Amazon: Interviewed for technical L6, offered non technical L6 role -- what just happened?

New DaPC48
Nov 7 24 Comments

What do all of you think about this? I was contacted by an Amazon recruiter a while back (I was *not* actively looking and happy at my current job). The role was for a Senior TPM in Seattle, and I've been thinking about moving to Seattle and I like the idea of working for Amazon. I went through the 30 minute phone interview, and then another 1 hr phone interview with the team. The team brought me out for the loop interview in Seattle, which was both fun and tiring at the same time. About a week later the recruiter called me to tell me that I am "definitely an Amazonian" -- or words to that effect -- but all of the feedback took one of two tracks. The recruiter did not elaborate on what those two tracks were.

The recruiter told me there was definitely a role for me at Amazon, and that I would be contacted again shortly. Sure enough, I was contacted the next day by another recruiter to schedule a phone interview with another hiring manager from a different group. But this role was for a non-technical senior PM, which left me a little crestfallen because I think I am sufficiently technical, but oh well, I've had both technical and non-technical PM roles throughout my career. So OK, I'm still interested. I had the 1 hr phone interview with that manager, and it went well. The project sounds exciting and fun, and I think I'd learn a lot. The next day, the recruiter called to extend an offer -- an offer I renegotiated to add $10K to the base and $20K to TC, for a final $145 base / $270 TC + L5/6 relocation package. The relocation package is fantastic, btw.

The questions I have: is it common to interview for one role and be offered another? Are these other roles generally good ones, or are they the ones that have been difficult to fill? It's a new rec and not a backfill -- is that a good or bad thing? Oh, and one more thing -- I'm no spring chicken. I could easily be the oldest person on my new team, and one of the oldest new hires Amazon has hired. Should that give me cause for concern?

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TOP 24 Comments
  • IBM Trunk
    Would you mind elaborating on the relocation package?
    Nov 7 9
    • NetApp goOntap
      What’s the conversion factor to USD, 0.24? If that’s the case then you are getting peanuts for a meal
      Nov 7
    • New DaPC48
      OP
      I know Massachusetts may seem like a foreign country to the rest of the USA, but we use USD here, too, lol.
      Nov 7
    • Vudu NVR SMR
      Keep in mind. The relo package was standard. And there’s a 2 yrs grace period. Meaning If you leave the company after 1yr. You’re obligated to pay back 50% of the relo. One time cash was more straightforward, but if you ended up using the second option, you have to stick for 2 yrs. Good luck, bro!
      Nov 7
    • New DaPC48
      OP
      Yes, a very good point. Or, if I'm to believe the scuttlebutt on this board, I can end up falling flat on my face and be out the door in 6 months and have to pay 75% of it back. But I can't imagine that any company, let alone Amazon, would go through all the trouble to relocate someone across the country if it didn't have a pretty good idea about what it was doing. I'm sure it happens, but it would have to be exceptional circumstances.
      Nov 8
    • IBM Trunk
      Not sure about relocation package payback, but normally if you get PIP'd out before you finish your grace period for things like a sign on bonus or tuition reimbursement, you don't have to pay it back.

      At one former company I was at, they would give you $10K per year tuition reimbursement, provided you agreed to work there an additional year every year you claimed the benefit.
      Nov 8
  • Amazon WtXx66
    It's not uncommon to offer someone a different role. Amazon would never want to lose talent.

    L6s at Amazon are anywhere between 26 to 45 years young on average. L6 is a terminal level, so no one would be surprised to see an L6 with white hair. (jk)
    Nov 7 2
    • IBM Trunk
      By "not wanting to lose talent", does that mean if they don't think you're a fit for an SDE 3, they might consider you for an SDE 2 role instead?
      Nov 7
    • Amazon / Eng soulstaker
      I've seen that several times
      Nov 7
  • New deflow
    Isn't that better? I thought generally PM > TPM?
    Nov 7 5
    • New DaPC48
      OP
      In terms of compensation at Amazon, no. PMs are going to receive about $30-$50K less TC than TPMs. But the money doesn't bother me that much; it's the thought that someone (or someones) didn't think I was technical enough. To be fair, I whiffed on some of the technical questions so shame on me for that.
      Nov 8
    • IBM Trunk
      What would an example tech question be for TPM?
      Nov 8
    • New DaPC48
      OP
      While I cannot disclose the specific questions that were asked because I signed an NDA, the questions test your basic knowledge of data structures and how comfortable you are using a white board. All of the questions were basic and fair game. There's no excuse for why I did so poorly with them other than I was spent after 6 hours of interviews following a cross-country flight. That's on me.
      Nov 8
    • New DaPC48
      OP
      If you can explain anything on this page, you can answer the types of questions you'd be asked.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_data_structures
      Nov 12
    • IBM Trunk
      Thanks OP! I can explain probably 75% of this list. I'm going to assume that's not L6 level. What about for an L5?
      Nov 12
  • Amazon Lwsgq
    This is very common. They determined you’re a great candidate but probably not as strong technically to raise the bar for an L6. So they repurposed you into a role that would play to your strengths. If your happy with the TC, then welcome to Amazon! The role will be great and you can always prove those technical skills down the road to transition into a TPM spot.
    Nov 7 0
  • JPMorgan Chase CompLions
    wait, u just did the phone interview and they extended the offer? i thought you need to do an on-site?
    Nov 12 1
    • New DaPC48
      OP
      I think Amazon was prepared to extend an offer after the onsite loop, but only for a non-technical role. My guess is that the feedback from the onsite loop was strong but I didn't raise the bar technically.
      Nov 12
  • Goldman Sachs / Eng sTVq07
    What was the relaxation package? Can you pls help me with the numbers?
    Nov 16 0
  • Microsoft $msft
    It’s common and that’s a strong offer for a L6 PM by the way. Congrats
    Nov 7 0

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