

Randy Wooten (former colleague)

Jeff Hull

Warren Buffet

Jeff Bezos


Companies Mentioned in Episode:                                                                  

Amazon Prime


CVS Health

Harvard University

US Service Academies

Reserve Officer Training Corps


Johnston & Johnston





Episode Specific Terms:

Tactical Interview Questions

Team vs Individual

Peer Mentoring

Media Buying for Clients

Earning Trust

Working backward (Customer Focused)

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

PRFAQ (Amazon)

Bar Raiser (Amazon) / As Appropriate (Microsoft)

Mission, Vision, and Values

Skills and Functional Knowledge

Interviewing Biases

Being an ‘Athlete’ (Flexible / Adaptable / Coachable)

Interview Panacea

Pre-Brief and De-Brief

What is ACQ2: The Acquired Interviews?

ACQ2 is Ben and David's conversations with expert founders and investors. Acquired the stories of great companies — and ACQ2 dives deeper into the lessons we can learn from them, often with the protagonists themselves.